Willamette University requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for students, faculty and staff

By Meerah Powell (OPB)
April 22, 2021 8:44 p.m.

Willamette University has announced a campus-wide vaccination requirement in what appears to be the most stringent such step by an Oregon university to guard against spread of COVID-19. Willamette is requiring all students, faculty and staff members to be vaccinated against the virus beginning this fall.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Willamette has worked to ensure our community’s health and safety by implementing a number of mitigation strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Willamette’s Reopening Operations Committee wrote in a message to the campus community Wednesday. “In support of our continued commitment to protecting the members of our community, we have developed a COVID-19 Vaccine Policy which requires, with limited exceptions, that all students, faculty, and staff planning to work or attend Willamette in the Fall 2021 semester must be fully vaccinated by the date they return to campus.”


The private Salem institution said that proof of full vaccination will be required by the date students and employees return to campus.

People who are not fully vaccinated, or have not received an approved exemption, may not move onto campus or attend campus activities, according to the university.


The university said it will work with students living outside of the U.S. who may have received a vaccine not approved for use in the United States.

According to its vaccination policy, Willamette said students and employees may request an exemption from the vaccination requirement for medical or non-medical reasons, “including for reasons provided in Oregon and federal law.”

For medical exemptions, supporting documentation from a health care provider must be given. In order to seek a non-medical exemption, such as a religious exemption, students and employees must provide “sufficient information to support the request.”

The university said exemption requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Lewis & Clark College in Portland made a similar announcement Wednesday, though its policy only applies to students.

According to a database maintained by the Chronicle of Higher Education, the only other institution so far in the Pacific Northwest to require vaccinations is Seattle University.