Community Transit Vaccine Policy Update

Community Transit Colleagues,

As we approach the end of the year, we also approach the implementation deadline on our COVID-19 vaccination policy. Today, I want to update you on the status of the policy and the outcome of the exemptions and accommodations review process. 

When we announced the vaccination policy, 66% of employees had been fully vaccinated. As of today, our employee vaccination rate is 91.6% and it continues to increase. Approximately 64 employees have yet to provide verification of being fully vaccinated and so they are either in the process of becoming vaccinated or in the latter stages of deciding whether or not to get vaccinated.

To date, 14 employees who have left over the past two months have said that it was due to the policy. These were all valued team members, and we had hoped to retain them, but we understand and respect that everyone needs to make the decision that is best for them. We lament the loss to the agency, and to those who’ve left or are considering leaving, we will leave the door open and the light on should you reconsider.

Some of you have asked for more information on exemptions and accommodations. Thank you for your patience as we worked through the process with employees. We wanted to be respectful of these employees and the process before sharing details.

Here is the current status of exemptions and accommodations:


  • 59 employees requested a religious exemption, which is a request to be exempted from the policy due to a strongly held religious belief. We granted 52 of these requests. 3 employees left the agency before the process was complete and we denied 4 requests.
  • 5 employees requested a medical exemption, which is a request to be exempted from the policy due to a medical reason supported by a physician. We granted 4 of these requests and denied 1 of them.


Once an employee is approved for an exemption, we needed to determine if we could reasonably accommodate their role, or find them another role, where they would not have in-person contact with members of the public or other employees. This is a challenge at our agency because we provide a public service to the community and most of our employees have daily interaction with the public or with other employees. We have been able to accommodate 5 employees whose work can be done without such contact.

Next Steps

There is still time for employees to make a decision to stay and I hope they do. I know that this has been a difficult process for many folks, and a welcome relief to others. It’s important that we model our values of respect to all regardless of their individual decisions.  I want to especially thank the Employee Engagement team who supported this process with the highest level of compassion, care and respect. I appreciate the level of kindness shown to employees during this challenging time.

With trends we are seeing in vaccination and recruitment, we are confident about delivering service and core agency functions as planned in the new year.  Notably, we have added over a dozen people since September. 

This policy was not an easy decision, but I stand by it as the most important thing we could do to ensure we are providing the safest as possible environment for employees and riders. The emergence of the Omicron variant is adding even more urgency to our need to stay vigilant and use every available tool we have to keep employees and customers safe. Safety will remain a number one priority in all the decisions we make, and we will continue to follow public health guidance in all that we do.

Thank you for taking care of yourselves and each other.


Ric Ilgenfritz

Chief Executive Officer

Community Transit