Spring quarter plans and returning to campus this fall
January 19, 2021
We hope you have had a successful start to the new year, despite the challenges posed by the strife in our country and the continued suffering caused by the pandemic. In advance of the spring quarter time schedule being posted this Friday, we are writing to share the plans for the Tacoma campus this spring, as well as our intent to return to in-person instruction this fall.
The coronavirus continues to infect more than 200,000 people in the United States each day and January is poised to be the most tragic month of the pandemic to date. While vaccines are being administered here in Washington and beyond, vaccination efforts are not expected to contain the virus enough to allow for significant relaxation of health restrictions by the start of spring quarter on March 29.
As a result, during spring quarter we plan to continue most courses online, similar to winter quarter, while at the same time planning to offer more in-person student services and activities as the quarter progresses and as state and local health guidelines allow. Depending on health guidelines, instructors will also have the flexibility to offer optional, in-person, class-related activities, such as physically distanced advising, so long as students taking those courses remotely are not disadvantaged.
Each campus unit has a COVID-19 Prevention Plan and Safe Start Checklist that provides guidance on what activities are allowed during each phase of our response. In addition, we are in the process of evaluating the Governor’s new Healthy Washington plan to ensure our current prevention plans are compliant with the new guidance. We expect any updates or changes to be minor.
Those courses held in person will once again largely be labs and similar hands-on courses, and these will continue to have appropriate safety measures and physical distancing in place. Students will continue to have the option to make academic progress through fully remote instruction.
While the prospects for spring are not what any of us would have hoped, based on projections from health experts we are looking forward to welcoming students back to campus for an autumn quarter with largely in-person classes. Summer session courses will likely be a mix of remote and in-person courses, as health guidelines allow. We are also in active discussions about ways in which we can safely and appropriately recognize those who will graduate this year, because we know how meaningful these events are to graduates and their families.
As has been the case throughout the pandemic, our decisions are guided by discussions with faculty leaders, student leaders, the UW Board of Deans and Chancellors and our own Chancellors Cabinet, the UW Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases, and public health experts. And because we each are facing different circumstances, these decisions are examined through an equity lens.
Employees who are currently teleworking can expect to continue to do so through June 30, 2021 so long as it does not impede critical operations. Instructors may consult with their deans about modes of instruction and scheduling, and staff may consult with their supervisors if they have questions about their individual working arrangements. We ask that everyone please provide flexibility and grace to all members of our University community, particularly those who have caregiving responsibilities.
Our progress to more in-person classes and operations depends on the effective distribution of vaccines and on each of us continuing to follow health guidance. We should each continue to practice the 3 W’s — Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Watch your distance. — and take part in Husky Coronavirus Testing. Additionally, we both pledge to take a coronavirus vaccine as soon as we are eligible and encourage you to do the same.
Thank you for the grace and compassion you have shown each other — and yourselves — during these challenging times. There is light on the horizon, and working together we will get to a time when we can all be together, in-person, as a community once more.
Posted by Mark A. Pagano, Chancellor & Jill Purdy, Executive Vice Chancellor
Aaron Artman, president of the Tacoma Rainiers since 2007, will teach Revenue Generation in the Milgard School of Business, Sports Enterprise Management program. The class will be held this Winter Quarter at Cheney Stadium, with free parking for students.