Update on Coronavirus Response and University Operations

Dear Members of the Campus Community,

At this time, we have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on campus, but are aware that could change at any time. I write today to update you on our plans for the remainder of the spring semester in response to this public health crisis as we work to ensure the ability of our students to continue their education.

This afternoon Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee issued an executive order to close through April 24 all K-12 public and private schools in three counties, including Pierce County, and the city of Tacoma declared a state of emergency.

In consultation with the campus emergency policy council and risk management teams and representatives of our Faculty Senate and Staff Senate; guidance from local, state and federal health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; awareness of a range of decisions being made by other institutions; experience gained over the past week in remote delivery of coursework; and new protocols and procedures in place to support remote learning, the following will go into effect immediately.

  1. Remote learning will resume following spring break and will be extended until further notice. Students will continue to hear from their professors regarding their classes and should not plan to return to campus following spring break unless notified otherwise. More information will follow from Student Affairs regarding students with extenuating circumstances that might require them to stay on campus, retrieval of belongings, and other residential considerations. 
  2. Spring break for students will be extended through Tuesday, March 24. Classes on Monday, March 23 and Tuesday, March 24 will not be held in order to allow both faculty and students additional time to prepare for remote learning. Technology Services will host a number of additional training sessions for faculty during the break. Provost Behling will communicate to faculty later today with more information.
  3. Athletic events are suspended. The remainder of the Loggers Northwest Conference competition and practices are suspended until further notice, as is all non-conference play. Student-athletes will receive further guidance from Athletic Director Amy Hackett.
  4. Campus remains open. All faculty and staff members should continue to report to work, either in person or through approved telecommuting arrangements. Staff should discuss specific work arrangements with their supervisors. On-campus social distancing protocols will be expanded with more guidance coming soon, including cancellation of events hosted on our campus by outside groups.
  5. Decisions have not yet been made regarding Commencement. We will do that all that we can to ensure that eligible students are able to graduate this spring. Although it is premature to make decisions about the Commencement ceremony, we hope that it can take place and will keep you informed. 

These are not easy decisions to make, and I realize this is a disappointing outcome for many in our community. We understand that you will have many questions and concerns and we are working as quickly and thoughtfully as we can in this rapidly changing situation. We will continue to communicate and provide guidance as more information becomes available.

We understand that COVID-19 is expected to be present in the U.S. and other communities around the world for an extended period of time, and we are doing what we are advised is necessary to mitigate the spread of the virus. Although the risk to healthy individuals and young people is believed to be low, we encourage everyone to continue taking appropriate precautions and be mindful of impacts on at-risk populations (currently identified as those with underlying health conditions, over 60 years of age, or pregnant).

Loggers are creative, resilient and adaptable in the face of change. I am confident that we will weather these challenging circumstances with grace and fortitude, and I cannot begin to express my appreciation and admiration for all that this community has done – and continues to do – during this public health crisis. Our highest priority is to continue to deliver on our mission as an educational institution while doing everything we can to safeguard the health and wellbeing of all members of the campus community.

Please continue to check your email and pugetsound.edu/coronavirus for further information as it becomes available.

Sincerely,

Isiaah
Isiaah Crawford, Ph.D. | President