Dear Faculty and Staff,
Governor Jay Inslee on Wednesday unveiled guidance for reopening in-person instruction at higher education institutions, including Western Washington University, in the fall. The governor’s proclamation provides specific health guidance for four-year public and private institutions, as well as two-year community and technical colleges, apprenticeships and private career schools in the state of Washington. Included in the health guidance is a checklist of requirements, such as use of masks, symptom monitoring, personal protective equipment availability, and approval from local health districts. Schools will need to have protocols for students and employees to “self-certify” that they haven’t had any symptoms since their last time on campus.
I am writing to provide an update on Western’s response to the governor’s guidance for reopening in the fall. The good news is that Western's planning for fall, already under way for many weeks, has either addressed or will address all of the requirements ordered by the governor. Many of the steps we have taken to ensure a safe environment for our current operations are what the governor has required for fall academic operations. For example, here are just a few of the requirements in the governor’s plan already being met by the University:
· Work from home for operations able to be performed remotely and institutions will follow Washington state returning to work guidance for its personnel.
· Maintain minimum physical distancing whenever possible of 6 feet between all on-campus personnel, including with visitors; where physical distancing cannot be maintained, implement administrative or engineering controls to minimize exposure.
· Ensure frequent and adequate hand washing policies and include adequate maintenance of supplies; use disposable gloves where safe/applicable to prevent transmission on shared items.
· Routine sanitization of high-touch surfaces and shared resources (e.g., doorknobs, elevators, vending machines, points of sales).
· Ask students/personnel to stay home and seek medical guidance if they are experiencing any known symptoms; remain isolated until diagnosis and next steps are clear.
· Ask students/personnel to self-quarantine per local public health guidelines if confirmed to have COVID-19 or exposed to confirmed case.
· Adhere to state and federal law for health and safety during COVID-19.
The University will be working to complete all the state checklist of requirements before reopening in the fall. We will be adding and updating the checklist online on Western’s Safe Start Western website, at: wwu.edu/safe-start
As the COVID-19 situation changes daily, we remain committed to doing everything we can do to preserve the health and safety of our campus community. Thank you for all you do.
Rich Van Den Hul
Vice President, Business and Financial Affairs