Heritage University will require students, faculty and staff to receive a COVID-19 vaccine before returning to campus for the fall 2021 semester


Heritage University will require students, faculty and staff to receive a COVID-19 vaccine before returning to campus for the fall 2021 semester

Toppenish, Wash. – Heritage University President Andrew Sund, Ph.D. announced today that all students, faculty and staff will be required to be vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus before returning to campus for the fall 2021 semester.

Sund said the decision by Heritage administrators to require vaccinations was made after much thought, research, and analysis. “This decision follows vaccination recommendations by the Yakima County Health District, the State of Washington, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” said Sund. “Overwhelming scientific evidence shows that vaccines are effective and safe, and failure to require vaccinations would legally and ethically constitute a direct threat to the safety of staff, faculty, and students.”

Exceptions to the vaccination requirement will be made for people who have medical conditions, religious beliefs, or extenuating circumstances that prevent them from being vaccinated.  President Sund also said reasonable accommodations would be made for people who fall into those categories. The university will collect vaccination information and proceed with enforcement of the vaccination policy.

Pandemic-era precautions, including mask-wearing inside buildings, social distancing, and enhanced cleaning protocols, will continue in the fall. “The biggest responsibility we have as an administration is to assure that we can provide a safe environment for everyone to work and study at Heritage,” said Sund.

To assist those who have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine, Heritage University will host a vaccination clinic that is open to students, employees and any family members that are 12 years or older living in the same household on Friday, July 9, 2021, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic (YVFWC) will be providing the Pfizer and Janssen COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The clinic will be held in the Martha B. Yallup Health Sciences Building at Heritage. Participants can choose which vaccine to receive, and those who require a second dose for full vaccination will have the opportunity to schedule that appointment with Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic at any of their various locations three weeks from July 9. Heritage University will also host a second vaccination clinic on Friday, July 30, same time and location.  The July 30 clinic will be for people that need the booster (second dose) or missed the first date and would like to get the Janssen vaccine, which is a single dose.

For more information, contact Davidson Mance, media relations coordinator at (509) 969-6084 or Mance_D@heritage.edu.


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K-12 students encouraged to enroll for summer school during Saturday registration event in Sunnyside


K-12 students encouraged to enroll for summer school during Saturday registration event in Sunnyside

Toppenish, Wash. – Lower Yakima Valley students in grades kindergarten through 12 will have the opportunity to register for summer school during the “Community Fair for Summer Enrollment” on Saturday, June 19, 2021, at the Sunnyside Fiesta Foods. Students and their families will be greeted by representatives from the Mabton, Sunnyside and Grandview school districts who will help students enroll or receive information about their respective summer school programs.

This summer school registration event is hosted by Yakima Valley Partners for Education (YVPE) and its partners Save the Children, United Family Center, and Fiesta Foods. Suzy Diaz, the director of Collective Impact at Heritage University says summer school is a chance for children to maintain academic accomplishments year-round.  “Gaps in studying during the summer months lead to knowledge loss,” said Diaz. “By attending summer school, students can receive additional learning time, socialize with their peers, and take part in experiential activities.”

During the fair, Save the Children and United Family Center will enroll kids in the “100 Days of Summer Reading Challenge,” and Fiesta Foods will launch their “Reading Is Growing” reading program. Kids who take on the challenge can earn prizes throughout the summer.

“Community Fair for Summer Enrollment” will be held on Saturday, June 19, 2021 from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the #7 parking lot of Sunnyside Fiesta Foods located at 2010 Yakima Valley Highway in Sunnyside, Wash. Students will have the opportunity to register for, or obtain more information on the following summer programs:

Sunnyside: Ignite Summer School Program June 28-July 22
Class schedule: M-Th 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Grandview: SPARK Summer School Program June 23-July 29
Class schedule: M-Th 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (elementary) and 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. (middle and high school).

Mabton: K-12 Summer Program June 21-July 29
Class schedule: M-Th 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Families are asked to check directly with the district for openings.

For more information, contact Suzy Diaz at (509) 480-9354 or Diaz_S@heritage.edu or Micaela Araguz at (509) 975-0046 or Micaela@fiesta-foods.com.


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Congratulations Class of 2021

News Briefs – Winter 2021

Former faculty’s gift to improve chemistry education at HU

Back in the mid-1980s, when Jack Fletcher, Ph.D., started working at Heritage, the chemistry lab was little more than a hand-me-down portable filled with tables and chairs and not much in the way of scientific equipment. Then Christmas came in the form of a donation of 10-12 chemistry stations from a Yakima-area Catholic high school that was upgrading their school science labs.

Throughout his career teaching chemistry, first in a high school, then at Big Bend community college and Heritage, Fletcher repeatedly saw that the need for equipment in the science labs he loved always outpaced the availability of budgeted funds. That’s why, earlier this year, when he and his wife JB Fletcher, Ed.D (Ball State University) discussed making a significant contribution to Heritage, they decided to direct their gift to the chemistry department to buy science equipment.

“We supported Heritage from year to year, and this year we got to thinking about the uniqueness of the situation right now. I thought now was the best time we could do something significant,” he said.

Heritage is a family affair for the Fletchers. Jack started teaching at the university part-time shortly after Heritage College formed. Within a year, he moved to full-time and split his work between teaching science and managing the physical plant. JB taught psychology and counseling classes for most of her time at Heritage and one year as a full-time instructor.

The two left Heritage in 1989 when Jack entered the University of Utah to pursue his doctoral degree in Chemical and Fuels Engineering. However, their experiences at the Heritage never left their hearts and minds.

“We had a great time at Heritage, just a lovely bunch of people, students, the nuns, and all the people there who were supportive,” said JB.

The impact of the Fletchers’ gift will be most deeply felt when fall 2021 classes get underway. The department is replacing several worn-out pieces of equipment.

“The timing and magnitude of the Fletchers’ gift carry an immeasurable impact,” said Tyson Miller, Ph.D., a professor in the natural sciences program. “Both our physics research and our organic chemistry lab instruction were at a crossroads. Their gift allows us to purchase new software and hardware capable of acquiring data for advanced research projects with students and further publications, as well as to upgrade and replace these essential instruments needed for acquiring techniques in organic synthesis and purification.”

For the Fletchers, there is satisfaction in a commitment to Heritage that has, in many ways, come full circle.

“It feels pretty good that I was part of the beginning of the chemistry department, and it has grown from there. Maybe my gift can help take the program where it needs to go for the people who are there now,” said Jack. page19image3372448


Heritage family loses long-time supporter and friend