UW conducts mask wearing survey

University of Washington student Sabrina Liu, right, conducts a mask counting survey by watching the mask-wearing habits of people in Shoreline in November 27, 2020.

By fall, students on all three University of Washington campuses will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19, the state’s largest university announced Monday.

The news follows similar moves this spring by Washington State University and a host of other private colleges, including Seattle University and Pacific Lutheran University.

UW students will need to show proof of vaccination or claim a “medical, religious or philosophical exemption,” according to a letter sent to students from the university’s president, Ana Mari Cauce. Instructions on how to do that will be released in “early summer,” the letter said.

The university, whose medical school has been at the forefront of vaccine research and distribution, has not announced information about a requirement for staff and faculty.

“Decisions about vaccine requirements for faculty, academic personnel and staff will be made after further consultation with faculty, academic personnel and staff leadership, and the state,” Cauce wrote.

Students who aren’t able to get the vaccine because of where they live will be provided shots upon arrival to campus.

In March, universities across the state reported a surge in positive cases of the virus. An uptick in cases at the UW’s Seattle campus caused a doubling of the percentage positive cases within the university’s coronavirus testing program, from 0.6% to 1.3%.

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