Return Flight

EWU students on campus wearing Covid-19 masks
With cautious optimism, Eastern plans for resuming in-person instruction this fall.


More than a year has passed since the onslaught of Covid-19, a year that has brought unprecedented heartbreak and hardship to people across the globe. From the beginning of the pandemic, Eastern has worked diligently to protect the health of its students, faculty and staff.

Among the most high-profile, and painful, of the safety protocols adapted has involved temporarily suspending most forms of in-person learning, a measure that has fundamentally altered students’ collegiate experience in ways great and small. Thankfully, a return to some form of normalcy appears near.

Mask-wearing students on the Cheney campus earlier this spring.

Earlier this spring, David May, Eastern’s interim president, announced EWU has begun planning for a return to mostly in-person instruction this fall. There remains a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the future course of the pandemic, but with the progress of vaccinations — and continued diligence in masking and social distancing — May says he is optimistic that campus life will soon be making a comeback.

“I’m excited to announce the university is planning for the possibility of returning to mostly in-person instruction this fall,” his statement read. “Using our Max-Flex approach, we are developing a comprehensive plan to prepare us for the goal of normal or near-normal operations. This plan will include checkpoints along the way and ongoing assessments of state guidelines and public health measures.”
Max-Flex, as detailed in the last issue of this magazine, provides EWU students with the choice of living on- or off-campus, while taking classes online or in person when it is safe to do so.

May cautioned that unexpected twists and turns could still derail the homecoming. “Getting to [our] goal will depend on how things progress with the pandemic, and the rollout of vaccines in the coming months. I pledge to everyone we are not going to be fully back on campus until it is safe to do so.”