In a continued effort to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection among students and families during the holiday break, Western will provide free COVID testing to WWU students in the Bellingham area the week before Thanksgiving.
This expanded, voluntary testing program will begin Monday, Nov. 16, at Fraser Hall on a first-come, first-served basis. Students wishing to be tested must make an appointment on the MyWesternHealth patient portal.
Western’s COVID-19 testing clinic in Fraser Hall will operate 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Nov. 16 to 19 and Nov. 23 to 24. Space is limited and students must have an appointment to be tested.
Following Thanksgiving break, all fall quarter classes will be offered remotely for the remainder of the term, including those few classes being offered on campus in a face-to-face format. Campus residence halls and apartments will remain open throughout fall quarter, and will be open for continuing residents during winter break.
At the beginning of winter quarter 2021, students living or attending class on campus, and/or those who are on campus for other reasons such as athletics or employment, must have a COVID test conducted on campus.
Winter Quarter will begin as scheduled on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021. However, all classes will be held remotely for the first week of Winter Quarter classes to allow time for students to get tested in Fraser Hall before face-to-face instruction begins on Monday, Jan. 11 for the handful of approved in-person classes. COVID test results obtained outside of Western’s testing program will not be accepted.
We believe testing when students return to campus will greatly assist in maintaining our low positive test rate on campus, which is well below our county or other parts of the state. Our primary goal is to identify positive tests early and to isolate/quarantine those affected as quickly as possible upon return to an on-campus presence
In addition to COVID-19 testing, it is important for students to continue following public health guidelines to reduce the risk of infection among your community and friends and family back home. Remember that wearing a face mask, washing your hands frequently, practicing physical distancing, and gathering with no more than five people outside of your household, preferably outdoors, remain the best ways to protect against COVID-19.
For more guidance on safer gatherings, visit the CDC holiday gathering guidelines and the WA State Department of Health celebrations guidelines.
We hope you have a safe and healthy Thanksgiving break!
Dr. Sislena Ledbetter
Executive Director, WWU Health and Wellness
Dr. David Hansen
WWU Associate Medical Director