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Fall shifting to distanced-learning Cougar experience

July 23, 2020

As Governor Jay Inslee and WSU President Kirk Schulz have shared, the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact all aspects of our lives.

President Schulz recently shared that Washington State University’s fall 2020 semester will be delivered remotely for undergraduate students, with extremely limited exceptions for in-person instruction.

Stay at home. We know this decision has immediate consequences for our students and their loved ones. We understand the many emotions this decision will cause.

Our faculty and staff are hard at work to provide every student with a high-quality, WSU Everett Coug experience, both in our academics and campus life, which reflect current recommendations and laws for protecting the health and safety of our community.

Nationally, institutions of higher education are forced to make similar, difficult decisions. Each day we see a new local K-12 school district make the same decision, which has a life-changing impact on our students, faculty and staff who care for young learners. These decisions have been made in response to significant increases in COVID-19 infections and COVID-19 related deaths.

We have seen what happens when this viral disease spreads without evidence of slowing. There is loss of human life. Inequitable health care systems have caused a disparate impact for Black, Latinx, lower-income, and rural communities. Our region has already seen a lack of care capacity when COVID-19 rates increase, and yes, there is potential for significant known and unknown long-term health consequences for people of all ages.

The health and safety of our Cougar community is central to our decision-making process, as a WSU system and as the WSU Everett campus. Students throughout the state have been asked to stay home if they are able.

I have spoken of the courage and strength of character that is core to the Cougar spirit. That courage and strength of character continues to be tested. Our world is changing. We are adapting, and we too are changing. Adaptation and change produce innovation.

Academics will continue and our faculty members are hard at work, preparing your fall semester courses. Several of our programs had already committed to distance-learning methods. Details of opportunities will be forthcoming from the Registrar’s office.

WSU Everett staff continue hosting online information and networking sessions for new and returning students, campus groups. We will also host financial aid workshops and we will deploy all the technology at our disposal to support students, like internet hotspots and loaned Chromebooks. Outstanding programming by our Student Affairs staff can help students excel in coursework, support their mental health, and prepare for rewarding careers within the industries that drive our state’s economy. Please view some of those resources here.

WSU Everett is also available to assist students throughout the WSU system. This campus provides seven programs: mechanical, electrical and software engineering; hospitality business management; integrated strategic communication; and organic agriculture systems – along with a bevy of minors. Our partnerships with our local and regional community colleges are stronger than ever. We offer dual-enrollment opportunities so freshman and sophomore students can make progress on their degree while being enrolled with WSU Everett. You can inquire here for dual enrollment. You can submit a change of campus here, create an intercampus enrollment, or contact and connect with us about which opportunities make sense for you.

WSU also maintains a webpage for the most up-to-date, systemwide information on COVID-19 related matters, and I encourage you to visit regularly. Please also see several frequently asked questions in President Schulz’s earlier message.

We are committed to keeping a steady, focused, educational path through this time and we plan to do that in a way that keeps us as safe and healthy as possible.

Paul Pitre, Chancellor
Washington State University Everett