COVID-19 Parent FAQs
2020 Fall Quarter Information
What is the plan for fall quarter? Will students return to campus?
CWU's plan is to bring students back for an accelerated fall quarter that will begin September 9 and end November 24. 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.
How will classes be offered fall quarter?
Faculty will 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. These choices are currently being recorded to be available when students register for classes. New and returning students are encouraged to develop a schedule that conforms to their learning style and personal needs.
What effort will be taken to keep campus safe 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 25.
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.
Masking and other Physical Protections
Everyone will be required to wear masks when physical distancing is not possible. This rule applies to all employees and students, 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 so desires.
CWU will provide cloth face masks 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 masks be required? If so, what happens if they aren’t worn?
Yes. When social distancing is not possible, the use of masks will be required. This rule applies to all employees and students, unless they are unable to do so because of a health-related reason. This also will apply inside and outside of buildings.
Students who enter classrooms or gathering places without masks or remove them after entering the classroom will be asked to mask immediately or leave.
How will classes be offered summer quarter?
Summer courses be offered virtually and there will be no conferences or camps at CWU during this period.
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.
If this outbreak continues, 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.
Can students get out of their housing and dining contracts?
The university will not charge students for early termination, and all spring quarter housing and dining expenditures were refunded if the student indicated by March 20 that they were not on campus at that time. Credits to student accounts were posted in early April. More information can be found on the Housing and Residence Life website, cwu.edu/housing, or the Dining Services website, cwu.edu/dining.
My student still has personal property in their residence hall/apartment that I would like to retrieve. What can we do?
If you have property in your residence hall room or apartment, your property will stay in place in the state you left it. Locks have been changed to restrict access until the county and statewide orders lifts.
Due to the statewide and county order, we are not able to allow individuals to return to campus and pick up personal property. If you believe you have an emergent need for an item in your space—for example, medications you are not able to obtain a replacement prescription—please contact Housing and Residence life at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will consider requests on a case-by-case basis, and retrieve the item with your written permission. In certain cases, we may be able to ship the item to you.
Why are the residence halls still open if CWU employees are working from home?
The Kittitas County Public Health Department has issued a Public Health Order directing CWU to strongly encourage students, “whether they live on or off campus, to stay in place." If students have returned to their permanent residence, they should remain there and plan to take all of their spring quarter classes online. It is vital that all residents respect this Public Health Order and stay in place to help contain the virus that is spreading quickly everywhere.
Students, per the county Public Health Director’s warning, should remain where they are and attend spring quarter virtually:
• If you are in Ellensburg, you are expected to stay in place.
• If you are currently away from the CWU-Ellensburg campus, you are expected to stay in place.
It is important to note that many CWU students still need a place to live and have nowhere else to go at the present time. The university feels a responsibility to accommodate these students because not everyone has a family home to return to. Plus, a majority of our international students cannot return to their home countries due to travel restrictions around the world. Following state-mandated guidelines, CWU Dining Services is providing food-to-go options.
Will CWU be hosting a Commencement ceremony this year?
No. The university canceled its June ceremony last month and has decided not to reschedule Commencement 2020 for this fall.
Why did the university decide to cancel Commencement?
As the public health situation has deteriorated, CWU determined that a full cancellation of Commencement 2020 was the only responsible decision to make. The safety of our students, staff, and community is our top priority, and we believe that bringing so many people close together — even six months from now — would present too much of a risk.
What options are available for graduates?
CWU still plans to celebrate the achievements of our graduates by offering three options:
1. All 2019-20 graduates will be invited to participate in the 2021 Commencement exercises next June.
2. Students who do not wish to participate next year will receive their diploma cover, a copy of the Commencement book and any special honors in a package delivered to their home. (In the coming weeks, Commencement officials will be sending out a survey to complete regarding each graduate’s anticipated decision.)
3. We will hold a virtual Commencement address to recognize the class of 2020 on Saturday, June 13, 2020. Details are still being finalized and will be available soon.
Will my student still graduate?
Yes! Canceling commencement affects only the ceremony and will not impact CWU students’ graduation status or the completion of their degrees.
How does my student receive a refund for Commencement regalia?
Due to the cancellation of this year’s ceremonies, all regalia purchases may be returned for a full refund. Email email@example.com if you would like to cancel or return your order. However, grad fees go toward the processing, printing, and mailing of diplomas, not toward the commencement ceremonies, so those fees are non-refundable.
Will my student’s graduation fee be refunded?
No. Grad fees go toward the processing, printing, and mailing of diplomas, not toward the commencement ceremonies, so this fee is non-refundable.
Where can I learn more about future plans for Commencement?
Please visit the Commencement website if you have questions or need additional support.
What is CWU doing for spring quarter?
Spring quarter 2020 is continuing as planned, but the university has moved all of its academic operations online. Science labs and other classes that cannot meet online must make other arrangements, and departments are currently reviewing how that process will work. Deans and department chairs will continue to work with faculty and with our multi-modal staff to help make the transition to online instruction.
The spring quarter began April 8 and runs through June 8. Final examination week will be June 9-12. The spring quarter changes apply to CWU’s main campus in Ellensburg and eight university centers and sites around the state. Classes, academic advising, and other educational activities will also be affected. Technology fees for online courses will be waived for the spring quarter.
What do these changes mean for classes that can’t be completed online?
The university has moved all of its academic operations online. Science labs and other classes that cannot meet online must make other arrangements, and departments are currently reviewing how that process will work. Deans and department chairs will continue to work with faculty and with our multi-modal staff to help make the transition to online instruction.
How long will classes be online?
CWU classes will be held online at least through the spring quarter 2020. Future decisions about summer and fall 2020 classes will be made at a later date as new information becomes available.
Because this is a rapidly changing situation and we are learning more every day about COVID-19 and how it is transmitted, the CWU community needs to prepare for a range of possibilities, from suspending some operations, to moving classes online, to a full suspension of classes.
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. Once we can safely offer in-person classes again, we will communicate that decision to our students.
Will my student still be able to graduate on time?
The university plans to meet the curricular needs of seniors scheduled to complete all graduation requirements this spring to assure them of an on-time graduation, and every attempt will be made to protect the spring quarter schedules of registered students.
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.
Faculty and staff currently are developing strategies to prepare for these changes, and CWU plans to make as many resources available as possible so students can adjust to an online educational setting.
What does this mean for students with disabilities?
Exceptions related to disability accommodations will be considered on a case-by-case basis, through recommendation by the department chair and approval by the dean of the college. Approved exceptions will be conveyed to students, posted on individual departmental and college websites, reviewed daily, and adjusted as necessary.
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. Dining will be available in a food-to-go style, per the health directive. Information specific to dining will be posted on the website.
Spring quarter began online only on April 8. There will be no face-to-face instruction, including labs, through spring quarter. Deans and department chairs will continue to work with faculty and with our multi-modal staff to help make the transition to online instruction.
My student wishes to get tested for COVID-19. Where should he or she go?
Only health care providers can request a test for the virus that causes COVID-19 and those requests must be approved by a county or state public health office. Approvals are based on symptoms and on risk factors such as your travel history or exposure to individuals known to have the disease. For this reason, walk-in testing is not available at any health care facility in the region, including the Student Medical Center.
If you are 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 kvfish.org.
• 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 apoyofoodbank.org.
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 wa211.org to connect to a host of community resources (food, financial services, homelessness to rent assistance).
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.
How will this affect financial aid?
Financial aid packages for virtual and online classes remain the same as they would have been for in-person instruction. Funds will disburse according to the revised spring quarter 2020 calendar. For financial aid questions, email the Financial Aid Office or call 509-963-1611. Students can also book a phone appointment with a counselor here. For questions regarding a student’s account, including charges, billing, and refunds, email Student Accounts or call 509-963-3546. Please include your student ID with all communication and messages.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.