Governor Jay Inslee announced in August that all state employees, higher education, childcare, and K-12 education employees, and most health and long-term care providers need to be fully vaccinated with a recommended COVID-19 vaccine by Oct. 18 as a condition of employment.
The mandate allows workers to apply for medical and religious exemptions but doesn’t offer a testing opt-out.
A statement issued by Washington State Athletic communications on Monday said that Rolovich and four others had failed to get vaccinated by Inslee’s deadline and had thus been removed from their roles.
“Due to the requirements set forth in Washington ‘s Proclamation 21-14.1, Nick Rolovich is no longer able to fulfill the duties as the football head coach at Washington State University,” the statement read.
“In addition, four football assistant coaches, Ricky Logo, John Richardson, Craig Stutzmann and Mark Weber, are also not in compliance with the Proclamation. As a result, Washington State University has initiated the separation process based on the terms of their respective contracts, effective immediately.”
“Proclamation 21-14.1, prohibits, ‘Any State Agency from permitting any Worker to engage in work for the agency after October 18, 2021, if the Worker has not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provided proof thereof to the agency,’” it continued.
Current Washington State University defensive coordinator Jake Dickert will be taking on the role as acting head coach, the statement added.
Rolovich, 42, is in the second year of a five-year contract with a salary of $3 million per year—and that does not include incentives, The New York Times reported.
The football coach has been vocal in the past about his refusal to get the vaccine and earlier this month confirmed he had applied for religious exemption but did not elaborate further.
“This is a disheartening day for our football program. Our priority has been and will continue to be the health and well-being of the young men on our team,” WSU Director of Athletics Pat Chun said in a statement. “The leadership on our football team is filled with young men of character, selflessness, and resiliency and we are confident these same attributes will help guide this program as we move forward.”
The state’s employee vaccine mandate has been heavily criticized by opponents, including a group of nearly 90 Washington state troopers, firefighters, and other employees who last month filed a lawsuit against Inslee, claiming that his mandate exceeded the authority of his office and violated the rights of state workers guaranteed by the state’s constitution.
Other states and local governments have allowed employees to choose to have weekly COVID-19 testing as an alternative to getting vaccinated.
Earlier this month, Inslee also announced new vaccine requirements for individuals who want to attend large events and said that more still needs to be done to combat the spread of COVID-19.
“We cannot and we will not surrender to this disease. We cannot and we will not think that the status quo is good enough,” Inslee said at a press conference. “We have got to get on top of this disease and knock these numbers down.”
Effective Nov. 15, large events in Washington state will be required to verify that all attendees 12 and older are either fully vaccinated or received a negative COVID-19 test within the last 72 hours.
The new requirement will apply to indoor ticketed events with 1,000 or more attendees, and outdoor events when there are more than 10,000 attendees. It does not apply to religious services or school-based events.
Inslee also clarified that the requirement will not apply to venues like shopping malls, museums, or grocery stores that are open to the public “as part of their operations”.