After a long summer of planning, we are thrilled that our first-year and transfer students began orientation yesterday, and we look forward to classes getting underway on Aug. 31. It is a most untraditional start to the year, but we are ready and eager to begin! Below is an update on information to help us all prepare for the fall.  

We have adopted a Puget Sound Community Pledge to affirm our commitment to protecting ourselves and each other as we work together to keep the university community safe, both on campus and off. Please read the pledge and join us in this important effort!

Staff members in Counseling, Health, and Wellness Services have coordinated with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department to provide COVID-19 testing on campus throughout the fall semester at no charge for students, faculty, and staff members. Testing is highly recommended for all off-campus students who regularly use on-campus resources and all other faculty and staff members working on campus. From Human Resources to faculty and staff and from Residence Life to students, messages have been sent to students, which includes a link to sign up for testing. If you did not receive an email, faculty and staff should contact Human Resources, and students should contact Residence Life.

Although we are operating remotely, we understand the importance of making available safe and healthy access to facilities that support our community in various ways. Building access may be adjusted throughout the semester; meanwhile, please note the following:

All major campus buildings will be card-access only
Students will have Logger card access to general student-use buildings (including Wheelock Student Center and Collins Memorial Library), an academic building if approved for a specific purpose, and/or to their campus housing.

Athletic and fitness facilities
Contingent on our ability to operate within public health guidelines, we are developing plans to reopen facilities for limited use by our students, faculty, staff members, and student-athletes for training and practice to prepare for the safe return competition in the spring. Guidance will be forthcoming next week.

Collins Memorial Library
All students, faculty, and staff members will have limited access to the library front Reading Rooms for study purposes and access to the Service Desk and study spaces in Technology Services. Printers and some computers have been installed in the Reading Rooms. Library staff continues to provide references, inter-library loans, and other services remotely at Local users may pick up requested print materials in the library lobby Monday–Friday, 11 a.m. –2 p.m. Access to the open portions of the building will be Monday–Thursday, 8 a.m.–9 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.; and Saturday, 1–5 p.m. The Service Desk in Technology Services will be Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. More information will be available soon about specific study spaces and application protocols. This information will be clearly listed on the library website and shared with the campus community.

Kilworth Chapel
We anticipate two to four events per month related to different faith/spiritual traditions that will be conducted in accordance with public health guidelines in place at any given time. The chapel will also be available a few hours a week for non-event-related use by the campus community; please contact Chaplain Dave Wright for more details.

Music Building
Plans are being finalized to support the use of practice rooms, including scheduling one-hour breaks between sessions to circulate air and sanitize. Facilities Services will also supply disinfecting wipes that can be used on various surfaces, including piano keyboards, before and after each use. Schneebeck Concert Hall may also be available for faculty and/or students for live streaming or recording. Additional information is forthcoming,

Residence facilities
A small number of students will be living on campus in one of three residential buildings. They will have a card and/or key access only to the residential facilities in which they live. Thomas Hall residents also will have access to some first-floor meeting rooms for studying or other activities as long as they comply with COVID-19 safety protocols.

Science Center (Thompson Hall and Harned Hall)
Card access will be available to students for approved individual academic endeavors. Appropriate faculty members are evaluating requests to ensure compliance with public health guidelines.

Weyerhaeuser Hall
Weyerhaeuser Hall will be available Monday–Friday, 7 a.m. –10 p.m., for students participating in approved academic endeavors involving occupational therapy, physical therapy, exercise science, psychology, and neuroscience, including access to labs, clinics, and study spaces. Facilities Services will continue collaborating with faculty to finalize building operating and service plans. Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy public clinics will not be in operation this fall.

Wheelock Student Center
All students, faculty, and staff members will have card access daily, 7 a.m.–10 p.m., to access ASUPS; the Dining and Conference Services office; The Diner; Diversions Café; The Cellar; Logger Store; Mail Services; Counseling, Health and Wellness Services; and other Student Affairs offices (during each office’s service operating hours). Wheelock also is available for study purposes, with socially distanced seating available in Marshall Hall, the Loft, Rotunda, and Upper Marshall.

Facilities Services has increased cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces in public spaces, including but not limited to building entrances; door handles, lobby furniture, stair handrails, ADA door controls, elevator buttons, light switches, time clocks, and restroom surfaces and fixtures. We are using Clorox 360 electrostatic sanitizing machines to help support the disinfecting efforts of all surfaces, including difficult-to-reach areas. ​Facilities Services also will clean and disinfect all campus residential spaces before students move in and during the fall semester.

Dining Services partners closely with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department to maximize health, safety, and regulation compliance. All food service areas are inspected multiple times annually by the health department and twice annually by Everclean, a private company specializing in a high-standard food safety inspection. Dining staff members undergo State of Washington food worker training, and supervisors and managers participate in expanded ServSafe food safety training. Additional measures to address COVID-19 include: dining staff wear masks and gloves at all times; hand sanitizer is available at entrances, exits, and other locations; contactless pay systems are in place in all service areas; high touch areas and hard surfaces are cleaned and sanitized at least hourly; tables are cleaned after every use; floor arrows and distance markers help maintain appropriate social distance, and plexiglass protection is installed at all cashier stations. 

To reduce the number of people on campus this fall and support those working remotely, Human Resources released a new telework policy. Telework is a flexible work arrangement under which a staff member performs their positions and responsibilities from a site off-campus within Washington state. This flexible work option is available to support remote work when the position and the staff member are suited to such an arrangement. It serves the needs of the department and the university.

Technology Services is hosting a series of webinars during Fall 2020 Student Orientation to provide students with information about using Puget Sound’s student technology and learning systems such as Canvas, GSuite, video conferencing with Zoom/Meet, and virtual desktop, as well as technical support and more. The sessions are oriented to students and open to all Puget Sound community members who wish to attend.

Tuesday Sessions at 10 a.m., Aug. 25, Sept. 1, Sept. 8 

Thursday Sessions at 11 a.m., Aug. 27, Sept. 3, Sept. 10

Best wishes to all as the semester gets underway, and know that we will continue to provide you with the information you need to be safe, healthy, and successful in the months ahead.


Isiaah Crawford, Ph.D. | President