Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,
We hope you are enjoying a restful and rejuvenating summer. This week our law school kicked off Seattle University’s 2021–2022 academic year by beginning its fall semester. In a few weeks the rest of the university will follow suit and embark on the fall quarter. It will be wonderful to open in a mode that is as fully in-person as possible and have a more traditional campus experience than has been the case these past 18 months.
At the same time, we know that Delta variant cases are on the rise. The university continues to monitor this constantly evolving situation and evaluate the latest public health recommendations and requirements as we continue to prioritize the health, safety and well-being of our entire campus community.
Last week, Governor Inslee issued two new proclamations—one requiring face coverings to be worn indoors and the other mandating school employees, including those in higher education, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Both of these directives align with requirements Seattle University already had in place, with two changes.
First, Governor Inslee’s new proclamation prohibits school employees from requesting an exemption based on philosophical grounds. Second, Governor Inslee’s proclamation requires that higher education employees submit proof of vaccination (such as an image of their vaccination card) instead of self-attestation.
In light of the new proclamation, SU’s allowable exemptions will be limited to medical and religious grounds. Philosophical exemptions will not be allowed. The university has already been reaching out to those students, faculty and staff who had been granted exemptions for philosophical reasons to notify them of the policy change and of their deadline for compliance.
In addition, the university will be sending information to faculty and staff instructing them on how to update their prior vaccination attestation with documentary proof of vaccination (the university’s process for student vaccination registration already incorporates documentary proof). Those who are able to do so now, are encouraged to upload their documentation via the registration form. (As a reminder, students are required to register their vaccinations by Sept. 3, and faculty and staff by Sept. 6.)
With the Delta variant continuing to surge, vaccinations are critical to bringing the pandemic under control once and for all. As some have been hesitant to receive vaccines approved under emergency use authorizations granted by the FDA, this week’s news that the agency has fully approved Pfizer’s COVID vaccine for people 16 and older is most welcome. The hope is approvals for the other vaccines will soon follow.
Thank you for continuing to take all the health and safety measures available to us as we prepare for fall quarter. From the beginning of the COVID pandemic, our students, faculty and staff have responded exceptionally well. As we prepare to kick off an exciting academic year and gather once again as a campus community, let’s continue to keep one another in mind.
Shane P. Martin, Provost
Campus Opening Co-Chair
Timothy P. Leary, Executive Vice President
Campus Opening Co-Chair