Proactive measures to support students during pandemic

March 18, 2020 by dmeany


Eastern Washington University continues to implement crucial measures during this pandemic so our students, faculty and staff can seamlessly transition into spring quarter and resume spring semester terms with minimal disruptions.

As part of the university’s effort to “flatten the curve” of the pandemic, EWU moved quickly to an “online-first” model with classes, limiting the number of face-to-face interactions, in line with Governor Inslee’s directives. Recognizing the potential financial impact this would have upon students, EWU has waived all online delivery fees for courses during spring term. This is just one of the many critical steps Eastern is taking to ensure students have the support to succeed.

“Eastern is doing everything its power to continue to provide a quality education for our students,” says Provost David May. “At the same time, we want to take steps to ensure students, faculty and staff are conducting their work in the safest environment possible.”

Significant components of Eastern’s plan include:

Enabling students to move forward – The following measures will help ensure students can continue their studies, while providing faculty and staff time to transition courses into online formats:

  • Spring quarter will begin on Monday, April 6. Spring semester will also resume April 6 (however some semester programs may be resuming online coursework as early as March 23).
  • Financial Aid will be disbursed into student accounts on March 30 to pay for tuition and fees, and then post refunds (if applicable). Most students should expect to receive their portion of the disbursement by April 2 or 3.
  • Removing the hold for students with 90 credits who had not yet declared a major, enabling them to register for spring quarter without the requirement to declare a major.
  • Student Emergency Fund will be able to provide financial assistance for students who need laptops in order to access online learning.

Providing students flexibility – To mitigate stress during times of uncertainty, the implementation of these measures provides students with a variety of options:

  • Students who need to suspend or leave a bachelor’s program with no credential due to current circumstances may be awarded an Associate of Arts and Sciences degree if they meet credit totals and general Direct Transfer Agreement requirements.
  • Students who don’t have a safe place to go can stay in university housing. Limited housing and dining options will be provided to students who need them.
  • Student Support Services will remain available to all students, including remote/teleconferencing options to the fullest extent possible.
  • We are removing the cap on the Eagle Flex plan, expanding access for students to obtain groceries and providing access to campus food pantries.
  • The EWU Foundation is working on a student support fundraising initiative to provide financial support to students in need during this pandemic.

Addressing admissions hurdles for prospective students – Understanding that many of our future students are impacted by school closures and other disruptions, the following measures have been implemented:

  • Students may now submit an alternative to the SAT or ACT in order to receive an admission decision. Those who have already taken the SAT or ACT may submit unofficial copies of test scores and still receive an admission decision.
  • Students may submit unofficial transcripts from their high school or college.
  • Any admissions or financial aid deadlines for future students that were scheduled for May 1 have been moved to June 1.

Provost May credits the university community for adjusting quickly during such uncertain times.

“We continue to have conversations and briefings daily to modify our plans and find the best path forward so students can thrive during this difficult stretch.”

Eastern has expanded the COVID-19 FAQ page and is updating it regularly. Please visit www.ewu.edu/coronavirus for the latest information, including video of this week’s online panel with EWU faculty experts discussing the pandemic.