COVID-19 Update from President Rex Fuller

WOU sign at the front of campus, glossy black with gold lettering, greenery behind it. Campus appears wet from rain.

Dear campus community,

As promised, I am writing with additional information about our response to COVID-19, particularly in light of Governor Brown’s executive directives released late last night and this morning. First, and most importantly, consistent with the Governor’s executive action informed by guidance from Oregon Health Authority experts, we are not closing campus at this time.   You may view Governor Brown’s press release here.

The campus is taking a proactive approach to supporting global efforts to limit the spread. These steps are the socially responsive approach and fits our values and the guidelines provided by the Governor, the Oregon Health Authority and the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC).

  • Finals for winter term will be held as scheduled unless students receive specific information from their faculty.
  • Campus residence halls will remain open during spring break, with the standard fee waived, reducing the need for students to travel home if they are unable to or uncomfortable with traveling at this time. Valsetz Dining Hall will be open with limited hours for breakfast, lunch, and dinner over spring break. Please see the University Housing website.
  • Most classes for spring term, starting March 30, will be offered remotely, which includes but is not limited to online solutions for a minimum of two weeks. This will be continuously evaluated. Faculty will notify students regarding how their individual courses will be delivered.
  • We will not sponsor or host any gatherings with more than 250 people. This restriction is effective until April 8 and will be reevaluated prior to that date.
  • Gatherings for fewer than 250 will be in spaces that accommodate at least twice the number of attendees to maximize our adherence to social distancing.
  • Maintain a distance of at least three (3) feet between employees in offices and at worksites, including essential meetings.
  • Limit all non-essential meetings of twenty (20) or more individuals, including after-work functions.
  • Non-essential WOU-sponsored travel is suspended. We recommend that students, staff and faculty stay local as much as possible, and limit their personal travel.
  • Employees will be permitted to work remotely, where feasible, and with approval from your supervisor. (see here)

Looking ahead to spring term, faculty have been urged to create alternative methods for teaching courses. To assist in this effort, the campus expanded our support for online offerings. More details concerning this will be sent to faculty today and I am confident that this will enable the campus to greatly expand on-line offering in spring term.

I am enormously grateful to employees for working diligently to make our efforts for increased social distancing a reality and to those who continue to support our students during this stressful time. In my years at Western, I have appreciated how focused our community is about supporting each other and that stands even truer today.

As additional information is available, we will continue to update wou.edu/coronavirus. I also understand that some of the points above may have prompted additional questions so we have added an FAQ section to the webpage. If you have additional questions or comments, there is a form to submit them on our coronavirus webpage.

Also, we have scheduled a livestreamed forum (with captioning and interpreters) for Monday, March 30 where we will be providing additional information about spring term and available to answer your questions. I will email you details about that as soon as it’s available.

I appreciate your patience and flexibility as we enter uncharted waters in this COVID-19 situation. I encourage you to share this information with your families.

Sincerely,

Rex Fuller

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