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Western Oregon joins growing number of colleges to require COVID-19 vaccination

Western Oregon, Oregon State, Portland State, University of Portland, Lewis & Clark College and Willamette University plan to require students to be vaccinated.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Western Oregon University will require all students and employees who are learning, working or visiting the school's campuses in Monmouth or Salem to have received the COVID-19 vaccination, the school announced to students on Monday.

"We know our students and employees miss the vibrancy of in-person campus life. Vaccination is an important step toward pack immunity so we can be together again," Western Oregon president Rex Fuller said in a news release. "We're doing everything we can to make vaccines accessible to members of our campus community and implementing a vaccination requirement for our students and employees is an important part of that."

RELATED: Portland State joins Oregon State and will require COVID-19 vaccinations this fall

Fuller said the details of the vaccination requirement are still being finalized and will be released at a later date. "It would be short-sighted to rush the details of a vaccination requirement without hearing from the WOU community," Fuller said.

The school is also offering an incentive program in collaboration with the campus store that gives students who have been vaccinated $25 to be used on textbook, supplies or other items. Through June 30, the school is offering free, on-campus vaccinations three days a week in partnership with Salem Health.

"We're just trying to encourage [students to get vaccinated] so when they go back to their communities, it's as safe as it can be," said Rob Winningham, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Western Oregon University. "I want to see the students come back and have that college experience."

RELATED: University of Portland, Willamette University to require COVID-19 vaccinations

Western Oregon joins other Portland universities and colleges that have announced vaccination requirements for students and faculty this fall, including Oregon State University (OSU), Portland State University, University of Portland, Lewis & Clark College and Willamette University.

The University of Washington and Washington State University also said vaccinations will be required.

The University of Oregon told KGW last week that they haven't decided whether to require vaccinations but said they "expect to communicate something soon."

OSU officials said they're still figuring out how students and staff will prove they've been vaccinated or how they can request an exemption, if necessary.

More COVID vaccine updates: