ELLENSBURG, Wash. - Central Washington University students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated for COVID-19 before coming back for the fall 2021 quarter the university president announced Thursday.

The following is the message from CWU President James Gaudino:

CWU Community,

Following careful consideration, CWU will require COVID-19 vaccinations for students, faculty, and staff before returning to campus for the fall 2021 quarter.

This mandate is based on the advice of local, state, and national health department officials.

The decision is also based on the expectation that the coronavirus vaccines currently approved for emergency use will receive full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by the summer. FDA approval is a key factor in our consideration of a vaccine mandate. The current vaccines have been in use since mid-December under emergency use authorizations. Since that time, data have shown the vaccines to provide effective protection against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

We are making obtaining a vaccination a priority because we believe a fully vaccinated community is the best way to protect our individual and collective health and safety. Additionally, it is only through widespread vaccinations that Central can loosen or remove restrictions that have impacted our social and mental well-being. Vaccinations will facilitate a return to in-person campus living and learning experiences.

I understand that not everyone may be in a position to be vaccinated against the virus at this time, and I encourage you to consult with your healthcare provider for guidance.

Students will be required to verify that they have been vaccinated. If students are unable to get vaccinated because of where they currently reside, the university will provide access to vaccinations upon arrival to campus.

We recognize that a vaccination requirement for some employee groups may be subject to bargaining. We will immediately initiate the bargaining process with faculty and staff unions prior to implementing the vaccine requirement for employees.

We are working diligently across all university units to answer key operational questions that will facilitate a safe return to campus for all. We will be sharing more information campus-wide as our plans are finalized.

You will find answers to some of your questions about the university’s response to COVID-19 on the #CWUTogether website. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s webpages, include information about the benefits of getting vaccinatedkey things to know, and frequently asked questions about the vaccine.

All of you have made invaluable contributions during this pandemic by following the health and safety recommendations of our state and local health professionals. It is because of your hard work and ability to pivot to new and different ways of working, that we have been able to weather this crisis.


James L. Gaudino