University has Numerous COVID-19 Health & Safety Precautions in Place
Western Washington University students will move into residence halls at Western’s Bellingham main campus over five days, from Thursday, Sept. 17 through to Monday, Sept. 21.
The first day of fall quarter classes at Western is Wednesday, Sept. 23. During both the move-in to residence halls and the start of classes, numerous COVID-19 health and safety precautions will be in place.
“Welcoming students back to campus is one of the most exciting times of year at Western, though of course this year it is greatly complicated by the coronavirus pandemic and the need to ensure the safety of our students who live in University housing, the faculty and staff with whom they come into contact, and their interactions in the greater off-campus community. Despite the limits that our safety planning requires, we are excited about setting every student up for success by connecting them to campus resources and building community in novel ways this fall,” said Western President Sabah Randhawa, now starting his fifth year as president at Western.
Note: Due to wildfire smoke in Bellingham, University Residences has messaged students who are scheduled to arrive Thursday and asked them to reschedule their arrival to a later day, if possible, so they can move in when weather conditions are forecast to improve.
Classes during fall quarter will be mostly remote, and the University now expects less than 2,000 students on campus on any given day between those living in residence halls and those attending in-person classes, which will be primarily hands-on performance classes and labs. During a normal year, such as last fall, Western had about 15,000 students at the Bellingham campus, with about 4,000 students typically living in residence halls.
This fall, as part of health precautions in the residence halls, university housing will: reduce the number of people arriving at once by spreading out arrival times over five days; require all residents to test for COVID-19 no more than seven days prior to their arrival; require COVID testing upon arrival at move in; require ongoing COVID surveillance testing of students; provide reduced sharing of bathrooms along with increased custodial service; restrict visitation access for all guests who are not a resident of the residence hall; and designate space on campus for quarantine and isolation for campus students in housing who have contact with someone with COVID or who tests positive for the virus. For more information on residence halls, see: https://housing.wwu.edu/fall-housing-faqs
In addition, all students and employees who come to campus must wear face coverings in any campus building (see: https://www.wwu.edu/safe-start/face-coverings); and must complete a daily health screening questionnaire online; those with positive symptoms or encounters with anyone with COVID-19 must stay home and seek medical attention. Also, students attending in-person classes will be tested every two weeks in pooled samples; social distancing for those on campus will be strongly encouraged, and daily cleaning and disinfecting of academic buildings will take place. All WWU classes will be moved to remote instruction after the Thanksgiving break. For more information on Western’s health and safety precautions see the University’s COVID-19 websites at: https://www.wwu.edu/coronavirus
Western also has launched its “Be Well” communications campaign to ensure students and employees are well informed of the community and university safety guidelines as they return for fall quarter. Through emails, social media, posters and partnerships with area landlords, Western is working to ensure understanding of important health and safety guidelines. The WWU Associated Students has developed an extensive outreach to students that includes social media, videos and other forms of outreach. In addition, Western is working with the Whatcom County Health Department, along with the public information officers of Whatcom Community College, Northwest Indian College and Bellingham Technical College, on a social media strategy to ensure that Western students and local young adults are getting consistent information to help them make smart decisions for themselves and the community during the pandemic.
Resources for a successful remote-learning experience for students are available at the Keep Learning website. For more information about academic and other support for students see the Fall Academic Guide at: https://www.wwu.edu/fall-guide
Most fall quarter welcoming activities, such as New Student Convocation, will be held remotely.
Paint B’ham Blue for WWU (Paint), an annual tradition in which Western alumni, faculty, staff, local businesses and members of the Bellingham community gather to welcome new students to the university and instill a sense of tradition and pride, will be held online this year. Paint will include a musical performer, an animated video featuring Victor touring iconic Bellingham sites, and a montage of welcoming messages from notable alumni and others. Paint is free of charge and open to the public. The virtual event will be held on Sept. 23 from 7-7:30 p.m. Check out the WWU Paint website for details: https://alumni.wwu.edu/paintbhamblue. You can also follow the WWU Alumni Association’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram channels for more information about Paint, and use the hashtag #PaintBhamBlue.