PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University has been working closely with city, county and state officials over the past several months to manage the impacts of COVID-19 on the communities where WSU facilities are located. Unfortunately, Whitman County Public Health has made us aware of a substantial increase in COVID-19 cases involving students from the Pullman campus.
The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff remains our highest priority and we are committed to collaborating with our community partners to respond to the global pandemic.
On July 23, WSU made the difficult decision to move the Fall 2020 semester from face-to-face instruction to a distance delivery model. We also have continued with other aggressive physical distancing measures, including teleworking arrangements for all employees able to perform their jobs from home.
Our collaboration with the community also includes the training of WSU Pullman employees as contact tracers to quickly respond under the direction of Whitman County Public Health to help contain the spread of the highly contagious disease.
For those who must use WSU facilities, such as essential workers and some students who rely on campus housing as their primary home, masks are required, no gatherings of more than 10 people are allowed, and all other state directives are being closely followed. Many WSU buildings and facilities are closed but those that are open are regularly sanitized using cleaning materials and methods approved by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A symptom attestation process also has been developed and is required for any employees, students and visitors who enter WSU facilities.
Because many students choose to live in privately owned, off-campus housing, the university continues to work with rental property managers, fraternities and sororities, and others in the community to encourage compliance with all applicable state mandates. That also includes coordination with law enforcement to help educate and, when necessary, enforce the state mandates.
The latest increase in COVID-19 cases in Whitman County has been primarily traced by authorities to off-campus gatherings in privately owned housing in the Greek Row area. Students who fail to follow state mandates, whether on or off campus, not only risk potential law enforcement action but can face disciplinary hearings under WSU’s Community Standards process.
For more information about WSU’s response to the global pandemic please see the University’s COVID-19 website.