Coronavirus Update for March 20: Telemedicine, Mail Services info, Wellness, and more

Dear Western Community,

Western is open and all employees have an obligation to work remotely when possible to help mitigate or slow the spread of COVID-19 and support the safety of those who remain on campus. This is important as we recognize there are a number of functions performed that require employees to be present at the work site in order to continue business operations.

Message from Mail Services

Currently, Mail Services is open and receiving mail and packages from all carriers. This includes carriers that normally deliver directly to departments like UPS, FedEx, DHL and Ontrac. If you’re open, please contact them and let them know, otherwise they will cease delivery until normal on-campus work resumes. If you’re open and have special instructions, such as an alternate delivery location or delivery only on a specific day, please let them know that as well.

If you are closed and working remotely, they will still receive your packages. Upon receipt you will receive an email stating that your package is waiting for pick up at Mail Services. You can pick them up at your convenience, or it will be delivered after normal on-campus work resumes. Please call x3770 or email if you have any questions.

Taking Care of U

We at Wise & Well U are providing you with a quick reference page of tips and resources so that you can take care of yourself, holistically, in this potentially stressful time of uncertainty.

Telemedicine and virtual doctor visits for the Uniform Medical Plan and for Kaiser

Did you know that it is possible to have a virtual doctor visit? Check out the links below for your own health plan for more information.

Employee Assistance Program resources

In this time of stress, remember that we have the Employee Assistance Program available to us. You can find out more and contact them.

Wellness tips


Social distancing and the closure of fitness centers doesn’t mean we can’t get in a good workout and stay active. Here are some things you can do:

  • The Faculty and Staff Wellness Program has provided at-home workout and wellness resources. You can also visit the Facebook page to view posted workouts.
  • Go for a walk, jog, or bike ride.
  • If you are new to calisthenics but have always wanted to try them, do an online search for “bodyweight workouts for beginners”
  • Get up, move around, and stretch. If you are working at home on a laptop, take movement breaks just as you would at your physical office.


Sleep is weird, isn’t it? Why do we spend a third of our lives asleep? It must serve some vital purposes for us, or else we could just skip it. Scientific research is increasingly revealing just how important it is. Even more so in times of stress.

Stick to a regular sleep schedule, with a bedtime and a regular waking time.

Make sure you get around 8 hours of sleep a night. Some of us will need a little more, some a little less. Almost no one thrives with less than 7 hours of sleep, and don’t think you are the outlier. Be kind to yourself and go to bed on time.

Turn off devices and screens an hour before bedtime. Download f.lux to have your laptop screen change its lighting to match the rising and setting of the sun. You can also do this on your iPhone by going to the Control Center and pressing the Brightness Control icon. Different Android phones will have different settings to set this function. You can read this blog post with instructions for various Android phones.

Have a wind-down ritual. Meditate. Read fiction. Chat with your spouse. Pet your dog or cat. Watch the fish in your aquarium. You get the picture.

Keep yourself mentally and emotionally balanced.

Have fun. Really, this shouldn’t come across like an order. Please, treat yourself. Enjoy your life. What’s going on is just what’s going on. No reason you can’t play games, make jokes, and talk to friends.

Don’t watch the news cycle perpetually. Our minds have a negativity bias. Sure, stay informed and up to date. Consider, perhaps, that checking your news feed once a day is enough to do so.

Consume content that’s amusing and happy to balance it out. Some research suggests we need a 6:1 positive to negative ratio for well-being. Don’t get hung up on tracking your ratio (unless that’s fun for you), but do seek the bright side of things. Happiness makes us resilient.

Beware the downside of social distancing. Yes, it’s vital right now to contain or manage the spread of this virus. However, remember that we are social to our core, and loneliness is a killer. Use social media for good, to connect with friends, share videos, and feel connected. Text. Call one another. FaceTime. You get the point. Reach out. You need it, and so do your loved ones.

Consider donating blood

The increased number of blood drive cancellations due to the closure of schools, businesses, and events over coronavirus concerns has put nearly 60% of the community’s blood supply in jeopardy. Bargained contracts allow employees to use paid leave for life-giving procedures, including donating blood. As a safety measure, Bloodworks asks that you schedule an appointment to donate blood. The need is ongoing, so it is important for donors to continue to make appointments in the coming weeks and months to ensure a safe and reliable blood supply throughout this time.

Important update about your one-on-one with Fidelity

Western takes your health, safety and wellbeing very seriously. As a cautionary measure to protect you from any potential exposure to COVID-19 (coronavirus), Western has decided it’s best that in-person meetings with a Fidelity Retirement Planner be conducted virtually until further notice.

If you have a one-on-one appointment scheduled with a Retirement Planner, they will contact you with instructions for meeting by telephone.

Fidelity is also taking steps to ensure that their services continue with minimal disruption.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

I-9 Completion by Appointment

In an effort to practice social distancing, our HR Front Desk will be working remotely but will come in to complete I-9s for new hires by appointment only. To make an appointment, please contact or call 360-650-3774.

Human Resources will continue to provide 24/7 service. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 360-650-3774 or at any time with questions.


Employee/Labor Relations consultants: 

  • Kelsie Swanson (BFA, URM) at x4065 
  • Megan Galley (ESS, UA) at x2615 
  • Gretchen Lucas (AA) at x2513

Faculty Relations consultant:

  • Austin Cooper at x3915

During this time, you may be faced with delays in Human Resource services. We appreciate your patience!


Chyerl Wolfe-Lee

Assistant Vice President for Human Resources

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Friday, March 20, 2020 - 1:14pm