President’s Letter to Campus – May 6, 2021

Dear Campus Community,

Throughout this pandemic, Eastern Washington University has prioritized health and safety, and has often been a leader among universities in adopting public health guidelines and recommendations. In the spirit of transparency, we know that the decision to get vaccinated is not one that we can make for you. There are good reasons, religious, medical, and philosophical, why someone may choose not to be vaccinated. And we have been clear that public health and safety is a responsibility that we all share and choosing to be vaccinated is how Eagles take care of one another and our broader community.

Each step we’ve navigated over the last year – from moving to virtual classes and cancelling in-person events to implementing mask requirements and social distancing measures on campus – has come with healthy debate that involves personal feelings and beliefs, strong emotions and a desire to do what we each feel is right. And at every step, the university has trusted the campus community to unite and work together to follow our guidelines as we work to a return to normal. The recent drop in COVID infections around campus certainly reflects how powerful we can be working together.

This is why EWU is once again asking all of you to take personal responsibility and choose to be vaccinated before coming back to campus. Returning to campus in the fall requires that students, faculty and staff do their part to keep campus open. Guidance from local, state and national health officials is clear that a high level of vaccination within our community is, by far, the best way to assure more normal operations can be maintained. Your decision in this regard will impact the university’s ability to safely return to campus and to remain open through the fall. The University will continue to do its part to ensure we are operating in a manner that is as safe as possible. Working together as a community will promote a safe in-person environment for everyone, and help us all get to where we want: a return to normal. 

The university is continually evaluating the latest health information available as we determine the best steps forward. Future state and public health mandates may require us to set new expectations for vaccinations. Eastern’s leadership team is considering easing some restrictions for students who are vaccinated and there may be areas of campus and some activities where a vaccination requirement is implemented. But the university feels at this time it is up to each of us to take the necessary steps for a healthy and safe return. 

I encourage you to visit www.vaccines.gov for a list of vaccine clinics in your area and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s webpages, include information about the benefits of getting vaccinated, key things to know, and frequently asked questions about the vaccine.

David May
Interim President