Purpose: to alert the community to the new vaccination requirement for higher education employees and students
Under the Governor’s Proclamation for Institutions of Higher Education from July 12, 2021, RTC will require vaccines against COVID-19 for all on-campus students before the start of in-person classes. You must either be vaccinated—our very strong recommendation for personal and community health—or claim a medical or religious, exemption to participate in on-campus instruction or activities. Students involved in fully remote instruction and support services do not need to follow these directives. Public policy is changing rapidly along with the spread of the virus, and it is likely that students may face greater restrictions in state and local policy in the future, especially after the FDA gives full (not emergency) authorization to the vaccines.
Please visit the COVID19 Information for Students page to fill out the Attestation Form and get the latest updates.
Citing the scientific evidence of the coronavirus variant, Governor Inslee modified his vaccination requirement for employees working in most educational fields. Higher education employees now must be fully vaccinated by October 18, 2021, as a condition of employment unless they claim a legitimate and documented medical or religious exemption. Previously allowable philosophic exemptions are no longer accepted. This legally binding order means that Renton Technical College cannot employ individuals who are out of compliance with this order as of October 18, 2021. The impacts of this order on represented employees may be bargained, but again, it is a condition of employment. Read the proclamation for state employees.
In addition, starting Monday, August 23, the Governor has reinstated a mask mandate for all individuals—vaccinated and unvaccinated—in public places. This will not change much on campus as we already require face coverings indoors. The nuance is that vaccinated individuals are allowed not to wear a face-covering in a non-public workspace; unvaccinated individuals must always wear masks indoors.
Please get vaccinated!
I hope that none of our great faculty and staff have to be let go in October for not following this condition of employment. As I’ve written before, being vaccinated against COVID-19 significantly reduces the risks associated with the disease, including death, hospitalization, and the severity of short and long-term effects of the disease. Currently, the vast majority of people severely affected by COVID-19 and its variants have not been vaccinated. The disease and its long-term effects disrupt the educational process and individuals’ ability to learn. Find a vaccine here. The College also is also hosting on-campus vaccine clinics starting Aug. 31. Instructors and supervisors will work with students and employees to ensure that time off for a vaccine or related side effects will not interrupt academic progress or work. Employees may request paid leave to obtain the vaccine; proof of immunization should be provided to Human Resources (See vaccine leave email from Lesley Hogan dated March 19, 2021).
If you have further questions, please consult your health care provider and reputable websites regarding health and vaccine information. In regard to employment questions, please consult with Human Resources and your union, if applicable.
Updated policy and procedures
In light of this order, we are in the process of modifying our policy for employees and our forms for validating vaccination status and claiming an exemption. Unions will be notified accordingly. Self-attestation will no longer be valid. Documentary proof will be required to be shown to Human Resources – copies of vaccine information will not be kept by the college and other exemption materials will be stored securely and separately from personnel files. More details on all of these matters will be forthcoming shortly, but we wanted to be sure the entire campus community received this initial information as soon as possible.
Reinstated Mask Mandate
In addition, starting Monday, August 23, the Governor has reinstated a mask mandate for all individuals—vaccinated and unvaccinated—in indoor public places. This will not change much on campus as we already require face coverings indoors.
If you have further questions, please consult your health care provider and reputable websites regarding health and vaccine information.
- Proclamation by the Governor Regarding Higher Education (Amending Proclamations 20-05 and 20-12)
- Campus Reopening Guide (WA Higher Education Re-Opening Workgroup)
- COVID-19 Emergency Aid
Free testing is available to those experiencing symptoms. Visit the King County website for a list of Testing Locations.