Dear Bastyr Community members,
Thank you for your patience as the leadership team and I have gathered information, evaluated resources, listened to feedback from the community, and defined the action steps needed to provide a clear vaccination policy for Bastyr University.
This is a defining moment for not only our Bastyr Community, but quite literally for the entire world. We have been living in life-altering times due to the pandemic which has caused deaths within many families and communities, and has greatly impacted so many aspects of our economic, institutional and social constructs. This has been, and continues to be, a profoundly difficult time for each one of us.
Yet, in the midst of this, as a human race we are trying to move forward in the best way possible. Bastyr University did well by shifting to remote education during the first year of the pandemic, when there were few options available to keep our community safe from the COVID-19 virus. As time has passed, there are lessons we’ve learned about the effectiveness of physical distancing, wearing of masks, and the diligent application of hygienic practices. In addition, effective vaccinations have arrived which show a remarkable capacity to lower risk, particularly of reducing severe illness and deaths.
The Bastyr Community has three needs as we begin to move forward.
First, there is a need to move forward as a campus community by conducting our work in-person. As a result of the availability of FDA approved vaccinations and appropriate physical precautions, Bastyr University plans to be in person for the Fall 2021 Quarter. The goal is to allow the best educational opportunities possible for our students. Bastyr has done as well as possible providing remote and physically distanced in-person laboratory and clinical experiences. It is time for our community to be back together to the extent possible.
Secondly, we have a need to provide a high level of safety to all community members. Bastyr University has an important calling – our mission is to educate leaders in the natural health arts and sciences. We are an institution that is focused on health. Bastyr University will focus on doing our part to curb the spread and destructiveness of COVID-19. As a higher education institution providing healthcare services, we need to follow state orders that apply to organizations. Beyond this, we have a vital commitment to the members of our university community which includes not only students, but faculty, staff members, patients and other visitors. That commitment is to do everything we can to protect our classmates, professors, and coworkers. This is the moment Bastyr steps up and supports the health of the community, with a focus on applying best practices in public health. Thus, we are requiring students, faculty and staff to follow the attached COVID-19 vaccination policy. Please read this thoroughly as every person working at or attending Bastyr University will need to comply with this policy within the timelines indicated within the policy.
Lastly, Bastyr has an opportunity to display leadership in a new way. We have always been a leader in the field of natural health arts and sciences. In these times, we have a unique opportunity to emerge even stronger as a unified, informed and proactive advocate of natural health and wellness. As such, the university is launching a new initiative designed to create opportunities within our community, have meaningful engagement with other individuals/organizations while we seek to envision, understand and activate the mission and vision that we hold so dear. The initiative, currently titled, The Bastyr Community Initiative (BCI), will include four aspects:
- Community Conversations
- Research Opportunities
- Advocacy Work
- Broader Community Engagement
Broadly, we want to ask and answer the question: Where does Bastyr University “engage” in the world?
Things to consider:
- What if we could meet together and speak to each other – sharing ideas, hearing other voices and learning from each other? Can we develop ongoing Community Conversations that bring experts from many sides of an issue, internal and external to our University…to discuss important crises our community and world are facing? I believe we can develop an environment in which these thoughts can be shared and discussed.
- What if all of us who have interest, could take these conversations further…conducting a unified approach to researching the literature, engage in original research -- bringing evidence-informed answers to the crises our world faces?
- What if we could take our researched, vetted point of view to those in positions of influence (locally, statewide, regionally, and nationally) – becoming passionate, informed advocates for natural health and wellness in all our disciplines?
- What if we could reach out to the broader communities to share the answers we have found in ways that change the face of medicine, counseling, nutrition, and so much more?
In a few weeks you will receive more information on the launch of this full-university initiative. We are targeting initial meetings for this initiative in September. In order for this initiative to launch and be successful, we need members of our community (students, staff, and faculty) to engage. As you begin to learn more, we ask that you consider how your own interests, talents, and expertise can contribute to this initiative which will move Bastyr into a new space that fully promotes what our health and wellness disciplines have to offer to some of the world’s greatest concerns and crises. We invite you to become a part of and to engage in this endeavor.
Devin Byrd, PhD