WSU Pullman is taking deliberate steps to ensure the return of more in‑person experiences for the Fall 2021 semester.
Campus leaders described the efforts so far and gave insight into what’s to come in a message to the WSU Pullman community Feb. 4. The complete message is available online.
“While many details are still to be worked out, and with consideration for the health of our community, we expect to see an increased number of students living on campus, more in person instruction, and expanded student services and activities,” Provost and Executive Vice President Elizabeth Chilton and Vice President of Student Affairs Mary Jo Gonzales wrote.
Their message follows a Jan. 25 announcement that WSU is preparing for more in‑person experiences for fall 2021 across its campuses statewide.
The university’s plans to begin phasing in more in‑person activities and operations this spring and summer will help guide its decisions for the fall semester. WSU Pullman will be incorporating both in‑person and remote course delivery during the upcoming summer 2021 semester.
The process of implementing more in‑person activities is being done in accordance with the Washington State Roadmap for Recovery as well as guidelines for higher education. WSU Pullman has maintained low COVID‑19 positivity rates thanks in large part to its spring 2021 COVID‑19 testing plan, which required all students to participate in arrival testing, among other precautions.
“We have seen minimal transmission of the COVID‑19 virus associated with on campus living, in‑person instruction, university research operations, or other university-organized activities where policies and protocols were in place,” Chilton and Gonzales wrote.
WSU Pullman has already doubled the number of in‑person courses from fall 2020 to spring 2021. To meet public health guidelines, WSU Pullman has reconfigured 135 general university classrooms, 400 laboratories and instructional meeting spaces and more than 100 student and auxiliary spaces for in‑person activities.
To meet the foundational needs of students, campus staff have prepared more than 95,000 on‑campus meals this academic year and have offered nearly 200 virtual and in‑person recreational programs, among other efforts.
While the distribution of the COVID‑19 vaccine is encouraging, WSU leaders ask the Cougar Community to continue to wear masks, frequently wash their hands, remain physically distant and limit group sizes.
“Each of these small behaviors helps Cougs Cancel COVID, and has a profound impact on our ability to come together this fall,” Chilton and Gonzales wrote.