Updated COVID Safety Guidelines for Fall

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Dear WWU Faculty & Staff,

As more employees make their way back to campus offices and as we prepare for a full campus this fall, I want to encourage you to read the summary of updated community health guidance on Western’s coronavirus information site.

As you likely know, many parts of the country including Washington state are dealing with the fifth wave of COVID infections due to the highly contagious delta variant.  This week, Governor Inslee urged Washingtonians, even those who are fully vaccinated, to wear a mask in public indoor spaces following new guidelines released Tuesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  This new guidance is intended to help protect children under age 12 who are not yet allowed to be vaccinated and other people who have been vaccinated but are not well-protected because of weak immune systems.

Informed by this guidance, and based upon recommendations from the University’s COVID Support Team, we are now requiring all individuals, including visitors, to be masked at all times when indoors and when inside WWU transportation, unless in an office or vehicle alone, or in gatherings where all individuals are vaccinated.  Unvaccinated individuals must mask outdoors when it is not possible to socially distance.

While well over 90% of current hospitalizations and deaths are among the unvaccinated, there have also been some “breakthrough” infections, resulting in a small number of hospitalizations and deaths among people who were fully vaccinated.  These cases, however, are very limited.  Data on millions of vaccinated individuals worldwide clearly demonstrate that getting vaccinated is the single best and safest protection against COVID-19, and health experts continue to stress that the vaccines are working as intended, even against the delta variant. 

Please, for your own health and safety and for those around you, get vaccinated and mask up.  If you’ve been vaccinated and have not yet informed HR, please complete the Vaccination Submission e-sign form or contact your HR consultant for assistance.

Thank you for your attention to this important community health issue.