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COVID-19 Student FAQs

Vaccine Eligibility + On-Campus Clinics

  • Are CWU students eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine?

    According to the state Department of Health, all Washingtonians 16 years and older are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as of April 15.

    CWU will be hosting two on-campus vaccination clinics April 20 and 27 in the SURC ballroom. The April 20 signups are full (updated April 19). Appointments also can be made through the Kittitas County Public Health Department.

  • Is CWU offering COVID-19 vaccinations on campus this spring?

    Yes. CWU has been approved by the state Department of Health to administer the vaccine on campus, starting with a clinic on April 13. Two more clinics are taking place April 20 and 27.

    Anyone eligible to be vaccinated for COVID-19 also can make an appointment with the Kittitas County Public Health Department. Visit the website to schedule a time.

  • Are there advantages to any of the three vaccines?

    The primary difference is that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses one month apart, while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is administered in a single dose. But, according to the Kittitas County Public Health Department, all three vaccines currently approved by the FDA have been proven highly effective in fighting the virus that causes COVID-19.

  • Can people choose which COVID-19 vaccine they want to receive?

    Yes. Kittitas County Public Health identifies which vaccine is available at which clinic. This allows people signing up for vaccination appointments online to choose the vaccine they receive: Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson.

  • Will proof of vaccination be required for students or employees before returning to campus?

    No, but CWU is strongly encouraging all students, faculty, and staff to become vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as they are eligible. The more people who have been vaccinated, the better chance of having a more traditional start to the 2021 fall quarter.

Spring/Summer 2021 Information

  • What will spring quarter instruction look like?

    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.

  • Is the Emergency Pass/Fail grading system still in place for spring quarter?

    Yes. Through the end of spring quarter 2021, 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. More information is available here.  

  • Will the health attestation form and daily health checks be required for spring quarter?

    Yes. Students and employees will need 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, but no formal decision has been made.

  • How will CWU ensure 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.

  • 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. 

  • What are the summer 2021 guidelines for research activities?

    CWU researchers should plan to follow the Mitigating Impacts to Research Activities Due to COVID-19 through summer 2021.

  • 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. 

Fall Quarter 2021 Planning

2021 Safety Protocols

  • 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 spring quarter will be similar to the form required at the start of the 2020 fall quarter and 2021 winter quarter. Both employees and students must complete the form . 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.

    Distancing
    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 ds@cwu.edu

    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

2021 Schedule/Academics

Operations

  • 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 Marissa.Howat@cwu.edu

  • 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

Resources

  • 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 servicedesk@cwu.edu.

  • 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 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.


    APOYO
    • 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.


    2-1-1
    • Call 2-1-1 or visit wa211.org 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?

    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 U.S. 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.

    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 financialaid@cwu.edu. 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 studentaccounts@cwu.edu 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 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.