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Executive Policy #43
Approved August 1, 2022

Prevention of Infectious Diseases
with Vaccines and Screening

Overview

A commitment to the health and safety of students, employees, and communities is central to Washington State University’s (WSU) land-grant mission to provide and preserve access to higher education. Scientific evidence and data illustrate that vaccine preventable diseases can rapidly spread through a campus community and may result in unnecessary illness and even death to students or others. In addition, WSU acknowledges that vulnerable populations and communities of color may be disproportionately affected in these circumstances. Other potential adverse consequences of vaccine-preventable diseases include limitations to in-person learning, educational experiences, and participation in the full range of extracurricular activities. Widespread disease within a university campus can also lead to exhaustion of scarce healthcare resources, particularly in rural and underserved areas. Vaccines (and screening), in general, have demonstrated success at preventing communicable diseases.

This policy authorizes the adoption of vaccination requirements for vaccine-preventable disease and creates a framework for addressing vaccination requirements across the WSU system. All required vaccinations must meet the general goal of promoting and supporting a healthy WSU community and allow for religious and medical exemptions.

Applicability

This policy is applicable to students, faculty, staff, visitors, volunteers, and contractors, as set forth below.

Requirements

Students

On at least an annual basis, the Executive Director of Cougar Health Services (CHS), in consultation with the CHS Director of Medical Services, must review current public health and vaccination information and review and update required vaccinations or screenings for students. At a minimum, CHS must review vaccination and/or screening information for:

  • COVID-19;
  • Hepatitis B;
  • Measles (MMR);
  • Meningitis (MCV4/ACWY);
  • Pertussis (Tdap);
  • Tuberculosis; and
  • Varicella.

The availability of exemptions and/or proof of immunity is to be considered and specified for each required vaccination.

For all general student populations, the Executive Director of CHS must ensure that the following information is published on the CHS website and included in the WSU General Catalog as part of the general requirements for enrollment:

  • Current required vaccinations and screenings;
  • Related procedures; and
  • Consequences for noncompliance.

Student vaccination requirements may differentiate between student populations based on:

  • Residential and nonresidential campuses;
  • Physical and virtual campuses; and
  • Health sciences programs with a clinical experiential learning requirement.

The term “residential campus,” as used in this policy, refers to any physical campus with on-campus University-owned and -operated residence halls. A student’s home campus is defined in their student record. If a student is working/studying at a different location (e.g., internship, Extension site), the guidelines for their home campus apply. A student who transfers from WSU Global to a physical campus, or takes classes on a physical campus (e.g., through inter campus enrollment), is subject to the vaccination requirements of the physical campus.

The student vaccination requirements published on the CHS website and in the WSU General Catalog apply to all designated student populations. Proof of required vaccinations is a condition of enrollment.

Where supported by public health standards and guidance, individual WSU programs, such as those in the health sciences, may establish additional or more stringent vaccination requirements for their program-specific students, including a universal vaccine requirement with no exemptions or accommodations. All program-specific vaccination requirements must be approved by the corresponding college dean and by the Executive Director of CHS, except for health sciences programs which must be approved by the college dean and Vice President of Health Sciences. Program-specific student vaccination requirements must be posted on the program’s website and in its enrollment materials and are considered a condition of enrollment or admission in that program.

Where warranted by emergent public health and safety needs, the Executive Director of CHS, in consultation with the CHS Director of Medical Services, may adopt interim vaccination requirements for any and all student populations. Notice of interim vaccination requirements must be provided electronically to all students. Such requirements must be reevaluated for inclusion with the published student vaccination requirements prior to the next academic year.

Employees and Volunteers

If mandated by federal, state, or local authorities, the Vice President of Human Resource Services (HRS), in consultation with public health officials and the Director of Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S), must establish any required vaccinations or screenings as a condition of employment for all employees and volunteers, or for any subset thereof. Where supported by public health standards or guidance or professional standards, individual WSU programs (e.g., health sciences programs) may request specific vaccination requirements for program employees and/or volunteers. All program-specific requests for vaccination requirements must be approved by the corresponding unit dean, chancellor, and vice president, as applicable, and by the Vice President for HRS, unless the vaccine mandate is for a clinical site or other non-WSU work site requirement.

The availability of exemptions and/or proof of immunity is to be considered and specified for each required vaccination.

The Vice President for HRS must ensure that electronic notice is provided to affected employees and/or volunteers no later than 30 days prior to any new vaccination requirements, except as required by law. At the time notice of a vaccination requirement is provided, HRS must provide all of the following information on its website:

  • Procedure for submission of proof of vaccination,
  • Any applicable exemptions, and
  • Consequences for failure to comply, which may include disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

Employee and volunteer vaccination requirements may differ based on location and/or nature of the work performed in the positions.

Visitors and Contractors

Visitors and contractors may be required to demonstrate proof of vaccination in accordance with directives or guidance from federal, state, or local authorities. Notification of any such requirement must be, at a minimum, posted on the University’s website.