Faculty Guidelines Overview

Winter Quarter 2021

All activities should:

  • Ensure the health and safety of all individuals 
  • Effectively address hybrid working (on and off-site) in a thoughtful and inclusive way
  • Ensure conformity to State, Federal and County Health requirements and recommendations.

On October 16th, 2020, President Randhawa released the decision to continue most Winter Quarter classes in a remote environment. There are limited exceptions for experiential courses that can be taught safely in-person, such as applied performance classes and some hands-on labs. Stringent requirements will remain in place to ensure our learning and working environments are safe. We will continue to monitor public health guidance closely and, should conditions require it, F2F activities will be scaled back down. To allow time for testing of all students with a presence on campus, face-to-face classes will meet remotely for the first two weeks of the quarter, with in-person instruction starting on Tuesday, January 15th.

Key Guidelines

Suggested COVID-19 syllabus language for F2F courses during Winter Quarter 2021

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Western Washington University has taken numerous measures to prevent the spread of the virus, and we need your help to ensure the safety of our students, faculty, and local community.

We have adapted our learning spaces so that you can still have the option of a face-to-face course. However, there is still inherent risk associated with face-to-face courses during a pandemic because of proximity to others and length of potential exposure to those who may have the virus with or without symptoms. Therefore, it is imperative that we all engage in behaviors that protect everyone’s health (WWU Coronavirus Health and Safety Guide). To ensure you preserve your access to a face-to-face learning option, you need to follow the COVID-19 guidelines, including all of the following:

  • Receiving a negative COVID-19 test administered within 5-7 days of the beginning of face-to-face classes during the week starting Tuesday, January 19th.
  • Being retested for COVID-19 every two weeks thereafter until the end of the quarter.
  • Filling out the daily attestation regarding possible COVID symptoms.
  • Wearing a face mask at all times while participating in face-to-face activities.
  • Complying with social distancing guidelines.

By enrolling in an in-person course, you understand that willfully and/or repeatedly failing to comply with these rules and precautions is a violation of WWU’s Student Conduct Code and can subject you to university sanctions and discipline.

This course is designed to be accessible to all students. I recognize that some students may be forced by circumstances (e.g. being quarantined due to contact with someone diagnosed with COVID) to participate in the course remotely. Different circumstances might mean you are among the very small percentage of people who cannot wear facial coverings for reasons related to medical conditions or disabilities. If this is your experience, or you need to participate remotely for other health or personal reasons, please contact the Disability Access Center to document your condition so that we may determine the best accommodation for you. Until an accommodation is in place, you will need to participate remotely. If you need to read lips or facial expressions to understand what people are saying, please let the Disability Access Center and me know via email.

Testing/attestation process for students in face-to-face and hybrid courses

In Winter Quarter all students who will be participating in a class that meets face-to-face (either all term or periodically within the term) and students engaged in academic-related research activities must

  • Have a COVID-19 test performed at Fraser Hall before attending a face-to-face class. To attend class a student will need a negative test. The delay of the start of in-person instruction until January 19th will give students additional time to meet this requirement.
  • Have completed the daily COVID – 19 attestation before entering any class or university building
  • Be prepared to demonstrate that they are cleared to be in class by showing their COVID-clearance status (via the app or on paper) to faculty each time they attend class.
  • Wearing a face mask at all times while participating in face-to-face activities.
  • Complying with social distancing guidelines.

In preparation for Winter Quarter, we have continued to improve upon the measures that prepared us to safely start classes last quarter (WWU Coronavirus Health and Safety Guide). Again, we will have a very limited face-to-face instruction, and face-to-face classes won’t start to meet in person until January 19th (these classes will be taught remotely prior to that date).

All students in campus housing and other students enrolled in face-to-face or hybrid courses or with an on-campus presence will continue to be tested for COVID-19. Despite the small outbreak of COVID-19 on campus during the late Fall Quarter, the rate of positive test results (currently less than 0.25%) is a very hopeful indicator of the success at our prevention efforts. As the acceleration of the pandemic hits the nation and Washington state, we know that many of our students will spend winter break in locations with higher rates of COVID-19, and we must expect that some of them will be bringing that back with them to Bellingham in January. This warrants even greater vigilance against the spread of COVID-19 on campus for the Winter Quarter.

We will continue to track our numbers and publish them online on the COVID Dashboard that will inform everyone in the WWU and Bellingham community on the situation.

  • All students participating in face-to-face and hybrid courses in the Winter quarter are required to be tested at Fraser Hall before they attend class on January 19th and then every two weeks thereafter. The COVID-clearance status of your students as it relates to testing will be displayed in Web4U as an additional point of information in the photo roster for each of your courses. This information will continue to be updated through the entire Winter Quarter. Each evening, the updated list of students with negative test results that are current will be loaded into Web4U. If a student has been cleared (adhering to testing protocol), there will be a notation beside their photo that says “COVID-19 Clear”. If a student is overdue on a test requirement, does not have results on file, or is otherwise not cleared as to COVID-19 testing, there will not be a “COVID-19 clear” notation for that student on the photo roster. You should review the COVID status on the photo roster so you are aware of any students whose clearance to attend is still pending.
  • Students will be informed that they need COVID clearance before attending classes in person. COVID clearance includes up-to-date testing and daily attestation. If a student without clearance does come to class, they will be designated as “overdue” in the attestation phone app or alternative printout. While the daily attestation is not represented on the photo roster, if a student is not cleared as to testing requirements, the “COVID-19 clear” notation will be missing for that student in the photo roster. You should remind them that they may participate remotely until they have COVID-19 clearance. As we approach January 19th, we encourage you to reach out to any students who do not show up as COVID-19 clear on the photo roster, as this will reinforce the messages they receive from the Student Health Center and may prevent the uncomfortable moment when you might have to ask them not to participate in person because they do not have an up-to-date negative COVID test result.

Another component of our efforts to protect the health of everyone on campus is the daily attestation about possible COVID-19 symptoms. That attestation is required of students, faculty and staff each day that they come to campus. Faculty should ask students to show (by displaying the attestation phone app or showing you the alternative printout) that they’ve completed that required process before they participate in each and every class session. If you set that expectation on your syllabus and on the first day of classes, this can become a routine expectation and “not an exception” that leads to discomfort. It is a necessary part of our COVID-19 strategy. For students with access to a smartphone, tablet or laptop, the symptom attestation process can be completed on the spot if they neglected to do so in advance. Of course, students experiencing COVID-like symptoms should not be attending face-to-face class in any circumstances, nor should students without an up-to-date negative test result. Thus, while directing a student not to participate in class in person because they don't have a COVID clear badge might be uncomfortable, it is an essential part of our efforts to keep COVID-19 from spreading on campus this coming quarter.

Of course, no system is perfect, and there is no way to stop all possible exposures, so please remember the other preventative measures we need to use include the following as our basic prevention measures: hand washing, social distancing when possible, face coverings.

We recognize it takes all of us to move to a place of recovery and reopening sooner rather than later. Please know how much we ALL appreciate your efforts to prevent COVID-19 from gaining a foothold on campus, and thus, in turn, protecting the health of all of our students, staff and faculty, and community.

Noncompliance with COVID-19 expectations and how to report repeated violations

Students participating in face-to-face or hybrid courses are required to comply with all the following expectations:

  • Receiving a negative COVID-19 test administered within 5-7 days of the beginning of face-to-face classes during the week starting Tuesday, January 19th.
  • Being retested for COVID-19 every two weeks thereafter until the end of the quarter.
  • Filling out the daily attestation regarding possible COVID symptoms.
  • Wearing a face mask at all times while participating in face-to-face activities.
  • Complying with social distancing guidelines.

Willfully and/or repeatedly failing to comply with these rules and precautions is a violation of WWU’s Student Conduct Code and can subject a student to university sanctions and discipline. Faculty with concerns about student compliance with COVID-19 expectations should contact the Office of Student Life.

Remote proctoring for exams during COVID-19

For classes being taught remotely with scheduled, synchronous delivery, proctoring may be done by the instructor or teaching assistant via video conferencing software (e.g. Zoom or Teams).

WWU also offers faculty the option to use a third-party proctoring service for this purpose. Instructors who are interested in using a third-party proctoring service should contact the Testing Center. The expense for this service during the COVID-19 pandemic is covered by the Provost’s Office.

Final exams for asynchronous courses

Classes being taught entirely asynchronously do not have a scheduled time for final exams, as final exam periods are tied to the scheduled class meeting time. The Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education (VPUE) will work with instructors in asynchronous courses who require a scheduled, two-hour period for a proctored final exam. Instructors will be asked to complete a survey after the end of the drop-add period to determine if they require a scheduled exam period. The VPUE will then compare rosters in all those courses to determine possible exam periods that would not create schedule conflicts for students.

Students Who Cannot Attend In-Person Classes

If a student cannot attend an in-person class because of an underlying medical condition, that student should contact the Disability Access Center to see if they are eligible for an accommodation that the instructor needs to grant.

If a student needs the course (major or graduation requirement, etc.), but feels uncomfortable attending the course in person, instructors are encouraged to find alternate approaches to teach the student, including another section of the course that is fully remote. If an additional remote section is created specifically to accommodate multiple students in this situation, the cost of that section will be funded through the Provost’s Office. If that is not possible, departments are encouraged to work with the student to find an acceptable solution that maintains the spirit of the requirement.

If a student must temporarily cease attending class, whether for personal illness, quarantine/isolation, or other emergency, the instructor should work with the student to identify options so the student can continue to make progress in the class, and if necessary provide flexibility in attendance policies to prevent harm to the student. Students who may need to withdraw should contact the Office of Student Life.

Supporting General Wellness

Message from Sislena Grocer Ledbetter
Executive Director, Health and Wellness

Western is on a mission to learn, to be well. Our vision of wellness is evolving and our whole- person focus extends far beyond physical health. In fact, we are committed to expanding the way we think about wellbeing on campus. That includes you! Wellness is more than just avoiding the flu. Wellness is the sum of all aspects of individual and community wellbeing, from building personal resilience to cultivating a safe and supportive campus community for all identities. It is an active, conscious, self-directed, evolving, multidimensional, self-affirming process of making choices to achieve your whole self's potential. 

I am so grateful for the role you have played this year to make sure that Western continues to move forward as best we can amidst this pandemic, renewed racial strife, a contentious political climate, and growing mental health challenges.

This year our campus has thought more about our health and wellbeing, perhaps more than any other. To that end, you have done more than mask-up, wash your hands, and social distance; you've absorbed an additional weight of navigating emotional care for your students and yourselves while remaining dedicated to the academic mission.  

In March of 2020, we asked you to pivot to an all-online environment in less than two weeks. And, you did that, against unbelievable odds. Yes, this past year has been challenging, and you have been there for our students. There are no words to express how much I appreciate your commitment to the success of our community. I hope that as we move forward as an institution, we continue to think about what it means to be well. Consider taking a moment to reflect on what it means to be well. What does radical self-care mean to you? 

There are many dimensions of wellness, ways to achieve wellness, and ways our wellness is impacted by—and contributes to—our larger community's wellbeing. Our goal is to help you discover, learn, and cultivate positive, inclusive, empowering, and sustainable wellness practices at Western and beyond.

Whole-Self Wellness

The links that follow lead to information about dimensions of wellness and the offices and organizations across campus that can help you practice wellness in your life. As you explore these wellness resources, please know that:

  • Self-care is a right, not a privilege, and there is no one way to be well. 
  • Our environment, communities, life experiences and social structures impact our wellness and ability to practice self-care. 
  • You deserve the ability to care for yourself and experience wellness. Without putting energy toward personal health, it can be challenging to support one's community.
  • Your wellness and self-care practices are unique to you—be honest about and honor what works for you.
  • Your community is here. Western as a whole, as well the unique communities within Western, are here to support you.

As we start the winter quarter, we would like to highlight some helpful resources offered by the Counseling Center/Prevention & Wellness Services. This is just a snapshot—please follow @BeWellWWU on Instagram and subscribe to the BeWell newsletter for the latest news and events!

Links for faculty and staff: 

  • The Wise and Well U site offers a range of resources for personal and physical well-being.
  • The Washington State Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a free, confidential program created to promote the health, safety and well-being of public employees.

Wellness Highlights for Your Students:

  • The Counseling Center’s therapy groups are OPEN and actively recruiting for winter quarter! Group themes include mindfulness skills, social confidence, grief, recovery from interpersonal violence, and relationships. Give us a call at 360-650-3164 to learn how to get connected.
  • Need a quick wellness boost? Check out our Wellness Wednesday series! Topics include sexual pleasure, positive self-talk, and boosting your self-care.
  • For anyone looking to connect to holistic support, check out our Virtual Care Packages, including special care packages for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ students.

Remember that your students can access same-day support with a counselor! Same-day phone consultations (360-650-3164) are available Monday-Friday, 10:30 am-4:30 pm PST. After-hours crisis support is available by calling 360-650-3164 and selecting option “1.”