Latest on Fall Planning and Return to Work

February 18, 2021 By David Meany

Having already announced it is planning for the possibility of returning to mostly in-person instruction this fall, Eastern Washington University interim President David May is setting a target date of July 1 for staff to return to campus.

Like the in-person instruction announcement made in January, May says everything will depend on the status of the pandemic and vaccines as the university follows public health guidelines.

Remote instruction continues through winter and spring terms, and EWU expects most summer courses to remain online. But with COVID numbers declining and the vaccine slowly taking hold, interim President May has asked all university staff to prepare a plan for a return to work in July.

“We know that predicting the exact health environment at any given time is a best guess proposition,” say May, “but we must start building a plan to return to our regular work stations so we are prepared to do it right.”

The university is not expecting each person to come to campus on July 1. Instead, managers will coordinate the return of staff so that it is a safe, phased transition with all departments being open to serve students in-person on July 1.

“Just like we did a year ago when we suddenly moved online, we will all need to work together to identify and overcome the challenges ahead as we transition back to campus,” says May.

With the East region now in Phase 2 of Gov. Inslee’s reopening plan, the university is also evaluating options for the possibility of some in-person commencement ceremonies, for both semester and quarter graduates.

May points out concerns about the pandemic remain the top priority, so no firm commitment on commencement can be made at this time.