Mar. 27, 2020
COVID-19 Update: Declaration to Ensure CWU Sustainability
I hope this note finds you safe, healthy, and settling into your new routine. The title of a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article sums up how most of us are feeling. It simply states, “None of us signed up for this.” Yet, here we are, working from home or social distanced from one another, meeting virtually, and worrying about and caring for our families and friends.
These are difficult and worrying days. None of us can predict the full, long-term impact of this pandemic on Central Washington University. I do anticipate that our current working conditions will extend through the spring quarter. I also believe that we will continue to face rapidly changing health, economic, and political environments.
On March 20, 2020, the Board of Trustees acted to give me expanded budget authority and extended my ability to make decisions in this rapidly changing environment. The declaration also aligned the university with similar resolutions by Governor Inslee and our County Commissioners.
As the virus began to infect people in our state, I asked my Cabinet to develop a set of parameters to guide our decisions. We all agreed that we must safeguard the safety and wellness of the people who comprise our extended community, continue to offer our students an excellent learning experience, and work to ensure the sustainability of our institution.
The long, and likely frustrating, hours you are spending meet all of the above parameters. Your work is helping to ensure our students have the best learning environment possible and to support the continuity of our great institution. Thank you for your efforts.
Not knowing what the future holds can be as concerning as the virus itself. At this time, my planning assumes that many, and ideally all, CWU students will continue their studies in the coming quarter. I am also optimistic that we will maintain our highly valued small class sizes and personalized instruction, even in an online environment. That means that both the instructional and support functions will continue, albeit in different forms.
I understand the personal and professional stress that you are experiencing. Over the past decade, I have also come to know you. That knowledge gives me confidence that you have the strength, dedication, and wisdom to work through this situation. I hope you find some comfort in knowing that you belong to the CWU family and that we will do whatever we can to ensure your safety.
Thank you for all you are doing.
James L. Gaudino