Dear Western Community,
As the state and county are opening up businesses and activities in response to notable improvements in a number of COVID-19 metrics, Western is also planning for a gradual return to campus in a carefully planned fashion. We are incredibly proud of the efforts our students, faculty, and staff who have worked so hard to keep our campus environment safe, and our goal is to maintain an environment that continues our great track record. As we navigate through the next several months of transition, we ask that everyone remain aware of and sensitive to how increased levels of activity and real-life interactions will be uncomfortable for some.
Based on the current Healthy Washington phase for Whatcom County, virus activity across the state, and other environmental factors, Western has moved to Operating Level 3 of the Safe Start Western plan effective 04/14/21. While this shift will not alter planned academic offerings or most day-to-day operations for Spring Quarter, it will allow for increased activity amongst employees and students on campus, including the gradual resumption (with proper safety precautions) of some business meetings, work groups, student activities and events, and increased visitor activity related to institutional operations. For more information on resuming meetings and other group activities, please see the Gatherings Guidance website.
Western’s Safe Start phases were established to address our unique operating needs within the current Healthy Washington phase for Whatcom County. As vaccination rates increase and (we expect) virus activity to decrease through the spring, we will likely transition into Operating Level 4. Approval of this transition will be dependent on a number of factors, including the Governor’s current guidance, on-campus service providers’ capacity to support increased activities, and the overall vaccination rate of the entire campus community.
To help people understand the guidance and operating levels, we have scheduled two question-and-answer sessions on April 16 and April 20. Everyone is welcome to join in!
Gatherings Guidance Questions/Feedback Session #1
Friday April 16, from 10-11 a.m.
Gatherings Guidance Questions/Feedback Session #2
Tuesday April 20, from 3-4 p.m.
As President Randhawa conveyed in his recent Fall Reopening message, we know that getting vaccinated is a major step forward in protecting our community and in creating an environment where more faculty, staff and students feel comfortable returning to campus. I encourage all of you to get vaccinated by the start of the fall quarter, as you feel comfortable doing so, recognizing that there are religious, physical and/or philosophical reasons that some people may not wish to get vaccinated. I also want to encourage everyone, if you are comfortable, to voluntarily let us know you’ve been vaccinated.
If you have questions, please send them to COVID19Planning@wwu.edu.
Rich Van Den Hul
WWU Vice President for Business and Financial Affairs