Dear WWCC Staff and Students,
Yesterday, Governor Jay Inslee announced new requirements for Washington’s colleges and universities. According to the Governor’s announcement, the following steps are being taken state-wide to help control the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant. The requirements include:
- All employees, including student employees:
- Must be fully vaccinated by October 18 in order to continue working for a college or university in Washington State. The Governor has made full vaccination on or before October 18 a condition of employment.
- Employees will be required to show proof of vaccination to a designated WWCC official. The process for doing so is being developed and will be communicated as soon as possible next week.
- Medical conditions and sincerely held religious beliefs may qualify individuals for exemption to the vaccination requirement following an application and review process. Exemptions will be formally approved—it will not be an option to claim an exemption by attestation.
- The Governor makes no provision for philosophical exemptions for employees.
- As additional information is available it will be posted on the college’s website at www.wwcc.edu/coronavirus.
- The default expectation is that students will be vaccinated, but may claim medical, religious, or philosophical exemptions. The link will be available on the WWCC website on, or shortly after, August 27.
- Vaccination clinics will continue to be offered by WWCC, in partnership with the Walla Walla County Department of Community Health and Washington State University. Currently, clinics are planned for September and October (see below for additional information).
- The Governor’s announcement does not change current plans to offer in-person classes for fall quarter.
- Regardless of vaccination status, everyone will be required to wear a face covering while inside a WWCC building or in an enclosed space (such as a college-owned vehicle).
How to become vaccinated
To make vaccination as convenient as possible, WWCC is hosting on-campus vaccination clinics in Walla Walla on September 13 and October 4. Two vaccination clinic dates have been identified in Clarkston—one in September and another in October, with details forthcoming as they are available. In addition, attached is a flyer identifying several upcoming vaccine clinic options available at Providence Southgate in Walla Walla.
Please note that individuals are not considered to be “fully vaccinated” as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention until two weeks after receiving the second shot, or two weeks following the single-dose vaccine. If you have not yet had your first dose, please plan to do so as soon as possible, as the Governor has made vaccination a condition of employment.
- Moderna – first dose by September 6, 2021, 2nd dose not later than October 4, 2021
- Pfizer – first dose by September 13, 2021, 2nd dose not later than October 4, 2021
- Johnson & Johnson – single dose by October 4, 2021
How to apply for vaccination exemptions
Next week the State of Washington will provide to colleges official definitions of “religious exemption” and “medical exemption” along with application forms that individuals will be required to complete in order to request an exemption. This is not a routine process and will involve documentation in support of the application, as well as detailed review of the application. More information regarding this process will be made available on the college website once the State of Washington provides WWCC with the necessary materials.
I recognize that these developments are welcomed by some and disturbing to others. However you view these new requirements, please know that we are here to support students, employees, and the community, and we will address issues and concerns as they arise. As Governor Inslee explicitly stated in his press conference on August 18, there is no local authority to modify these requirements. We are complying with the Governor’s order and commit to doing everything in our power to make it as smooth as possible for everyone.
I know that this is not the way any of us envisioned the start of the 2021-22 academic year. I also know that we are dedicated to creating a supportive, in-person learning and working environment for WWCC students and employees. Please keep in mind that we all can and should rely on each other, and our network of relationships as we continue to persevere in the face of these pandemic challenges.
The situation continues to evolve, so if these requirements change, the College commits to sharing updates or changes in a timely manner. Thank you for your hard work and for doing what’s necessary to protect ourselves and our fellow community members.
Chad Emerson Hickox, Ph.D.