Update on Fall and Spring Semesters

Dear Members of the Campus Community,

Today is the official mid-point of the fall semester, and I write to express my appreciation to all of you for your hard work this fall—and to offer a special note of encouragement to students as you navigate midterm papers and exams!

We continue to work closely with our local health department, the governor’s office, and others to ensure that we are doing everything we can to create a safe and healthy environment for all members of our community. Below is an overview of important announcements related to both the fall and spring semesters.

Extended Hours for Wheelock Student Center. Beginning Saturday, Oct. 17, Wheelock Student Center will be accessible from 7 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week. Upper Marshall Hall will be open for students seeking a quiet place to study. Please observe appropriate social distancing, wear face coverings (except when eating or drinking), and report any concerns to our COVID-19 Supervisors: Bryan Necessary, 253.879.3933 or bnecessary@pugetsound.edu; or Kerstyn Dolack, 253.879.2778 or kdolack@pugetsound.edu.

Campus Visitor Guidelines. We continue to reduce the density of people on campus, which includes our campus visitors. Access to buildings by visitors is available only by appointment. Campus visitors are asked to complete a Visitor Health Self-Screening Report, wear a mask at all times within campus buildings, and maintain six feet of social distance both indoors and out. Please contact John Hickey for additional information, hickey@pugetsound.edu.

Student Flu Shots. Flu shots will be offered to all students in The Den on the lower level of the Wheelock Student Center on Friday, Oct. 28, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. The cost is $25, which will be billed to students’ accounts. Please contact Counseling, Health and Wellness Services for more information at chws@pugetsound.edu or 253.879.1555.

Faculty and Staff Flu Shots. Bartell Drugs will provide flu shots to faculty and staff members in the Wheelock Student Center Rotunda on Friday, Oct. 28, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Appointments can be scheduled in advance at https://bartelloffsite.simplybook.pro/v2/#book/provider/142; walk-ups are also welcome. Insurance will be billed directly if you bring your insurance card. There is no out-of-pocket cost for those who are enrolled in the university’s health plan. Please contact Human Resources for more information at hr@pugetsound.edu or 253.879.3369.

COVID-19 Testing. Please familiarize yourselves with the campus testing protocol. The next mass testing date on campus is Oct. 28, 10 a.m.–3 p.m., in the Wheelock Student Center parking lot. Testing is free and open to all students, faculty and staff members, and their families.

Thanksgiving Break. Thanksgiving break for students is Saturday, Nov. 21 through Sunday, Nov. 29. Students currently living on campus will be able to stay in residence until the end of the semester, but those who travel outside of Washington state during the break will need to be tested for COVID-19 upon their return. Testing is recommended but not required for non-residential students, faculty and staff members who travel during the break. The first mass testing date on campus following Thanksgiving break is Thursday, Dec. 3, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. in the Wheelock Student Center parking lot.

Take the Pledge. We remind all students, faculty and staff members to take the Community Pledge to do their best to keep themselves and others healthy, and to continue to fill out a daily health screening form before coming to campus or leaving your campus residence.

Protecting the health of our community remains our top priority as we continue to monitor developments related to the pandemic and make plans for spring. At this time it is our intention to resume in-person course instruction and operations in the spring semester if conditions allow for it, and we will be prepared to respond appropriately should circumstances require us to pivot back to more remote operations at any time.

Spring 2021 Course Registration. Undergraduate spring course registration begins on Monday, Nov. 9; graduate registration begins Friday, Nov. 6.  Courses will be offered in a number of different instructional modes, including remote, hybrid, and in-person with physical distancing in place. The Registrar’s Office and Academic Advising will communicate additional information to students regarding spring course enrollment prior to registration. 

Spring Study Abroad. We made the difficult decision to cancel all spring 2021 study abroad programs; those affected were notified by the International Programs office earlier today. Our intention is to resume these programs as soon as conditions allow. Please consult with International Programs to develop future plans.

Residence Life. We anticipate having up to 1,300 students living on campus in the spring, and have reserved 44 rooms for students who may require isolation at any point during the semester. Common spaces, rooms and restrooms have been modified in alignment with best health practices, including use of dividers between sinks; assigned restrooms; enhanced cleaning procedures; limits on visitors; and more.

COVID-19 Testing. We will test campus community members a minimum of once per week throughout the spring semester. This will apply to everyone regularly working, living, and studying on campus.

Working on Campus. All department heads are encouraged to work with their area vice president/provost to develop a departmental plan that meets student and institutional needs while also helping to achieve our goal of reducing the density of staff on campus during the spring semester. In the coming weeks an updated “Return to Work on Campus Plan” document will be available.

Commencement. We continue to plan for two separate Commencement ceremonies, one for the class of 2020 and one for the class of 2021. Both are scheduled to take place on Sunday, May 16, 2021.

We will continue to keep you informed as we monitor the impacts of the pandemic and work to support a successful fall and spring semester for the campus community. To ensure that we are responsive to your questions and concerns, a series of remote town hall-style meetings are being planned for early next month. Meeting dates and times will be available shortly. You can also keep up to date at pugetsound.edu/fall2020 and pugetsound.edu/coronavirus.


Isiaah Crawford, Ph.D. | President