Dear WWU Family,
Our campuses are empty now as Walla Walla University students complete spring quarter classes online. Students, faculty and staff tell me they dearly miss our close-knit community, and they are working hard to stay connected with one another. We believe that a strong, active community is absolutely central to the education provided here at Walla Walla University.
With that in mind, I have announced that Walla Walla University is taking steps to welcome students back to our campuses for the 2020-2021 academic school year, and we are working diligently on plans that prioritize safety and quality education, in concert with guidance from community health leaders and state guidelines.
To ensure careful planning, I have appointed a Return to Campus Taskforce comprising faculty, staff and student representation tasked with identifying, developing and deploying strategies to facilitate instruction on our campuses for fall quarter. This Taskforce’s work is guided by the following principles:
- Academic strength and integrity—Teaching is at the heart of what we do, and whether face-to-face, online, or in hybrid formats, our faculty are committed to building engaging learning experiences that support student success.
- Attention from faculty and staff—Regardless of format, we remain committed to being accessible and establishing personal connections with students.
- Community—Engagement with one another is essential to quality education, and we will continue to nurture the kind of community Walla Walla University is known for.
- Responsibility—Safety is not just a mandate; we recognize it as an opportunity to express care for one another and our local communities.
- Hope—Together we can create an experience that will be meaningful and strengthen our students, both now and for the future.
What will fall on our campuses look like?
As the Return to Campus Taskforce addresses a lengthy list of complex details and questions—ranging from residence hall occupancy, to distancing in classrooms and offices, to tracking and testing plans—they anticipate we can expect changes in our normal WWU classroom experiences, living routines and social activities. Local health officials will help identify prevention measures, and routine testing and treatment options, and our campus family will see significant attention on matters of illness prevention and community health.
I expect to offer updates every other week for the foreseeable future, and details will also be posted at wallawalla.edu/coronavirus as they emerge. Also, on that web page you’ll find an “Ask a Question” link, and I encourage you to share questions or comments with us as together we look toward fall quarter.
Meanwhile, we remain fully focused on Walla Walla University’s mission, and I am heartened by our students’ strong intent to come back and continue building their lives in community with each other. Thank you for your support and prayers as we do this important work, and for your own commitment to your community’s health and well-being in the coming weeks.
President, Walla Walla University