Dear Faculty and Staff,
As you may have seen in my message to students last Friday, we have been encouraged by recent infection and hospitalization trends suggesting that the worst of the coronavirus outbreak in Washington may be behind us. But models are only as good as the assumptions we put into them. Although the data show that current community mitigation strategies are working to slow the spread of COVID-19, they must be sustained to ensure Washington’s continued success.
Governor Inslee’s Stay Home-Stay Healthy proclamation is currently expected to be in effect through May 4, however the Governor and Superintendent of Public Instruction recently extended K-12 school closures for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. I know many of you, especially those of you with school-age children at home, have been anxious about our plans to transition back to normal campus and office routines.
We strongly encourage all employees who can work remotely without hampering critical operations to continue to do so for their own health and safety, and for the wellbeing of essential staff who are working on campus. Currently, we anticipate extending the remote work directive through June 14, 2020. If the Governor’s Stay Home-Stay Healthy proclamation is lifted on May 5, or any time before June 14, those who need to get back to work on campus may do so with approval from your Vice President or Dean.
I know many of you are directly involved in addressing this great challenge for our community, whether you are advising students from a distance, figuring out how to stage a virtual Commencement, dealing with health questions and concerns, striving to put a class online for the first time, or volunteering with Whatcom Unified Command and in the broader Bellingham community.
I am enormously grateful for the dedication, high standards, and care of everyone who works at Western. Each of you is essential to our mission — and never more so than in this intense and difficult time. We are committed to doing everything we can to help keep you safe. Thank you for all the ways in which you look after your Western community and one other.
The Incident Command System team at Western has established three goals for all of our preparation and response to COVID-19: to protect life safety and minimize the spread of the coronavirus illness, to maintain – as much as possible – the continuity of Western’s operations, and to communicate with our communities as fully as possible.
Western's coronavirus information website features Frequently Asked Questions; has links to campus, regional and national resources; an archive of campus messaging and media stories about coronavirus; a new toll-free campus coronavirus information line, and more. The site is a living document, and will get frequent updates as the coronavirus situation evolves.