EWU and the city of Cheney issued a joint statement on students returning to campus and COVID-19 concerns.

The City of Cheney and Eastern Washington University are committed to protecting the safety and health of our citizens and community members, including those in the campus community. As students return to the Cheney campus for the start of the fall quarter, Cheney police officers, EWU police officers and other personnel from Cheney and EWU will work to enforce the current guidelines relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. This will be done by educating our community on how to comply with the various orders in place to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus. 

Our shared intent is not to infringe on anyone’s rights, but to stop the spread of the virus and to help ensure the health and safety of persons in our community, to prevent our healthcare system from being overwhelmed and as a means to re-opening our businesses and educational institutions to unrestricted, in-person patronage and/or attendance.

If Cheney or EWU police officers determine people are not complying with the current guidelines, they will first remind the individual(s) of the conditions of the proclamations issued by the Governor and/or Dr. Robert Lutz, Spokane Regional Health Officer, that clearly spell out the proper protocols for the use of PPE and social distancing according to the current Phase of the Re-Opening Washington Plan. 

Officers do not anticipate making arrests, issuing citations or taking persons to jail for violations. However, when education and warnings are not effective in changing behavior toward compliance with the current orders, or in the case of blatant disregard for the orders that are reported or observed, officers will intervene with more punitive actions to address violations to enforce the following:

  • Individual violating a proclamation requirement (facemask, social distancing; RCW 43.06.220(5))
    • Gross misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $5,000 and/or 365 days jail
  • Individual violating an order issued by local or State Board of Health, or by local health official (facemask, social distancing; RCW 70.05.120(4))
    • Misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $100 and/or 90 days jail
  • Failure to disperse a party/gathering as described above
    • Misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $100 and/or 90 days jail (RCW 9A.84.020)

Violations involving EWU students on off-campus properties will be reported to the EWU Office of Students Rights and Responsibilities. Through the Student Conduct Code, EWU may take action in addition to any criminal or civil process. People with concerns are asked to visit www.ewu.edu/coronavirus and click the “provide feedback or report a case” button at the bottom of the page.

Please help keep our community healthy and safe by following the current guidelines. For more information and resources regarding the COVID-19 pandemic please see click on the links below: