May. 15, 2020
CWU Trustees Consider Plans for Fall 2020 Quarter
Central Washington University’s Board of Trustees today reviewed a range of options for the fall 2020 quarter. The options included inviting all students back to campus for Central’s traditional offering of personalized instruction, to continuation of the current requirement that all instructing be online.
“There is no scenario that perfectly balances the health of our community with Central’s renowned learning environment,” said CWU President James L. Gaudino. “The objective during the coming year is to balance the two goals in the best way possible.”
One model discussed during the meeting was planning for the opportunity to invite students to campus, while also following strict COVID-19 mitigation measures such as distancing, masks, and regular deep-cleaning. In such a scenario, both online and personal instruction would be used to reduce the risk of COVID infection.
All of the options discussed by the Trustees involved a stark reality of shortfalls in revenue. That is because all assume increased costs and a decline in enrollment. Any loss in local revenue will be added to a $9.9 million reduction in state support announced last week.
He told the trustees the reduction in staffing is an unavoidable result of the anticipated budget shortfall. Gaudino noted that he would honor his commitment to employ most university staff through June 30, as he had promised in April. But, he said, the university must begin implementing a summer reduction in staffing levels for the period of July 1 through August 31.
He said the reductions will most likely be accomplished through furloughs and reductions in the hours of some full-time employees. He said the university will review the situation on August 1.
Gaudino also emphasized that if work can be performed remotely, it should be. He also reported that the summer session will be taught entirely online and there would be no conferences or camps at CWU during that period.
BOT Chair Ron Erickson agreed that the university was facing challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic that no one could have anticipated.
“We’re all finding our way, and we support your path forward,” he told Gaudino.
The reduction in state funds was the result of calculations released last week by the Washington State Office of Financial Management. The COVID pandemic is expected to reduce state resources by $7 billion over the next three years.
The directive from the state included a freeze on hiring, personal services, contracts, and equipment purchases, effective May 18.
The state legislature is likely to respond to the crisis with a special session, following the official economic and revenue forecast on June 17.
Media contact: Kremiere Jackson, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-1425, Kremiere.Jackson@cwu.edu.