Workplace

Employees

Protecting the well-being and employment security of Western’s faculty and staff in this ongoing situation is a top priority. There is no doubt that the impacts of the coronavirus and our response to it has and will continue to have significant financial implications. In planning for these scenarios, we’ve identified a mix of one-time and ongoing mitigation strategies that can be applied at the institutional level to lessen the impact on our operations. Even after applying those strategies, however, divisions will still need to plan for the likelihood of budget reductions in October. More detail on each of these items is available in the Scenarios document posted to the Budget and Financial Planning website. As we enter FY21 on July 1 we will be continuing the purchasing, travel and hiring restrictions announced in April, and urge each budget decision-maker to forward only those requests that are critical.

We remain hopeful that future federal stimulus action will support state budget shortfalls which could also provide further support to our state’s higher education institutions.

All supervisors are strongly encouraged to allow employees who may have concerns to continue to work remotely as long as it does not hamper critical operations.

We are closely monitoring infection and hospitalization rates in Whatcom County and other areas in the state where the University has operations, and we of course are following the Governor’s guidance on when, and under what circumstances, it is appropriate to safely return to normal operations. Currently, public gatherings continue to be banned. For those who may need to get back to work on campus before campus reopens, you may do so with prior approval from your vice president or dean.

Because most students and many faculty and employees on nine-month contracts are not present during the summer months, we expect that some units will be able to practice safe social distancing. In the event that University facilities reopen for normal operations, further guidance on safety protocols will be issued.

Many requests for assistance in serving and supporting our local communities and the state in this crisis are flowing into offices and departments. The ICS team has developed some preliminary procedures for resource sharing with external entities, which I am happy to share with you. The goal is to create an efficient and streamlined process for responding to requests through the Incident Command structure.

The basic premises which will guide our resource sharing are:

  • Western Washington University will collaborate with local agencies and organizations where possible to support critical services and functions in the community.
  • WWU must abide by all applicable laws, code, and policy when collaborating with local agencies and organizations.
  • WWU must prioritize critical needs within our own organization to ensure life safety and continuity of operations.
  • Requests for resource sharing, including transfer of WWU-owned material, temporary assignment of WWU employees, or temporary use of WWU equipment or facilities will be considered through the Whatcom Unified Command. Unified Command will have the highest priority.

Western employees receiving inquiries or requests from outside entities should direct those requests to COVID19Planning@wwu.edu. WWU departments which have materials that could be considered for transfer to Whatcom Unified Command should email the type, quantity, and manufacturer of the materials to Purchasing.department@wwu.edu.

Compliance with the professional staff handbook regarding performance evaluations for 2019-2020 was cancelled.  Although performance evaluations are an important aspect of human resource management, under the circumstances, enforcing this could place an additional burden on supervisors and employees.  Human Resources encourages all supervisors to provide continual feedback and communication to employees regarding their performance.  HR Consultants are available to provide support.

Similarly, PSE, WFSE and the University have agreed that written annual performance evaluations referenced in Article 34 and Article 6, respectively, of the collective bargaining agreements will be suspended for the 19-20 fiscal year.   

The university has secured an agreement with the United Faculty of Western Washington (UFWW) that allows all existing contract provisions to remain in place for one year, with the understanding that we will restart salary negotiations in October after we have a better picture of state budget support and net tuition revenue. Full contract negotiations will restart in spring 2021.

Similar to the approach agreed upon with the UFWW, the compensation levels for professional staff will remain at current levels into the new fiscal year beginning on July 1. Our approach in the past two years has been to keep salary increases for professional staff closely aligned with salary increases for faculty. Once we have a better picture of the budget in October, we will use the salary guidelines developed with the Professional Staff Organization (PSO) to determine compensation increases for professional staff.

For Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) and Public School Employees of Washington (PSE), general wage increases are established through the collective bargaining process and approved through the Legislature. The University is obligated under state law to comply with the scheduled general wage increase for classified staff on July 1, 2020. Should the Governor enact any changes that impact state salary schedules, the University will align with the state accordingly.

Other than critical personnel performing essential functions on campus, all WWU employees are working remotely at this time. 

If you are sick, contact your supervisor to let them know you will not be reporting to work. We have an obligation to each other to stay home if we are not feeling well.

If you have a serious health condition impacting your ability to report to work for more than 3 days or on an intermittent basis, contact both your supervisor and Human Resources.  If you are already on an approved medical leave, you may continue to take leave as previously approved.  If you require additional medical leave or accommodation, contact the Medical Leave & Disability Administrator at (360) 650-3771 or Julie.Moon@wwu.edu.

Other than critical personnel performing essential functions on campus, all WWU employees are working remotely at this time. 

Employees who still need to take leave may use: 

Classified employees:

  • Vacation leave
  • Personal holiday
  • Personal leave day
  • Accrued compensatory time

Refer to the appropriate Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Professional Staff:

  • Vacation leave
  • Personal Holiday

Refer to the Professional Staff Employee Handbook.

Executive Officers:

  • Vacation leave
  • Personal Holiday

Faculty:

  • All summer courses are being taught remotely. 

Other than critical personnel performing essential functions on campus, all WWU employees are working remotely at this time. 

Other than critical personnel performing essential functions on campus, all WWU employees are working remotely at this time. 

Staff are eligible to use accrued sick or other types of leave or unpaid leave in accordance with the applicable collective bargaining agreement or handbook if their child’s school or place of care is closed by order of a public official for a health-related reason.

Effective April 1, 2020, the following modification was made to the Professional Staff Organization Handbook:

Professional Staff are allowed to use sick leave if the University or the employee`s child`s school/place of care closes by order of a public official for any health-related reasons. 

This modification will be posted on the PSO and HR websites, and incorporated into the PSO Handbook (see page 12).  https://wp.wwu.edu/hr/current-employee/professional-staff/

Other than critical personnel performing essential functions on campus, all WWU employees are working remotely at this time.

Due to public health concerns it would not be appropriate to bring your child to campus to work if you are a critical personnel performing essential functions. 

Employees are required to keep work files separate from personal files if using a personal device. Using Office 365 and OneDrive allows for remote work options with the use of personal computer equipment. In addition to OneDrive, remote work options for use of personal computer equipment would include the use of flash drives to separate files and the use of the Virtual Private Network(VPN). These approaches allow employees to work from home on their personal devices and still keep WWU files separate from personal ones.

Quick tips for how to work efficiently and effectively from anywhere, at anytime can be found at ATUS's Keep Working checklist for temporary work.

Supervisors and employees should work together to determine the appropriate work to perform remotely. Please consult the Supervisors’ Guide to Remote Work. Remote work could include professional development opportunities; Human Resources has a list of remote work training options to choose from.

ATUS has created these resources and tip-sheets for faculty and staff: 

All faculty and staff now have VPN access. You do not need to request VPN through ATUS or through an Esign form unless you require access to specific services (see the Actions Required section).

Some university technology services require off-campus users to connect through our VPN (Virtual Private Network) service although many do not require VPN (see links below). In order to accommodate an increase in the demand for our VPN service, we have enabled a second VPN server for employees, including student employees.

ACTIONS REQUIRED:

  • Please review our list of services that require VPN to determine whether or not you need to connect to VPN from off-campus. 
    Do you need VPN?
  • If you have already been granted VPN access, we ask that you review this page as well so you can limit your VPN usage to times when you need it to connect to a service.
  • Employees do not need to request access to VPN unless they need to access services listed under the "Admin VPN" section. As an employee you already have access to Standard VPN.
  • Since VPN is a shared and limited resource; please disconnect from it when you don’t need it.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Many services used by our faculty, staff, and students do not require VPN. Most students do not need VPN, and the few who do already have access to it.

The following articles have helpful tips for working or teaching from home:

Please contact your Employee/Labor Relations Consultant:

If you have questions regarding the Faculty Collective Bargaining Agreement, contact Austin Cooper, Faculty Relations Manager at x3915.

The Employment Security Department has adopted a series of emergency rules to help people who are affected by COVID-19. For your information, an extensive FAQ for workers can be found on the Employment Security Department’s website, as well as a guide to understanding your options.

In accordance with Western Washington University’s COVID-19 response, Facilities Development & Capital Budget personnel are primarily working from remote locations.

To keep work flowing, there will be occasions when some staff members are on campus, for example, to oversee construction sites, attend bid openings in the parking lot, or coordinate work requiring a physical presence. All social distancing protocols will be observed while on site, and offices will remain closed to the public.

Work has resumed on Western's new residence hall, and the new interdisciplinary sciences building.

Learn more at Facilities Development and Capital Budget COVID-19 Procedures.

No, effective March 17, 2020, you can maintain a balance of 40 hours of sick leave and 40 hours of vacation. You may qualify for shared leave if you or your relative or household member is isolated or quarantined as recommended, requested, or ordered by a public health office or health care provider as a result of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection or exposure during a declared state of emergency.

On March 17, 2020, the governor signed into law several meaningful changes to the Shared Leave program. Highlights include:

  • Employees who qualify for shared leave may maintain up to 40 hours of applicable leave in reserves.
  • Employees may use their leave intermittently.
  • An employee does not need to be found ineligible for industrial insurance wage benefits to be eligible for shared leave.
  • An employee who is also receiving industrial wage replacement benefits may receive shared leave up to 25% of their base salary.
  • Shared leave received for the purpose of parental leave must be used in the 16 weeks immediately following birth or placement, or after pregnancy disability has resolved, as long as it is used within one year after the birth of the baby.
  • Employees may qualify for shared leave if the employee, relative, or household member is isolated or quarantined as recommended, requested, or ordered by a public health official or health care provider as a result of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection or exposure during the declared state of emergency.

Learn more about types of leave in the Leave Guidance Document

 

 

If you need to order an item through Marketplace in order to work from home, please select the central services address and this item will be held for you.

WWU Central Services
781 25th St.
Bellingham, WA 98225

If you have an immediate need for an item to facilitate your work at home, please use a P Card /Department P Card and purchase with delivery to your home address. Before placing a purchase to a home delivery address, you must send it to Purchasing.Department@wwu.edu so appropriate tracking can take place. Please note Amazon Business is a good vehicle for this type of spend. If you require access to Amazon Business, please email Karen.McKinnon@wwu.edu 

PLEASE NOTE: This change in process is a temporary measure as we respond to COVID-19.

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.

For volunteer requests from organizations other than Whatcom Unified Command, employees need to request leave from their supervisor. Staff (check your handbook/contract) have the following leave types available for such purpose:

  • Community Service Day
  • Personal Holiday
  • Personal Leave Day (available only to Classified staff)
  • Vacation Leave
  • Life Giving Procedure Leave (can be used for blood donation)

Requests from Whatcom Unified Command will be centralized through Western’s Incident Command Structure (ICS). The ICS leadership team will evaluate each request and has the authority to transfer an employee’s work assignment to Whatcom Unified Command or other centralized command structure for a specified period of time. 

Washington State ethics laws (RCW 42.52.160 – Use of persons, money, or property for private gain) does not allow for the gifting of university time to outside organizations, even during this time of health crisis. An exception is responding to requests from Whatcom Unified Command or similar centralized command structures in municipalities located outside of Whatcom County. For full text, see the Response to Staff Volunteer Requests. More comprehensive guidance for faculty and staff on official use of time is coming soon.

The hiring suspension applies to all positions including full-time and part-time, temporary, and faculty positions. This includes new positions, vacant positions, reappointments, and positions that become vacant while the hiring suspension is in effect. Where there are vacancies that student employees have previously held, we may continue to fill those positions with student employees for spring quarter, in the interests of employing and supporting students.

No, the hiring freeze does not apply to positions that are 100% funded by external grants or contracts; however, the funding source must be identified on documentation. Expenditures on those funds should follow the standard approval process in consultation with Research and Sponsored Programs. 

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.

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.

The hiring suspension applies to all positions including full-time and part-time, temporary, and faculty positions. This includes new positions, vacant positions, reappointments, and positions that become vacant while the hiring suspension is in effect. Exceptions to the hiring suspension may be considered by your divisional vice president or dean for situations that meet immediate and critical functions:

  • Direct impact to safety and well-being
  • Immediate need to deliver instruction and research
  • Compliance with federal, state, and local laws and regulations
  • Maintain basic operational infrastructure

Contracting for new non-tenure-track hires, NTT rehires, and returning NTT faculty is not affected by the hiring suspension and will proceed according to the general guidance provided by the Provost’s Office following the usual approval procedures.

  1. The Employee Assistance Program provides several resources.  A link to all of their offerings can be found at  https://des.wa.gov/services/hr-finance/washington-state-employee-assistance-program-eap 

  1. Employees can request accrued leave use from supervisors.  This includes vacation leave, sick leave, personal holiday and/or a request for leave without pay. 

  1. The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions will apply from the effective date through December 31, 2020.  Contact Kathy Thompson at Kathy.Thompson@wwu.edu for additional information. 

  1. There have been recent shared leave eligibility changes, as a result of Governor Inslee’s Proclamation 20-43, that have expanded shared leave to those employees who lack childcare, however, an employee who has the option to telework and declines to do so would not be eligible for shared leave.  Contact Kathy Thompson at Kathy.Thompson@wwu.edu for additional information.  

A temporary adjustment to the classified collective bargaining agreements and professional staff handbook has been approved which will allow employees to accrue a balance that exceeds the current 240-hour limit beyond the employee’s anniversary date. Employees are encouraged to practice self-care and utilize vacation leave for their own personal health and wellness.

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. 

Supervisors

According to Western's approved procedure, when a vendor is coming to a Western location, the person who manages the vendor contract is responsible for ensuring the vendor has submitted an acceptable COVID-19 safety plan that they will be following while they are on campus. Once that plan has been received and accepted by the contract manager, the contract manager fills out the Contractor Approved to be Onsite Form.

 

 

To help minimize the spread of disease, Western is asking that supervisors screen employees who report to work on university property as recommended by the WA State Department of Health. This guidance should also be used for visitors. Supervisors and department heads should follow this recommendation for the duration of Gov. Inslee's Stay-at-Home order and until the risk of community exposure is lower.

A supervisor should screen for the four symptoms stated in the guidance document. If an employee affirms they have any of the four symptoms related to COVID-19, supervisors should advise employees to contact their medical provider and begin isolation procedures as noted in the Supervisor-mgt assessment guide.

Sick employees must be sent home.  Under current public health guidance, “sick” as it relates to coronavirus is defined as a fever (over 100.4 degrees F), and either a cough or shortness of breath.

Other than critical personnel performing essential functions on campus, employees should be working remotely at this time. 

Please review the Supervisors’ Guide to Remote Work

Support your employee and inform them of their options, including resources available such as the Employee Assistance Program

Other than critical personnel performing essential functions on campus, employees should be working remotely at this time. 

Yes, supervisors may approve temporary employees to work from home when the university is open or closed (suspended operations) as business operations allow.

Student employees and their supervisors face unique challenges during this time. The Student Employment Office offers some guidance here.

We understand supervisors and students are facing difficult decisions and we want you to know that the Student Employment Office is here to support you in any way. Each department’s needs are different and a ‘one size fits all’ approach won’t work. We’d like to help make it easier to evaluate your unique circumstances by providing some flexible ways to approach this.  

Approach 1: If all or some of your student employee(s)’s job duties can be performed remotely, consider asking them to perform their job from home and supplement remaining hours with professional development. Support for supervisors and employees on working remotely can be found here. Professional development options unique to student employees can be found here

Approach 2: If none of your student employee(s)’s job duties can be performed remotely and they are NOT a critical employee performing essential functions, consider some of these approaches to support them in the best way possible: 

·        Change the position/work so that some or all of the job duties can be performed remotely. 

·        Ask other departments if they have work the student employee could perform.  

·        Allow the student employee to participate in professional development for a set period of time prior to their position ending to provide them with advanced notice to make other arrangements.  

·        Communicate to the student employee that you are hopeful that you can re-hire them once conditions allow but that unfortunately, you cannot continue their employment at this time. 

·        Provide support utilizing some of the below resources:  

Approach 3: If none of your student employee(s)’s job duties can be performed remotely but they ARE a critical employee performing essential functions, consider asking them to perform their job on campus if they are comfortable doing so. These types of positions are rare and must be deemed critical by Incident Command. Reach out to your HR Consultant for any questions. 

Employee/Labor Relations Consultants: 

Kelsie Swanson (BFA, URM) at x4065 

Megan Galley(ESS, UA) at x2615 

Gretchen Lucas (AA) at x2513 

We understand that some approaches have fiscal impacts that may depend on state support, self-sustaining, or student-fee funds, and these impacts will be unique to each department. 

Our student employees are a valuable resource and vital to Western Washington University’s success. Because of this, we continue to encourage departments to support the continuation of student employment to the extent possible. 

For support or questions, please reach out to studentemployment@wwu.edu.  

If the employee tested positive for COVID-19, they should remain under home isolation precautions for 7 days OR until 72 hours after fever is gone and symptoms get better, whichever is longer.

If the employee had a fever with cough or shortness of breath but has not been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and has not tested positive for COVID-19, they should stay home for 72 hours after the fever is gone and symptoms have improved.

The employee should also fill out the COVID-19 Self Reporting form so as to allow the student health center to determine if a follow-up is necessary.

Other than critical personnel performing essential functions on campus, employees should be working remotely at this time. 

The employee should monitor their health for fever, cough and shortness of breath during the 14 days after the last day they were in close contact with the sick person with COVID-19.

Other than critical personnel performing essential functions on campus, employees should be working remotely at this time. 

Other than critical personnel performing essential functions on campus, employees should be working remotely at this time. Supervisors should engage in conversations with each employee to determine if remote work is feasible. The Supervisors’ Guide to Remote Work is a resource available to help guide this conversation.  Relevant considerations include:

  • Can the employee perform their duties/responsibilities remotely? Does the employee have the equipment, connectivity and access required to work to perform those tasks?  If not, is that something that can be remedied?  For example, does the department have a laptop the employee can use for remote work?
  • If there is a portion of the job that can be performed remotely, consider a hybrid approach where the employee works from home for a portion of time and is at the worksite for the remainder of time.
  • If your worksite requires on-site coverage, consider:
    • Any and all technology that is available to provide alternative coverage with no service impact.  Contact ATUS for technology solutions.
    • Sharing the on-site coverage duties between employees; by alternating coverage you can minimize customer service and employee impacts.

Other than critical personnel performing essential functions on campus, employees should be working remotely at this time. 

Here is a list of things to consider:

  • Conduct all meetings virtually, or ensure the meeting space is large enough to allow 6 feet between individuals
  • Stagger schedules, including start times, end times, and break times
  • Utilize technology to minimize in-person contact
  • Encourage employees to wash their hands frequently
  • Communication is key.  Make sure employees know about your plans and the resources available to them

Temporary classified employees are typically limited to 1,050 hours per employment year. However, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, critical temporary employees performing an essential function as defined by Governor Inslee may be eligible for an exception allowing them to work over 1,050 hours. Please contact your Employee/Labor Relations Consultant for more information.

Employee/Labor Relations Consultants:

  • Kelsie Swanson (BFA, URM) at x4065
  • Megan Galley (ESS, UA) at x2615
  • Gretchen Lucas (AA) at x2513

Yes, BUT only with the approval of your Vice President or Dean. For Academic Affairs hires, the normal Provost Office recruitment approvals will need be made in addition to dean approvals. Exceptions may be considered for the following: 

  • Direct impact to safety and well-being 
  • Immediate need to deliver instruction and research 
  • Required to comply with federal, state, and local laws and regulations 
  • Maintain basic operational infrastructure 
  • Facilitate ability to work remotely in accordance with university guidance and state guidelines 
  • Critical items in which a delay would create substantial future expenses. 

All discretionary spending, including the hiring of outside consultants, is suspended. This includes catering/meals, events, recognition banquets and other expenditures that are not critical to the operation of the university or the academic mission. Essential expenditures over $1000, regardless of fund source, that directly support the mission of the university must be approved by the appropriate Vice President or Dean. Capital projects are addressed separately.

Essential expenditures over $1,000 that directly support the mission of the university must be approved by the appropriate Vice President or Dean. 

Supervisors should consult with their leadership before assigning new responsibilities that may result in a position review.  These requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and with the approval of your Vice President, Dean or the Provost.

Position extensions will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and with the approval of your Vice President, Dean or the Provost.

Confidentiality and Employee Privacy Rights

HIPAA: No. The University is not subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and HIPPA usually will not be implicated. The University does have restrictions regarding disclosures of personal health information (PHI) under the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA), state laws RCW 49.60 and RCW 70.02, and the state and federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

FERPA: Yes, the University is subject to privacy rules under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Exceptions: Privacy laws that protect personal health information make an exception when disclosures are necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the health and safety of others. The current COVID19 situation is an example of when this exception is made.

Yes. Employees, supervisors and students are expected to follow the University’s Reporting Communicable Diseases Policy (POL-U1000.12). University administrators will work with the local Public Health Department in responding to reported cases which will include instructions for the University regarding how and to whom to communicate with potentially exposed individuals. Supervisors will receive instruction on communicating reported cases to those with a need to know. In addition to following the reporting requirements of the policy, employees and students may disclose their own condition to others as they choose.

Yes, but to employees and students only to the extent necessary to adequately inform them of their potential exposure or as otherwise directed by the CDC or another public health authority. Otherwise, the CDC has said employers should follow the ADA’s confidentiality

requirements, which significantly limit the disclosure of information. Employers can communicate to non-exposed employees and students that there has been a COVID-19 diagnosis, without sharing additional identifying information.

The University will follow communication instructions to employees and students received by the public health authority to ensure those with a need to know receive the information necessary to take appropriate action.

Those who receive specific details of an employee or student because they have a need to know are asked to refrain from using the individual’s name or other identifying information in subsequent conversations especially electronic communications (email, TEAMS, etc). Verbal communication should be used when there is a need to identify the individual. Administrators are to remind each other of the need to protect the individual’s privacy.

Concerns or questions about privacy and confidentiality can be sent to Compliance.matters@wwu.edu

Travel

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.