Updated: April 7, 2020
The safety and optimal health of all students, staff, faculty, and campus guests, are top priorities at Walla Walla University and we are closely following the conditions related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. An emergency management team has been activated and is meeting daily in order to closely monitor the rapidly evolving situation. The most accurate information as it relates to the WWU community will be posted to this page as it becomes available.
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What WWU is doing
Walla Walla University is taking several steps to minimize risk and exposure across all of our campuses.
- Four weeks ago, Walla Walla University activated an Emergency Management Team (EMT) which has been meeting on a daily basis. The team is communicating with regional and state health officials to ensure WWU is following proper procedure and creating adequate protocols for planning, preventing, and responding further, if and when needed. The team is also monitoring CDC guidance and recommendations specific to higher education institutions throughout each day.
- The EMT has been assessing the safety of all students, but most especially those that are currently abroad in countries and territories beyond U.S. borders—whether in academic or missions and service capacities. At this time, we have recalled WWU students from five countries.
- Walla Walla University has suspended all university-sponsored international travel is suspended until further notice and all university-sponsored domestic travel greater than 75 miles is strongly discouraged and until further notice, must be approved by a vice president.
- Spring quarter 2020 at Walla Walla University will begin as scheduled on March 30, however, via online-only instruction. In-person, face-to-face instruction is scheduled to resume on April 27, 2020.
- Walla Walla University has closed all of its campuses in Oregon, Washington, and Montana to the general public. All rentals of facilities will be affected and all classes offered to the community are suspended until further notice. Only personnel considered essential are allowed to be on any of the university's campuses and in any of its buildings.
- Extra measures have been implemented in various spaces on all WWU campuses to help prevent the spreading of germs, including the increased wiping of surfaces, door handles, stair rails, drinking fountains, and the cleaning of restroom and shower fixtures daily with hospital-grade disinfectant (100% kill at 10 minutes contact).
- Signs have been posted on doors at entrances to all of our campus buildings which outline tips and reminders for healthy personal hygiene practices.
What you can do
Relating to Travel. Students, faculty, and staff should be aware of the risks that come along with traveling, especially during the upcoming spring break. You can view a current list of travel advisories issued by the U.S. Department of State here. Know that the COVID-19 outbreak is rapidly evolving, and flight cancelations, quarantines, and border closures can be implemented at any time with little-to-no notice. Should you choose to travel, you may be subject to a 14-day quarantine at your own expense before you can resume student or work life on campus. The university strongly recommends postponing nonessential travel at this time.
More information on travel advisories:
Personal International Travel
All members of the WWU community must report the destination and timeframe of any personal international travel.
Relating to Students. Winter quarter finals will occur online, March 16-18. Spring quarter will begin on March 30 online as scheduled. On April 27, those courses will transition back to their in-person, face-to-face formats. Please plan to return to campus for April 27 courses. Your spring quarter instructors will be in communication with you on instructions how the courses will start online. Check your WWU email accounts frequently to be provided with the latest information.
If you experience symptoms that could be related to the COVID-19 coronavirus (cough, fever, shortness of breath, body aches, etc.) refer to the following recommended healthcare provider(s) based on your campus location:
- College Place: Walla Walla University Health Clinic for instructions on how you can get screened. After hours, seek medical attention at the Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Walla Walla.
- Portland: Seek medical attention with your primary healthcare provider (if you do not have one, go to the nearest Adventist Health clinic, such as the Adventist Health’s Parkrose Clinic).
- Missoula: Seek medical attention with your local primary healthcare provider.
- Billings: Seek medical attention with your local primary healthcare provider.
International students should be particularly mindful of travel plans and potential travel delays and/or quarantines over spring break. You will receive an important email from Dale Milam, WWU’s director for admissions, regarding suggestions specific to international students.
As Parents. If parents feel the necessary urge to speak to someone at the university regarding this topic, parents are able to contact Claudia Santellano, director for alumni and parent relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org, (509) 527-2644, or (800) 541-8900. As stated earlier, the safety and health of students is a top priority for WWU.
Relating to Faculty/staff. As of Friday, March 13, staff and faculty received an email outlining the work expectations at WWU. At this time, WWU faculty and staff are instructed to work from home if it does not cause for significant business interruption to the university, and their direct supervisor approves in doing so. Supervisors are authorized to decide whether telework is a viable option for each of their employees, in consultation with their area vice president if needed. If you are authorized to work remotely by your supervisor, you MUST abide by the following conditions:
- Maintain your regular work schedule.
- Keep in daily contact with your supervisor (via phone, email, Microsoft Teams).
- Hourly employees must clock time in TimeClock Plus as usual.
- Salaried employees must track hours worked in a spreadsheet (to share with your supervisor or the Human Resources Department, when requested).
- Regularly check your email and the wallawalla.edu/coronavirus web page for updates.
Failure to abide by these conditions may result in progressive disciplinary action.
If you experience symptoms that could be related to the COVID-19 coronavirus (cough, fever, shortness of breath, body aches, etc.) contact your primary healthcare provider for the most up-to-date information on how you can get screened. If you are experiencing these symptoms, we ask that you report them promptly, and stay home. Contact your direct supervisor and Human Resources in order to utilize your sick time.
Everyone is urged to evaluate and be extra conscious about personal hygienic practices. The spread of COVID-19 can be prevented by remembering to do the following:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, after blowing your nose, or coughing and sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue before immediately throwing it away in the trash. If a tissue is not readily available, cover coughs and sneezes with your elbow or sleeve.
- Avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay at home if you are sick.
- Clean and disinfect your work and living spaces as well as objects you touch frequently such as doorknobs, phones, tablets, keyboards, water bottles, and wallets.
- Practice social spacing. Maintain at least three feet (one meter) between yourself and other people in public, if possible. Refrain from handshakes and high-fives.
- Watch the presentation below for more information about COVID-19 and how to protect yourself and prevent the spread of the virus.
Remember, it is still flu season, and standard influenza is still considered a very serious threat for public health as well. Maintaining your overall good health is important to prevention — eat well, get plenty of sleep, and stay hydrated.
Parents with questions may contact Claudia Santellano, director for alumni and parent relations, at email@example.com, (509) 527-2644, or (800) 541-8900.
WWU cautions against trusting and spreading sources, news, and statements that are not confirmed from credible sources. This ongoing situation is constantly evolving and although important confirmed and credible information relevant to WWU students, staff, faculty, and parents will be distributed as needed from the university, you can also stay current with the latest information from the following credible sources:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
- Washington State Department of Health – 2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak (COVID-19)
- They have also established a call center to address concerns by phone: (800) 525-0127
- Walla Walla County Health Department – COVID-19 Coronavirus
- World Health Organization (WHO) – Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak
- U.S. Department of State – Travel Advisories and Current Coronavirus Disease 2019