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COVID-19 Parent FAQs

Reduction in Fall Housing Capacity

2020 Fall Quarter

  • How will classes be offered during fall quarter?

    CWU plans to bring students back for an accelerated fall quarter that will begin September 9 and end November 20. On the Ellensburg campus this fall, about 30 percent of academic courses will be taught at least partially in person. Faculty will choose between teaching in-person, using virtual modalities, or combining the two. All three options are currently available to view and select when students register for fall classes online.

    Instruction at the eight university centers and sites will depend on conditions in those communities. For example, Yakima Valley College will offer all fall classes online only. If you need additional information about a specific campus, please contact them directly.

  • Will first-year students be required to live on campus for fall quarter? 

    No. CWU has waived the first-year live on campus requirement for first-year students enrolling for fall quarter 2020. No exemption forms are required for this exemption and you will not be required to fulfill the live-on requirement later in your academic career at CWU. 

  • What efforts will be made to keep campus safe for fall quarter?

    The following practices will apply at the Ellensburg Campus and all University Centers and teaching sites: 

    Accelerated Quarter Schedule
    The fall quarter will begin September 9 and end November 20. The goal is to complete the quarter ahead of a forecasted increase in flu and COVID-19 cases and to avoid the logistics of students leaving campus and returning following the Thanksgiving holiday. 

    Choice of Teaching/Learning Modality
    Faculty are allowed to choose between teaching in-person, using virtual modalities, and combining the two. The goal is to find the modality that best balances the safety and quality of instruction. Students are encouraged to develop a schedule that confirms to their learning style and personal needs.

    Choice of Working Modality
    Staff will be encouraged to work remotely unless their job only can be performed in person. As with the teaching environment, a combination of modalities is possible. Supervisors are working with their teams to determine the appropriate working environments that balance the risk of infection and the need to accomplish the required tasks.

    Until a vaccine is available, physical distancing is a crucial factor in reducing the spread of COVID-19. The best distancing practice is to remain six feet or more from one another. When that is not possible, the use of masks will be required. These rules will apply inside and outside of buildings.

    Learning spaces: Classes will be scheduled to maximize physical distancing. Classes will likely be scheduled using an expanded framework of days and times, and some non-academic spaces will be employed. Furniture and arrangement of spaces will be altered if necessary.

    Gathering spaces: We will modify the arrangement of furniture in common areas of some buildings, as needed. The SURC, dining facilities, and residence halls will receive special attention.

    Movement on campus: An additional goal of the fall schedule is to reduce the traffic in portals and hallways. An analysis is underway to map significant pedestrian pathways and to mark them with appropriate signage to help promote physical distancing. Special attention will be given to portals to popular locations. 

    Client-facing spaces: Many spaces on campus involve face-to-face service, such as dining, stores, and advising/counseling operations. In addition to using online service options, the spaces will be reconfigured in ways modeled after commercial retail outlets.

    Facial coverings and other Physical Protections
    Everyone who comes on campus will be required to wear facial coverings when physical distancing is not possible. This rule applies to all employees, students, and outside personnel (vendors) unless they are unable to do so because of a health-related reason. Face shields may be worn while teaching or working if the employee prefers.

    CWU will provide cloth facial coverings to all students and employees. Alternative facial protection (hoods/shields/face guards) will also be made available to employees whose positions require additional protection.

    Sanitizing and Washing
    The current situation calls for increased emphasis sanitizing our spaces and on emphasizing personal hygiene. Our housekeeping staff will clean all classrooms, labs, and studios at least daily. They will sanitize public washrooms twice daily. Sanitizing wipes will be available in all teaching and work areas to clean spaces between uses. Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the university.

    Cooperation and Culture
    The university will take responsibility for implementing the significant components of the plan and for monitoring emerging research findings and changes in public policies. All of us must join together to keep one another safe. We can do this by distancing, wearing masks, and regularly washing our hands—that don’t impinge on the academic freedoms we so cherish.

    For more information, see President Gaudino’s May 26, 2020 letter.

  • Will face coverings be required? If so, what happens if they aren’t worn?

    Yes. Everyone on campus is required to wear face coverings (medical and other exceptions to be included). Face coverings will be provided for all faculty, staff, and students. The planning team is targeting to begin distributing face coverings or face shields in mid-August. Individuals are also welcome to bring their own face coverings when coming to campus.

    Students who enter classrooms or gathering places without face coverings, or remove them after entering the classroom, will be asked to cover their faces immediately or leave.

University Operations

  • Is the CWU campus closed?

    No, although it is functioning very differently. Some parts of the CWU campus remain open, including residence halls and dining services. However, due to an official Public Health Order from the state of Washington, the university has moved all of its academic operations online for spring quarter. 

    Dining services are only providing food-to-go. In-person, university-sponsored events, including commencement ceremonies and associated activities are canceled. All buildings on the Ellensburg campus are now officially closed to the public.

  • Which facilities and resources are available on the CWU-Ellensburg campus?

    Most CWU buildings are now closed to the public, but campus housing and dining services remain available to students who continue to reside here. The Student Health and Counseling Center also remains open for services. Information specific to dining will be posted on the website.

  • If the public health situation worsens, what additional steps will the university take?

    We understand some members of our community have concerns about measures that may need to be taken by CWU in the event of widespread local, regional or national transmission of COVID-19. The university has extensive and thorough emergency procedures, and is committed to doing everything it can to ensure the health and safety of our community.

    Because this is a rapidly changing situation, we need to prepare for a range of possibilities. We already have suspended some operations (student recreation center) and large, in-person events, as well as moved classes primarily online. If warranted, we will consider a full suspension of classes. But since our university includes health care facilities and other critical operations, it never fully closes. 

    In the event that a quarantine involving students becomes necessary, we are preparing for a multi-faceted response that would include providing food service and/or moving students off-campus or to sequestered areas of the residence halls. In the event many cases are diagnosed, those who could safely leave the campus would be encouraged to do so, thereby increasing our capacity to assist others who are unable to travel.

    The university is coordinating closely with county public health agencies and the Washington State Department of Health on its response, including contingency planning, and will continue to do so.

Online/Hybrid Course Information

  • Why was my child's course changed to remote status?

    We are decreasing the number of students who are physically on campus due to safety concerns related to COVID-19. The new course offerings, which include additional online courses, are designed to allow for safe physical distancing and to minimize risk to both students and faculty who are in high-risk categories.

  • Are there resources available for first-time online students?

    Yes. The CWU Multimodal Learning Center and CWU Technology Services will be available to help students prepare for online-based curriculum. Individual departments may also offer training sessions, advising opportunities, and other resources to help students transition to a less-traditional learning platform.

    CWU plans to make as many resources available as possible so students can adjust to an online educational setting.

  • Why aren’t all CWU courses being offered in person?

    For the safety of our students and faculty, CWU will limit the number of in-person courses for fall quarter. While we are decreasing in-person courses, we are working to provide as many learning options as possible, including In-Person, Online, Hybrid (any combination of In-Person and Online) and Real-Time Online.

  • How will I know if my child’s course has been switched to a different modality?

    Registrar Services will continue to update the course schedule throughout the summer. We will make these changes on a rolling basis as needed, so please check your fall 2020 class schedule on MyCWU periodically. 

  • Will there be more changes to my child’s course schedule?

    Possibly. CWU will need to make some adjustments to courses in order to increase physical distancing, so we recommend that students check MyCWU periodically to find out if class times or modality have changed. Departments will also notify students of any time changes via email. 

Student Resources

  • Which resources are available on the CWU-Ellensburg campus?

    Most CWU buildings are now closed to the public, but campus housing and dining services remain available to students who continue to reside here. The Student Health and Counseling also remain open for services. Information specific to dining will be posted on the website.

  • How does this impact academic advising, career advising, and tutoring?

    All three services are still being offered. The only difference from previous quarters is that all appointments with university faculty and staff — including academic advisors, career counselors, and tutors — must be conducted remotely, using the Zoom online meeting platform.

    Tutoring and academic coaching are available via Zoom, and students can self-schedule by visiting this website. We have expanded hours across all tutoring offerings to meet needs, and academic coaches are ready to work with any student who wants to learn more about online study strategies. You can easily connect with us by clicking on the "Tutoring" link on the left hand menu of your Canvas course, or by visiting this website.

  • How will the changes affect internships and student teaching?

    All internships sponsored by CWU whether required or elective, paid or unpaid, on-campus or off-campus, should be conducted in remote modalities, substituted for, extended (IP grade), or postponed. In-person internship activities will be permitted only upon approval by the college dean. In the case of required internships that cannot be completed remotely, sponsoring departments will develop appropriate substitutions, including project- or research-based independent studies.  

    If you need more information, visit the Career Services website or email

  • How will this situation affect financial aid?

    Financial aid packages for virtual and online classes remain the same as they would have been for in-person instruction. For financial aid questions, email the Financial Aid Office at Students can also book a phone appointment with a counselor at the Financial Aid department’s website

    For questions regarding a student’s account, including charges, billing, and refunds, contact Student Accounts via email at or Your student ID will be required for all communication and messages.

  • My student wishes to get tested for COVID-19. What should they do?

    If a student is experiencing respiratory symptoms, please do not go to a health care provider before calling first. Please follow the directions in the “What do I do if I feel sick?” question if you are ill.

  • What if my child runs out of food?

    The community has a number of resources available if you experience food insecurity. For additional resources, please see the Kittitas County Community Resources Guide. 

    FISH Community Food Bank
    804 Elmview Road, Ellensburg
    • Mon., Tues. 2:30 p.m. – 5 p.m.; Wed., Thurs. 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.; Fri. 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.; Closed Sat. & Sun.
    • Clients are not admitted to browse the pantry, but will receive groceries at a “pass through” location marked for distribution. Grocery distribution will be prepackaged. More information is available at
    • Anyone who is sick should not go to the pantry, but you can call 509-925-5990 to receive instructions about how to acquire food.

    • Contact information available at

    Basic Food benefits
    • Students can apply online or by phone at (877) 501-2233. A decision tree is located here to help determine eligibility.

    • Call 2-1-1 or visit to connect to a host of community resources (food, financial services, homelessness to rent assistance).

    Please note:
    PUSH pantries located in academic buildings will not be accessible while staff are working remotely. Contact PUSH staff at 509-963-1585 if you have questions or are looking for support in accessing any resources listed above, or contact the CWU Office of Case Management at 509-963-1515.

General Information

  • Is CWU restricting travel to other countries or locations?

    On March 19, the U.S. Department of State issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory: Do Not Travel, and on April 20, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Global Level 3 Travel Health Warning for COVID-19, an upgrade of its previous alert. Moreover, the U.S. and countries around the world continue to maintain an array of travel restrictions, stay-in-place orders, and other measures to stem continued transmission. These include cessation of non-emergency passport processing, cessation of visa processing, and continued denial of entry. Therefore, CWU has canceled all education abroad programs and university-related international student travel until Winter Quarter 2021, at the earliest.

    The university administration and Office of International Studies and Programs continue to monitor developments and will evaluate the viability of further terms at a later date. Students should not make any non-refundable payments at the moment; CWU will not reimburse students for such expenses in the event of cancelation.

    Any member of the CWU community who chooses to disregard university recommendations for international travel must understand they will do so at their own risk and may face difficulties in return travel to the U.S. and/or possible restricted access to the CWU campus.

  • What if I wish to travel internationally on non-CWU-sponsored trips?

    If your plans include traveling, particularly internationally, please understand you will do so at your own risk and may face difficulties in return travel to the U.S. and/or possible restricted access to the CWU campus.

    Depending on your destination, you may have to make difficult decisions to change or even cancel plans to ensure your own well-being and timely return to campus.

    In many countries, there may be new entry and exit control measures and even quarantines implemented with very little notice during the coming weeks. These actions could severely impact your plans and/or delay your return home or your ability to return to campus once you are back in the state.

    Please carefully weigh the risks and benefits of any international travel and view U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention information on COVID-19 to learn more.

  • Is there information available about any community members being screened for COVID-19?

    To protect their privacy, CWU legally is not able to release personal information about any students or University community members who are being monitored or tested for novel coronavirus, including their location.

    Should any CWU community member be diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, the relevant local health department and CWU would initiate appropriate protocols to protect the health of anyone deemed to be at risk.

  • How is CWU following up with people who were in contact with anyone who is being tested?

    Local health departments closely monitor people who are at potential risk and have protocols for contacting individuals who may have been in close contact with CWU community members being screened for the novel coronavirus, such as roommates.

    Should any CWU community member be diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, the relevant local health department and CWU would initiate appropriate protocols to protect the health of anyone deemed to be at risk.

  • Are there any resources for combating stigmatization, bias and xenophobia related to the coronavirus?

    Many of us are concerned about what the people in our communities may be experiencing, including possible stigmatization or discrimination based on racial bias or appearances. Please help others understand that the risk of coronavirus is not at all connected with race, ethnicity or nationality.

    Stigma doesn’t fight the illness and will hurt innocent people, but sharing accurate information during a time of heightened concern is one of the best things we can do to keep rumor and misinformation from spreading. Public Health — Seattle & King County has compiled resources for combating stigmatization, bias and xenophobia that can be used to prevent and respond to incidents of discrimination. If you know of incidents of bias related to the novel coronavirus, please notify the CWU Diversity and Equity Center.

  • Who should students contact if they have a personal situation not covered by the previous questions?

    Students should talk to a professor, lecturer or academic adviser in their department if they have questions regarding coursework, online class meeting times, attendance, assignment due dates, testing procedures, tutoring opportunities, and related concerns. They should also contact the appropriate department to ask department-related questions.