David May, interim president of Eastern Washington University, sent the following message to EWU employees on March 18, 2021.

Dear Faculty and Staff,

Spring is here and as we wrap up the current terms, I want to thank you for your continued dedication to our students this year. I also want to update you on the university’s plans to reopen for in-person learning this fall.

There are many positive signs as we emerge from this pandemic. We have just one more quarter to go to put this remarkable and challenging academic year in the books. But we can’t let up! As you know, spring and summer quarters will also be online, and as we communicated last week, we have made the difficult decision to once again hold virtual commencement ceremonies this spring.

We need to do this right. So proceeding with caution, while following the guidance of public health experts, is the most responsible thing we can do to ensure a safe, in-person learning experience come September.

The first step is for us all to stay vigilant in following public health guidelines as we venture outside and do more activities. Please remember we are offering free COVID testing on campus and ask that everyone visiting campus follow safety protocols. Also, by the time spring quarter starts the state will have moved into Phase 3 of Gov. Inslee’s Healthy Washington Roadmap to Recovery plan so please visit our Coronavirus Preparedness page for the latest updates on what this means for campus operations. Information on the vaccines is rolling out faster as well, so we will provide campus updates as we learn new details, including this recent update.

We are working with department and office managers to prepare plans by April 15 for returning employees to work. A form developed by Risk Management will help guide them through the planning process. Annika Scharosch or Trent Lutey will be available to answer any questions and concerns that come up during this process. We are working to have campus buildings and departments open on July 1 with employees returning to their on campus locations in the weeks prior to July 1.

Eastern will continue to plan and adjust as each new development surfaces, all with an eye on seeing you back on campus for in-person classes this fall!

David May
Interim President
Eastern Washington University