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PLU expands student immunization requirement to include COVID-19 vaccine

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Flu shot clinic with nursing students preparing and administrating the shots at PLU, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018. (Photo/John Froschauer)
April 27, 2021

Dear PLU Community,

In February, I wrote that we are planning for a full return to in-person learning and campus life for Fall 2021, from academic courses, residential hall living, co-curricular activities, and related services.

The pandemic remains a challenge in our South Sound region, but as the percentage of vaccinated people climbs, we are optimistic that we can plan for a fall semester that will be much closer to the daily life we are used to having at PLU. The increasing availability of vaccines is encouraging and essential to our plans for a healthy and safe full return to campus.

Vaccination requirement

With the vaccine supply growing and eligibility expanding, the Recovery Planning Team thoroughly reviewed PLU vaccination policies that focus on the health of the campus community. Today, I am announcing that PLU will require all students — undergraduate and graduate — to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to arriving on campus for the fall semester, with case by case exceptions allowed only for medical or religious reasons.  This policy is similar to our current requirements for measles, mumps and rubella vaccination. Where COVID-19 vaccination exceptions are granted, the university may require additional COVID-19 testing, social and access restrictions, quarantining and other limitations or requirements.  Details about how to request an exception and how students will inform the Health Center about their vaccination status will be shared at a later date.

At the same time, we are continuing to monitor federal and state guidance for employer regulations regarding the vaccination of employees, which continue to evolve. We strongly urge employees to get immunized against COVID-19 at the earliest opportunity, after consulting their physician. While there is, as yet, no established number that determines herd immunity, we are striving for 80%+ of the campus population to be vaccinated. The larger the percentage of our community that is vaccinated, the greater overall protection we will achieve.

Introducing PLU Covid-19 Vaccination Clinics

You may be aware that over the last few months, PLU hosted several vaccination clinics in partnership with the Tacoma–Pierce County Health Department, MultiCare Health System, and Virginia Mason Franciscan Health with the Equity Action Network. While they were hosted on our campus, the clinics were designed to serve primarily non-PLU community members. We are pleased to announce that, in conjunction with announcing a vaccination requirement, we will soon host clinics on campus with early access appointments for PLU community members.

Current PLU vaccination events:

  • Thursday, April 29, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.: Drive-through or walk-up clinic in the Morken parking lot on campus, second dose will be May 20. Here is the link to register for an appointment.
  • We expect another drive-through or walk-up clinic the week of May 3.

We may also supplement on-campus vaccination clinics with additional pop-up clinics as partners notify us about available doses. Please check your PLU email on a regular basis for announcements about these vaccination opportunities. Note, too, that the partners providing the vaccine often let us know only days (sometimes hours) before the events take place — so be prepared to act quickly! We’ll also include reminders of dates for second-dose timing, so you can be sure you’re available for both required doses before you commit to an appointment.

The last fifteen months have been trying for us all. We’ve had to make crucial sacrifices to maintain safety in our community, and the scope of the collective effort to that end has been truly inspiring. That being said, we all know our university is at its best in-person — and we’re glad to be making steps toward enjoying that again together. We know you will have questions. We will be working on a comprehensive FAQ and will share that with you in the coming weeks.

Thank you for your commitment to our university community. I am very proud to call you members of the Lute family.

In service,

Allan Belton