Plans for spring quarter classes announced
Dear WWU Community,
With the highly contagious Omicron wave rapidly loosening its grip, new cases of COVID-19 have declined about 75 percent nationwide from their peak in mid-January. Locally, we are experiencing the same trend: For the period of February 7-13, the Student Health Center recorded 42 positive student cases compared to 292 positive cases for the same period in January. Tuesday’s St. Joseph’s Hospital COVID case load was 34 patients; the prior Tuesday’s case load was 46 patients and two weeks ago it was 53.
Post-surge does not imply that the pandemic is over or that transmission is low, or that there will not be unpredictable waves of new variants in the future, but knowing what we now know we expect that spring quarter will be primarily in-person. Similar to winter quarter, we expect about 90 percent in-person or hybrid classes, offices open and in-person services offered.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced last week that he’s lifting outdoor masking requirements and plans to announce later this week a date when the mask mandate for public indoor spaces and schools may be lifted. Because the safety of our community remains our top priority:
· For the remainder of winter quarter, we will continue to require indoor mask wearing for all faculty, staff, students, and visitors, and we support faculty members who require additional safety protocols in their classrooms, labs, and performance spaces. Further, we are prepared to continue the indoor mask requirement through the end of the academic year pending guidance from the Governor and state and county health officials.
· The Office of Student Life and Academic Affairs will no longer be approving requests for online coursework. Students may apply for a disability accommodation that could include remote options through the Disability Access Center at https://disability.wwu.edu/.
· Supervisors are expected to continue to offer remote work arrangements and accommodations for employees who are at heightened risk.
The COVID Support Team will continue to monitor conditions, track CDC guidelines, and stay in close communication with county health officials. We will announce any changes as soon as we are able to review new guidance and consult with health officials. Thank you for your commitment to health and safety and for the care you show to those around you.