Faculty Spring 2021 Instruction Modifications
Spring Quarter 2021 at Western starts on Tuesday, March 30, and because of the ongoing pandemic and short interval between winter and spring quarters, WWU is advising faculty that they have the following options for the start of online and face-to-face instruction...
Faculty Guidelines Overview
A Faculty Guidelines Overview page has been added to the COVID site highlighting information provided to faculty.
Fall 2021 Reopening Plans
Last month, I shared with you my anticipation of bringing our Western community back together for fall quarter as the introduction of vaccines and a continued focus on prevention measures in our state and across the country gave us reason to believe that conditions will improve as we approach fall quarter.
I continue to be optimistic that as the vaccine rollout accelerates, and as infection rates decline, we will return to a more robust presence on campus. While details are still being sorted out, we hope that around two-thirds of classes will be in-person, while providing opportunities for those who want to continue to teach, learn, and work remotely. Also, we expect the return of many more students to our university residences, and the resumption of more normal in-person services and activities. We are committed to providing Western’s high-quality educational and living experience for our students, even if some students are not able to take all their courses face-to-face in the fall term. Our aim is to progressively transition to a normal face-to-face operation over the course of the next academic year.
As a reminder, we plan to begin Phase I fall registration for continuing students on May 25. Information about course modalities will be displayed in ClassFinder as those details are determined by academic departments. For students and employees at WWU locations outside of the main Bellingham campus, we will continue to follow the guidance and protocols established by our university partners as it relates to access to facilities and modality of instruction.
I thank those of you who took the time to share your concerns and needs on the recently distributed campus surveys. It has given us a better understanding of your level of comfort with COVID-19 risks and helped us to identify what would need to be in place for our students and employees to feel comfortable being on campus. I am particularly gratified to learn that 88% of students who responded to the survey felt that all appropriate measures have been taken to protect their safety on campus this academic year.
Throughout this pandemic we have put the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff as our top priority. We're approaching reopening campus with the same care and planning that we have employed with our testing, quarantine, contact tracing, cleaning and building ventilation strategies over the past year.
We are carefully following CDC and state guidelines for higher education reopening and following the data and advice of our regional health partners. Based on the current guidance and planning predictions, there will be a need for continued compliance with physical distancing and mask requirements as they might apply at the time, and we will likely continue to engage in a testing regimen depending on vaccination rates and the prevalence of the virus in our communities.
We also know that getting vaccinated is a major step forward in protecting our community and in creating an environment where more faculty, staff and students feel comfortable returning to campus. With the Governor’s recent announcement that all Washingtonians ages 16 and up will be eligible for a vaccine starting on May 1, I encourage all of you to get vaccinated by the start of the fall quarter, as you feel comfortable doing so, recognizing that there are religious, physical and/or philosophical reasons that some people may not wish to get vaccinated.
I am enormously grateful for your hard work and understanding over the past year as we have had to navigate many difficult decisions to keep our community healthy and safe. This is especially true for the people, deemed critical employees, who have been working on our campus sites throughout the pandemic and who are vital to our operations.
I have been inspired by the many innovative ways that Western’s faculty and staff have supported our students’ learning, wellness and success, and by the understanding and care that our students have demonstrated. That commitment will be even more important as we begin the transition to more in-person courses and services this fall, especially as we continue to navigate the potential spread of new virus variants.
We’ll continue to communicate important news and post updates and resources on WWU’s coronavirus website over the next several months.
I thank you again for your dedication to WWU, especially during these unpredictable and often trying days. I wish you and your loved ones the best of health, and I greatly look forward to the time we can all be together in the same place again.
Fall 2021 Survey results now posted online
This past winter, Western's COVID Incident Management Team commissioned a pair of surveys from the university's Office of Institutional Effectiveness to better understand the preferences of the Western community in regards to a broader reopening of campus in Fall 2021. More than 1,500 employees and 3,300 students responded to the surveys.
Western Washington University is closely monitoring the outbreak of respiratory illness caused by COVID-19 in coordination with state and local health departments. The number of individuals in Washington state diagnosed with COVID-19 remains high. There is currently risk to all community members of being exposed to COVID-19, and the risk is increased in a public setting or gathering.
Western remains open following Gov. Inslee's "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order. Those employees critical to the ongoing operations of the university should continue to report to work. All other employees should be working from home, to the extent possible,
This is an evolving situation, and updates are available from the Washington State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including updated Travel Notices for countries with community transmission.
On-Campus Student COVID Testing
Cancellations and Closures
The Viking Union and Wade King Recreation Center is open in limited capacity, please review the following sites for exact details:
Most public buildings on campus are closed to the public, including:
- Carver Academic Facility, including the gyms and fitness center
- Lakewood Watersports Facility
- Western Libraries (Remote learning and teaching resources)
- The Performing Arts Center
- The Western Gallery
Whatcom County is in Phase 3 of Washington's phased reopening plan.
Keep track of the latest developments
Western is sending out regular updates through its Western Alert system. Families may opt in to Western Alerts.
Regular updates are also posted here and on Western Today's news page.
If you aren't already signed up for Family Connection, click here to sign up for the monthly e-newsletter for WWU families.
Campus Tours and In-Person Admissions Visits Suspended
While the Undergraduate Office of Admissions is currently closed to visitors, Admissions staff is available via phone, email, and video appointments, and you are encouraged to explore campus virtually.
If You Feel Sick
The Student Health Center is still here for you. We are open but have adapted our services for everyone’s safety. Consistent with public health measures to minimize the spread of the coronavirus, and to protect students and providers, all walk-in services are no longer available. Most services are now offered virtually (through phone or Zoom). If needed, we can also make special arrangements for an in-person visit with one of our providers or nurses. Please call us at 360-650-3400 to make a virtual appointment, or to speak to a nurse.
For employees with specific health concerns, please contact your primary care provider. Additional information is also available on the Whatcom County Health Department website.
It is vital that we support each other and act as a community, avoiding acts of discrimination and bias, and showing compassion for those affected by this disease.Sabah RandhawaPresident
In the Media
This page is intended to provide information about COVID-19, precautions that are being taken and prevention measures you can take, as well as being one source for information on the effects of measures various governments are taking to stem the outbreak, and to answer the most common questions about how coronavirus might impact campus operations.
This page is not intended to be all-encompassing and should not be considered to be providing medical or legal advice. In all instances, you should consult with a relevant expert for guidance specific to your circumstances.