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NCAAF: WSU president weighs in on football coach’s non-vaccination

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Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich appears to be at odds with university president Kirk Schulz, who said it is the expectation that all members of the campus community will be vaccinated for COVID-19 before returning to campus for the new school year.

The statement Schulz issued late Wednesday came after Rolovich said he has chosen, for personal reasons, not to get the vaccine. Because he is not vaccinated, he must participate in the Pac-12 media day remotely. The conference is requiring everyone attending the event next week in Los Angeles to be fully vaccinated.

Schulz said that is his expectation for the Pullman, Wash., campus.

“Washington State University expects all students, faculty, staff and volunteers to be fully vaccinated before the start of the fall semester,” his statement read. “As the state’s land-grant research university, WSU has an obligation to serve the public good and promote the health and safety of its communities. The science clearly shows that the COVID-19 vaccine nearly eliminates the chances of death or serious illness related to a COVID-19 infection and is a critical element in protecting public health locally and worldwide.”

Schulz said the university has an exemption process for people with both medical and non-medical reasons for not being vaccinated. Being unvaccinated will be more difficult for Rolovich to interact with his staff and team, however.

“Those requesting an exemption will be required to wear a mask and maintain physical distancing and may be subject to other public health measures when on WSU property,” Schulz said.

Rolovich’s announcement on Wednesday rippled across the state to the capital in Olympia, where Gov. Jay Inslee weighed in.

“Has he been suffering from misinformation? … Maybe we will give him a call and find out,” Inslee said, according to KHQ-TV in Spokane.

Washington State went 1-3 in the abbreviated 2020 season, its first with Rolovich as head coach. The 42-year-old California native previously coached Hawaii to a 28-27 record from 2016-19.

–Field Level Media

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