Welcome to Fall 2020

It’s no understatement to say that the fall 2020 quarter will be unlike any other start to an academic year. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a prolonged and serious impact on how we teach and learn.

Three guiding principles have informed our decision-making: safeguarding our community; protecting the continuity and quality of the educational experience of our students, and protecting the health of the institution.

As we begin the process of gradually reopening our campus, we are adopting new ways of doing things that are designed to keep our students, faculty, staff, and visitors as safe as possible. Among those new policies and procedures: wear face coverings when on campus; maintain 6 feet of physical distancing at all times; and wash your hands frequently. Don’t come to school if you are not feeling well.

By following proper health and safety guidelines, we can—working together—overcome the challenges posed by the virus. Be safe and stay healthy.

James L. Gaudino


Maintaining Flexibility

While plans must remain flexible to allow for responses to new information and changes in public policy, Central Washington University is moving forward to invite students back to campus in fall 2020.

Your health and safety
are our first priority

Fall classes delivered
in-person, hybrid, online
or real-time hybrid

Physical spaces
regularly cleaned
and disinfected

What Fall Will Look Like

  • An Early Start

    Classes will begin on September 9 and end on November 20, before Thanksgiving. By minimizing student travel to and from campus and ending on-campus activities earlier than usual, this adjustment may decrease opportunities for infection and mitigate the impact of a possible late fall resurgence of the virus.

  • Student Readiness

    All continuing and new students will receive an online preparation packet. Instructions and visuals related to face coverings, entering and exiting classrooms, physical distancing, advising, club participation, physical fitness, managing stress, and other matters will be included.

  • Faculty & Staff Readiness

    Faculty and staff will participate in training regarding preparing for the 2020 fall reopening, and will also attest to their willingness to abide by the risk-mitigation directives of the university. Many staff and some faculty will continue working from home. Others will return to campus on a daily or rotating basis and observe university-wide face covering, distancing, and hygienic protocols along with the students.

  • Campus Readiness

    Physical spaces across the campus, from restrooms to classrooms, from offices to residence halls will be professionally cleaned and disinfected regularly, with all necessary supplies having been received and stored in advance.

  • Campus Circulation

    Throughout the campus, for both exterior and interior spaces, authorized pedestrian travel routes have been mapped to create optimal traffic patterns to reduce density while preserving access and flow.

  • Classes

    The university has adopted a hybrid learning plan that provides faculty and student with four options, including: hybrid; real-time online; and online. The hybrid model invites but does not require students to be in residence; reduces population density on campus; and favors first-year students, and laboratory, studio, and performance classes for in-person slots.

  • Experiential Learning

    Experiential learning in the form of service learning, internships, student teaching, and student research projects, and field and studio experiences will continue this fall to distinguish our educational practice. These experiences are listed as hybrid in the course schedule and may have special health and safety protocols in place.

  • University Centers

    The University Centers and sites will adhere to their respective county’s and host college’s health and safety protocols. It seems likely that most instruction will be online, with the exception of some labs. CWU-Sammamish will follow protocols established by the Ellensburg campus and will receive the assistance needed to do so.

Student Experience


In-person dining will occur only under conditions favorable for physical distancing and cleanliness. Seating capacities will be reduced overall and at individual tables. Barriers will be installed at all service touchpoints, and no-touch technologies, including remote ordering are scheduled for implementation. Most self-service areas (salad bars/buffets) will be eliminated, utensils and containers will be single-use, and take-out, catering, and delivery will play an enhanced role in dining options.

Dining Website


About 1,800 students will be housed in the residence halls or apartments for fall quarter. Campus arrival dates and move-in times may be scheduled and staggered to support a safe and orderly move-in process. All residence hall accommodations have moved to single occupancy with dedicated restrooms, and face coverings in rooms will not be mandated by the university.

Housing Website

Well-Being & Counseling

Unsurprisingly, reports from colleges and universities across the country indicate that more students are suffering from anxiety and depression in the COVID-19 environment. CWU’s Student Counseling Services is prepared to address this need should it manifest among our students. The clinic offered tele-counseling throughout the spring quarter, and this service will resume in the fall, with the possibility of some by-appointment, in-person counseling.

Health & Wellness Website


Health & Safety

Physical distancing, face covering, hand washing, and surface disinfecting—these are the four most important ways to inhibit the spread of the virus. There should always be a 6 foot bubble of separation among individuals in any gathering, in any setting. All students and all faculty and staff members will be required to wear face coverings at all times, except in private offices, semi-private offices with appropriate physical distancing, and residence hall rooms or apartments. Face coverings will be provided free of charge to faculty, staff, and students.

Stay Safe



Technology & Internet

CWU provides free WiFi across the campus. Additionally, the coverage area has been expanded through a partnership with three local government offices and a nonprofit to provide free internet access through a program called Community Wi-Fi. The group effort between the university, the City of Ellensburg, Kittitas County, the Ellensburg School District, and Northwest Open Access Network (NOANET) allows students and other community members to use the internet at designated locations in the community while remaining in their vehicles.

CWU’s Wi-Fi hotspot, in the paved parking lot outside of Tomlinson Stadium is available to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Community Wi-Fi hotspots also can be found in the community at: Ellensburg City Hall, Ellensburg High School, Morgan Middle School, the Kittitas County Fairgrounds, the Upper Kittitas County District Courthouse, and the Adult Activity Center.

Computers, Laptops, Printing & Scanning

The Multimodal Education Center offers a diverse lineup of multimedia equipment ranging from personal use MacBooks and PC Laptops to GoPros and professional level Canon DSLRs. Equipment checkout is free to all members of the CWU community with a current CWU Connection Card.

Equipment Checkout

Campus Recreation & Fitness Center

When fitness facilities are allowed to be reopened, we will reopen the Student Union and Recreation Center (SURC) following the state’s safety guidelines. The SURC fee was voted by the student body to construct a facility and this fee is committed to repaying the bonds issued to construct the facility and this responsibility remains in place. The State of Washington does not fund construction for facilities that provide student activities and therefore students must assess themselves a fee to construct facilities such as the SURC.

Rec Center

Student Involvement

While class formats may look different this quarter, we want you to know there are many ways to connect to the campus community through events, clubs and social media. We’ll have opportunities for in-person and virtual participation so you can enjoy the Wildcat experience at your comfort level. We are glad to have you back. We are #CWUTogether.

Fall Quarter Activities

Campus Activities and other departments have been working hard to plan a fun lineup of events. Upcoming fall quarter events include movie nights, goat yoga, open mic nights, Geek Out Game Out, a paint social, magicians and jugglers, haunted escape rooms, and a drive-in.

The Diversity and Equity Center is continuing its Find Your People Series to bring people who share common identities together, and groups including LGBTQ+, multiracial, students of color and more. The DEC will also present heritage celebrations like Día De Los Muertos.

Check out Clubs and Organizations

CWU has more than 190 clubs and organizations that you can get involved with during your time on campus. Many clubs are hosting virtual meetings and activities. Visit the Club Resources & Information page to find a club that interests you.

Join Your ASCWU Student Government

There are many ways to get involved with your student government, including the newly formed Student Senate, ASCWU public meetings, and university committees. Visit the ASCWU website to learn about upcoming opportunities to join ASCWU activities.

Student Involvement