Eastern Washington to move most classes online in response to coronavirus
Last updated 3/12/2020 at 12:16pm
CHENEY -- Eastern Washington University has announced it will be making changes to its class schedule for the remainder of the school year.
In an email to students, faculty and staff, university President Dr. Mary Cullinan said that following Gov. Jay Inslee's recommendations protecting health and safety of Washington residents, the university was moving all academic operations "to the fullest extent possible" online for the remainder of the current academic year. Classes that cannot be moved must not exceed 25 people.
Additionally, the university is requiring the postponement of all other activities that "cannot be held virtually (i.e., phone or web conferencing), with these activities to either be rescheduled for a future date or postponed.
University officials are in discussions on holding other events scheduled for later this spring, including commencement, the annual Get Lit! festival and the Undergraduate Research & Creative Works Symposium.
Eastern is also exploring the possibility of delaying the start of spring quarter. The university is hiring 10-12 additional part-time custodians to work up to 29 hours each to provide extra cleaning of facilities, doing work campus-wide but focusing on high traffic areas such as the University Recreation Center, the Pence Union Building and the PHASE.
"These decisions were not made lightly," Cullinan said in the email. "Our first and foremost priority is the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, their families and the larger community. We acknowledge that these decisions will have a real impact upon how the university operates, and that there are no easy or simple solutions."
The university has already restricted university-sponsored domestic and international travel.
While no cases have yet to be reported, Spokane County health officials believe the novel coronavirus COVID-19 is likely already in the area and has simply not been detected. It was reported later today (March 11) that four members of the Whitworth University community were being tested for the virus and are in self-isolation.
John McCallum can be reached at email@example.com.