Sent to all employee and student emails Sept. 17, 2020
EWU Students and Employees,
Months of planning and preparation will be put to the test in the coming weeks as we begin fall quarter in the middle of a pandemic.
Eastern has shown its grit by taking a leadership role in thinking about how to safely provide access to higher education during this challenging time—we were one of the first colleges nationwide to prepare for a mostly virtual fall term.
Still, while most classes will be online this quarter, we do have students returning to the area to live, work and—when necessary—attend classes in-person. EWU understands the very real concerns tied to the start of the academic year, and we have a lot of education to do outside of classes.
The university is committed to implementing and enforcing policies aimed at maximizing public health and safety, both on our campuses and in the broader Cheney and Spokane communities. Much of this education effort is being led by our EWU Crisis Management Team, which continues to monitor best practices related to virus-transmission mitigation, and is working to develop strategies aimed at reducing infection risks.
In developing our protocols, the team is following the advice of state and federal agencies, the Spokane Regional Health District, and the expertise of our own faculty. So please follow these guidelines: Watch your distance, wash your hands, and wear your mask. Everyone is required to wear a mask when they cannot physically distance outside and when inside a university building except when they are alone in their dorm room or office.
Please take time to read the following information on how we’ve prepared, and what will be expected of our EWU community this fall to ensure we all stay safe and healthy, and have a great academic year.
Various campus buildings and services are now open on a modified basis, please take the time to read updates on InsideEWU as things continue to evolve.
EWU will be providing two (2) masks to students living on campus upon arrival. Additionally, all students can pick up one mask at the PUB Welcome Desk, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. or Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (as staffing allows).
All students living on campus or engaging in on-campus activities are required to take a COVID-19 educational course via Canvas. Employees who are returning to campus are also required to take this training, which covers COVID-19 symptoms, the importance of wearing masks, physical distancing and what to do if you develop symptoms.
Students, faculty and staff are required to visit Inside EWU and complete a Daily Symptom Check. Faculty who are teaching in-person courses submitted detailed plans for student health and safety for approval prior to instruction.
For students in the residence halls:
- We anticipate 550 students living on campus in four residence halls: snyamncut, Pearce, Anderson and Brewster.
- Move-in is spread out over three days. Students will have designated move-in time slots. Cleaning supplies will be used for carts and high touch areas. Elevators will be limited to one family at a time.
- Virtual activities will be provided and promoted by Community Advisors to help students stay engaged.
- Students will be required to wear masks in the dorms except when they are alone in their rooms.
- Students are asked to maintain six (6) feet of physical distancing at all times, and to follow new occupancy rules for kitchens, laundry, and lounges.
- EWU is prepared to isolate and quarantine, in a designated facility, any students who develop symptoms while living on campus. EWU Health, Wellness & Prevention Services will be coordinating these efforts, and checking in on students in the designated facility on a daily basis.
- Food delivery will be coordinated through EWU Dining Services and EWU Facilities.
- Custodial staff will provide cleaning services seven (7) days a week.
When EWU’s COVID Response Team receives a report of a positive COVID-19 test, or a potential case involving a student, faculty or staff member, contact tracing will be initiated and the team will coordinate other appropriate response measures. The team will report positive case statistics, and will provide information to executive leadership that will enable the leadership team to provide a timely response to community needs and concerns.
The university has also developed written plans and engaged in a tabletop exercise to prepare for any potential outbreak in campus housing.
EWU is opening up some buildings to provide students with opportunities to connect to the internet and to study. Students can access study space in the Pence Union Building (PUB) or Tawanka Hall Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
EWU is working side-by-side with community and regional stakeholders. We are collaborating with our EWU Police Department and city of Cheney to ensure that our responses are coordinated.
We have developed an off-campus expectation guide for our students that outlines both university expectations and resources tied to COVID-19.
All recognized student groups/organizations are required to register any activities, and to abide by physical-distancing and masking parameters that restrict gatherings to no-more than five people.
EWU staff has held Zoom meetings with sorority and fraternity leaders and advisors regarding our COVID-19 expectations and how these may affect their organization’s plans for the year. We continue to provide support and resources to all student organizations and advisors to safely return to campus and connect with one another.
When a student or group of students do not abide by the parameters we have developed in collaboration with the Spokane Regional Health District, we are committed to addressing violations by following protocols outlined in our COVID Accountability Measures and our Student Conduct Code. If community members have concerns, or witness students gathering unsafely, they are encouraged to click the “Give Feedback or Report a Case” button at the bottom of our Coronavirus Preparedness page.
To help promote our message, students in EWU’s Masters of Public Health program are developing a peer-to-peer educational campaign to emphasize the importance of following safety protocols and the dangers associated with COVID-19.
Overall, EWU believes a collective, proactive approach will not only help protect the health and safety of students and the entire university community. We also believe this approach will help ensure that opportunities currently available to students can continue throughout the coming academic year–among these the ability to live on campus, access to dining establishments and recreational facilities, and attend some in-person classes.
All of us – students, faculty and staff – have a great opportunity to show some grace and gratitude to each other and help EWU be a leader in how colleges across the nation can still thrive through this pandemic. Hopefully, this will allow us to take the next steps toward returning to normal.
Finally, if you are a student and would like to connect with a member of the Student Care Team, please submit a Care Team Intake Form.
If you are a concerned faculty, staff, or community member and wish to alert us about a student needing assistance, please submit an ICARE form.
Stay up-to-date with how EWU is responding to the challenges of COVID-19 and working to support students, faculty and staff by visiting the Guide to Fall 2020 and ewu.edu/coronavirus.
Thank you for your help and cooperation in this time of shared responsibility.
The EWU Crisis Management Team