Walla Walla, Wash. – Beginning with the start of Fall Quarter, Walla Walla Community College (WWCC) students can attend in-person classes and seek on-campus support services regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status, except where otherwise directed (e.g., WWCC’s Nursing Education program).
Numerous factors were taken into consideration, and a number of experts and key stakeholders were consulted. The change follows Governor Jay Inslee’s May 20, 2022 proclamation noting “…the reduction in severe disease from COVID-19 infection due to a combination of immunity from vaccination coverage and/or prior infection and wider availability of therapeutic medications and low death rate from COVID-19” as positive indicators of the pandemic’s progression.
“This decision was not made lightly,” WWCC President Dr. Chad Hickox said. “Although cases are still occurring in significant numbers in the communities we serve, infection rates on WWCC campuses are extremely low. Community-wide hospitalization rates have also declined and many more treatments are available to decrease the risk of serious disease.”
WWCC will adhere to all state requirements for campuses that are not fully vaccinated. The college’s pandemic-related task force is updating the pandemic response plan with this change while continuing to take steps to protect the health of students, employees and guests.
“WWCC will continue to prioritize a safe and healthy learning and working environment,” Hickox said.
Other Washington community colleges have made, or are in the process of making, similar adjustments to their pandemic response plans. WWCC will continue to monitor COVID-19 and adjust the college’s response plan as circumstances continue to shift.
The change does not impact employees, as COVID-19 vaccination continues to be a state requirement for employment at all Washington community and technical colleges, per Gov. Inslee’s Proclamation 21-14.3.
Students, faculty, staff and guests are asked to continue to take reasonable precautions and be thoughtful about protecting each other from infection—particularly those who are especially vulnerable to COVID-19. WWCC does not require face coverings though their use is encouraged in groups and public areas.
“This fall, we aim to safely bring back the vibrant campus community spirit that makes WWCC a special place to learn and work,” Hickox said.
WWCC Fall Quarter classes begin September 19. Visit wwcc.edu for additional information and registration.