Big Bend Removes Vaccine Mandate for Students Beginning this Fall

Industrial Systems Technology student wearing mask.
A Big Bend Community College Industrial Systems Technology student wears a mask while learning in the IST lab. BBCC has removed the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for students beginning in the fall quarter of 2022.

MOSES LAKE — Instruction for Big Bend Community College’s fall quarter will begin on Sept. 19 and new students who plan on attending classes beginning this fall will no longer be required to be vaccinated for COVID-19. The vaccine mandate will remain in effect for state employees per Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s Proclamation 21-14.3.

Big Bend began requiring its students attending classes in-person on the college’s campus to be vaccinated or have an approved medical or religious exemption in fall of 2021. A campus mask mandate was also recently lifted before the start of the winter quarter.

“This was a decision made after thoughtful consideration and with the health and safety of our campus community at heart. We believe that Big Bend is ready to make a return to normalcy and we can’t wait to see more and more students returning to campus,” said Big Bend President Sara Thompson Tweedy. “We will remain faithful and continue to follow the CDC’s guidance regarding isolation and quarantine protocols for COVID-19 positive tests and exposure.”

Administrators at the college are still strongly encouraging all students to get vaccinated and noted that the protocol could change at any time if the spread of COVID-19 starts increasing and upon guidance from local medical and public health experts and the CDC.

Thompson Tweedy also said that she encourages employees and students to mask if that makes them feel safer.

“We want to remind all members of our campus community that they may continue wearing face coverings if they choose, and we want to encourage everyone to support and respect those who choose to do so,” Tweedy added. “Along with protecting the health and wellness of our community, providing a safe, inclusive and welcoming learning environment is also our priority.”

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