Gonzaga University requiring students, employees to get COVID-19 vaccine boosters when eligible

<p><p>Just over two weeks out from reopening for the spring semester, Gonzaga University is requiring vaccinated students and employees to get a coronavirus booster shot within 14 days of becoming eligible for one.</p></p><p><p>The university also is requiring all students, regardless of vaccination status, to get tested within 48 hours of their planned return to campus. For students who live on campus, “presentation of your negative test result may be required upon return,” a directive from the school says.</p></p><p><p>Gonzaga’s spring semester opens the week of Jan. 10.</p></p><p><p>The first day of classes is expected to occur as scheduled, according to the university. Dining services and residence halls are also scheduled to reopen as planned on Sunday, Jan. 9.</p></p><p><p>“As of this communication, we are planning for in-person instruction for those courses that have been designed for in-person modes,” Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh said in his campus message Thursday. “However, some faculty may elect to begin the semester utilizing a remote-delivery (i.e., online) approach. Please note that course delivery modes could change at any time.”</p></p><p><p>The <a href=”https://www.gonzaga.edu/zagon/announcements-messages/message-to-all-students-and-families-regarding-booster-and-testing-requirement” target=”_blank”>directive from McCulloh</a>, effective immediately, follows a vast increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Washington.</p></p><p><p>The state recorded a record-high number of cases tallied in a single day Tuesday.</p></p><p><p>Meanwhile, the first case of the omicron variant was officially detected in Spokane County on Wednesday.</p></p><p><p>McCulloh said the trends across the state and guidance from the Spokane Regional Health District influenced the decision.</p></p><p><p>Other colleges and universities set to open classes that Monday, Jan. 10, include Washington State University, Eastern Washington University and Community Colleges of Spokane.</p></p><p><p>As of Thursday, the community colleges have no plans to start the upcoming winter quarter online-only, spokesman Jonathan Glover said. Likewise, WSU also is planning to return to in-person instruction once classes resume, WSU spokesman Phil Weiler said.</p></p><p><p>EWU is also is staying the course, encouraging the campus community to get vaccinated, a booster shot if possible and tested before returning to campus. In a message to the EWU community Wednesday, Interim President David May said the week of time between New Year’s and the start of classes better allows for the return to face-to-face instruction.</p></p><p><p>“We are continuing to closely monitor all directions and information from the CDC, State Department of Health, and Spokane Regional Health District,” he said in the letter. “It is possible that the situation and the relevant guidance may cause us to change how we approach the coming term.”</p></p><p><p>Whitworth University, which will start its monthlong Jan Term session Monday, has elected to move most courses to a virtual setting for the session’s first week of classes.</p></p><p><p>In-person classes are expected to resume Jan. 10.</p></p>