As Students Return, EWU Emphasizes Safety

A Welcome Week unlike any other kicks off on Thursday, Sept. 16, as 900 Eastern students move into their campus homes-away-from-home, eager to transition back to brick-and-mortar classrooms and in-person instruction. 

This joyful occasion comes some 18 months after the Covid-19 pandemic closed campuses here in Washington and across the nation, forcing millions of students into a virtual world of primarily online interactions.

Welcome Week ’21 will celebrate the return to a more normal college experience with plenty of new and traditional activities, each designed to get the year off to a great start.

Welcome Week always takes a lot of planning and preparation. But with the Delta variant of the coronavirus surging, EWU is taking every precaution as students return. Among these safeguards are new policies and Covid-19 protocols intended to protect students, faculty and staff. All were adopted after continuous consults with regional and state health officials, as well as other experts.

“Our main goal is to get students moving in the direction of health and safety,” says Rob Sauders, vice president for student affairs at EWU. 

To help thwart coronavirus transmission, Eastern is requiring that students moving into campus housing have a negative Covid-19 antigen test, as well as proof of vaccination.

“This will help us establish a clean baseline before students settle into their residence halls to start the year,” says Sauders. 

Free testing will be offered on campus in lot P-12, or students can get their own test within 72 hours before arriving on campus. Students testing positive for Covid-19 have the option of returning home for 10 days, or staying in EWU’s designated isolation dorm for the same period. After the 10-day isolation period, students will then be allowed to move into their assigned campus housing.

All students have until Sept. 15 to upload their vaccine documentation or waiver information to Med+Proctor. Students who fail to meet this requirement will face a $250 fine. Student Affairs will have helpers on-site during the two move-in days to assist students who need to upload their data.

In addition, the deadline is approaching for EWU employees to meet Gov. Jay Inslee’s vaccine  mandate for state workers. Faculty and staff members must show proof of vaccination or receive an approved exemption (medical or religious) by Oct. 18.

Everyone is reminded that masks are required in all indoor campus spaces and also, per the governor’s new order, at all outside at events and activities involving more than 500 people. 

EWU will continue to update the campus community with Covid protocols as the situation develops.

EWU campus coming to life, Monday, Sept. 13, 2021.


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