With the health and well-being of students, faculty and staff of utmost importance, Eastern Washington University plans to offer most courses online for the fall 2020 term – while face-to-face instruction will be allowed for certain classes.
In making the announcement Tuesday, May 5, EWU President Mary Cullinan and Provost David May outlined several key principles driving Eastern’s plans. Among them, all courses where online instruction is possible should be developed with the goal of delivering those courses online this fall. The university will identify courses that cannot be offered online, such as some labs, so they can be approved for face-to-face instruction and help students as they plan their fall schedule. Such classes will use methods that reduce health risks to students, faculty and staff.
While following the lead of public health officials, EWU is also using faculty experts in public health and the sciences to help guide the university’s decision-making process.
“Developing curriculum in anticipation of online instruction and also scheduling in anticipation of face-to-face teaching provide maximum flexibility to EWU’s fall course offerings,” says Cullinan. “Our plan also addresses public health and safety concerns.”
The university’s plan also allows for the flexibility of online offerings to be switched to face-to-face or a hybrid if public health restrictions ease. Likewise, if health concerns increase, all schedules can shift online using existing meeting patterns.
“Preparing for academic continuity in this uncertain climate is critical to mitigating the disruption in student achievement and progress towards degree,” says May. He notes also that the university will evaluate the status of the pandemic and its impacts to the community on a daily and weekly basis.
As it has this spring, EWU will also allow students to live in campus residence halls during the fall term if they so choose. The plan is to have only one student per room. As with the rest of campus, social distancing and other public health measures will be in place; facilities will be cleaned and sanitized frequently. Dining operations will also offer to-go services for those on campus.
Eastern has already announced that the first summer term will also be online. The university is planning a virtual Commencement ceremony for graduates in June.
Please visit www.ewu.edu/coronavirus for the latest information during the pandemic.