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COVID-19 FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 and WSU’s ongoing efforts.

FAQ Topics


Vaccines

Should I continue to wear a face mask in light of CDC’s May 13 guidance?

On May 13, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that individuals who are fully vaccinated can resume indoor and outdoor activities without a face mask or physically distancing. Doing so must be in compliance with federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.

WSU recently updated its mask and social distancing policies to reflect the latest guidance from the CDC, the state Department of Health, and the Department of Labor and Industries.

Any WSU employees, students, or visitors who wish to no longer wear a facial covering or distance while on a WSU location will be required to provide proof of being fully vaccinated for COVID‑19, defined as two weeks after the last shot in a vaccine series. More information is available on the COVID-19 website.

Those who are not fully vaccinated should continue to take steps to protect themselves and others.

Updated May 26

Will WSU allow exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccination requirement?

Yes. Personal, medical and religious belief exemption requests will be allowed. Those who receive exemptions may be subject to COVID-19 testing and/or other COVID-19 public health measures. More information, including how to submit proof of vaccination or an exemption, will be communicated prior to the start of the fall semester.

When is the deadline to submit proof of vaccination or have a granted exemption?

All WSU students must submit proof of vaccination or an approved exemption by Nov. 1, 2021. However, some programs may designate an earlier date for proof of vaccination or exemption based on when fall semester in-person activities begin.

For students living in university-owned housing on the WSU Pullman campus, proof of vaccination or an approved exemption must be supplied by Aug. 6, 2021. The university retains discretion to modify housing assignments to protect the community’s health and safety.

Students can now upload proof of COVID-19 vaccination or medical exemptions through the Cougar Health patient portal. The process for applying for a COVID-19 vaccination exemption for personal or religious reasons will be available in July.

Updated June 1

Which COVID-19 vaccines are acceptable under WSU’s requirement?

WSU will accept any vaccine currently approved by the World Health Organization under their Emergency Use Listing/Prequalification process. There are currently six such vaccines which qualify, including the three vaccines widely available in the US. Students and employees who are unable to be fully vaccinated prior to returning to WSU will be provided assistance in locating resources.

Are vaccines received outside the United States acceptable?

Vaccines that are received outside of the United States are only acceptable if they are listed on the World Health Organization’s Emergency Use List, which is available online.

What is WSU’s COVID-19 vaccination policy?

WSU is requiring all students engaging in activities at a WSU campus or location during the 2021-2022 academic year show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. This policy also extends to all employees and volunteers engaging in activities at a WSU worksite.

A previous diagnosis of COVID-19 will not exempt people from the vaccination requirement.

Exemptions for medical, religious and personal reasons will be allowed.

Information about how to submit proof of vaccination as well as the process to request an exemption will be communicated prior to the start of the fall 2021 semester.  WSU will work with any international students and employees who may have received a vaccine that is not approved for use in the United States.

More information can be found in President Kirk Schulz’s April 28 letter to the WSU community.

When will vaccine eligibility open up to more people?

Beginning April 15, all Washington residents over the age of 16 will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

The easiest way to find a place where vaccine appointments can be made is by visiting Vaccine Locator. Simply entering a Zip code yields a list of vaccination sites within 50 miles.

Why should I get vaccinated for COVID-19?

The reason to be vaccinated is first and foremost to protect yourself against severe disease, hospitalization, and in the most tragic cases, death. But it also protects your loved ones, your family, and your colleagues. When you are vaccinated, you’re much less likely to transmit the infection to those around you. And on a larger scale, when we all get vaccinated, that’s how we can get to the end of the pandemic because it will eliminate the infection continuing to circulate through the population.

Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?

COVID-19 vaccines are absolutely safe. They have gone through all the necessary steps for the Food and Drug Administration to evaluate the clinical trials and approve them as being safe and effective. The reason we’ve been able to make such rapid progress isn’t because we’ve skipped any steps. It’s because we have decades of knowledge of how to create vaccines. We were able to very quickly identify the target that makes a vaccine effective. And because the pandemic had so many cases spreading so quickly, we were able to show that those who are vaccinated versus those who got the placebo were effectively protected against the infection.

Which COVID-19 vaccine should I get, and why do some require one shot while others two?

All three of the FDA approved vaccines, Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson-Johnson are effective in preventing disease. The efficacy, that is ability to prevent infection, differs very slightly, but in their ability to protect against disease, they’re all essentially equal. The difference between the one and two dose vaccines is although they all address the same target of the virus, they’re slightly different in their composition, but in the end, they’re all equally effective.

Do I need to get a vaccine if I have already had COVID-19?

If you’ve already had COVID-19, you should get a booster immunization. The reason for that is when you’ve had a natural infection, there’s a whole range of responses in terms of your immunity, from very weak to very strong, but there’s no way to know what you have as an individual. By having a booster immunization after having had COVID-19, the data clearly shows that it brings you up to a level where we’re confident you will be protected against further disease due to COVID-19.

Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I have allergies or have an immune-suppressed system?

The approved vaccines are safe for individuals with allergies. If you’ve had a previous allergic reaction to a vaccine, you will be asked after your vaccination to stay for 30 minutes for observation by a health care provider. Those without a history of allergic reactions are asked to stay for 15 minutes, just to observe that they’re not having any what’s called anaphylactic shock, as a result of the vaccination.

For individuals who are immunocompromised, the vaccine has been shown to be effective, including for those who are living with HIV. However, because the level or degree of being immunocompromised varies among individuals, it’s best to check with your specific healthcare provider prior to vaccination.

How do I know if I’m eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine?

The best way to know when and where to get your vaccine is to go to Vaccine Locator. If you put your zip code into the Vaccine Locator, it will tell you when you’re eligible for a vaccine and where to obtain that vaccine.

Can children get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Currently, vaccines are available only for people over the age of 16. Adolescents between ages 12 and 16 are currently enrolled in clinical trials to ensure that the vaccine is equally safe and effective for them as it is in adults. Younger children cannot get the vaccine at present, although the additional studies for children 5 years of age and older are being planned. But I want to emphasize that if we vaccinate our adult population and our adolescent population, we will protect younger children by controlling the virus in our general population.

What is the difference between the different manufacturers of the vaccine?

All three FDA approved vaccines are focused on the same component of the virus. That is, the spike protein. If you think of the spike protein as a key that fits into a lock, the viral key fitting into the lock on the human cell, all three vaccines focus on developing an immune response against that key that blocks it from getting into the cell. The way they do it is slightly different. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine uses what’s called a DNA approach. Pfizer and Moderna use a RNA approach, but both of them give you the same result: an immune response against this critical part of the virus that is responsible for infection.

What is a vaccine?

Vaccines are a way to train the body to recognize a virus or any type of microbe at the earliest points of infection. So rather than waiting for your natural immune response to recognize that you’re been infected, that you’re getting sick and responding, it basically jump starts that process. Vaccination with a small non-infectious part of the virus trains the immune response to be ready when it actually encounters the actual infectious virus.

Does the vaccine change my DNA?

The vaccine does not change your DNA or any part of your genetic code. What it does is it trains your immune response, which is a normal part of the way your body functions, to recognize the virus at the earliest possible stages following exposure.

How does your body use a vaccine to combat a threat like COVID-19?

The simplest way to think of how a vaccine and your immune response that it generates, works is to think of this analogy of a key and a lock. The virus binds to your cell and enters the same way that a key would enter a lock. What the vaccine does is actually induces antibodies, which are natural component of your body, to block that. So it just blocks that key from fitting into the lock. So by being vaccinated, when you actually are exposed to the real virus, it can’t get into the cells. And when a virus cannot get into a human cell, it can no longer infect you.

How does your body know to differentiate between a vaccine and the virus?

In a way the body doesn’t actually discriminate between them. What it does is it jump starts that process so that you’ve got this immune response at the moment the actual virus comes. So we use a small non-infectious part of the virus, if you will, to train the body to recognize the actual virus.

What are the known side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines?

Most individuals will have no other effects after vaccination besides perhaps a slightly sore arm that lasts for 24 to 48 hours. There are some individuals who for the next day or two may have feeling as of a fever, a headache, or may just not feel themselves for a little bit. That’s your body normally reacting, and those feelings will pass.

How long will my vaccine be effective?

How long the vaccine will protect you against infection is currently unknown. That’s what we call the duration of immunity and those studies are ongoing for those individuals who have been vaccinated and are now being followed to make sure their immune response is still sufficiently strong to fight off a new infection. However, the best evidence to date is that the immunity is long lasting so that if we do need boosters in the future, it may not be every few months, but it’s much more likely to be at least a year or every few years before you need an additional immunization.

Will the vaccine eliminate the need to wear masks and keep social distance?

At our present level of vaccination, it is still necessary to respect spatial distancing and wear masks when in public. As we get a larger percentage of our population vaccinated, will we be able to reduce and eventually eliminate the need for mask wearing and spatial distancing in public.  That emphasizes the importance for you to get vaccinated and to encourage your family, friends, and colleagues to also get vaccinated.


Housing, Dining and Auxiliary Services

Where can I learn more about WSU Pullman’s plans for fall 2021 on-campus housing?

Housing and Residence Life has set up a Fall 2021 Housing website that includes an extensive FAQ section. The page is being updated frequently with new information as it becomes available.

I read about the demonstrated institutional need criteria to live in a University-owned residence hall. How do I know if I am eligible?

We know some students call WSU their home. The University has substantially decreased the number of students who can live in our residence halls. We will do our best to provide housing for those students who meet one or more of the following criteria; however, eligibility under the criteria does not guarantee on‑campus housing, and changing circumstances may require additional restrictions:

  • A student with a financial situation that requires living on campus (e.g., private scholarship with requirements to live on campus, eligible for need-based grants, receiving federal or state need-based aid)
  • A first-generation college student that needs transition assistance
  • A student who is participating in an institutional, state, or federal program emphasizing or requiring on‑campus resources and support
  • A student who has a housing situation that is not secure, in jeopardy, or unsafe
  • A student who has in‑person, on‑campus employment that requires them to be at WSU Pullman
  • A student who is a former foster youth
  • A student who is a veteran or a ROTC cadet
  • A student who has an ADA accommodation through the WSU Access Center
  • A student whose permanent address does not have adequate infrastructure to learn online (e.g., does not have access to reliable home internet)
  • A student who is international or requires extensive travel to return home safely
  • A student who is enrolled in a course that requires face‑to‑face interaction. You will be notified of course delivery decisions by August 1
  • A student who has an extraordinary circumstance that requires them to be physically present at WSU Pullman. Students in this category will be asked to describe the specific circumstances.

If you meet one or more of the above demonstrated institutional needs criteria to live in a University-owned residence hall, log on to the online housing application. Once you confirm you meet the demonstrated institutional need criteria, you will receive information about your fall 2020 housing assignment and you will be given information about signing up for a move‑in time. Please note, University dining options will be limited at the start of the semester.

If you are approved to live in University-owned residence halls, you must comply with public health measures such as wearing a face mask, observing physical distancing requirements, completing a daily self‑attestation, and adhering to common space use limitations.

How is WSU working with off-campus housing providers like fraternities and sororities?

WSU does not have authority to make decisions for private landlords, including fraternity and sorority housing corporations.

If you have signed a lease with an off‑campus landlord or property management company, please contact them directly to explore your options.

If you have signed up to live in your fraternity or sorority chapter facility, please work directly with your chapter’s housing corporation to explore your options.

Updated July 24


Information for International Students

How do I maintain my visa status this year now that WSU is returning to more normal operations?

You will need to be enrolled in at least one course that meets in-person. If you want to stay in a virtual learning environment, please contact us so we can advise you of options. Most WSU programs will have a robust in-person experience which means you should plan to physically come to WSU.

Do I need proof of ​COVID-19 vaccination to come to the United States and specifically to WSU?

No, you are not required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination to travel. However, if you have been vaccinated, please provide evidence of that vaccination when you come to WSU.

Where can I find the vaccines listed on the World Health Organization’s Emergency Use List?

To see the vaccines listed on the World Health Organization’s Emergency Use List, visit WHO’s website.

Which offices should I contact if I have questions?

Incoming International students can contact: international@wsu.edu

Current international students and scholars can contact: ip.intlservices@wsu.edu

Are vaccines received outside the United States acceptable?

Vaccines that are received outside of the United States are only acceptable if they are listed on the World Health Organization’s Emergency Use List, which is available online.

Can International Students and Scholars receive vaccine upon arrival?

Yes, international students and scholars can receive vaccine upon arrival to Washington State University.

Can International Students and Scholars travel to the U.S. without the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, you can travel to the U.S. without a vaccine. Currently, you do need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before you board a plane to the United States. More information about that is here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/covid-testing-required-us-entry.html


Admission

What can incoming students who want to attend a different campus than the one they’ve been admitted to do?

If you are not planning to attend the campus where you have been admitted, we can assist you in changing campuses to one of our other six WSU locations. If you know which campus you’d like to transfer to, please go to our website to answer the necessary prompts to begin the Change of Campus form.

If you would like to speak with someone directly regarding a change of campus, please contact the designated staff member at the campus where you wish to attend:

Can students who decide to attend another college in the fall transfer to WSU in the future?

WSU welcomes students at any stage in their higher education to transfer from other colleges and universities. When you’re ready to begin your education here, you’ll need to reapply for your desired term. Admission to WSU will be evaluated at the time of application, based on your completed work.

We would be happy to assist in developing your transfer plan. For information regarding Transfer Credit, please visit our transfer page or contact your admission counselor. If you are unsure of your admission counselor, please email future.coug@wsu.edu and provide your name, contact information and desired campus. Pullman students can find their counselor here.

 

If admitted incoming students decline their admission for Fall 2020, does it affect their future opportunities to attend WSU?

Declining your admission for Fall 2020 will not affect your future opportunity to attend WSU.  However, you will need to reapply for your desired term when you’re ready to begin your education at WSU. Your admission will be evaluated at the time of application.


Instruction

What is WSU’s plan for the Summer 2021 semester?

In a Jan. 25 letter to the WSU community, university leaders announced that for the Summer 2021 semester, WSU is planning to offer both in-person and remote courses.

For the 2021 summer session on the Pullman Campus, the majority of academic departments have chosen to continue with online synchronous course delivery. And as always, Global Campus courses are online and offered asynchronously.

The WSU Summer Session website will be updated with more information as it becomes available.

What Global Learning programs will be available during the Summer 2021 semester?

All Global Learning programs offered outside the United States have been cancelled. This includes all faculty-led, exchange and provider programs. Major considerations included the rise in variants, the shrinking likelihood of U.S. citizens being admitted into countries abroad and the slow roll-out of vaccinations – particularly for the traditional, young adult college student.

Students who had planned to participate in study abroad programs during the Summer 2021 semester should contact their academic advisor or their global learning advisor to make adjustments to their planned course load. Students can email ip.globallearning@wsu.edu if they don’t know who their global learning advisor is.

WSU Global Learning has several options for students looking to enhance their international skill sets. The Digital Badge Connect program gives students the chance to hear from speakers and gain globally-focused experience. The Global Leadership Certificate program is an opportunity for students to earn academic credit and be certified as a Global Leader on their WSU transcript.

What is ProctorU?

ProctorU is an online tool that uses artificial intelligence to ensure academic integrity by checking for suspect behavior such as copy-pasting answers or checking for the use of unauthorized notes during assessments.

Why does WSU use ProctorU?

After a throughout review of available online proctoring tools, the university selected ProctorU to serve as its virtual proctoring vendor. Given the distanced nature of education this semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the university is obliged to ensure academic integrity among its students. This is traditionally done with human proctors monitoring students during assessments. With this not possible for the vast majority of classes, WSU needed to put in place a virtual proctoring system.

The university continues to collect feedback from users of the software and will make adjustments as necessary. A video walking students through the process of using ProctorU is currently in development.

What classes is ProctorU being used for?

ProctorU is typically being used in classes with a large number of students enrolled or those that lead to majors where there is an associated accreditation. Aside from WSU’s Global Campus, 132 undergraduate classes this fall that are using ProctorU this fall. This number accounts for approximately 4%of all undergraduate courses.

What protections are in place to ensure the privacy of students using ProctorU?

Per WSU’s contract, recorded test sessions are managed by an artificial intelligence “bot” and no human is on the other end at ProctorU watching the student. Only a WSU instructor can review recorded sessions. Photo IDs are cleared from the system after seven days. Recorded information is kept for a time period that is consistent with WSU’s and State of Washington rules on retention of student records.

What is WSU doing to address technology barriers facing students?

Following the outbreak of COVID-19, the university launched a computer loan program through a partnership with the Office of the Provost and Information Technology Services. Additional Chromebooks are being order following the exhaustion of our existing inventory.

The university is also working with Comcast on a program to provide home internet to Pell recipients for $9.95 per month if they live in a Comcast service area.

WSU is also considering adding webcams to the loan program as well as exploring the possibility of on-campus testing sites. Some students may also be eligible to apply for emergency grant aid to support such costs.

What can I do if I am unable or unwilling to use ProctorU?

If students cannot or do not wish to take a test using ProctorU, then with the prior agreement of the faculty member they can arrange for on-site proctoring.  Students will bear that cost individually. Faculty need to email gcps@wsu.edu to start the process for face-to-face exams. Students need to start the process to nominate a proctor at least two weeks prior to the exam date.

A Proctoring overview is available for faculty to read, while students are asked to view the university’s on-site proctoring guide.

What’s the difference between online and distance education?

In distance education, the instructor is not in the same physical place as the students but can engage with them through live lectures and discussions. In online education, the course uses resources and teaching strategies that facilitate learning outside of the constraints of time. Online courses are designed to ensure that the instructor is engaging with the students in ways that foster and enhance learning and promote student success.

At WSU online courses are offered through the Global Campus, while any of the physical campuses may offer distance courses in various formats.

When will I learn more about class schedules for the Fall 2021 semester?

WSU will publish its Fall 2021 schedule of classes by early April. WSU is planning for more in-person experiences for fall 2021, with an increased number of students living on campus, more in-person instruction, and expanded student services and activities.

Updated Feb. 5

Who should I contact if my professor is not providing instruction via remote learning?

Please contact the Provost’s Office at provosts.office@wsu.edu

What resources are available for working online?

All faculty, staff and students are able to access Microsoft Office 365, with access to Outlook, OneDrive, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and several other apps.

All WSU faculty and students have access to MATLAB and Simulink.

Also, WSU has created a guide for students explaining how to complete their courses remotely through distance delivery. The student guide is included on the WSU Learning Innovation website and includes a Blackboard Learn tutorial, sample Blackboard course, resources for using Zoom and other academic technology, and more.

 


Health and Wellness

Should I continue to wear a face mask in light of CDC’s May 13 guidance?

On May 13, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that individuals who are fully vaccinated can resume indoor and outdoor activities without a face mask or physically distancing. Doing so must be in compliance with federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.

WSU recently updated its mask and social distancing policies to reflect the latest guidance from the CDC, the state Department of Health, and the Department of Labor and Industries.

Any WSU employees, students, or visitors who wish to no longer wear a facial covering or distance while on a WSU location will be required to provide proof of being fully vaccinated for COVID‑19, defined as two weeks after the last shot in a vaccine series. More information is available on the COVID-19 website.

Those who are not fully vaccinated should continue to take steps to protect themselves and others.

Updated May 26

What are WSU’s plans for offering vaccines?

Cougar Health Services has vaccines available for current WSU Pullman students. More information can be found on CHS’s website.

Vaccine Locator, a tool developed by the State of Washington’s Department of Health, is available to help all Washington residents find locations currently offering COVID-19 vaccines. By simply entering your ZIP code, residence can find clinics and pharmacies within 50 miles.

Updated April 30

 

 

 

I am fully vaccinated. When can I return to WSU?

Evidence has shown many people develop COVID-like symptoms after their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and that these symptoms may last a few days. As previously stated in the Vaccine Guidelines, vaccinated students and faculty previously required to participate in COVID-19 testing are exempted from additional testing 14 days after receiving their second dose provided they remain asymptomatic. This exemption may be revoked or modified at any time and applies for the vaccine’s protective duration as determined by the FDA, CDC, and/or DOH.

While students, faculty, and staff are not required to isolate/quarantine post-vaccination, all must continue to meet attestation requirements and not enter WSU location while experiencing COVID-like symptoms. As soon as symptoms attributable to the vaccination clear (symptoms that appeared within 48 hours of vaccination, and are not associated with a COVID-19 exposure (i.e. close contact)), faculty, staff, and students may to return to a WSU location, while adhering to attestation, distancing, and face covering requirements. Common symptoms following vaccination include fever, chills, tiredness, and headache.

Anyone developing COVID-like symptoms more than 48 hours after vaccination must avoid reporting to a WSU location, and should contact their healthcare provider for evaluation, and adhere to their healthcare provider’s recommendations before returning to a WSU location.

Fully vaccinated faculty, staff, and students (14 days following their prescribed vaccine regimen) may return to a WSU location after a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 exposure, provided that they are within the vaccine’s efficacious period (currently 90 days) as determined by the FDA and clinical trials and remain asymptomatic.

What is known about COVID-19 variants?

Due to the evolving nature of viruses, scientists continue to monitor for new COVID-19 variants. The CDC has a website dedicated to variants, which includes a map of where in the United States COVID-19 variants have been confirmed.

The best course of action is to continue to work towards reducing the spread of the virus by limiting in-person interactions to within your social bubble, wearing a mask, maintaining physical distance, washing your hands, and staying home if you are sick, among other precautions.

Where can I learn more about WSU’s spring 2021 testing plan?

WSU has set up a COVID-19 testing website with information regarding the ongoing efforts to reduce the spread of the disease. The Spring Semester 2021 COVID-19 Testing Program is among the documents available on this site.

Where can WSU Pullman employees get tested for COVID-19

WSU Pullman faculty, administrative professionals, classified staff and non-student temporary/hourly employees working in Whitman County are eligible for COVID-19 screenings as long as they are not experiencing symptoms. The dates, times and locations of testing sites are available on the university’s COVID-19 website.

Employees who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should contact their healthcare provider and follow the WSU Personnel Experiencing COVID‐19 Symptoms flowchart for instructions.

More information on voluntary asymptomatic COVID-19 testing is available on the Human Resource Services website.

Where can WSU Pullman students get tested for COVID-19?

WSU Pullman students who are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms are eligible for screening testing at no cost. Up-to-date information on testing locations and hours of operation can be found on the university’s COVID-19 website.

Students who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 should call Cougar Health Services at 509-335-3575 to arrange a test.

What are the current guidelines on quarantining?

An individual who is a close contact (within 6 feet of somebody with COVID-19, for a cumulative total of 15 minutes over a 24-hour period) should quarantine for 14-days from the last interaction. If that individual is able, and wants to take a COVID-19 test, they should wait at least five days from this interaction before testing. However, a negative test doesn’t reduce the 14-day quarantine timeline since not all tests are 100% accurate and there may be false negatives. Negative tests are also only for a window of time at the time of testing, and a person can turn positive later.

Individuals experiencing hardship may ask Environmental Health and Safety to reduce the quarantine timeline, and it will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

Updated Feb. 15

When is someone considered to be a close contact?

According to the CDC, a close contact is someone who was within six feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from two days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, two days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.

What kind of COVID-19 testing is done for WSU students and employees?

Both Cougar Health Services and the Washington National Guard are using a nasal swab test. The swab collects the sample from inside the nostrils.

What is required of employees with regards to attestation?

As of June 29, employees reporting to a WSU work location for any reason and for any length of time are required to complete COVID-19 symptom attestation. The purpose of attestation is to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by having employees be alert to the symptoms of the disease in order to maintain the safety and public health of employees reporting to a WSU work location.

Instructions for accessing myWSU to complete COVID-19 employee attestation can be found online. WSU has also set up an attestation website for students, faculty, staff and visitors.

Updated August 26

Where can I learn more about ways to be more ergonomic while working from home?

Environmental Health and Safety has put together a guide with ergonomic resources for teleworkers that includes many useful tips and recommendations.

Among those recommendations:

  • Use laptops primarily on a desk and avoid using them on a couch or chair for long periods of time
  • Place laptops on a riser (books or boxes will work too) or use a separate full-size monitor to ensure the top of the screen is at eye level.
  • Use separate input devices (keyboards and mouse)
  • Use a separate monitor, as they often have higher resolution, which can reduce eye strain and typically have a height adjustment.
  • Take frequent breaks and keep your body moving

What do I do if I’m feeling sick?

Whether you are student, faculty or staff member, or a potential visitor to a WSU campus, it is imperative that you stay home if you are feeling sick.

The CDC has a guide for preventing the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick. If you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness such as a cough or difficulty breathing, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

For WSU students, the availability of healthcare depends on the campus. Students on Pullman campus who want to make an appointment at Cougar Health Services are asked to call 509-335-3575.

Updated Aug. 26

What additional precautions should immunocompromised individuals take?

Consult with your healthcare provider regarding any personal health questions you may have. WSU Pullman students can consult with a healthcare professional at Cougar Health Services. Information on making an appointment can be found on their website.

Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control has shared guidance for individuals with a higher risk.

It is highly recommended that members of the household of immunocompromised people wear masks inside the house in shared spaces.

Updated Feb. 15

Will I need to provide proof that I consulted a medical professional regarding possible exposure to COVID-19 in order to miss class under self-quarantine?

No, the university will not require proof that a student has consulted a medical professional about possible exposure to COVID-19.

How can I avoid becoming sick?

The best way to prevent illness is to avoiding being exposed. The CDC recommends the following common sense actions that help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases:

  • Avoid close contact with anyone outside your social bubble
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then immediately throw the tissue in the trash
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces with a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. It’s especially important to do so after using the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water aren’t readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. The CDC’s guide on handwashing can be found online.
  • Consider opening windows to allow more air exchange indoors when possible
  • When using ride share services, sit further away from the driver and open the window oppose the drive and the passenger.
  • Maintain at least six feet of physical distance from others, even while wearing a mask
  • Use air purifiers indoors
  • Get a vaccine once you are eligible
  •  In-person socializing is best done outdoors with masks and appropriate physical distancing

There are also numerous situations that are considered high risk:

  • Being within crowded indoor spaces with poor ventilation
  • Socializing in groups outside your social bubble, especially indoors
  • Gathering in places where people are singing, shouting (often seen during sporting events or concerts), or eating during the event
  • Commuting with people outside your bubble

Updated Feb. 15

Should I be tested for COVID-19?

Contact your healthcare provider if you feel sick with fever, cough or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you live in or have recently traveled from an area with an ongoing spread of COVID-19. Your healthcare provider will work with the state’s public health department and the CDC to determine if testing is required.

Close contact is defined by the CDC as being within six feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more.

Updated Oct. 26

What is the treatment of COVID-19?

The CDC has a guide for what to do if you are feeling sick available online.

Updated Feb. 16

 

 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19

Patients with COVID-19 have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness. The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure, based on prior observed cases:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms, according to the CDC, which regularly updates its website with the latest information.

Updated August 26

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

Yes. Many individuals transmit SARS-CoV-2 prior to developing symptoms. Therefore, masking and physical distancing, as well as limiting interactions to within your social bubble, are critical to reducing the spread of the virus.

According to the World Health Organization, “Aerosol transmission can occur in specific settings, particularly in indoor, crowded and inadequately ventilated spaces, where infected person(s) spend long periods of time with others, such as restaurants, choir practices, fitness classes, nightclubs, offices and/or places of worship.”

Updated Feb. 16


WSU’s Response

What is WSU planning for the Fall 2021 semester?

University leaders announced in a Jan. 25 letter that WSU is planning for an in-person Fall 2021 semester.

Additional information about each of WSU’s campuses were shared by their respective chancellors:

WSU Vancouver
WSU Health Sciences Spokane
WSU Tri-Cities
WSU Everett 

Additionally, the Fall 2021 course schedules for each campus are expected to be available in early April.

Updated Feb. 5

Who should students contact if they have a personal situation not covered by the questions in this FAQ that needs to be addressed directly?

Students should feel free to reach out to the Office of the Dean of Students for any specific concerns at deanofstudents@wsu.edu.

What if my question isn’t answered on this site?

WSU and members of the Incident Command team are actively monitoring this rapidly evolving public health issue and making policy changes as needed when new information is made available.

Updates to this website are being made daily. You can also send questions, comments and suggestions to COVID-19.info@wsu.edu.

Where can I learn more about available work and leave options for WSU employees?

The Department of Human Resource Services has put together an FAQ on leave and work options for faculty and staff on its website.

Where can I find updates on COVID-19?

Updates on WSU’s response efforts will be posted on the university’s COVID-19 website. Updated information on the disease is also regularly posted on the CDC website as it becomes available.

Where can I send my questions or make suggestions about how WSU is responding to COVID-19?

Washington State University has established an email address that students, faculty and staff members can use to ask questions or make suggestions about how WSU is preparing for the possibility of COVID-19 on campus. That address is COVID-19.info@wsu.edu.

What is being done to ensure groups of people are not stigmatized amid the outbreak?

On Feb. 10, University President Kirk Schulz and interim Provost Bryan Slinker wrote a letter to the WSU community wherein they noted that there have been several cases across the country and on one of WSU’s campuses in which people of Asian descent have been mistreated.

“This behavior is not acceptable at Washington State University,” they wrote. “At WSU, we strive to cultivate and sustain welcoming and inclusive campus communities for all students, faculty and staff, and stand against discrimination, oppression and harassment.”

Anyone who feels they have been discriminated against due to their race, color, or national/ethnic origins is advised to contact the Office of Civil Rights Compliance and Investigation.

What is the Incident Command System?

The Incident Command System (ICS) group consists of staff from medical, public safety, campus operations, student and academic affairs, risk management, and other university offices from across the WSU system.


Faculty

I am scheduled to receive the COVID-19 vaccination during work hours.  How do I account for my time? 

Effective March 22, 2021, WSU employees (faculty, administrative professional , civil service) may receive up to two hours of release time during their scheduled work period to receive each dose of the vaccine, provided the vaccination appointment is during said period.  If additional time is necessary, it must be accounted for as sick leave, annual leave, comp time, leave without pay and/or flexible scheduling options.  Employees must coordinate release time, time off or flexible schedule options with their supervisor.

Student and hourly employees may use their accrued sick leave if they receive the vaccine during a regular scheduled work shift.

Can employees be tested for COVID-19 at Cougar Health Services?

No. Testing at Cougar Health Services is only for students. WSU Pullman employees who are not currently experience COVID-19 symptoms can be tested at the Washington National Guard site. More information can be found on Human Resource Service’s website. Employees experiencing symptoms are advised to contact their healthcare provider.

Updated September 30

Will employee COVID-19 testing be available at WSU campuses besides Pullman?

At this time the testing is only available on the Pullman campus, however WSU is exploring options for other WSU locations.

Do employees need to be tested for COVID-19 if they are working remotely and not experiencing symptoms?

Asymptomatic testing is voluntary. Asymptomatic testing is encouraged for employees who are required to report to a WSU work location in Whitman County.

Do employees have to utilize the WSU Employee Voluntary Asymptomatic COVID-19 test to get tested for COVID-19

No. Utilizing the WSU Employee Asymptomatic COVID-19 test is voluntary and not required and only available to employees without COVID-19 symptoms (asymptomatic).

Employees may also contact their healthcare providers or choose to utilize community testing centers. Several local Palouse area test providers are listed here. See your county for local test locations.

Pullman Regional Hospital

Palouse Medical

Whitman Hospital & Medical Clinics

Gritman Medical

St. Joseph Regional Medical Center

St. Mary’s and Clearwater Valley Hospitals & Clinics

If employees are tested outside of the WSU Employee Voluntary Asymptomatic COVID-19 testing, will insurance cover testing and treatment for COVID-19?

WSU health insurance plans will cover testing and treatment for medically-necessary services related to COVID-19. Review the COVID-19 Testing and Insurance Coverage Information page for details regarding WSU medical plans.

How are employees to record their time while they are utilizing WSU Employee Voluntary Asymptomatic testing?

If employees would like to be tested during their normal working hours, they are to request the use of sick leave or other leaves per normal department procedures.

Actual testing time may vary, please anticipate around one hour of leave to be testing, but employees are to record the actual amount of time taken out of their work shift.

If employees are testing outside of their normal work hours, on their own time, they do not need to request leave.

Where can I find the latest information about research operations at WSU?

The Office of Research has a website with the latest information on how it is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can also find an FAQ page with information on remote work, animal care and other topics. The latest guidance on the staged return of human subject research at WSU is also available online.

What resources are available for working online?

All faculty, staff and students are able to access Microsoft Office 365, with access to Outlook, OneDrive, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and several other apps.

All WSU faculty and students have access to MATLAB and Simulink.

Also, WSU has created a guide for students explaining how to complete their courses remotely through distance delivery. The student guide is included on the WSU Learning Innovation website and includes a Blackboard Learn tutorial, sample Blackboard course, resources for using Zoom and other academic technology, and more.

How should faculty prepare for teaching online?

The Office of Academic Outreach and Innovation is available to support faculty in preparation and delivery of distance teaching. Complete AOI’s Readiness Assessment checklist and explore resources to make the most of your online teaching.

The Tool Kit for Extended Distance Delivery contains helpful resources and a schedule of training sessions for distance learning, using platforms such as Zoom, Blackboard and Panopto.

How are exams being administered for remote classes?

Beginning Fall 2020, proctored exams facilitated through the Office of Academic Outreach and Innovation will be with ProctorU. More information is available on the Office of Academic Outreach and Innovation website.

Updated August 26

What is the plan for graduate courses?

The vast majority of graduate student courses will be delivered at a distance through the spring 2021 semester, in keeping with WSU’s efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19. More information can be found in an announcement regarding the decision.

Updated Feb. 5


University Operations

Where can I see the most up-to-date WSU Pullman COVID-19 data?

WSU Pullman has a COVID-19 Dashboard that displays information such as positivity rate, active cases and 14-day positive case counts. It is updated daily with the latest information from the university and its public health partners.

How will WSU be honoring Spring 2021 graduates?

WSU will be hosting a system-wide virtual spring celebration on Saturday, May 8. The event is slated to begin at 10 a.m. The latest updates on the planned event will be posted on the WSU Commencement website.

Where should I source face coverings or other PPE related items?

Departments may work with their normal scientific, office supply, safety supply, and building supply vendors in sourcing any needed face coverings or PPE, and pay for those purchases via departmental purchasing card.  Availability and market conditions are subject to change. WSU University Stores will be carrying some of these items as well.

Additionally, a list of sources the state has used for such items is available courtesy of the Washington Department of Enterprise Services.

Will departments be reimbursed for expenses that they are tracking and coding with the appropriate COVID-19 spend categories?

While WSU is tracking expenses related to COVID-19 with designated spend categories, we may or may not receive reimbursement from outside sources; departments should plan on covering expenses for return to work items, such as face coverings, from their operational budgets.

Updated March 15

Will there be central funding provided to source any face coverings or other PPE related items as may be needed for return to work and return to research plans?

No, the cost of face coverings or other PPE associated with the return to work and return to research plans should be covered within unit budgets.

Who should I contact with questions about parking permits?

If you have specific questions regarding parking permit renewals or permit requirements on the Pullman campus, please contact Transportation Services at transportation@wsu.edu or 509-335-PARK (7275).

Has WSU received financial assistance from the federal government?

Yes, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided $14 billion in support for students and higher education institutions. WSU received $21.76 million. Information on the use of these funds can be found on this Sponsored Program Services website.

The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), signed December 27, 2020 makes additional federal relief available. WSU will receive a total allocation of $35 million under this legislation. $11 million must be provided directly to students. The remaining $24 million may be used to defray expenses associated with coronavirus, including lost revenue and reimbursement of expenses already incurred. University leaders are evaluating how these funds will be utilized.

Updated March 15

Are current restrictions on time used for training being removed or adjusted while we are teleworking?

The 96 hours of release time is for employee requested training. The 96 hours release time does not apply to training when directed by the supervisor. Refer to BPPM 60.71, Training and Development and BPPM 60.72, Release Time for Training for additional information.

Will TEVs continue to be processed?

TEVs were replaced by the Create Expense Report task in Workday.

Updated March 15

What if my card is lost or compromised and I cannot get a replacement through the mail?

Please contact Card Services at purchasing.card@wsu.edu and they will work with you for a solution. Replacement and new cards are still being routed to the office. Once the expected card has come in will reach out to you to organize a time to meet in office, or mail to you appropriately.

Updated March 15

Will my card transactions post to my Cost Center/Program?

Yes, all transactions are verified inside of Workday. Either the Cardholder (Employee as Self), or a Procurement Card Data Entry Specialist within your Cost Center can code your transactions to the desired Program, Project, Gift, Grant- Cost Center.

Updated March 15

My card expired, how do I receive my new card?

Cards are delivered securely to Card Services. Staff is available to receive mail; however this is reliant on mail services continuing. If you have a concern, please contact purchasing.card@wsu.edu or travel@wsu.edu.

Will card applications for PCards and Travel Cards continue?

Yes, card applications will continue to be processed. However, we no longer accept the paper applications. These are now electronic applications. In order to apply, please go to the following links and complete the application.

NOTE: The CTA application process remains the same.

Updated March 15

Will supplier changes be made during the COVID-19 restrictions? Example, requests for address change, wire or ACH change?

Workday’s Create Request for Supplier Change task is how to revise a Supplier’s information. Please request and submit a Supplier’s ACH information to guarantee timely payment.

Updated March 15

Will new suppliers continue to be set-up?

Workday’s Create Supplier Request task is how to initiate a new supplier. Please request and submit a supplier’s ACH information to guarantee timely payment.

Updated March 15

How will Expense Transfer Requests (ETRs) be processed? Will an original signature be required?

Expense Transfer Requests, are no longer processed in AP. These can now be completed at the department level. Please resort to the “Create Accounting Journals” Knowledge Base Article.

Updated March 15

What if the Bursars Office closes or limits face-to-face service?

If the Bursars Office is unavailable to process deposits, checks and cash received by departments to be received and locked in a safe or desk at the department. Once regular business resumes, they can be deposited. For those operations that have daily deposit slips and bank bags, the deposit can be taken directly to the bank.

If my child’s school or place of care is shut down by a public official in response to COVID-19, can my supervisor deny a sick leave request and require me to work from home?

 A supervisor cannot require* a civil service employee or overtime eligible faculty or administrative professional employee to work from home instead of using their accrued sick leave. However, employers are strongly encouraged to let staff telework when the nature of their work allows it.

*Contact HRS regarding faculty and staff identified in your continuity plan as essential personnel.

What accrued leave may be used due to my child’s school or place of care being closed by order of a public official in response to COVID-19?

Faculty, administrative professional and civil service employees are eligible to use accrued leave including annual leave, sick leave, personal holiday, compensatory time, leave without pay.

BPPM 60.57 – Civil Service Employee Leave

BPPM 60.56 – Faculty and Administrative Professional Personnel Leave

Represented classified employees should refer to their appropriate collective bargaining agreement.

Will suppliers continued to be paid?

Yes, all invoices received through a Request Supplier Invoice or through submission to the Accounts Payable email account will be processed by Accounts Payable and paid.  If mail service is interrupted, there may be a delay in processing.

Updated March 15

With most of the Business Services Teams working from home including the Bursar’s Office, how will daily deposits be made?

Currently, the Bursars Office is staffed to process deposits status quo.

What is happening with Mom’s Weekend?

Rather than hosting separate mom’s and dad’s weekends, this year WSU Pullman will host a Spring 2021 Family Weekend April 9 – 11. Scheduled events will primarily be celebrated virtually. More information can be found on the event’s website.

The Macklemore concert previously scheduled for WSU Family Weekend has been canceled.

Will classrooms be disinfected between classes?

It is not always possible for custodial staff to disinfect surfaces in classrooms between scheduled classes, but disinfectant bottles and towels have been provisioned in high use classrooms for use by faculty, staff and students.

Will custodial staff receive additional training?

WSU will train custodial staff to use CDC’s guidelines for infection control and isolation precautions in healthcare facilities and settings to support a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.

How is the university adjusting cleaning methods and frequencies for COVID-19?

WSU custodial staff has increased cleaning frequencies for high use locations on campus and is using COVID-19 sanitation guidelines from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Washington State Department of Health (DOH) for all routine cleaning including common touch surfaces.  Please note that increased cleaning in high use locations will result in service reductions or suspensions in low traffic areas, such as private offices.

Will delivery of goods be impacted?

Based on information from Expediters International, WSU’s customs and logistics partner, all modes of transportation of goods are being impacted; particularly imported goods.  Expeditors International’s website provides current information.

What is the recommendation for sourcing cleaning supplies, and personal protective equipment needed for the COVID-19 response?

University Stores (for Pullman units)

University Stores can supply many products with same day delivery that might be needed by Pullman units (i.e. paper towels, bleach, disinfectant wipes, spray bottles, and alcohol for cleaning). Please remember, University Stores is limited to product availability from vendors during this time of extremely high national demand.

Check the University Stores Online Ordering Catalog.

Stock items in high demand may be limited.  In case of short supply, priority will be given to orders from units that provide services directly to or for students and to units engaged in activities presenting risk of exposure.

University Vendors (all units)

Consider any supplier of medical, scientific, custodial, hardware or office supplies for personal protective equipment, cleaning products, disinfectants and hand sanitizers.

Backorders and stock-outs may be encountered.  It is suggested that backorders be accepted to have a place on the wait list for one or more suppliers.

Will order placement be impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak?

At this time, order placement is not an issue but fulfillment of orders by suppliers is challenging due to consumer demand outpacing supply.  Emergency procurements will be given highest priority by Purchasing Services.  Sourcing orders for supplies in high demand during the public health emergency will be challenging for Procurement & Supply Specialists and those using department orders or PCard to procure supplies.


Travel

What Global Learning programs will be available during the Summer 2021 semester?

All Global Learning programs offered outside the United States have been cancelled. This includes all faculty-led, exchange and provider programs. Major considerations included the rise in variants, the shrinking likelihood of U.S. citizens being admitted into countries abroad and the slow roll-out of vaccinations – particularly for the traditional, young adult college student.

Students who had planned to participate in study abroad programs during the Summer 2021 semester should contact their academic advisor or their global learning advisor to make adjustments to their planned course load. Students can email ip.globallearning@wsu.edu if they don’t know who their global learning advisor is.

WSU Global Learning has several options for students looking to enhance their international skill sets. The Digital Badge Connect program gives students the chance to hear from speakers and gain globally-focused experience. The Global Leadership Certificate program is an opportunity for students to earn academic credit and be certified as a Global Leader on their WSU transcript.

What travel restrictions are currently in place?

The complete up-to-date list of travel restrictions can be found at the CDC’s website.

This website is not intended to be all-encompassing and should not be considered to be providing medical or legal advice. In all instances, you should consult with a relevant expert for guidance specific to your circumstances.