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COVID-19 Student FAQs

Welcome Back Testing 2021

Winter Quarter Safety Protocols

  • Has CWU changed its testing protocols for winter quarter?

    Yes. The university will be offering more robust prevalence testing protocols during the winter quarter. A sample of the student population will be tested each week (150-200 students) in a way that allows local health professionals to monitor—and respond to—any potential spread of the virus in the community. Students will be notified via email if they have been selected to randomly test and where they should go.

  • What is the university doing to ensure people who visit campus are not infected?

    All university faculty, staff, and students are required to complete the online attestation form located on MyCWU. The new attestation form for winter quarter will be similar to the form required at the start of the 2020 fall quarter. Both employees and students must complete the form by January 15. A Daily Health Check, also on MyCWU, must be completed by all students and employees on the days they plan to visit campus.

  • 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.

    Health Attestation
    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 a vaccine is available, 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, and 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. 

    Client-facing Spaces
    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.

    Wildcat Influencers
    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.

  • Are face coverings required? What happens if they aren’t worn?

    Yes. Everyone on campus is required to wear face coverings. Face coverings will be provided for all faculty, staff, and students. If you received a single-layer black mask in August, you may pick up new two-layer black face mask by visiting the SURC Information Desk. Clear face shields are also available by contacting Human Resources. Employees, students, and visitors can now pick up their face coverings at the SURC Information Desk. Individuals are also welcome to bring their own face coverings when coming to campus. 

    If you seek an exemption, see the question below: “Can I get an exemption from having to wear a face covering due to a medical condition?"

    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. If a student refuses to wear a face covering and will not leave the classroom, the professor will dismiss the class and submit a Student of Concern Report online to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities (SRR). SRR will contact the student and discuss the noncompliant behavior before the student will be allowed to return to the classroom.

     CWU can apply the following Washington Administrative Code that can address noncompliant student and employee behavior:

    • WAC 106-125-020 (5) Failure to Comply
    • WAC 106-125-020 (15) University Policy Violation
    • WAC 106-125-020 (12) Safety Violations
    • CWUP 2-40-145 Employee Face Covering
  • Can I 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 classes online or work remotely. 

    Students should contact Disability Services at

    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.

  • Is there a ‘target number’ of cases that will be used as a threshold for the university to take further action?

    No. The planned COVID-19 screenings are considered informational, intended to create a “baseline” for the university to start the year. Any positive tests will continue to be managed on an individual basis by health officials from CWU and KCPHD.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

Winter 2021 Schedule/Academics

  • How are classes being offered on the Ellensburg campus?

    Most winter quarter classes at CWU will be offered primarily online, but there are some in-person and hybrid courses.

    During the accelerated fall quarter on the Ellensburg campus, about 25 percent of courses had a face-to-face component and 75 percent were fully online. Faculty were allowed to 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 winter classes online.

  • 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 have classrooms been 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 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

  • Is there a difference between hybrid and online courses? 

    Yes. Traditional online courses offer students the flexibility to complete assignments and exams at their own pace by the assigned due date. Hybrid courses offer a mix between some face-to-face instruction and some online instruction.  

  • Do remote and online courses have designated meeting times?

    Online courses do not have specific meeting times, but ITV/Satellite/Teleclass courses do.

    Online courses allow students to log in at their convenience to listen to lectures and complete assignments by the assigned due dates. Students taking ITV courses should carefully review the course syllabus to determine whether or not the instructor will expect them to log in at the meeting time listed on MyCWU. For more information, visit Multimodal Learning or email

  • How does the Emergency Pass/Fail (EP/EF) option work? 

    For the 2021 winter quarter, undergraduate students are allowed to convert their letter grades to EP/EF on a course-by-course basis. Under the EP/EF system, all grades of a C- or better (at the undergraduate level) will convert to an EP, which will still count toward degree requirements. The last date to submit the form is March 26 11:59 p.m.

    View the EP/EF Info Guide for additional information Consult your advisor to determine if this is the best option for your academic goals.

  • Where can I learn more about the EP/EF grading option? 

    See the online catalog for more information.


  • Which facilities are open on the CWU-Ellensburg campus?

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

  • Is the Student Union & Recreation Center (SURC) open?

    The SURC is only accessible at the main entrances by CWU students, staff, and faculty. Community members who wish to access the campus store (Wildcat Shop) must do so through the external southeast entrance near the loading dock during business hours.

  • Will events still take place on campus?

    Yes. While things might look a bit different, CWU is committed to offering an array of programs and activities for students this fall with the flexibility to respond to changing conditions as needed, while also adhering to health department requirements..

    Events and activities will be promoted in various ways, including posters, digital screens, social media, the university event calendar, announcements, and the CWU Connect  app. To stay current, visit the CWU Event Calendar, download the CWU Connect app from the app store (free), and follow @cwuhype, @CWUwildcats, and other CWU department social media accounts.

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. 

  • What if a professor tests positive for COVID-19?

    Professors who test positive for the virus will be required to isolate for 14 days. Treatment will be provided by the individual’s personal physician or other self-selected health provider. Depending upon timing and other situational issues, the professor’s classes will continue remotely or revert from in-person to remote. Those classes may be temporarily overseen by another professor, or they may be postponed to a future academic quarter.

  • How will six feet of physical distancing be managed across campus and as students enter and leave buildings and classrooms?

    Strategies include floor stickers, signage, videos, social media, spacing technologies, furniture placement (and creative queue arrangement), location, and regular reminders about physical distancing. Efforts are underway to modify furniture configuration in learning spaces to maintain six feet of physical distancing, and departments also are submitting requests to the campus facilities team to reconfigure office spaces to ensure proper distancing.

  • 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.

  • How will CWU foster compliance with health and safety protocols?

    All syllabi will contain a message about COVID-19 and safety protocols. CWU is creating signage, floor decals, a toolkit, videos, and other materials to disseminate information, guide behavior, promote compliance, and build community. Student, staff, and faculty Influencers for a safe campus are being identified and will undergo training before fall quarter begins. If you are interested in becoming an Influencer, email Marissa Howat at

  • 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 I do if I find out a fellow student or instructor is suspected of having, or is diagnosed with, 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 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 I request information services?

    Although Samuelson Hall is closed, the Service Desk staff is working remotely. Any technology pickup/drop off or in-person assistance will need to be scheduled to take place outside of Bouillon Hall. Bouillon is locked, along with all other academic facilities, so please continue to contact the Service Desk to coordinate any hardware- or software-related support at 509-963-2001 or

  • How can I 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:

    Student Counseling
    • 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. All students are required to call first to make an appointment and use the patient portal
    • We no longer offer web booking for appointments. Please call Student Health Services at 509-963-188 to make an appointment. Prior to your first visit at SHS, you must visit the patient portal (link is external) to complete the required patient registration forms. Failure to do so may result in your appointment being rescheduled.

  • What can I do if I am in need of food assistance?

    The community has a number of resources available if you experience food insecurity. For more information, please refer to 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

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

    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. 

    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.

  • 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 spring quarter 2021.  

    While both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Department of State (DOS) have removed their previous global advisories, they maintain high-level, destination-specific travel advisories due to COVID-19 risk. The CDC maintains Level 3 Travel Health Warnings (Avoid Nonessential Travel)—its highest level of Travel Notice—for the majority of the world and continues to recommend US colleges and universities suspend student international travel programs. Similarly, the DOS maintains at least Level 3 Travel Advisories (Reconsider Travel)—the second highest level of Travel Advisory—for most of the world, specifically citing COVID-19. 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. 

    The university's 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.

    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 does 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, e-mail 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.

  • 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 I contact if I 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-specific questions.