COVID-19

Fall 2020 Experience

What to expect as Washington State University Tri-Cities continues operations this fall. 

Upcoming Town Hall Dates

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Event Determination Form
This form will need to be filled out by the organizer of any WSU Tri-Cities event happening ON or OFF campus for WSU Tri-Cities. If an event is approved by the IC team the requestor will still need to fill out the 25Live request, if the event is being held on the WSU Tri-Cities campus.

July 28 | Town Hall – Fall Plans for students and parents

July 30 | Sesión Virtual para Padres

Quick info

Going mostly virtual for fall semester
Published July 23, 2020

In light of infection rates in Benton and Franklin counties and an increase in cases seen across the state, we have made the difficult decision that most of our classes will be offered remotely (virtually) for the start of the fall 2020 semester.

The fall schedule will be posted early this week. The schedule will remain largely the same as originally posted, with a few minor changes. All courses will have a note attached indicating that their course will be offered virtually.

This was certainly not an easy decision, but at this time, we feel it is what is safest for the health of our campus and larger regional Tri-Cities community. We had many voices weigh in on this decision, ranging from students, to faculty, to staff, to community members. This is what we decided is best for our students, employees and larger WSU community.

We encourage all students to make sure they enroll now for their fall classes to ensure they have a seat in the classes of their preference and so we can adequately plan for additional sections of a course, if needed. This provides us with our most accurate count. Even if life is uncertain for you, we still recommend enrolling in courses. We can work with you on whatever life struggles are thrown your way and students won’t be penalized if they have to unenroll prior to the start of the fall semester.

Reminder that all of this is temporary. We are eager to get you all back on campus when it is safe and makes most sense to do so. We miss our Cougs! But know we are going to do all we can to make your virtual experience a great one!

Exceptions
Published July 23, 2020

Some laboratory and studio (art) courses that have hands-on components and are less than 10 students to a class will be considered on a case by case basis for in-person instruction, if a viable and allowed option for the fall. If those courses are approved for in-person learning, there will be a note included with the course on the schedule with plenty of notice and communicated by the faculty member offering the course. Mask wearing and strict social distancing would be required. Sanitization would occur between each use of facilities.

For students who would be unable or uncomfortable attending those classes in person, they will still be offered remotely through Zoom. No student should feel pressured to attend classes in-person if they are not able or comfortable.

What will labs look like?
Published July 23, 2020

More information to come soon.

Classrooms all Zoom capable by fall
Published July 23, 2020

All WSU Tri-Cities classrooms will be Zoom-capable for the fall semester, meaning if we do transition to more in-person learning after a few weeks this fall, those who are unable or uncomfortable with returning to in-person instruction will still have the option of attending class virtually. Like this past semester, all courses will still be recorded and broadcast virtually and saved on Blackboard.

Most courses to be taught synchronously and available asynchronously
Published July 23, 2020

All WSU Tri-Cities classrooms will be Zoom-capable for the fall semester, meaning if we do transition to more in-person learning after a few weeks this fall, those who are unable or uncomfortable with returning to in-person instruction will still have the option of attending class virtually. Like this past semester, all courses will still be recorded and broadcast virtually and saved on Blackboard.

Class participation points
Published July 23, 2020

Faculty members may still choose to offer class participation points for live lectures, but for students who are unable to attend live during their regular class time or experience technology or other issues, alternatives should still be made available for students. This could include, but is not limited to, contributing to online forum discussions, alternative assignments, etc. Faculty will work directly with students to assess what will work best for their course and make alternative arrangements, if needed.

How will exams and quizzes work?
Published July 23, 2020

Faculty members will individually assess how exams and quizzes are offered based on what they require for their course.

Faculty undergoing training over the summer
Published July 23, 2020

Unlike last spring, when we had the make the transition to virtual learning over the course of a week during spring break, faculty now have a few weeks over the summer to learn best practices for virtual learning and really get the hang of teaching via Zoom and collaborating over Blackboard.

We are offering a series of training opportunities for faculty throughout the summer, ranging from best practices for teaching over Zoom, to how to use the technology most effectively, to how to still foster a welcoming and engaging environment virtually and more. Those will be announced to faculty as they are identified and scheduled.

Additionally, several faculty have undergone training to use a new technology called “Learning Glass” to provide their lectures. It allows faculty to draw on a black-lit glass surface, which is recorded via video and allows the faculty member to address the camera directly while they write/draw their lecture material. More faculty are also welcome to use the platform for their courses for fall. Faculty should contact Anna Plemons or Janet Peters, if interested.

By request and approval, faculty able to teach from classrooms virtually
Published July 23, 2020

Faculty may request to access physical classrooms and give their lectures from the classroom, which will be evaluated by the incident command team. To request access, contact Anna Plemons at anna.plemons@wsu.edu.

Will we ever return to in-person learning during the fall semester?
Published July 23, 2020

We are hopeful that we will have the capability to transition to at least more in-person learning as the fall continues in combination with virtual/remote learning.

As things improve, we will access that as an option on a case-by-case basis, as well as assess if that is the route that is best for both students and the course as a whole.

It may make more sense to leave the class virtual, but it also might make more sense to return to in-person instruction. We will examine this closely and will let everyone know with plenty of notice if certain courses are to return to in-person and when. And again, if there is a decision to move forward with an in-person component, students will still be able to attend their classes virtually via Zoom and Blackboard.

Resources all available virtually
Published July 23, 2020

All resources, with the exception of The Den (campus gym) will be offered virtually. Last spring, we set up virtual help desks, which have continued and will continue through the fall. These virtual desks are currently available for the following services: IT, student union, advising, writing center, TRIO, Veteran Center. These are available online at tricities.wsu.edu/televisit and will be linked each week in the Connected Cougs student newsletter sent to your emails every Monday. Essentially, you click through to the link and are taken to a Zoom waiting room where a campus member will help you/answer any questions.

The CH2M STEM Tutoring Center will also continue online. Appointments may be made virtually on the tutoring center web page at tricities.wsu.edu/academic-resources/stem-tutoring.

Similarly, students will still have access to the Career Services office for help in identifying university and off-campus jobs and internships, as well as help with resume and interview preparation. This is an important part of the student experience and crucial in preparing for future careers after graduation. For questions and to access career services for help and support, visit tricities.wsu.edu/careerdev.

Masks and social distancing required on campus
Published July 23, 2020

There will be a few resources, including the cashier’s office, The Bookie and a few others that will remain open for in-person purchases this fall semester, as it is safe and allowable. With that said, the wearing of masks and social distancing will be required on campus.

Campus safety signage being installed this summer
Published July 23, 2020

A range of safety and best practice signage is being installed all over campus this summer and will be ready for when any in-person operations resume for the fall semester. These range from social distancing and mask wearing requirements, to protocol for services areas and bathrooms, etc.

Additionally, hallways will be divided into two pathways for directional walking. One half of the hall will be designated for one direction of travel and the other side for the other direction of travel – the same as how roadway traffic operates. Signage will also be installed to indicate pathway directional travel through the hallways and in common and service areas.

Cashier’s office
Published July 23, 2020

The cashier’s office will be open from _______ to ________ until stated otherwise so students can make payments in-person for tuition, their student account, etc. More information will be shared in the coming weeks.

The Bookie
Published July 23, 2020

The Bookie will be open for the fall semester, but how the Bookie will operate is still being identified. The store may be fully opened, but with capacity limits and strict mask wearing and social distancing requirements. We are also identifying an outdoor tent set-up where students request what they would like by phone or email and those items would be brought out to the tent for pick-up and purchase. More information will be shared on that, soon.

Semester schedule
Published July 23, 2020

The semester schedule will remain the same length. It will start on Aug. 24 and the last day of finals will take place on Friday, December 18. For students in limited in-person classes for labs and studio (art) classes, in-person learning will end the Friday before Thanksgiving break and the rest of the semester will take place online, including final exams/project presentations.

Tuition
Published July 23, 2020

Tuition rates will not be lowered to accommodate for the switch to mostly virtually instruction. The reason being is that we are still able to offer live course delivery, live access to student resources, faculty will still hold office hours and more. Unlike some other online programs, the live component is truly what separates us and truly benefits students.

Veterans and GI Bill
Published July 23, 2020

More information to come soon.

International students
Published July 23, 2020

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) rescinded their decision not to allow international students with F-1 or M-1 visas to study at U.S. universities. In other words, international students are still allowed to continue with their education at WSU Tri-Cities, even if their courses are offered completely virtually. On that same end, international students can still apply to attend WSU Tri-Cities with an F-1 or M-1 visa.

WSU has established a fund to support hardship for international students. For more information and to apply for funding, visit ip.wsu.edu/on-campus/support-international-students.

Campus jobs and internships
Published July 23, 2020

WSU Tri-Cities student jobs and internships will still be an option, though most will move to a virtual mode. For example, student workers in the office of student life, which would normally hold in-person work hours, will still complete the same work, just virtually.

Some jobs will be repurposed for other methods and some will be temporarily halted if only able to be done on campus.

But just like during the typical year, positions both through WSU and outside of WSU will be posted on Handshake. Help is also offered through Career Services. More info: tricities.wsu.edu/careerdev.

Student life/recreation experiences
Published July 23, 2020

Student life will still offer a variety of engaging activities and experiences that are important to overall campus life and student mental and physical well-being. Workshops, fun activities, lectures and more will be offered via Zoom and other virtual means.

The Student Entertainment Board is planning a variety of fun activities for students to engage in for the fall semester.

Campus recreation is also planning a variety of activities for the fall semester to help students stay active and maintain their physical health.

Hardship funding/food available for students
Published July 23, 2020

Both WSU Tri-Cities and the WSU system have hardship funds established meant for supporting students who are experiencing hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are experiencing hardship during this unusual time, we encourage you to contact the Office of Student Affairs at tricities.studentlife@wsu.edu. Someone will follow-up with you to see how we can help.

On a related note, the Cougar Cupboard, the WSU Tri-Cities food pantry, will remain open to provide students and their families with access to fresh and non-perishable food. We will keep both our campus location, as well as the location offered in Pasco at the WSU Franklin County Extension office open. It is currently operating on summer hours and those will be adjusted for the fall semester as we get closer. For hours, more information and to arrange a food pick-up for you and/or your family, visit tricities.wsu.edu/finaid/foodbank.

Technology/Wi-Fi available for students
Published July 23, 2020

We know there are some students that have difficulty accessing reliable Wi-Fi and a reliable computer. WSU Tri-Cities and the WSU system has a stock of Chromebooks that can be checked-out by students for the semester, free of charge. To inquire about whether that is an option for you, visit provost.wsu.edu/posts/computer-loan-program. The WSU system is also offering Wi-Fi hot spots for students. To inquire as to whether that is an available option for you, visit provost.wsu.edu/posts/wifi-access-interest.

The WSU Tri-Cities computer labs will remain open, where strict mask-wearing, social distancing and sanitization measures will be required.

Additionally, Wi-Fi will continue to be available in the CIC parking lot from your car, as well as at the WSU Extension Center office parking lots.

Alternate WSU Tri-Cities study/work locations being explored as option for fall 2020
Published July 23, 2020

WSU Tri-Cities administration is in talks with the city of Kennewick, city of Pasco, the WSU Prosser Extension, as well as other WSU Extension offices to see if study/work stations can be set up for WSU Tri-Cities student use. These would feature reliable Wi-Fi and a quiet location for students to utilize for their school work. If solidified, more information will be shared with students about that, soon. These would only be possibility if approved by the local health department and if allowed under health and safety restrictions.

Brelsford Vineyard apartments
Published July 23, 2020

The Brelsford Vineyard Apartments, which are based on the WSU Tri-Cities campus, but are operated by an external agency separate from WSU, will continue to rent to students. They have their own safety plan in place and students should abide by the safety parameters they set. For more information on renting with the Brelsford Vineyard Apartments, visit www.thebrelsfordvineyards.com.

Applications to attend WSU Tri-Cities to remain open throughout the summer for fall 2020 (freshman, transfer, change of campus, international, etc.)
Published July 23, 2020

All applications to apply to attend WSU Tri-Cities will remain open throughout the summer. We know that for many of you, plans may have changed or you are considering a range of options. We want to provide you with as much flexibility as needed.

For students interested in making a change of campus to WSU Tri-Cities from another WSU campus, that application will also remain open throughout the summer.

For those that would be a first-time freshman (non-transfer student), we will not require SAT/ACT scores for fall 2020 admission.

WSU Tri-Cities applications: tricities.wsu.edu/admissions/apply

  • Freshman
  • Transfer
  • Change of WSU Campus
  • Post-Bachelor’s
  • Returning
  • International Undergraduate
  • Non-Degree Seeking
  • Graduate Student
Gap year not recommended
Published July 23, 2020

Taking a gap year, or a year or semester off of school, is not recommended. Taking a semester or year off could pose issues with your financial aid (you might have to start paying on student loans), the job market might not be as stable as you think and you are much less likely to return and complete your degree.

We want to see you successful and complete your degree in as quickly of a manner as you can, so that you can enjoy all that life has to offer after earning your degree – higher salary, greater job stability and versatility, qualification for larger variety of jobs, etc.

Despite COVID-19, never a better time to earn a college degree
Published July 23, 2020
  • Generous state funding for financial aid in Washington with the Washington College Grant – 50 percent of WSU Tri-Cities students pay zero out of pocket expenses for tuition
    • Average student debt at WSU Tri-Cities is $19,000, which is the cost of a reasonably priced car
      • Great investment in your future that is affordably
  • By staying at home and going to WSU Tri-Cities, students can save an upwards of $40,000 in room and board costs
  • Variety of support services to support students of all types – first-generation, non-traditional (older) students, traditional college students, etc.
    • Even have funding reserved for students in hardship and technology available for check-out (Chromebooks, Wi-Fi hotspots, etc.)
  • Higher earning potential
    • College grads in Washington earn 86 percent more than those without a degree
    • Potential average earning difference of $1 million more over their lifetime
  • Sets student and their families up for success for generations
    • Children whose parents have gone to college are much more likely to attend and graduate, themselves
  • Students are learning technology tools that are and will become part of our new normal moving forward
    • How to conduct themselves in an online meeting, how to collaborate and share projects online, etc.
Have questions or comments?

This website is not intended to be all-encompassing and should not be considered to be providing medical or legal advice. In all instances, you should consult with a relevant expert for guidance specific to your circumstances.