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WSU launches Cougs Cancel COVID campaign

A sign on the WSU Pullman campus that reads 'Did you even wash your hands?'

Washington State University’s Division of Student Affairs has teamed up with students to promote behaviors that help keep the Cougar community at‑large healthy.

The result: Cougs Cancel COVID, a campaign charging all members of the WSU community with doing their part to keep those around them safe.

Thousands of students call Pullman home, and this year many remained at home. No matter where students are, it’s vital for them to act in ways that promote public health while encouraging others to follow suit, Vice President of Student Affairs Mary Jo Gonzales said Friday during a campaign rollout event.

“This is about Cougs everywhere taking care of each other,” Gonzales said.

Wearing face masks, distancing at least six feet from others, frequent hand washing and staying home when feeling sick are critical actions everyone must take to help reduce the spread of COVID‑19, WSU leaders said. Everyone who visits a WSU campus or work site must also complete training and a self‑attestation prior to doing so, according to Jill Creighton, dean of students & associate vice president for campus life.

The goal of the campaign is to support members of the university community in making healthy choices as well as promoting them with signs and social media messages. WSU is partnering with landlords, local businesses and the Pullman Chamber of Commerce to ensure the messages are spread throughout the community.

While a community standards process is in place for egregious, reckless or repeated violations of current health guidelines, it is not an all‑encompassing solution, Creighton said. It won’t change current behaviors necessary to ward off further spread of the virus and hasn’t proven effective at other universities that have responded punitively to improper conduct, she added. The community standards process also provides amnesty for information disclosed in the contact tracing process, encouraging students to be as honest as possible.

As part of the effort to promote healthy behaviors, WSU has partnered with Cougs Cancel COVID champions: students who are engaging with their peers individually and among registered organizations as well as on social media. Promoting good behaviors is the priority, not shaming those who fail to follow guidelines.

Cougar Health Services continues to serve Pullman students with tele‑health services for many appointment types including tele‑mental health and for those who are experience symptoms of COVID‑19. Students must call first for all appointments at Cougar Health Services at 509‑335‑3575 during business hours. Resources for addressing mental health are also available.

A sign on the WSU Pullman campus that reads 'Quarantine and Chill. Stay home and keep Cougs safe.'

For more information including ways to help spread the message, visit the Cougs Cancel COVID campaign website.

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