Aug. 23: WSU Tri-Cities goes back to school in-person

Students attend a tour of WSU Tri-Cities as part of the Welcome [Back] Open House event for students

Aug. 23: WSU Tri-Cities goes back to school in-person

By Maegan Murray, WSU Tri-Cities

RICHLAND, Wash. – School is back in session at Washington State University Tri-Cities on Monday, Aug. 23, with in-person classes and COVID-19 requirements in place. Among many updates, the campus features a new academic building, renovations to an existing space to allow for a new learning commons for students and an expanded Veterans Stories Memorial.

Students chat with WSU Tri-Cities staff as part of a WSU Tri-Cities Welcome [Back] Open House for students

Students chat with WSU Tri-Cities staff as part of a WSU Tri-Cities Welcome [Back] Open House for students.

“We are thrilled to welcome students back to campus after over a year-and-a-half of offering virtual learning.” Chancellor Sandra Haynes said. “We have safety measures in place for students, employees and visitors and we look forward to a fantastic fall semester. Students and the community will find the new spaces particularly welcoming.”

In-person learning

With the exception of a few classes, WSU Tri-Cities classes will be offered in-person and at normal capacity.

Updated COVID-19 requirements

Starting Aug. 23, students, employees and visitors will be required to wear masks while indoors at all WSU locations, per the new mandate announced this week by Gov. Jay Inslee.

Employees must declare their vaccination status via an internal WSU process by Aug. 23, and be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or file for a religious or medical exemption by Oct. 18, per the state mandate.

Students must provide proof that they have initiated or completed the vaccination process or must request an exemption for medical, religious or personal reasons by Sept. 10. After any of the three currently approved vaccines receive full U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval, personal exemptions for the COVID-19 vaccine will no longer be an option. Students will have 45 days following the FDA approval date to provide proof of vaccination (or initiation of the vaccination) or file for a medical or religious exemption.

New and renovated facilities

Construction for Collaboration Hall, WSU Tri-Cities’ new academic building, is complete and will host classes beginning Monday. The building features a range of state-of-the-art teaching laboratories, classrooms and collaboration spaces – including the addition of a grandstand staircase ideal for presentations and an outdoor amphitheater that seats 100 individuals. A grand opening celebration for Collaboration Hall will be held from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. on Sept. 22.

The WSU Tri-Cities library was renovated this year to house expanded study spaces and support resources for students. The traditional library was moved upstairs and a range of student services, study spaces and collaborative areas are now hosted downstairs in the learning commons where students can access academic support such as tutoring, writing assistance, academic advising, career services, and TRIO Student Success Programs.

Thanks to generous donations from Cliff Thorn Construction, several subcontractors and Eric and Susan Schmieman, the WSU Tri-Cities Veterans Stories Memorial was expanded to feature raised flags for each of the military branches with lighting for evening times and a seating area.

Students play games as part of a Welcome [Back] Open House for students at WSU Tri-Cities

Students play games as part of a Welcome [Back] Open House for students at WSU Tri-Cities.

New Crimson Coug Cart courtesy of STCU – press reveal event 12:30 p.m. on Monday

STCU has generously donated a $25,000 Coug-branded golf cart, named the “Crimson Coug Cart,” to WSU Tri-Cities that will be unveiled at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 23, at Collaboration Hall as part of a press event. The golf cart will be used for a variety of purposes around campus – from events, to campus tours and more.

With the golf cart, STCU will host random acts of kindness days sporadically throughout the year where they will offer prizes to individuals on campus, in addition to supporting a range of campus events.

Week of Welcome activities and events sponsored by STCU

Throughout the first week of school, students will enjoy a range of celebratory events and activities sponsored by STCU that will welcome them to campus. For a full list of activities as part of the WSU Tri-Cities Week of Welcome sponsored by STCU, visit


Media contacts:

Maegan Murray, WSU Tri-Cities director of marketing and communication, 509-372-7333 (office), 619-403-3617 (cell),