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Updated Masking Requirement Effective Aug. 23

August 20, 2021
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​As Whitworth prepares for the start of Fall Term and students' arrival on campus, we continue to revise plans based on the ever-changing circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 virus. Just this week, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced a statewide mask mandate for all people, vaccinated or unvaccinated, to again wear masks indoors beginning Monday, Aug. 23. 

Therefore, Whitworth University will require all students, employees, and campus visitors and vendors, regardless of vaccination status, to be masked indoors in populated spaces, including all indoor academic spaces like labs and classrooms, other populated areas like the Hixson Union Building (HUB), and office spaces with more than one person. Small groups of vaccinated students or employees may still gather without masks in select settings (specific details will be posted in FAQs on the COVID-19 webpage​ when they are finalized). Masks will also be strongly recommended in crowded outdoor spaces when physical distancing is not possible.

Undoubtedly, you are aware of the recent surge in COVID-19 cases nationally and in Spokane County because of the delta variant. While the vaccines continue to be highly effective against the variant, more breakthrough cases in vaccinated people are emerging. The number of new overall cases in the region is causing significant concern that COVID-19 patients may overwhelm Spokane's healthcare system.

While our hope was to relax masking requirements for Fall Term, Whitworth's highest priority remains the health of our students, employees and community. This masking measure provides another preventive element in addition to vaccinations. The breakthrough infections demonstrate that, though very effective, the vaccines do not provide 100 percent effectiveness for all individuals, which is why the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given formal approval to provide those with weakened immune systems a third dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines and is considering approvals for all vaccinated individuals.

The university will revisit this new masking policy when the state lifts the mask mandate.

We continue to pray for the end of this pandemic, for the health and safety of our students and employees, and for our greater world. We pray for the successful start of the fall semester and for students who seek to honor God, follow Christ and serve humanity, even in these challenging times.