11 Jun WSU Tri-Cities plans for fall
Dear WSU Tri-Cities students, faculty and staff,
As indicated in an email sent out by WSU President Kirk Schulz on June 10, WSU has outlined a plan that provides an overview for a return to campus instruction in the fall and the protocols that will be in place to ensure the safety of our campus members.
Safety is our top concern. As such, options will be available for those students, faculty and staff who are unable to return to campus and those who need flexibility. We will also follow the safety and health protocols and parameters as outlined by state and federal requirements and agencies. We are working closely with the governor’s office in every aspect of our planning.
More details are to follow, but we wanted to provide you with a glimpse of what to expect for WSU Tri-Cities from information shared by President Schulz.
WSU Tri-Cities-specific notes on information shared from President Schulz this week:
Social distancing must be maintained on campus in all areas. Room occupancy limits, foot‑traffic flow, and related considerations will be clearly indicated by signage and will be required in all campus spaces, as posted.
Facilities will conduct regular sanitization and cleaning of campus spaces. Sanitizing materials will be provided to wipe down surfaces between each use in all classrooms, common areas and service-based centers.
All bathrooms feature signs for best practices for hand washing, and hand sanitizer stations will be posted in all high-traffic areas around campus. We are currently ordering additional hand sanitizer stations that will be installed around campus prior to fall.
Face coverings are currently required by all individuals who access campus and will continue to be required into the fall 2020 semester.
Exceptions to wearing face coverings include: when working alone in an office, vehicle, or at a job site; if the individual is deaf or hard of hearing, or is communicating with someone who relies on language cues such as facial markers and expression and mouth movements as a part of communication; if the individual has a medical condition or disability that makes wearing a facial covering inappropriate; or when the job has no in-person interaction.
Contact tracing is extremely important in an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to keep our campus safe and healthy. To assist in this effort, attendance must be taken for all classes, all in-person meetings must record attendees, and departments must maintain visitor logs.
WSU will also introduce a phone app for contact tracing as part of our return to in‑person operations. We have not yet chosen the specific app, but we expect to share more details around August 1.
“WSU COVID-19 Safe Return to Work” training for employees
Academics and instruction
Instruction will include a Hyflex model – a model that combines in‑person and distance education delivery. Implementation will be determined by class size, a faculty members’ ability to be in the classroom, unique requirements of certain courses and the availability of technology, among other considerations.
- WSU system-wide, class sizes over 50 students will be virtual. At WSU Tri-Cities, we have additional flexibility with this, as most of our courses have a seating capacity of lower than 50 students. Additionally, regular classroom capacity will be reduced to allow for social distancing.
- With the Hyflex model, courses may blend a mix of in-person and virtual experiences or be offered completely virtually, due to seating capacity and requirements for social distancing. We may have multiple in-person sections of a course where students will alternate days they attend their course in-person and online. For example, a student could attend a course in-person every other day, or once a week, and the rest would be offered virtually.
- Faculty who are high-risk or aren’t able to hold classes in-person will offer their courses virtually
- Students who are high-risk or aren’t able to attend classes in-person would still be able to access all classes virtually
- All courses planned for face-to-face delivery will have a backup plan for virtual delivery in the event that conditions require such a move.
We are also considering changes to the 2020-21 academic calendar to minimize breaks and to reduce travel, especially after Thanksgiving. This may help to reduce the spread of COVID-19, coinciding with the cold and flu season. If that decision is made, it will be announced at a later date, but prior to the start of the fall semester.
While WSU Tri-Cities does not have residence halls, we are in close communication with The Brelsford Vineyards apartments located on the WSU Tri-Cities campus. As a privately-owned business, the apartments are responsible for upholding their own safety protocols; however, we shall be sharing information regarding our campus protocols and procedures and coordinating with them as much as possible.
Student life events will also be hosted both in-person (when appropriate, safe to do so and while strictly enforcing social distancing), as well as virtually. This is an important part of the student experience and our Student Affairs team is working on a plan and schedule of events for fall.
Research and related activities will begin ramping up in June in accordance with guidance developed by the Office of Research.
I continue to thank students, faculty and staff for your patience and can-do attitude during this uncertain time. Know that we are committed to your success and want to provide as welcoming and engaging of an environment as possible.
Continue to check your WSU email for updates regarding plans for fall, as more information will continue to be shared throughout the summer. Be sure to also check wsu.edu/covid-19 for updates about plans for fall and beyond amid COVID-19.
Sandra Haynes, Ph.D.
Chancellor of WSU Tri-Cities