Coronavirus Update for March 20: Spring Break

Dear Western Community,

In the midst of all the changes and uncertainty, Spring Break is here. The sunshine, the spring flowers, the amazing sunsets—all of the things we look forward to every year after the long, dark winter are here. I hope that you can find some time this week to just enjoy the familiar rhythm of spring returning.

The announcement yesterday that Western will not hold in-person classes Spring Quarter has generated almost as many questions as it answered. Please know that we will be working through the weekend to finalize clear answers about fees, tuition, financial aid, class modalities, dining services, residence halls, and other matters of importance. Life is coming at us so very fast, and there’s new information every day. We’ll go on doing our very best to keep you informed.

Even while buildings are closed, you should be able to reach offices across campus by phone or email, just as usual. I know, for example, that staff are making plans for holding our springtime AS Elections. Academic Advising is having appointments by phone or videoconferencing. Academic departments and faculty are continuing the vital work of preparing for Spring Quarter. A full list of services and facilities which are open will be available soon on the FAQ page. Until then, phone or email any office on campus, and we’ll figure out how to help.

During the extended period of break, while we are observing the Governor’s declaration to work from home, we will be securing all buildings on campus. Please remember to bring your keys with you if for some reason you need to access an academic or administrative building over the next two weeks. There is much less traffic through buildings, and it makes sense and is safer to keep them locked.

Of course, I can’t send a message without emphasizing the importance of washing your hands, covering your coughs and sneezes, and keeping a robust six feet between yourself and the very small number of people you are around. We can flatten the curve, save lives, and soften the impact of the pandemic. Don’t lose focus!

Hate crimes and acts of bigotry directed at Asian-Americans are increasing around the country and in our city. We cannot stand by while members of our communities are targeted. There is no place for xenophobic or ethnic violence of word or deed in this crisis. No-one is to blame for this disease, any more than they could be responsible for an earthquake or a hurricane. COVID-19 is a natural disaster. We don’t need to make it worse by harming each other. We are all in it together, and we must all take care of each other.

With appreciation for your partnership,

Melynda Huskey


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.

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Friday, March 20, 2020 - 3:11pm