COVID-19 Parent FAQs
Spring/Summer 2021 Information
How is spring quarter instruction being offered?
Operations on the Ellensburg campus during spring quarter will be similar to winter quarter, with most classes taking place online and about 25% in a hybrid/in-person modality. Because a large number of faculty and staff are continuing to work remotely this spring, access to campus buildings and some student services will be limited. In addition, safety protocols such as physical distancing and wearing face coverings will be in place until further notice.
How is CWU ensuring campus safety this spring?
Student Health Services (SHS) will continue its weekly surveillance testing of students — a program that was implemented during winter quarter in order to increase the chances of catching and containing any positives cases before they became an outbreak.
In addition, CWU has been doing — and will continue to do — its case investigation and contact tracing efforts for all CWU students during spring quarter. There is a dedicated team working every day in partnership with Kittitas County Public Health Department to ensure the safety of the campus community.
Are Daily Health Checks required for spring quarter?
Yes. Students and employees were required to complete the quarterly attestation at the beginning of spring quarter. CWU also will continue to require students and employees to verify their current health status prior to visiting campus. This policy may also continue this summer and fall.
How will summer quarter classes be offered?
Most classes will be offered online, which has been standard for previous summer quarters at CWU. For those coming to campus, safety protocols such as physical distancing and wearing face coverings will still be in effect.
Will there be camps or conferences this summer?
No. Following the COVID-19 safety guidelines issued by the governor’s office, CWU will forego its usual summer programming. Some virtual events will still be offered.
Will there be new student orientations?
Yes, but the format is still being developed. The university is considering a combination of in-person and virtual orientation events by splitting participants into smaller groups. A formal decision about orientation events is expected in mid-April.
When will CWU staff return to work on campus?
CWU hopes to welcome faculty and staff back to campus in a graduated manner over the summer. Housing staff, Dining staff, and other support teams will be returning to support the student-athletes returning to campus August 1. The plans for all employees returning to work are under development.
Will face coverings be required on campus during summer and fall?
Yes. The CWU face covering policy will remain in effect for all indoor and outdoor spaces on campus until further notice. The university is working closely with public health officials to determine when it is safe to relax current COVID-19 safety policies.
Will face coverings be required indoors and outdoors for vaccinated people?
Yes. Face coverings will be required in indoor and outdoor spaces (except private offices) for everyone who comes to campus this summer and fall.
Fall Quarter 2021 Planning
When is the fall quarter scheduled to begin?
CWU will follow a typical academic calendar that begins September 22 and ends December 10.
How will fall quarter classes be offered on the Ellensburg campus?
The university plans to offer a normal, pre-pandemic mix of remote, hybrid, and face-to-face classes. In-person classrooms will return to normal spacing requirements, and more online learning opportunities will be available.
How will classes be offered at the university sites and centers?
CWU continues to work with our eight university centers and sites — and our community college hosts — to support their planning for this fall. As has been the case throughout the past year, CWU will follow the guidelines outlined by our host institutions.
How many students will be allowed to live on campus?
The residence halls are expected to open at normal capacity, and CWU is hoping to see them fully occupied for fall quarter.
Will face coverings be required?
Most likely. CWU must continue to do its part to limit the spread of COVID-19, and face coverings are one of the best ways we can protect ourselves and others until the virus has been fully contained.
Will a COVID-19 vaccination be required to be on campus?
Vaccines will not be required. However, all employees and students will be highly encouraged to get vaccinated (unless they are unable to receive it) since the more people who are vaccinated, the more likely we will be able to have employees return to the Ellensburg campus.
Where can I find more information about Fall 2021?
For the latest about the Fall 2021 reopening plans, visit cwuwildcat.sharepoint.com/sites/commons/cwutogether.
2021 Safety Protocols
What efforts are being made to keep campus safe?
The following practices currently apply to the Ellensburg campus and all university centers and teaching sites:
Reduced Density on Campus
The number of staff, faculty, and students on Ellensburg’s campus was reduced in order to limit the risk of spreading COVID-19. The number of students living on campus this fall was limited to 1,600 (normally 4,000); more courses were offered online; and a majority of faculty and staff members continued to work remotely.
All students and employees will be required to complete a COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Compliance form at the beginning of the quarter. This form is available on MyCWU and will help ensure students and employees understand the health risks of COVID-19 as well as their roles and responsibilities in mitigating those risks for themselves and others.
Daily Health Check
CWU has developed an online tool that will allow employees and students to monitor their potential COVID-19 symptoms on a daily basis. This tool is located in MyCWU and must be completed each day, prior to coming to campus. If you are sick, you must stay home.
Until the vaccine is widely distributed, physical distancing is a crucial factor in reducing the spread of COVID-19. The best distancing practice is to remain at least six feet apart from one another. The use of face coverings is also required. These rules will apply inside and outside of buildings. In addition, learning spaces and offices spaces are being reconfigured to accommodate six feet of physical distancing. Signage is being placed throughout campus to encourage traffic flows and keep people properly spaced apart inside and outside of buildings.
Many spaces on campus involve face-to-face service, such as dining, stores, and advising/counseling. In addition to using online service options, the spaces will be reconfigured in ways modeled after retail stores (i.e., using protective barriers).
Face Coverings and Other Physical Protections
Everyone who comes on campus will be required to wear face coverings. This rule applies to all employees, students, visitors, 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. The Face Covering Policy, CWUP 2-40-145, is available online.
CWU will provide cloth face coverings to all students and employees. Alternative face coverings (hoods, shields, face guards) will also be made available to employees whose positions require additional protection, as well as to students and staff, upon request.
Sanitizing and Washing
The university will continue to emphasize the sanitization of shared spaces and the importance of regular handwashing and sanitizing. CWU’s custodial staff will clean all classrooms, labs, and studios at least once daily, and they will sanitize public washrooms twice a day. Sanitizing wipes will be available in all teaching and work areas so spaces can be cleaned between uses. Hand sanitizing stations will be available throughout the university facilities.
The Wildcat Influencer Initiative aims to positively influence and normalize behavioral change in the CWU community to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This program seeks to educate and empower student, faculty, and staff leaders by sharing up-to-date public health information, best health practices, and medical and counseling resources. It also serves as a way to model acceptable behaviors to peers and others in the CWU community.
Cooperation and Culture
The university will take responsibility for implementing 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 facial coverings, and frequently washing our hands.
Can my child get an exemption from having to wear a face covering due to my medical condition?
Yes. CWU faculty, staff and students may request a medical or health risk accommodation regarding face coverings. Determination of the accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis through an interactive process. An option for someone unable to tolerate a face covering may include attending online classes or working remotely.
Students should contact Disability Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
People who have difficulty communicating due to face coverings can inquire about the availability of clear masks.
Accommodations that pose a threat to the health or safety of other people are not appropriate. An accommodation may not include allowing someone to not wear a face covering where it is required.
Where can I find updates about the spread of COVID-19 in our area?
Students and employees are encouraged to update their local address information in MyCWU so they can receive critical health information regarding COVID-19. CWU also recommends downloading the Washington State Department of Health’s new WA Notify (Washington Exposure Notification) app on their smartphones. The app alerts users if they may have been exposed to the virus, and serves as another tool for protecting yourself and others.
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. Information regarding COVID cases and s
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.
How many students were in a typical in-person classroom?
The average number of students enrolled in in-person classes this fall was approximately 30-35. Some classes, such as science labs, may have smaller numbers. Six feet of physical distancing will apply inside classrooms that have been reconfigured.
How are classrooms being configured to ensure physical distancing?
All of the classroom spaces being used have been reconfigured to ensure students sit six feet apart. Enrollments in classes have been adjusted, as necessary, based on the number of seats available in the reconfigured classrooms.
How are classes being offered at the university centers and sites?
Instruction at the eight university centers and sites is being offered entirely online. For more information about the sites and centers, visit the University Centers web page.
How does this situation affect 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 an online meeting platform, such as Zoom.
Tutoring and academic coaching are available via Zoom, and students can self-schedule by visiting tutortrac.cwu.edu/. 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 techniques. Students can easily connect with us by clicking on the "Tutoring" link on the left-hand menu of their Canvas course, or by visiting cwu.edu/academic-success/tutoring-services.
What additional technology is available and what steps are needed to get access?
About 200 laptops will be made available for loan to students, as needed. We encourage students to bring laptops with them to campus whenever possible. However, if you need a laptop for fall quarter, please complete the Equipment Checkout form. Supplies are limited, and devices are checked out on a first-come, first-served basis.
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 this new 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.
How can my student get help from the Student Counseling and Medical Center?
The following measures have been put in place to ensure, whenever possible, continuity of care and the protection of student and staff health:
• Services will now be offered via a teletherapy model, meaning that most services will be provided remotely, even if you live in Ellensburg.
• Appointments for existing clients have been converted to teletherapy appointments unless you have made specific other arrangements with your counselor.
• Students who were on the wait list for any service will be contacted by a staff member with specific instructions about how to seek additional services.
• If you have never requested Student Counseling services before, call the front office at 509-963-1391. The staff will help you set up a teletherapy or in-person appointment.
• If you are in crisis and need support, call 509-963-1391 and the staff will help you set up a teletherapy or in-person appointment.
• Students also can access crisis support at any time from any location by calling 1-800-273-8255 or texting “HOME” to 741741. A complete list of crisis resources is available on the website.
• The Student Counseling building is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. You are welcome to come in if you are unable to call us and need to request services.
Student Medical Services
• The Student Counseling and Medical Services building is open. You are welcome to come here if you are unable to call and need to request services. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• We will no longer offer web booking for appointments. Students must call and be screened prior to making an appointment. The Student Medical Services number is 509-963-1881.
What if my child needs food assistance?
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.
Health & Safety
What are the primary health and safety protocols in place on campus?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to encourage physical distancing, frequent handwashing, wearing face coverings, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces. These preventive measures are expected to continue throughout the coming academic year, even if Kittitas County enters phase 4 of the state’s Safe Start plan before commencement 2021.
Are students required to monitor their own health?
Yes. All members of the CWU community must monitor their own health. Students, faculty, and staff who are coming to campus will be required to log into their MyCWU account daily to participate in a Self-Health Check. The Health Check is a short questionnaire that asks if the student or employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, is under quarantine, or is awaiting COVID test results. Once the questionnaire is complete, the student/employee will be instructed to come to campus, stay home and await their test results, or stay home and contact their health care provider about their symptoms.
What happens if numerous students, faculty, or staff start testing positive for COVID-19?
The university has put together a COVID Task Force that is updating and testing its plans to address positive cases on campus. If there is an outbreak on campus, CWU will work with public health officials to determine the best way to proceed. Quarantine and isolation protocols will be followed, and CWU will work with the Kittitas Department of Public Health on contact-tracing efforts. If there is a widespread outbreak, classes may be suspended or the campus may be closed entirely to ensure the safety of everyone in the community.
How often will classrooms and computer labs be cleaned and sanitized?
Classrooms and computer labs will be cleaned twice a day. In addition, hand-sanitizing stations will be located throughout campus for faculty, staff, students, and visitors.
What provisions are in place regarding contact tracing, isolation, and quarantine?
Currently, the Kittitas County Public Health Department is handling CWU student and employee tracing. CWU has identified isolation/quarantine spaces for 50 individuals and has processes in place to provide medical attention and food for those in isolation.
What should my student do if he/she finds out a fellow student or instructor is suspected of having COVID-19?
All confirmed diagnosed cases of COVID-19 are reported to the patient and the patient’s county public health department. If the student, faculty, or staff member is currently employed at CWU or attending classes, Kittitas County Public Health will contact Central’s liaison to begin contact tracing. Any individuals believed to have been exposed to the patient will be contacted by the public health department and provided instructions.
Speculation and suspected cases will not be addressed. COVID cases are only considered official once a confirmed diagnosis has been made and verified by Kittitas County Public Health.
Daily Health Checks & Attestation
What is the purpose of the health check form?
The self-health check form is a tool meant to help individuals get into the habit of monitoring their own symptoms on a daily basis. In addition, it can provide guidance as to whether or not an individual should (or should not) come to a CWU campus that day.
Which university personnel has access to the information provided on the daily health checks?
All information will be kept confidential. Only the dean for Student Success, associate dean of Health & Wellness, medical director of Student Health Services, and the director of Human Resources will have access to information provided in the daily health checks.
What happens if someone doesn’t follow the behaviors outlined in the attestation form?
We are asking employees and students to adopt a new set of norms and behaviors as a result of COVID-19. CWU is strongly encouraging behavioral habits that everyone wear a face covering and maintain physical distancing. Our jobs, our collective success both in the classroom and the workplace, and our excellence as an institution is dependent upon the health of all, especially our students. Our goal is to sustain face-to-face interactions without spreading the virus.
Complete a Behavior of Concern to alert others about needed interventions. Find a compassionate way to provide guidance towards compliance with our prescribed behaviors.
Are the attestation and health check forms legal documents?
Neither the attestation nor the health check forms are legal documents or waivers. They are both tools to help remind employees and students about the behaviors we all need to follow in order to keep CWU as safe as possible.
Is CWU restricting travel to other countries or locations?
CWU has suspended all education abroad programs and university-related international travel by students through the end of calendar year 2021.
The majority of the world remains under a Level 3: High Risk or Level 4: Very High Risk CDC COVID-19 Travel Health Notice, as well as a Level 3: Reconsider Travel or Level 4: Do Not Travel US Department of State Travel Advisory citing COVID-19 risk. Moreover, the CDC has maintained its specific recommendation for Higher Education Institutions to defer international travel programs.
Additionally, there continues to exist a patchwork of entry restrictions, challenges in obtaining visas, quarantine requirements, restrictions on local mobility in host locations, dramatically reduced air traffic volume and the potential complications returning the US. Several countries have strict border closures that prevent students’ entry, and the timeline for reopening remains unknown.
The university's administration and Office of International Studies and Programs expect 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.
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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or cwu.edu/student-accounts/contact-us. Your student ID will be required for all communication and messages.
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.