WSU President Kirk Schulz reiterated the university’s plan for the return of in-person instruction for Fall 2020, emphasizing the university would make operational adjustments as necessary and would do so only in accordance with recommendations from health experts.
“The health of our faculty, staff and students is paramount,” Schulz said. “We’re not going to do anything to put people at risk where we’re being foolish or foolhardy or not doing planning. I want to remind everybody that we have several months between now and then, and we have some of the best and brightest people in the state of Washington and at WSU working on what this is going to look like.”
While the fall semester may not look exactly as prior semesters had, Schulz emphasized that the Coug experience will persist.
Schulz spoke to the WSU community as part of the 3rd COVID-19 virtual town hall, which saw leaders from across the university address a range of high-profile topics, including student fees and emergency financial aid. That also included the announcement of Elizabeth Chilton as the university’s next provost and executive vice president, who will be starting at WSU on Aug. 1.
Craig Parks, vice provost for system innovation and policy, provided updates on the university’s efforts to address the technological needs of its students who are currently taking classes remotely. More than 150 students are participating in WSU’s laptop loan program, which students can sign up for using the online request form. WSU is also running a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot loan program for the summer, with a similar online request form.
The university is also working with partners from across the state to set up mobile hotspots at WSU Extension offices as well as libraries, fire stations and schools.
Mary Jo Gonzales, vice president of student affairs, gave updates on mandatory student fees and plans for move-out. She noted that the fees students pay go toward debt for buildings that support student services as well as keeping hundreds of staff and student employees working during this difficult time.
More information on housing, including move-out procedures, can be found on the Housing and Residence Life website.
Glynda Becker-Fenter, executive director of WSU DC, and Brian Dixon, assistant vice president for student financial services, discussed the recently approved federal CARES act, which is providing $14 billion in support for students and institutions of higher learning. WSU received $21.76 million, of which nearly $10.9 million is earmarked to assist students experiencing financial hardships caused by the pandemic. Eligible students should expect to see emails soon regarding financial assistance being provide through that act, and more information can be found online.
Members of the WSU community were also reminded of the upcoming system-wide virtual celebration, which is taking place May 9. More information can be found the Experience WSU website. The complete town hall can be viewed on Youtube.