Monday, October 18, 2021
Oct. 18, 2021

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Gonzaga University reports 86% campus vaccination rate heading into fall semester


SPOKANE — A large majority of the people expected to attend Gonzaga University in person this coming fall are fully vaccinated, according to data released by the university Wednesday.

As of early Wednesday afternoon, 7,093 out of 8,257 students, employees and campus-based vendors (approximately 86%) expected at Gonzaga are fully vaccinated. The total number is subject to change with enrollment or employment.

Students make up a majority of the total, with approximately 88% of all on-campus undergraduate, graduate and law school students (5,599 out of 6,340) fully vaccinated.

Gonzaga University instituted a COVID-19 vaccination requirement in June for students, faculty and staff, including students in programs split between in-person and online campus activities. Fully remote students, faculty and staff are not required to report their vaccination status.

“While the requirement to get vaccinated recently became a mandate for higher education institutions in our state, many responded quickly to (Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh’s) early request to become vaccinated — showing the kind of community this is, our care for one another, and our desire to move closer toward the full Gonzaga Experience we all seek and aspire to provide,” Charlita Shelton, chief of staff to McCulloh, said in a statement Wednesday to the campus community.

Of the 8,257 tallied as part of the greater Gonzaga campus community, approximately 2% are in the process of becoming fully vaccinated.

Another 4% of students, staff and faculty have sought a religious or medical exemption to the university’s vaccination mandate, while 7% have not yet provided any required documentation.

The deadline for students, faculty and staff to submit the required documentation was Aug. 6. And while third-party vendor employees did not have to meet that deadline, Gov. Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 vaccination directive requires higher education employees in the state to either be vaccinated or submit appropriate exemption forms by Oct. 18.

Students who miss the deadline face a registration hold on their enrollment, meaning they will not be able to register for or drop classes, attend classes or access campus facilities.

As of Wednesday, 6% of students had not submitted their information.

Approximately 83% (1,392 out of 1,686) of Gonzaga’s employees are fully vaccinated. Another 6% have requested exemptions and 2% are in the process of becoming fully vaccinated. The remaining 9% have not yet submitted documentation.

The university is working with employees who have not yet submitted documentation to start the process and/or achieve an appropriate outcome, said Gonzaga spokesman David Sonntag.

As for vendor employees whose primary work location is the Gonzaga campus (such as Sodexo employees or Follett workers at the Zag Shop), 102 out of 231 tallied to date (44%) are fully vaccinated. Another 45% have not yet submitted the documentation to the university, while 11% have sought exemptions.

“Gonzaga University cannot speak on behalf of the companies who employ our vendor employees, but it is our experience that these companies take all of their legal and regulatory compliance obligations very seriously,” Sonntag said in an email. “We are therefore operating with the belief that contract workers must be fully compliant by the Governor’s October 18th deadline as a condition of them being present and performing their job duties on campus.”

A complete breakdown of the numbers can be found on Gonzaga University’s online COVID-19 dashboard.

“Unfortunately, COVID-19 cases continue to dramatically rise locally and across the nation, particularly within unvaccinated populations,” Shelton, who is also Gonzaga’s COVID-19 compliance officer, said in a statement. “Our top goal is the health and safety of our campus community, and we believe more than ever that vaccination, together with following mask protocols and other healthy behaviors, is the best way possible to achieve our goal for this academic year.”