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Washington governor expands state's vaccine mandate, will apply to Nick Rolovich

A new vaccine mandate by Washington governor Jay Inslee will force Wazzu head coach Nick Rolovich to get vaccinated or risk losing his job

A new vaccine mandate for state employees announced Wednesday by Washington governor Jay Inslee will have a major effect on Washington State head coach Nick Rolovich.

The Cougars head coach is thus far the only FBS head coach to announce he will not be vaccinated. 

"I have elected not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine for reasons which will remain private. While I have made my own decision, I respect that every individual -- including our coaches, staff and student-athletes -- can make his or her own decision regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. I will not comment further on my decision," Rolovich said last month in advance of Pac-12 media day.

Since then, the delta variant has continued burning through the country, and so vaccine mandates have become more common. The city of New Orleans has passed a vaccine mandate for all indoor activities and major outdoor gatherings, and just today President Joe Biden announced a vaccine mandate for nursing home workers.

Inslee's mandate will apply to all public school employees -- from kindergarten volunteers to Power 5 head coaches -- must be vaccinated in order to do their jobs. The mandate goes into effect Oct. 19. 

From KING-5:

The state’s vaccine mandate expansion includes public, private and charter schools but does not include any students or tribal schools.

Unions, like the Washington Educators Association, will be able to bargain with districts to negotiate time off to receive the vaccine and recover from the side effects, but there will be no option to test in lieu of the vaccine.

The mandate expansion follows a request last week from the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal for Inslee to include K-12 school staff in the vaccination requirement plan.

The mandate is also being expanded to include employees in the state’s higher education system and most childcare and early learning providers.

There is no option to test out of the mandate, although exceptions will be granted to those with "legitimate medical reasons or genuine religious beliefs."

It's unknown if Rolovich would fall into either category since he kept his reason for remaining unvaccinated private thus far.

Rolovich is heading into his second season as Wazzu's head coach following a pandemic-shortened 1-3 debut. He is in Year 2 of a 5-year deal that pays him $3 million annually. 

Thursday update> Rolo says he plans to get the vaccine.