Washington State University and Eastern Washington University are moving most courses online due to concerns about the novel coronavirus.
Professors will teach by live video conferencing and prerecording lectures to share with students, among other modes of communication. The move will affect tens of thousands of students.
Both universities announced the shift to online instruction Wednesday, shortly after Gov. Jay Inslee issued an emergency order banning all gatherings of more than 250 people in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties. The University of Washington and Western Washington University previously took the same step.
Western Washington University students concerned about the coronavirus can now get tested on campus.
Healthcare providers at the University’s Student Health Center are now able to test any student patient in whom they suspect of COVID-19.
This news comes after the Whatcom County Health Department lifted restrictions on who can be tested for the virus, in addition to an increase in the availability of commercial tests.
After the first case of novel coronavirus was confirmed in Whatcom County on Tuesday, March 10, public health officials here said they would work to identify people who came into contact with the woman in her 60s who tested positive.
The woman received medical care at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham. She was discharged from the hospital after her condition improved and was self-isolating at home.
The Whatcom County Health Department said officials will identify and then monitor close contacts — that could include family members, co-workers, emergency responders and others — for symptoms to avoid further spread.
A Whatcom County public health emergency has been declared to reduce the spread of novel coronavirus in the community after the county health department announced on Tuesday afternoon, March 10, that the county had its first confirmed case of COVID-19.
The person who tested positive is a woman in her 60s who received medical care at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center.
Her condition improved and she was discharged. Since that time she has been self-isolating at home. She has no known international travel history, the health department announced.
Hours after Whatcom County declared a health emergency with its first confirmed positive case of novel coronavirus, Western Washington University announced that it was moving the rest of its classes for the winter quarter online.
Beginning Wednesday, March 11, the school will not offer any face-to-face classes through the end of the quarter on March 20, a letter from WWU President Sabah Randhawa to the campus community late Tuesday stated.
Whatcom Community College, which had already canceled classes Wednesday, announced in a tweet at 11:13 a.m. Wednesday that it is following suit and moving the remainder of its winter quarter classes online. Winter quarter concludes March 27.
Whatcom Community College has canceled all in-person class meetings for Wednesday, March 11, for “faculty preparation time,” though the campus will remain open, according to a post on the school’s new coronavirus update resource page.
Bellingham Technical College, meanwhile, posted that it will end its Winter Quarter six days early on Friday, March 20, according to a post on the school’s COVID-19 information page.
All WCC classes will still be held as scheduled Tuesday, March 10, and in-person classes will resume Thursday, March 12, the post read.
The Meridian School District announced it will close schools Tuesday and Wednesday, March 10-11, after a middle school staff member was exposed to an individual outside Whatcom County that tested positive for new coronavirus.
Superintendent Dr. James Everett announced the closure in an online statement posted Monday evening.
Efforts to identify a man’s body found last week near the Western Washington University campus have been unsuccessful so far, according to Whatcom County Medical Examiner Dr. Gary Goldfogel.
Dr. Goldfogel told The Bellingham Herald in an email Tuesday that the man’s fingerprints did not match any on record. Bellingham police assisted in attempting to match fingerprints, according to Dr. Goldfogel
“There are no current missing person reports that match, and we have no good leads,” Dr. Goldfogel wrote in his email.
Whatcom County continues to have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of noon Sunday, March 8, according to the Whatcom County Heath Department website.
The department reports there are 16 tests for novel coronavirus with results pending and three tests returned with negative results.
Twelve people in Whatcom County were being tested as of Saturday, March 7, up from 10 on Friday, March 6.
Since the novel coronavirus emerged as a threat in Washington, officials have sought to keep people here from infecting each other by offering advice, health care and other assistance. What they haven’t yet done to slow the spread of the virus is tell residents what they can and can’t do.
That could change at some point, however.
Officials are considering mandatory measures for social distancing as part of the state’s effort to combat the outbreak, Gov. Jay Inslee said Sunday.
Inslee didn’t disclose many details about the actions being contemplated but did say “social activities” could be curtailed.
“I’m going to a meeting in about an hour about this subject right now,” he said in an interview on the CBS show “Face the Nation.”