The president of Western Washington University (WWU), Dr. Sabah Randhawa, has announced in a Campus Advisory (see email below) that the winter quarter beginning on January 5th will be structured very much like the present quarter. In essence, face to face classes will be very limited as will campus dormitory space. From Dr. Randhawa’s October 16th message to the campus community:
“One change is that Winter Quarter will start under a primarily remote schedule on Jan. 5, our originally scheduled start date. However, those classes that are scheduled for face-to-face or hybrid delivery will be held remotely between Jan. 5 and Jan.11, after which they will move to face-to-face or hybrid instruction. This will accommodate for the testing of all students returning to either campus residences and/or face-to-face classes or other on campus presence (e.g. athletics, student employment) after the long holiday break. We believe that ensuring this testing upon return from remote locations will continue to contribute to the low positivity rate we have currently experienced, which is well below those of our county or other parts of the state. Our primary goal is to identify positive tests early and to isolate/quarantine those affected as quickly as possible upon return to an on-campus presence. More information also will be sent out soon about testing for employees working on campus.”
The seriously crafted opening plans for the fall quarter in September seem to have paid off as only four students have tested positive through the WWU system since September 15th. Remarkable, in that over 4,300 students have been tested during the period. Consequently, less than 2% of the quarantine dorm space set aside for COVID-positive students has been used to date.
Unlike some disastrous university openings across the country, WWU is operating well given the circumstances. Students will not return to campus after the Thanksgiving holiday, which will avoid at least one unnecessary round trip travel by students with its potential to spread the virus. Unless some unknown virus spreader events are taking place off-campus, Bellingham will have dodged an increase in infections since WWU’s fall start.