Even though Whatcom County remains in Phase 1 of Washington state’s step-by-step approach to reopening businesses and easing restrictions in the wake of the new coronavirus pandemic, local officials are preparing to meet the requirements to move into Phase 2, according to a press release sent Wednesday evening, May 27.
Statements regarding Phase 2 that the Whatcom County Health Department issued at its website Tuesday and Wednesday evenings were in apparent response to an email from The Bellingham Herald this week that went unanswered.
In a recent New York Times column, NYU business school professor Hans Taparia proclaimed (as many have before) that “the future of college is online.” Whenever I hear these words, I think of a student of mine, a dual major in history and anthropology, who testified before my institution’s Board of Trustees about her experience with online education. She transferred, as many students do, from community college, which she had completed online. When I asked her about her experience in a conversation in my office, she admitted that she had no idea how much she was missing until she came to Western Washington University.
Whatcom County officials are unsure when they will be allowed to advance to Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start plan to reopen businesses closed because of the new coronavirus pandemic.
Under Inslee’s plan, counties must show that COVID-19 is spreading more slowly before social distancing orders will be eased and more than just essential businesses can operate.
Last week's vote by the University of California Board of Regents was largely viewed as a defeat for supporters of the SAT and ACT. But it was also something else.
Regents voted to establish a new admissions test within five years. If they don't, UC will cease to use standardized tests in admissions. As UC officials admitted, not much is known about the new test, although the California State University system has expressed interest in using it, and other colleges could as well.
Inside Higher Ed asked experts to weigh in on the new test. What could it bring to college admissions? What feature would they most like to see in a new test?
Johann Neem, professor of history, Western Washington University, and author of What’s the Point of College? Seeking Purpose in an Age of Reform (Johns Hopkins University Press)
The history of the SAT -- as laid out in Nicholas Lemann’s book The Big Test: The Secret History of the American Meritocracy -- is about unintended consequences. In the mid-20th century, testing advocates hoped that the SAT would create a Jeffersonian meritocracy. Thomas Jefferson believed that intelligence and virtue were distributed throughout the population. He hoped public schools would, as he put it, rake the best students “from the rubbish annually.” Given that universities were bastions of white elite privilege, SAT advocates argued that standardized tests would open universities up to all deserving Americans. And it, combined with the GI Bill and public tax dollars, transformed higher education as first-generation and minority students entered in large numbers.
Washington’s public colleges and universities are bracing for a money crisis this fall that is likely to decimate higher education budgets.
Not only will schools likely lose some students — and the tuition money that comes with them — but the state is expected to slash funding, since higher education dollars aren’t protected by the state constitution in the same way K-12 dollars are.
With the coronavirus pandemic raging this spring, universities lost hundreds of millions in residence hall rents, meal plans, parking fees and sports tickets. At community colleges, many hands-on vocational programs were canceled. And at the state’s flagship University of Washington, which runs a medical center that has been key to keeping people alive, the hospital is expected to lose a staggering $500 million through September. On Monday, it announced it would furlough 1,500 workers.
Washington state wants to have 20,000 to 30,000 COVID-19 tests conducted a day as part of Gov. Jay Inslee’s phased reopening of the economy and daily life.
What that number will look like in Whatcom County is still being determined.
At Western Washington University, enrollment has been rising in recent years, says journalism department chair Jennifer Keller. “We saw an uptick in those interested in news-editorial journalism (as opposed to visual journalism or PR) right after the 2016 election,” she said in a recent email.
Just a few miles from the Western Washington University campus, Coast Salish peoples like the Lummi Nation have lived along the Puget Sound into British Columbia as fishermen and marine hunters for generations and developed a rich connection with their environment.
More than 1,000 miles away, the HF Bar Ranch calls students and visitors to 7,500 acres of valley land along the Bighorn National Forest, encouraging those eager to learn about the cultural roots of plant life to experience a unique, Wyoming landscape, where native peoples developed their own distinct connection to their surroundings.
Lily Bliss studied environmental studies at WWU in the early 2000s. Her mother, Margi Schroth, operates HF Bar Ranch in Saddlestring.
Senior instructor Wendy Walker at WWU’s Huxley College of the Environment — Bliss’ former instructor — worked with Bliss a few years after graduation to plan a transition for HF Bar from a strictly historic guest ranch to an environmentally-focused operation. Soon, they developed a plan to bring WWU students out to the ranch for a summer travel course option.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the services and activities Washington residents can expect to participate in, some of the rules various industries have to abide by to reopen, and an estimate of when you might realistically be able to do these things according to the state’s four-phase plan.
Note that the answers depend on the phase your county is in, and dates are subject to change. This list will be updated as more opens up.
The Shannon Point Marine Center has been awarded a grant in the amount of $182,413 from the National Science Foundation to upgrade its culturing facility for small marine organisms.
The money will be used to invest in new equipment for the lab, including a laminar flow hood, autoclave, incubators and others, but the question about when students and staff will be able to get into the lab to use them remains unanswered.
Shannon Point Marine Center is a research facility on Fidalgo Island run through Western Washington University. Students and independent researchers will use the new equipment to study how small organisms react to environmental challenges, like ocean acidification.
Suzanne Strom, senior marine scientist at the center, said the grant will provide much-needed updates to the culture lab, which has been using 20- to 30-year-old equipment.