COVID-19 and classes

We made the difficult decision to limit residential living on our campuses. This means the number of students taking in-person classes on our campuses during fall quarter is limited. We are continuing university operations through a flexible model of instruction that focuses on a reduced-density campus population through the end of the 2020 calendar year.

This new model offers more than 250 distance learning and dual-modality classes in addition to in-person classes. It also allows for a significant number of students, faculty, and staff to continue to social distance during this phase of the pandemic while providing quality academic programming to make progress toward their goals.

We carefully made this decision in consultation with the Walla Walla County Department of Community Health to best align the university’s operations with the purpose of protecting not only WWU students, staff, and faculty, but also members of the surrounding community in the Walla Walla Valley.


Classes are offered in three ways:

1. In person. 
These classes meet in a classroom in the traditional face-to-face way following COVID-19 protocols. There may be online components to these classes or students may be divided into groups for social distancing, but these classes will feature substantial in-person work on campus. In-person attendance is required for these classes.

Classes held in person are limited in size so students can maintain 6 feet of physical distance during instruction. Some traffic patterns in campus buildings may be altered to help with distancing, and convenient directional signs will be provided to help. Occupancy limits in our classrooms and public spaces allow for safe distancing. In some cases, class schedules and locations may be more creative than usual. Special equipment, such as custom plexiglass dividers and high-end microphone/camera/computer technology, has been installed to facilitate safer interactions in our classrooms and study spaces.

2. Dual-modality.
Dual-modality classes offer face-to-face instruction in the classroom for students who are on campus and online access and live participation for students who are attending remotely. These classes are typically offered synchronously unless otherwise noted in the class schedule or on the syllabus. New high-tech equipment in several classrooms provide features that help students who are not in the classroom to be part of what is going on in person.

3. Distance learning. 
These classes are offered in an online format. The specific online platform will be selected by the instructor, but most often will be Microsoft Teams. These classes may or may not meet synchronously. 

What is the difference between in-person, distance-learning, and dual-modality classes?

  • In-person classes will meet in a classroom in the traditional face-to-face way (with masks). There may be online components to these classes or students may be divided into groups for social distancing, but these classes will feature substantial in-person work on campus. In-person attendance will be required for these classes. Classes held in person will be limited in size and in some cases moved to larger rooms so students can maintain 6 feet of physical distance during instruction. Some traffic patterns in campus buildings may be altered to help with distancing, and convenient directional signs will be provided to help. Occupancy limits in our classrooms and public spaces will allow for safe distancing. In some cases, class schedules and locations may be more creative than usual. Special equipment, such as custom plexiglass dividers and high-end microphone/camera/computer technology, is being installed to facilitate safer interactions in our classrooms and study spaces.

  • Distance-learning classes will be offered in an online format. The specific online platform will be selected by the instructor, but most often will be Microsoft Teams. These classes may or may not meet synchronously. Synchronous classes are classes where you are expected to meet with your class and instructor at a specific time, as opposed to asynchronous classes where you are given assignments from an instructor but are not required to meet at a certain time with the rest of your class.

  • Dual-modality classes will offer face-to-face instruction in the classroom for students who are on campus and live online access and participation for students who are attending remotely. These classes typically will be offered synchronously (see above for definition of synchronous and asynchronous) unless otherwise noted in the class schedule or on the syllabus. New high-tech equipment in several classrooms will provide features that will help students who are not in the classroom be part of what is going on in person.

How do I know what classes are offered and in what formats?

  1. Visit classopen.wallawalla.edu.
  2. Click the “Online only” box at the top of the page to limit your search to dual modality and online courses.
  3. Be sure to select the term “Fall 2020.”
  4. With the “Online only” box checked, enter “Any” in all of the search boxes to see all dual modality and online classes, or search for classes by a specific department or discipline.
  5. Classes that show up when you search without the “Online only” box checked are in-person classes.

I’m new to WWU and want to take classes dual modality or online. What do I do?

If you are new to Walla Walla University this fall, please contact WWU Academic Advisement at wallawalla.edu/get-my-classes to make class schedule changes. If you are a continuing student, please consult with your academic adviser before making any class schedule changes. 

Is the library open? What are the current library hours?
Librarians are available to answer questions via email and chat between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Pacific time Monday through Thursday, and on Friday mornings. Online appointments may be available to be scheduled at other times. Access the live chat option by clicking on Ask Us in the upper right corner of the library website, or call (509) 527-2134.

Peterson Memorial Library buildings and book returns are closed to all users including students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the Walla Walla Valley community and will remain closed per Washington state Phase 2 guidelines for libraries. Curbside services for physical items and Summit materials are available during fall quarter. Watch the WWU Daily Announcements for updates or follow us on Instagram or Twitter. 

Due dates on active loans—including Summit items—have been extended to reflect the closure. Library staff are contacting individuals with library materials to create a plan for returning materials. For information about renewals or other circulation-related questions, please contact the library at (509) 527-2134 or via email at reference@wallawalla.edu. 

Online materials such as full-text journals, eBooks, and videos are available through the WWU Libraries website. Chat and email research assistance will be provided during typical working hours. You may also use the LibAnswers system to search for Frequently Asked Questions or to ask a librarian a question.

What if the classes I need aren’t available online? Will it delay my graduation if I have to stay home?
Provisions have been made for classes to be taught in multiple modalities. Your advisor can help you make sure you remain on track for completing your program and achieving your plans for graduation. 

How are labs going to be taught? And engineering classes? 
Some labs are online, some face-to-face. This applies for engineering classes as well. Please check the class schedule to see details pertaining to the labs you need. If a lab normally has a lab fee, then the fee will be the same for online labs. For a few classes, students purchase an online lab kit, which has a lower cost. 

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