CWU News

From the President: Preparing for Winter Quarter

Greetings Wildcat Community,

As you know, Central Washington University’s COVID-19 safety protocols helped reduce the number of COVID-19 cases during the Fall quarter. Of the 761 tests administered by Student Health Services, just 29 returned positive. Being fully vaccinated, wearing facial coverings, and washing hands regularly paid off for our tight-knit community. Thank you for your dedication and commitment.

I have conferred with faculty leadership, the Board of Directors of ASCWU, exempt and classified employee leadership, and the Executive Leadership Team, as well as with Dr. Mark Larson regarding the upcoming Winter quarter. We have agreed that it is best to begin our term as planned on Tuesday, January 4, 2022, and look forward to welcoming everyone back to campus. Centers will continue to follow the protocol established by their host campus. I am writing with several other updates based on the feedback I have received.

Vaccine Boosters

As you know, both online and in-person students and employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. To remain diligent, and in order to reduce infection by the Omicron variant, we are now strongly encouraging all employees and students to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot. The CDC recommends a booster for all individuals 18 and older—noting the expected continued emergence of new COVID-19 variants. Anyone 18 and older is eligible to receive a booster six months after their second Pfizer or Moderna shots, or two months after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson.

 Where to get a booster:

  • At pharmacies: Make an appointment to get a vaccine booster at most pharmacies throughout Washington state. 
  • On Campus: Students and employees are invited to attend a free Booster Clinic to get a booster or COVID-19 vaccine on January 5 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in SURC 137. Please bring your vaccination card.

COVID-19 Testing

In order to maintain the health and safety of our community, we are also strongly encouraging COVID-19 testing, especially if you have travelled or been around large groups of individuals. Regular testing will ensure that we become aware of any outbreaks, should they occur. Our local public health office has made tests available for our use on the Ellensburg campus.

Where to get a test:

  • Statewide Locations:  No matter where you are spending the holiday break or if you work or learn at one of our Centers, you can easily find a testing location through the Washington State Department of Health website.
  • CWU Ellensburg SURC. Test in Person:  All students and employees can receive free rapid testing during a four-day COVID-19 Testing Clinic in the SURC. Walk-ins are welcome. Visit the Student Health Services webpage for the full schedule of dates, times, and locations. In the case of a positive test, we will follow our current protocols.

Face Coverings

During the Winter quarter face covering will continue to be required inside all facilities as well as outside when in large gatherings. N95/KN95 masks have been found to be more effective against the spread of the Omicron variant than other facial coverings, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  We strongly recommend switching from cloth face coverings to these more effective masks.

I appreciate the guidance and feedback of our various shared governance groups, faculty, students, and staff, as we make these important decisions. We will continue to confer with these groups going forward.

Finally, I am truly grateful to each and every one of you for the part you have played in helping to make this past quarter a success and look forward to an exciting and healthful winter term.

Cheers to a new year,

Jim Wohlpart