New Restrictions in Washington State

Dear Members of the Puget Sound Community,

Over the past week, Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee has made announcements related to the state’s pandemic response, and yesterday introduced new restrictions that go into effect at midnight tonight through Dec. 14.

K-12 and higher education organizations are exempt from the new restrictions due to the extraordinary measures already in place at Puget Sound and many other institutions to mitigate the spread of the virus and protect the health and safety of our community.  Puget Sound will continue to follow the substantial guidance currently applicable to our operations. Our ability to keep operating without further restrictions depends in large part on our collective adherence to our community pledge. We must each continue to conduct daily health screenings, socially distance, wear masks, wash our hands frequently, participate in testing and contact tracing, quarantine and isolate when required, and follow all other protocols in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. It is absolutely imperative that we all continue to follow recommended public health guidelines and university protocols as cases surge in Washington state and around the country. This necessity includes observing state restrictions on indoor gatherings in our homes and other settings, especially during the upcoming holidays.

We will continue to update our COVID-19 dashboard with information about positive cases in our community. Though there are no immediate changes to campus operations at this time, this could change at any time.  At this juncture we are continuing our planning for spring semester that includes a combination of in-person, hybrid, and remote course options, and making campus residences available at reduced capacity and with strict safety measures in place. This is a dynamic and rapidly evolving situation. As previously announced, any changes to our plans for spring semester will be announced no later than Dec. 18.

I hope you can join us for this week’s virtual town hall meetings: today at 4 p.m. for faculty, tomorrow at 3 p.m. for staff, and Thursday at 5 p.m. for students and parents. I also urge everyone to review the holiday travel guidance provided last week by Counseling, Health and Wellness Services and, for those of you who are local, to participate in the free testing and flu shots taking place on campus this Wednesday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

This is a challenging time for all of us as we do our best to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our community, and support our students in their pursuit of their college educations. Patience, flexibility and personal responsibility will allow us to meet the varying needs of those we serve. Be kind to yourself and others. Even with the uncertainty all around, there is much to be thankful for as the holiday season approaches. I am certainly thankful for each and every one of you.

Sincerely,

Isiaah
Isiaah Crawford, Ph.D. | President