COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Academics & Instruction

Instruction to be mostly virtual for spring 2021

WSU Tri-Cities will offer mostly virtual instruction for the spring 2021 semester, with limited exceptions for laboratory experiences where virtual instruction is not possible (these will be extremely limited). 

Courses will be offered synchronously (live at their regular time) via Zoom, but will be available asynchronously (available at times other than their regular class time) – posted on Blackboard. 

We encourage students to select course times that they are most likely to attend live (synchronously), if possible. This will allow for more engaging instruction and truly what separates our plans for fall from many other institutions. Studies show that this is more effective for learning. 

If students are unable to attend at their regular class times due to COVID-19 related concerns, or if they run into Wi-Fi or other issues, we will still offer students alternatives. We want to be as flexible as we can to ensure that all students are still able to complete the courses they need to stay on track for graduation. All courses will also still be recorded and made available through Blackboard. 

Your professors can also help you if you have difficulties with accessing Zoom or Blackboard. They will be communicating with you about what will be required for soon. 

Exceptions to virtual instruction

A limited number of laboratory courses that have hands-on components and have less than 10 students to a class will be considered for a physical, on-campus presence on a case-by-case basis. These will be EXTREMELY limited. 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, an alternative curriculum will be offered remotely. No student should feel pressured to attend classes in-person if they are not able or comfortable. Unless impacted by COVID-19 or related issues, students should attend their classes live and on-time as scheduled – either virtually or in-person (whichever is their preference and are able). 

Class participation points

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?

Your professor will communicate their plans for exams or other learning assessments. Faculty members will work with our instructional design teams to ensure the highest quality learning and assessment techniques based on the subject matter and learning goals of the course. For a limited number of classes, proctoring software may be considered with approval from the Office of Academic Affairs. 

Will pass/fail and late withdrawal options be offered to students?

The University will be able to offer a more seamless learning environment throughout the spring 2020 semester. With clear expectations and course requirements in place, the normal campus policies concerning grade and withdrawal dates will apply.

Spring 2021 semester schedule

The spring 2021 semester will start one-week later for most students on Jan. 19, 2021, in light of the removal of spring break in an effort to discourage travel during that week. Health sciences students (includes nursing students) start on the originally scheduled date of Jan. 11, 2021.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday will still be observed on Jan. 18 and the university will be closed that day.

WSU added three additional mental health days for students throughout the year, in light of the removal of spring break on the following days (all university offices remain open these days). Exams and assignments should not be due on these days, or on each of the days immediately following each micro-holiday.

  • Thursday, Feb. 25
  • Wednesday, March 17
  • Tuesday, April 13

Friday, April 30, will be the last day of instruction.

Classrooms all Zoom capable

All WSU Tri-Cities classrooms will be Zoom-capable for the spring semester, meaning when we eventually return to in-person learning, those who are unable or uncomfortable with returning to in-person instruction students will still have the option of attending class virtually. Like this past semester, all courses will still be broadcast live virtually and will be recorded and saved on Blackboard.