Students & Faculty

Event Cancellations

Most public buildings on campus are closed to the public, including:

The AS Student Late Night Shuttle is suspended until further notice.

Whatcom County is in Phase 2 of Washington's phased reopening plan. As a result, there may be no public gatherings or events of any size on Western's campus. As the community progresses further in reopening, small essential gatherings may be allowed.

All on-campus visit programs, tours and information sessions are suspended.

Grading Policies

Pass/No Pass (EP/NP) Grading

The coronavirus pandemic has led the university to shift to remote learning, a modality that is new for many faculty and students. In response to this shift, and the likelihood of disruptions as the pandemic continues, the University has moved to a Pass/No (EP/NP) grading policy. A grade of EP (Pass – Exceptional Circumstance) during spring and summer 2020 will count towards curricular, major, continuation, and degree requirements for all students.

Your class performance may be recorded in Canvas or provided to you in another format by your instructor. Students who get an A — D+, upon course completion, will receive a EP (pass). If D — F, a NP (no pass). If a student requests their letter grade by June 5 (Spring) or July 24 (Summer), it will be entered in place of the P/NP grade. An assigned grade of K (incomplete) will be removed and replaced by the earned grade upon completion of remaining assignments.  This will only apply for Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 quarters.

Some departments may raise the minimum passing grade. If this is the case, you will be notified before classes start.

Student Requests for Letter Grades

Students have the option of requesting that letter grades be added to their transcript, rather than the EP/NP grade - and have until June 5, 2020, Friday of Finals Preparation Week, to do so for Spring Quarter, and July 24 for Summer. Instructions for making this request will be provided by your instructor.

Pass Standards and D Grades

All grades of D+ and above will receive an EP unless a student requests their letter grade or if the department has approved a different standard. A grade below the pass standard (typically, F, D or D-) will be recorded as a NP, which will not earn credits or be reflected in the GPA. A student may elect to have the letter grade of D or D- reported to their transcript, which will earn credits and be reflected in the GPA. A grade of F will be recorded as NP on the transcript, will not receive degree credit, and will not be reflected in the GPA.

Special Situations

Some students may be advised to request a letter grade if grades are required by an external accreditor or other purpose relevant to their program. Your professor or Chair will inform you if letter grades are required or recommended by your program.

Some degree programs require a grade higher than a D+ for a course to count toward a major. Students in this situation will be informed of the higher pass standard by their faculty.

During all quarters in which P/NP interim grading policies are in effect at the undergraduate level, the following policy will apply to graduate level courses, beginning Summer 2020.

PDF icon Graduate School Interim Grading Policy

Policy Highlights
  • Graduate students may choose P/NP grading for courses that are normally A-F letter-graded, excluding thesis courses. Courses graded S/U cannot be changed to P/NP.
  • Students who request P/NP must initiate the grade mode change two weeks prior to the end of the quarter, or one week prior to the end of summer quarter.
  • A minimum C- equivalent is required to receive a P grade. Programs may specify a higher passing grade, and must communicate that to students by the first day of the course.
  • Beginning Summer 2020, a maximum of 6 credits of P grades may be counted toward degree requirements. All spring 2020 P grades may apply to degree requirements, and do not count against the 6 maximum.

See the full policy in the PDF for further details.

Yes. With input from the Faculty Senate and the Associated Students, and with the approval of the Provost, the University will – with the modifications described in the link below – return for Fall Quarter 2020 to the standard and published grading policy. This temporary policy has no bearing on courses graded S/U or on grading in the Fairhaven College, which has its own grading policy. 

Find out more here: https://westerntoday.wwu.edu/news/campus-returning-to-standard-grading-policy-in-fall.

International Student FAQs

Due to COVID-19, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) instituted a temporary exemption regarding online courses for the spring and summer semesters that allowed nonimmigrant students to take more online courses than normally permitted by federal regulation to maintain their nonimmigrant status during the COVID-19 emergency. SEVP just announced that those exemptions will be modified for fall 2020 so that students attending schools adopting a hybrid model — that is, a mixture of online and in-person classes such as Western plans for fall — will be allowed to take more than one class or three credit hours online but must have a portion of their instruction done in-person. 

International students who are staying in the U.S. are normally limited to one online class. For fall quarter you can take more than one class online, but you must take a hybrid or face-to-face course as part of your full course of study requirement (12 credits for undergraduates). Classes labeled “Online” or “Remote” (Synchronous or Asynchronous) are all considered online. Please email your major advisor if you have questions about appropriate classes to continue making normal progress in your degree program.

International students may not take an entirely online/remote course load for the fall 2020 quarter and remain in the U.S. Students should take at least one face-to-face or hybrid class for fall 2020, as listed in ClassFinder. These classes can be found using the “Delivery Methods” filter on ClassFinder.

Students may take all online classes from their home country. It should be noted that international students who take all classes online will not be able to stay in the U.S.

You may have some challenges with travel if you plan to leave the U.S., so please stay well-informed. Check the airlines, the CDC, the consulate and your own country’s travel and health advisories.

Students will need to contact ISSS the quarter before returning to the US to ensure their SEVIS record is still active. ISSS will work with you to take the necessary steps for your particular situation.

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) guidance is not yet in final published form. There may be changes as universities and federal officials try to influence final rules so they don’t negatively impact international students. Our recommendations are based on the current SEVP guidance. This is the clearest way for you to stay in status at this time. We want to give you this information in time for you to adjust your schedule before registration closes on July 17, or to decide if you want to study from your home country. We will send updates as we receive them.

Every student’s situation is different. WWU’s International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) office encourages you to contact us to understand your options. If you have additional questions or wish to meet with an ISSS adviser, contact isss@wwu.edu or call 360-650-7971.

In the meantime, we recommend you explore ClassFinder to look for options that might work for you, and consider adding a hybrid or face-to-face class to your fall schedule if you plan to stay in the U.S.

Phase I registration ends on July 17, and does not re-open until September 8. Make needed changes before July 17 if possible! You can find other important dates and deadlines for fall quarter on Western’s registration calendar.

July 15 is the last day to pay before late-payment fees are assessed. If you are taking summer classes, you may pay your fees, as all fees (including health insurance) should be posted to your account.

Classes and Academics

While there is still much contingency planning underway, our current expectation is that fall quarter will start in person as scheduled on September 23 with a hybrid approach that allows for a mix of online and in-person classes.  This approach may include moving large lecture sections online together with smaller in-person seminars; moving small and medium-sized classes to larger lecture halls to ensure safe social distancing; and spreading classes across days and times with staggered end times to reduce class size and ensure safe social distancing.  All students will have the option of taking any class online instead of in person if they choose.

An academic planning committee is at work on recommendations, and we expect to issue more detailed guidance as soon as possible. 

Our fall plans will comply with Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start Washington phased approach for reopening businesses, and it will be informed by guidance from the Washington State Department of Health and the Whatcom County Health Department.  

Paramount in all of our considerations is to protect the most vulnerable members of our community, and that means providing flexibility and support for those who may need to continue to work and study remotely.  Students will have online access to all in-person classes, and all faculty members will have the option to teach fully online.  Importantly, these contingency plans will also allow us to pivot to fully online should infection and hospitalization rates spike again in the fall.  

In this time of uncertainty, we are working to provide those in need with resources in the local community and on campus. Several offices from across campus are partnering to provide available resources for students, including the creation of a resources website that includes an intake form to assess student needs.

After a student submits the intake form, a staff member will contact them with personalized assistance. Examples of assistance might be a grocery gift card, swipes for meals in a dining commons, assistance with emergency housing, and/or laundry cards.  

This work is a collaboration with Western’s Office of Financial Aid, Western Hub of Living Essentials (WHOLE) Pantry, Associated Students, Off-Campus Living, the Western Foundation, Western Success Scholars program, Dining Services, Residence Life, Office of Sustainability, the Outback Farm and the Office of Student Life. We will continue to assess emerging needs to best match with resources and hope to continue to provide students with support in this trying times.   

Yes. WWU applied for federal CARES Act funding for students on April 21, and received $5.8 million to expend over the next year as grants for Western students who have incurred expenses from disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. Find out more here.

To receive federal CARES Act funding, you must meet these criteria: 

  • Incurred expenses from disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19 

  • Filed a FAFSA in 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 and are eligible to receive Federal Title IV student aid 

  • Are currently enrolled in a degree-seeking program 

  • Aren’t currently in financial aid suspension 

Apply here: https://www.finaid.wwu.edu/.

To declare in a major, minor, or certificate, please submit the appropriate form from the list below to the department, following the routing instructions on the form:

Declare a Major: Major Declaration and Change Web Form

Declare a Minor: Minor Declaration and Change Web Form

Declare a Certificate: Certificate Declaration and Change Web Form

If you are approved into the program of your choice, the Registrar's Office will declare you into the program once the form is approved to our office. Once the major/minor/certificate is declared, you will receive an automated email to your WWU email account. 

All questions – including if you are denied acceptance into a program – should be directed to the academic department. 

To register in an Independent Study (ISP) Course, please complete and submit the Directed Independent Study and Registration Authorization Form to the instructor of the course. The instructor will then approve or deny the form and send to the Registrar's Office. Once the ISP course is created, you will registered in the course and you will receive an automated email to your WWU email account.

Students who are have not received responses to instructor emails and are unable to access their classes should reach out to their department chairs for further guidance. Contact information for chairs can be found in Western's Departmental Directory.

An 'asynchronous' or fully online course is delivered such that students can complete the work at any time in a day (or sometimes a week). These courses do not require that faculty or students be at their computer during the scheduled class time. In a 'synchronous' or remote class students must be online during the regularly scheduled class time. This structure is most like a face-to-face class and can involve typical lectures delivered via Zoom or another tool.

While seating and room size are typically part of our assessment of capacity, it is still the case that capacity issues matter in the remote learning environment that we will be operating in this spring.  Faculty and departments make decisions about the appropriate size of classes in order to provide an optimal learning experience, whether face-to-face or online.  In some cases, remote teaching can produce a heavier assessment and grading burden on faculty, as well.  Capacity is a function of many considerations.

In light of the most recent recommendations from the CDC to limit the size of all social and public gatherings, along with the Governor’s March 23 “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order for the State of Washington, Western Libraries will be closed to the public until further notice. 

We recognize the importance of library collections to Western’s teaching, learning, and research missions. However, at least for the duration of the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order, it will not be possible to loan items from the Western Libraries’ circulating collection. Likewise, the Orbis Cascade Alliance has suspended Summit borrowing until further notice.  

Once it is again safe to do so, circulation of physical materials will resume, and Libraries will communicate new information as soon as it becomes available. Please also know that the due date for all materials checked out to patrons will be extended to June 15 (except for items already due after that date).  Recalls will not be possible during this period.

While the Libraries’ physical buildings and collections are not accessible at this time, the Libraries is committed to providing as much online access to collections, services, and support as possible. Please see the web pages: Library Services and Access to Materials FAQs and the Teaching and Learning FAQs for more information. 

Additionally, If you would like to request a title in electronic format, please submit a purchase request via ILLiad and specify e-book as the format. We are happy to purchase electronic copies of books if they are available, meet other standard purchase criteria, and are financially feasible. If you have a specific question, please contact Library.Collections@wwu.edu.

We want to stay connected to each other during these difficult times, and we encourage you to reach out to us and share any questions, concerns, and comments you may have, (or even if you just want to say hello!).  Please remember we are still here with you, even if we are not all in the same building. You can always email us at LibraryCommunications@wwu.edu, or check out our full staff directory for more customized contact information. 

Accommodations for students with disabilities are determined through an individualized process which takes place between the student and the Disability Access Center (DAC). Though students may already have accommodations in place, new or different accommodations may be appropriate for the online setting. If you have questions about the accessibility of your course or would like assistance and support implementing accommodations, please contact the DAC: DRSfrontdesk@wwu.edu or 360-650-3083.

Many campus services are operating remotely, including: 

The Academic Technology and User Services (ATUS) Help Desk is available by phone and email from 8am to 5pm on weekdays. Helpful articles and service request forms are available at http://atus.wwu.edu. Walk-in tech support is not currently available in HH 123, but in-person support can be scheduled when necessary. Contact the Help Desk at helpdesk@wwu.edu, or at (360) 650-3333.

Students who lack computer access at home can request a laptop with a loan through the end of the term. 

For more information about building closures and guidelines at your campus location, go to: 

Technology Assistance:

 

The computer labs will be open on all OC campuses (Bremerton, Poulsbo, Shelton) starting July 6th through Fall quarter and are anticipated to be open until 9 p.m. on weeknights. 

Counseling Services: If you are feeling anxious or need someone to talk to:

Everett-based students: Chett Hill, WWU Everett’s Mental Health Counselor, will be available for virtual appointments. Please contact him directly at chett.hill@comcast.net  to schedule an appointment. All WWU Everett students receive three free sessions with Chett. Please let him know you are a WWU Everett student when you schedule your appointment.

Bremerton/Poulsbo-based students: Students in Bremerton and Poulsbo can access up to three counseling sessions through Olympic College each academic year. Students may reach out to Trish Christean with Olympic College: 360-475-7233 or tchristean@olympic.edu. Please let her know you are a WWU student when you make your appointment.

Port Angeles-based students: Peninsula Behavioral Health (PBH) Counselors will be available to assist students.  Students should call 360-457-0431 and ask to speak to the Access Department. Students should identify themselves as WWU students so they can bypass the normal lengthy intake process. All WWU Port Angeles students receive three free sessions with PBH.

Library/Writing Support: Western offers a wide variety of library services remotely, including support in research and writing - essay drafts, project components, scholarship applications, resumes -- they will be available to assist you online.

All Western students and employees are expected to follow the University’s Reporting Communicable Diseases Policy (POL-U1000.12) if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms. They should complete the COVID-19 Self Reporting Form, which notifies Western’s Student Health Center and is used to determine appropriate follow-up for addressing the needs of the campus community. 

Healthcare options for site-based students outside of Bellingham include:

1)      Contacting their primary healthcare provider

2)      Calling the Washington State Department of Health at 800-525-0127

3)      Accessing free e-visits by MultiCare Virtual Care to anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath).


Health officials will guide students on next steps. All Western students are also encouraged to visit Western’s coronavirus website and the state and regional health departments in their area for the latest information and announcements:

Washington State Department of Health Coronavirus Information
Snohomish County Health Department
King County Health Department
Kitsap County Health Department
Clallam County Health & Human Services

Generally, if a host site is still accepting our students, then internships, student teaching and other experiential learning that is currently in place may continue as planned.

Faculty or staff advisors commonly evaluate the acceptability of a host site for meeting the objectives of their department’s experiential learning program and a formal relationship with that host site is established. As a precaution, and if practical, advisors may wish to ask their host site liaison what they are doing to protect their employees, clients and interns from transmitting and contracting COVID-19. That information should be passed along to our students.

Students who are responsible for evaluating and selecting their own host site for their experiential learning activities may wish to ask their host site representative about COVID-19 protection measures as well. Students should be instructed to weigh the risks and benefits and then make the best choice for the own health, safety and well-being.

Students should be instructed to closely follow the policies and procedures of their host sites, including required prevention measures, screening for symptoms, personal protective equipment (e.g. face mask, gloves and gowns), social distancing and reporting when they feel sick or suspect they may have COVID-19 symptoms.

Also, a student’s professional credentialing organization may be relaxing the field experience and clinical practice requirements in light of COVID-19. For example, the Washington State Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) has done this for student educators.

Notwithstanding the above, host sites that are experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak should be avoided. Requests for exceptions should be directed to Paul Mueller, Director of Risk, Compliance and Policy Services at x3065.

Faculty, staff or students who know or suspect they have COVID-19 should follow applicable guidance posted in the Frequently Asked Questions.

Additional Resources

University Policy POL-U2100.03-Managing the Risk of Off Campus Experiential Learning Programs

University’s Experiential Learning Online Risk Management Toolkit

Gov. Inslee announces new rules to protect older adults in nursing homes, assisted living facilities

 

The Haggard Hall computer labs (101 and 112) will open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, starting April 6, but only for students who lack technology to participate in online learning from home. Students must self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and practice social distancing.

Yes, you can access computer labs remotely. Many labs are open to all students and some are department-specific.

Wireless access is available in the Haggard Hall computer labs (101 and 112). Students must self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and practice social distancing.

Red Square also has excellent outdoor wireless signal.

The first day of class, please contact your professor, via Canvas or e-mail, about your intent to remain in the class. If your instructor can’t help you, they will forward your message to ATUS for additional assistance.

No. Field courses are subject to the same limitations as other face-to-face classes.  Faculty will need to explore other arrangements for delivering their course materials.

Generally, field courses are curriculum-required courses where learning or research takes place in a natural environment with a small cohort of students under the supervision of a field course leader. Students are provided a supervised, practical experience that applies classroom knowledge, theory, and skills of their discipline in the field.

Because of the shift to remote delivery of courses, you will need to get access to the online resources for the course. In order to get that access, you will need to register for the course. If there is available seating in the course, you can register now through Web4U. Otherwise, be sure to get on the waiting list for the course. Please review the important dates and deadlines on the Registrar’s Office website.

Yes, you will be cleared to register for the fall term if you were eligible to enroll this spring term but chose to sit out. Western will be waiving the application and the fee for those returning students.

Academic Year Self-Sustaining courses do not receive state support and are funded completely by Western, which means they cost more in tuition. AYSS courses are noted as such in both Classfinder and Web4U Registration and the per credit tuition rate is posted as $265/credit.


For students who are enrolled in fewer than ten credits, the AYSS courses offer an option with little cost difference, but students who enroll in 10-18 credits may be best served by finding similar state-supported class sections.

While the state does not provide funding for AYSS courses, Western is committed to serving students across Washington, and chooses to provide access to a wider depth and breadth of courses than students would otherwise have access to. 

WTA is limiting the number of people that can ride on its fixed route buses to no more than 12 passengers. Up to 15 will be allowed if those riding together are couples or parents with children.

If it appears there are already 12 people on board, the driver will ask anyone waiting at a stop to wait for the next bus.

When possible, WTA is running “trailers,” or extra buses on routes that have been attracting higher ridership. While fixed route ridership is down nearly 80 percent, there are some routes where the number of riders is limiting people’s ability to maintain a safe distance.

WTA continues to urge people to ride the bus for essential trips only, such as trips to the grocery store, pharmacy, or to keep medical appointments. Riders should plan extra time in case the bus they are waiting for has reached its maximum capacity.

Buses on routes around the university are likely to meet the maximum capacity. In addition to making essential trips only, WTA urges students to walk or bike as much as possible, or to drive alone if that is the only alternative.

Fares continue to be free until further notice. All riders enter and exit the bus using the rear door, unless they need they need to use the ramp. 

Until further notice WTA is providing Saturday levels of service five days a week (Monday through Friday), and a Sunday level of service on Saturdays and Sundays.

For questions, please call (360) 676-7433.

To continue operating in a way that best supports public health, Western has decided that summer session classes will be offered online only. Details and ongoing updates on Western’s Online Summer Session can be found here: https://oce.wwu.edu/summer-session.

Western will not be offering conferences or camps this summer, following the Whatcom Unified Command recommendation to cancel summer activities to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Class material falls under copyright law; recording and posting Zoom-type class sessions without the permission of the instructor is against university policy. If a student needs to record a session as part of an accommodation, the student should work with the instructor and the Disability Access Center to ensure that accommodation can be made.

The steps we are taking to ensure safe social distancing in classrooms will be augmented by a host of other changes that may include an indefinite prohibition on gatherings above a specified size, continued limitations on visitors to campus and travel away from campus, use of face coverings and other protective equipment, and frequent deep cleaning of facilities.  As planning groups develop recommendations, we expect to issue more detailed guidance. 

Paramount in all of our considerations is to protect the most vulnerable members of our community, and that means providing flexibility and support for those who may need to continue to work and study remotely.  Students will have online access to all in-person classes, and all faculty members will have the option to teach fully online.  Importantly, these contingency plans will also allow us to pivot to fully online should infection and hospitalization rates spike again in the fall.  

Western recognizes the importance of health and safety as we return to campus.  Following the Governor’s phased approach to reopening, Western’s Incident Command team is working on general guidelines to support the gradual return of employees to campus.  Further communication will be provided as guidance is developed. 

We are encouraged that the Whatcom County Health Department believes there will be sufficient capacity to test students before the start of classes in September, as well as capacity to conduct testing throughout the academic year.   

The university’s medical team is working with public health officials on an overall COVID-19 healthcare plan for the region that takes into account the City of Bellingham, Whatcom County and the WWU campus community.  Among the pending planning decisions are the frequency of testing required, testing for asymptomatic individuals, contact tracing and isolation models.   

At this time, we do not anticipate requiring a COVID-19 test for students, faculty and staff unless we are directed to do so by state health officials, however, all members of the University community are encouraged to stay home if you are not feeling well, and to familiarize yourself with common COVID-19 symptoms via this self-assessment tool based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria.  Further updates will be shared by email and posted on the Student Health Center website as soon as possible. 

Continuing students register during Phase I, June 17 – July 17, by appointment, as determined by earned credits. New students(Transfer, First-year Freshmen and Running Start) register at Transitions and Fall Advising & Orientation programs.

July 15 is the last day to pay before late-payment fees are assessed. If you are taking summer classes, you may pay your fees, as all fees (including health insurance) should be posted to your account.

Yes. With input from the Faculty Senate and the Associated Students, and with the approval of the Provost, the University will – with the modifications described in the link below – return for Fall Quarter 2020 to the standard and published grading policy. This temporary policy has no bearing on courses graded S/U or on grading in the Fairhaven College, which has its own grading policy. 

Find out more here: https://westerntoday.wwu.edu/news/campus-returning-to-standard-grading-policy-in-fall.

 

Graduate Students

If you are able to work from home, current guidance recommends that you do so. If you work in a research laboratory, consult with your advisor on specific practices for your lab. A current list of building and program closures and suspensions is available on the coronavirus information page under cancellations and closures.

If you are a teaching assistant, please refer to the FAQ for TAs. For all other graduate students, please see the Student Health Center insurance plan website. Several coverage options are available for both the academic year and summer. In addition to the policy offered by Western’s private insurance partner, you may also qualify for one or more options under Washington Apple coverage.

Teaching Assistant Appointments

Please contact your supervisor for program-specific guidance. Online instruction Spring quarter is scheduled to begin April 6, but it is likely that you will have some work to do prior to then in order to prepare. Note that, under ordinary circumstances, your teaching duties would begin on March 31, and you will be in pay status from March 16.

Yes, you will receive both your stipend and tuition waiver. Western is committed to offering a full set of courses Spring Quarter as scheduled. All courses will be delivered online spring quarter. Your duties may change depending on the status of the course/lab assigned to you, but your stipend and waiver will not change.

Western is committed to ensuring you have a safe work environment. Please contact your supervisor as soon as possible to discuss options with them.

Your TA supervisor is your primary contact. In most cases, this is a staff member or instructor in your department. If you are not sure who your supervisor is, contact the chair of the department that offers the class you are scheduled to teach.

In the event that your course is cancelled, your program will assign you to other duties.

Departments are developing plans now and will share that information with you as soon as possible. Your patience and understanding are greatly appreciated as we work through the numerous logistical and instructional challenges posed by this developing situation.

The start of instruction for Spring Quarter has been delayed by one week in order to provide TAs and other instructors time to prepare and implement necessary changes. Note that, under ordinary circumstances, your teaching duties would begin on March 31, and you will be in pay status from March 16.

Yes. As you normally would, please contact your supervisor as soon as possible so they can work with you to find a substitute while you’re away.

Yes, during the academic year TAs are eligible to receive health insurance with the premium covered by Western. However, you must sign up. If you do not sign up you will not be covered. You should have received an email with instructions about this on March 6. The deadline for registering for health insurance for Spring Quarter is May 1. If you are a TA (full-time or half-time) Western will cover the full cost of your Spring Quarter insurance premium, but only if you sign up. For more information, please go the Graduate School health insurance information page. You may also sign up for health insurance coverage during the summer. For details, please refer to the Graduate School health insurance information page. Your spouse and children can be added to your plan, but you need to have your coverage in place first. Once you do, contact the insurance provider to add dependents and pay the additional premium.

No, student positions are not included in the hiring suspension at this time. 

Travel and Study Abroad

No. 

Western Washington University is suspending all non-essential, out-of-state University travel effective immediately through May 31, 2020. This includes, but is not limited to, conferences and/or professional development opportunities. Undergraduate student travel for University-related purposes, including athletics, is considered non-essential.

Essential travel is travel deemed necessary to the operations of the University.  All exceptions to the travel restriction require prior approval by your vice president or the Provost.

Travelers should work with airlines, hotels, car rental agencies, and conference sponsors to request refunds and/or credits for any travel through May 31, 2020.

The restrictions on official WWU travel do not apply to personal travel, though we strongly recommend reviewing travel warnings from the CDC and U.S. Department of State. 

There is no essential travel under the travel ban announced April 4.

Yes, the spread of COVID-19 is affecting our communities both at home in Washington and abroad. In relation to COVID-19, the CDC issued on its Travel Health Notices page an Alert Level 2 (Practice Enhanced Precautions) for the entire world and a Warning Level 3 (Avoid Non-Essential Travel) for Europe and some select countries. Likewise, the State Department issued a Global Health Advisory Level 3 (Reconsider Travel).

In deference to CDC and State Department recommendations, Western has encouraged all students abroad to return home, and it has canceled all study abroad through the end of spring quarter 2020. Decisions for summer study abroad are still to be determined. As per Western's long-existing policy for studying abroad in countries with CDC and State Department Level 3 advisories, students who were already abroad were given the option to petition to stay, as a number of countries around the world currently have lower incidence of COVID-19 than Washington state. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidance for persons arriving in the United States from China:

  1. Foreign nationals who have visited China in the past 14 days may not enter the United States.
  2. American citizens, lawful permanent residents, and their families who have been in China in the past 14 days will be allowed to enter the United States, but will be redirected to one of 11 airports, including Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, to undergo health screening. Depending on their health and travel history, they will have some level of restrictions on their movements for 14 days from the time they left China.

Based on this and additional guidance issued by the CDC, WWU is asking community members to follow the following instructions:

Students

Any student who arrived in the U.S. on or after Feb. 3, 2020 AND visited mainland China in the previous 14 days should stay at home and not attend class or other WWU-related activities until a full 14 days have passed since their last day in mainland China. Any student who meets these criteria — or is unsure whether they do — should contact the Student Health Center at 360-650-3400. This will assist in ensuring the safety and care of those in need as well as the rest of the Western community.

Faculty, other academic personnel and staff

All WWU faculty, other academic personnel or staff who have arrived in the U.S. on or after Feb. 3 AND visited mainland China in the previous 14 days are asked to

  • Stay at home and monitor their health until a full 14 days have passed since their last day in mainland China, and
  • Contact the Student Health Center for further information, support and coordination.

Western will work with affected individuals on workplace, academic and other necessary support. Personal health information will remain confidential (or protected) in accordance with University policy.

University policy U1000.12 outlines the following guidance for employees and students.

Individuals To Inform a University Administrator of a Known or Suspected Communicable Disease

Persons who know or who have reason to believe that they are infected with a communicable disease have an ethical and legal obligation to conduct themselves in ways that minimize exposure in order to protect themselves and others.

Students and employees who know, or have reason to believe, that they have a communicable disease will inform the appropriate university administrator.  Students should contact the Student Health Center or the Office of the Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services.  Administrators, faculty or staff members who become aware of a potential or known condition involving a student should contact the Associate Medical Director.  

Employees unable to attend work due to a known or suspected communicable disease should contact both their health care provider and report their absence to their supervisor.  Employees are encouraged to also contact Human Resources for guidance regarding disclosure of a communicable disease and for assistance working with their department with any necessary leave or restrictions. Human Resources will notify the Medical Director of any suspected or known communicable diseases.

Individuals Arriving from a Travel Health Warning Area or a Pandemic Influenza Affected Area Must Contact the Associate Medical Director

Individuals traveling for official university business will comply with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)Travel Health Warnings that have been issued on their website: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices for each country outside the U.S. they plan to visit.

It is the responsibility of the employee to review POL-U2105.01(Traveling Outside the United States) prior to travel. Any employee, student, prospective student, volunteer or visitor who knowingly arrives from a Travel Health Warning area or a Pandemic Influenza Affected Area must contact the Associate Medical Director for medical clearance before being allowed on campus to attend classes, work or other activities.

All university-related travel, both in-state and out-of-state, is restricted to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Currently, a ban on out-of-state travel is in effect until October 16, 2020. The ban on in-state travel is based on Governor Inslee’s Stay Home – Stay Healthy order and is currently expected to stay in place through May 31. Please note that date is subject to change, and you will be notified by ICS Commander Melynda Huskey if the ban on in-state travel is modified. 

All university-related travel, both in-state and out-of-state, is restricted to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Currently, a ban on out-of-state travel is in effect until October 16, 2020. The ban on in-state travel is based on Governor Inslee’s Stay Home – Stay Healthy order and is currently expected to stay in place through May 31. Please note that date is subject to change, and you will be notified by ICS Commander Melynda Huskey if the ban on in-state travel is modified. 

May 31 is an anticipated date concerning in-state travel. The ban on in-state travel may be modified after Governor Inslee lifts his Stay Home – Stay Healthy order, and May 31 is the date on which it is anticipated that order will be lifted, even though it currently is in place through May 4. When the order is lifted, the in-state ban will be re-evaluated. October 16 is the current ending date of the ban on out-of-state travel.

Currently the State Department and CDC travel alerts are at their highest, with both organizations urging no non-essential international travel, and various governments in the United States instituting restrictions on travel. Therefore we do not believe it is prudent to make exceptions to the travel ban at this time. We will re-evaluate the possibility of exceptions as guidance changes.

Currently travel will not be approved because of concerns for traveler safety. If travel guidance allows for travel (meaning that health and safety restrictions have been lifted), and the conference runs in person as scheduled, then development travel can be approved. Professional development/travel funding is stipulated in the WWU/UFWW Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), so applying financial mitigation measures to that funding would not realize savings given current agreements and commitments. Also, it is incumbent upon us to try to avoid any differential impact on faculty development (faculty whose conferences are in the summer as opposed to the winter, for example).

Yes. As in the above case, funding for this purpose is stipulated in the CBA, so freezing this spending would not realize savings.

Student and Scholar Visas

The good news is that we have received guidance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security allowing international students to take online courses without risking their visa status.  Please note this is a temporary accommodation by the U.S. government until this health crisis passes. We will continue to update you about any further guidance in this regard. Contact WWU’s International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) office if you have further questions about this.

Every student’s situation is different. WWU’s International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) office encourages you to contact us to understand your options. If you have additional questions or wish to meet with an ISSS adviser, contact isss@wwu.edu or call 360-650-7971.

Every student’s situation is different. Contact WWU’s International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) office to learn more. Options may include:

  • Continue to monitor the situation until we are closer to spring quarter. Western is waiting for updates from the U.S. government to see if there will be exceptions or accommodations for students needing to return for studies.
  • Leave of Absence
  • Vacation Quarter (if eligible)
  • Medical Reduced Course Load (if applicable)
  • Study Abroad credits/Independent Study/online courses

Contact your host department and the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) office. The host department may be able to request a J-1 visa extension. If you are not eligible for an extension, but want to learn about other options for remaining in the U.S. legally, please consider consulting a private immigration attorney. Resources, including low-cost and pro bono attorney options, are available.

Contact your host department and the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) office. Additionally, we recommend monitoring the news, airline travel information, and Western’s homepage for updates.

Contact your host department and the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) office about revising your program dates. We also recommend monitoring the news, airline travel information, and Western’s homepage for updates. The Department of State has recommended that program start dates for exchange visitors coming from China be shifted to at least April 1, 2020. Please note that due to the evolving nature of the coronavirus outbreak and associated travel limitations, there is no certainty as to when travel restrictions will be lifted.

Faculty

The Disability Access Center (DAC) wants to support access to online course content, whenever possible.  To this end, the DAC is offering a FREE Closed Caption Pilot for Spring Quarter 2020.  If you’re developing content that you would like to have captioned proactively, please complete this survey.  The DAC Team will provide closed captions for a limited number of courses.  Priority will be given to General University Requirement coursework and content likely to be used again in future quarters.

Looking for more tips on creating accessible course material? Please visit the Accessible Online Course Design Webpage

Haggard Hall has two computer labs open (HH101 and HH112) M-F from 8-5. Additionally, students can access computer lab workstations remotely. Many labs are open to all students and some are department-specific.

We ask that you include the following language in your syllabus:

Disability, equitable access, and accommodations

This course is intended for all WWU students, including those with visible or invisible disabilities. Students with disabilities will be provided equitable access to educational experiences and opportunities. If, at any point in the quarter, you find yourself not able to fully access the space, content, and experience of this course, please first contact the Disability Access Center (DAC) to discuss potential accommodations. Faculty and staff partner with the DAC in the implementation of accommodations.

If you already have accommodations set up through the DAC, please be sure to send your Faculty Notification Letter to me, through the myDAC portal, and reach out so we can discuss how your approved accommodations apply to this course.

If you are unsure if accommodations are appropriate for you, contact the DAC for more information, temporary assistance, or connections to other resources: Disability.wwu.edu or 360-650-3083.

We recommend that, where possible, faculty relax attendance policies or otherwise create procedures for students to make up for absences or missed work, given the likelihood that students--or someone in their family--may fall ill or face other disruptions this term. 

The Registrar’s calendar of important dates for Spring has been revised.

A student who is unable to complete a course due to hardship may petition for a late course withdrawal after the stated deadline. Hardship is considered to be an incapacitating injury or illness requiring extensive recuperation or a significant personal emergency such as the death of an immediate family member. Instruction and more information are available from The Office of Student Life.

We anticipate that some students will have access issues the first day of class and might not be able to be in “attendance.” Students have been asked to contact their instructor, via Canvas or e-mail, if this happens to them. In case students do not get this instruction, we are also asking faculty to contact students that who do not participate when classes begin. In that message, please ask if there are specific problems preventing their involvement with the class or if they intend to drop. For questions or problems that you cannot address, please advise students to first visit the Keep Learning page and/or the Spring Guide. We want to extend every opportunity to students to keep enrolled and engaged.

While the library is closed to visitors, several resources and services are available online. 

Read more about Western Libraries Remote Services and Contingency Plans for Users

Guidance on teaching remotely can be found at ATUS's Checklist for Temporary Remote Teaching. In addition, resources for a successful remote-learning experience are available at the Keep Learning website. Find the schedule for live webinars on using Zoom, Canvas and other technologies. New services for spring quarter are being offered such as at-home licensing for the Adobe Creative Cloud as well as extended laptop checkout for students who lack computer access at home.

The Western A.S. Bookstore, your independent student store since 1910, is closed to in-store purchases. Store personnel are still working hard to fulfill course material orders to support students as they shift to online courses for Spring quarter.

Spring 2020 course materials are available online for purchase. Spring 2020 course materials are available in eBook formats in addition to traditional books. Digital alternatives are listed alongside rental and purchase options wherever they are available.

40% of the titles adopted by faculty for Spring Quarter now available in eBook formats in addition to traditional books. Digital alternatives will be listed alongside rental and purchase options wherever they are available.

As always, purchases can be made through credit/debit cards, bookstore gift cards, or charging student accounts. Many students count on the ability to charge their purchases to their student account when they purchase through Western’s Bookstore.

Order fulfillment is through shipments only at this time. We will process orders as quickly as possible. Note, we have limited staffing onsite due to the shutdown and the safety of our team.

We realize this is a shift in how students may normally purchase textbooks. Our efforts are to ensure we are following best practices as a response for Covid-19 social distancing for both students and for our staff. Spring 2020 course materials are eligible for refund, in the same condition they were purchased, by the add/drop date of 4/12/2020. If you have questions about your adoption for Spring 2020, please email us at textdept@wwu.edu. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

Materials for return for Spring 2020 are to be mailed into the bookstore with a ship date on/before April 12, 2020. This is the consistent policy we have as we need the materials back to ship out to vendors and process refunds. Our system has a limited timeline on processing intelligent refunds, which means refunding to the original form of payment. Once this time is expired, we have to have the person in store with the card or issue the refund to a bookstore gift card. Each quarter we have students with unique circumstances that the Bookstore reviews to determine if we can make an exception, with a focus on ensuring fairness and equity for all.

Yes, faculty can contribute to the COVID-19 response effort outside of their primary roles at Western as teachers and scholars.

Western faculty, because of their expertise, may be asked to participate in the COVID-19 response effort in Whatcom County or beyond. Faculty also may have a desire to volunteer to support the response effort.

Learn more here about Faculty Service during COVID-19

 

The processing of requests for exceptions to the prohibition of on-campus research has been paused. Please be patient as we work through multiple interpretations of the Governor’s order and our own processes. We will communicate further when the processing resumes.

Yes. Review these new FAQs on the Research Compliance page of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, here.

The Disability Access Center (DAC) wants to support access to online course content, whenever possible.  To this end, the DAC is offering a FREE Closed Caption Pilot for Spring Quarter 2020.  If you’re developing content that you would like to have captioned proactively, please complete this survey.  The DAC Team will provide closed captions for a limited number of courses.  Priority will be given to General University Requirement coursework and content likely to be used again in future quarters. Looking for more tips on creating accessible course material? Please visit the Accessible Online Course Design Webpage.

With much of our work being done remotely, the Registrar’s Office has developed a new e-form for authorizations of independent study courses. It can be found here: Directed Independent Study and Registration Authorization Web Form.

Here is, for ease of reference, the University guidance for faculty and students on recording of Zoom-type class sessions.

 

 For students who are thinking of recording a class session:

Class material falls under copyright law; recording and posting Zoom-type class sessions without the permission of the instructor is against university policy. If a student needs to record a session as part of an accommodation, the student should work with the instructor and the Disability Access Center to ensure that accommodation can be made.

 

For faculty in making decisions concerning recording of class sessions:

Is a consent form needed?

 

o    Check your settingsSettings to Keep Your Zoom Session Secure

o    Limit personally identifiable informationHow to Participate in Zoom Privately

If you are teaching synchronously, you must schedule meeting times as scheduled by the Registrar.  Please do not set times outside of the registrar’s schedule, as it will cause conflicts for students taking other classes that are also meeting synchronously.

The folks at WesternOnline have created a set of tips for teaching a synchronous course online; the general site, https://wp.wwu.edu/westernonlineresources/, has many other resources for faculty.

Final exams should be scheduled during the time assigned by the Registrar. If you plan to allow students access to the exam over one or more days, please include the normally scheduled time within that range

This is a reminder that any inquiries for resources from Whatcom Unified Command should be forwarded to covid19planning@wwu.edu. Also, please remember the FAQs on faculty service that can be found at https://provost.wwu.edu/covid-19.

We recommend that departments engage in contingency planning concerning faculty illnesses. This would likely need to be handled differently in each department, but at a minimum, chairs should have copies of all syllabi. Faculty might be encouraged to identify a colleague to substitute for them should an illness or other disruption occur. 

In ordinary operations, offices are vacuumed on a weekly basis. Since we began responding to COVID-19, we have added the disinfection of the exterior door handles and the push surfaces of the doors daily. We have also disinfected the interior door handle at least once during the lockdown. If you are a critical on-site employee and are using your office regularly, please clean and disinfect your space as necessary.

If you would like to discontinue the weekly vacuuming of your office, please go to the Ready website and fill out a custodial services request.

While most of us are working from home, critical on-site personnel continue their vital work on campus, maintaining life safety and security. This small group of employees can only complete their work while on campus. They have been formally notified of their status. 

If you have not been notified by your supervisor that you are critical on-site personnel, you are not approved to work from campus, and you should stay home. If you believe that you should be on the approved list of critical on-site personnel, please discuss your request with your supervisor. Human Resources will work with ICS to approve any employees who need to work on campus.  

Non-critical staff may need to make rare, brief visits to campus for supplies or equipment for their work. For each visit, employees must contact their supervisor or dean, and complete the On-Campus Visit Reporting form.  

If you are not in one of these categories, you should not be in a campus facility for any reason.  

See more here.

Most standards for online education have been temporarily relaxed or suspended. However, the Dept of Education is requiring the following standard:

  • Instructors must initiate substantive communication with students, either individually or collectively, on a regular basis.
  • Any synchronous class in which the instructor uses Zoom to conduct a class and interact with students meets this standard.
  • Faculty teaching asynchronous classes could meet the standard by using Canvas discussion boards to communicate with students, setting up conference calls to facilitate group conversations, engaging in email exchanges with their students, or by interacting with all students in the evaluation of their course work.

Yes, there sure are, from canvas courses to web content to telehealth and tele-mental health. Find out more at https://www.wwu.edu/chw.

If You Feel Sick

The Student Health Center is still here for you — but we have adapted our services for everyone’s safety. Most services are now offered virtually.

All in-person medical and mental health walk-in services are no longer available.  Most services are now offered virtually (through phone or Zoom).

Please do not visit in-person.  Call the  Student Health Center at 360-650-3400 to make a virtual appointment, or to speak to a nurse for urgent medical needs.

For employees with specific health concerns, please contact your primary care provider. Additional information is also available on the Whatcom County Health Department website.

 

Information Lines

Washington State Department of Health

Available 24/7

(800) 525-0127

WWU Student Health Center

For specific health concerns

(360) 650-3400

WWU Coronavirus Information Line

8:00 am - 5:00 pm Monday through Friday

(844) 840-0040

Contact Form

Resources

Teaching and Learning