Frequently asked questions about the WWU response to COVID-19

— Updated Nov. 9, 2020 —


What is happening with these new cases of COVID-19 on campus?
The cases we are seeing on campus right now have all been linked to specific social gatherings. These were not university-sponsored events. Contact tracing shows a direct connection between these gatherings and the positive cases. We are not seeing community spread, which means we do not have unknown spread on campus that would signal an outbreak. So while we have seen an uptick in cases, these cases are in a circumscribed group of individuals who attended these specific events. The goal of quarantining the contacts of those who have tested positive is to stop the spread from this group to others on campus.

Learn more about the number of COVID-19 cases at WWU.

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Are we at a point where there is sufficient infection in our population that the classroom is likely to become a transmission point?
Our contact-tracing evidence supports that we have seen no classroom or general campus community transmission at this point.

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How many students or employees are now infected?
Learn more about the number of COVID-19 cases at WWU at wallawalla.edu/coronavirus.

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Are the people that hosted these social events being held accountable for their actions?
WWU follows a COVID-19 Code of Conduct. The Student Life office is working with each case through the outlined conduct process.

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Are students able to get tested for known exposure? Or are we quarantining students who have possible exposure but are asymptomatic?
Anyone that is identified as a close contact of a known COVID-19 case will be asked to quarantine for 14 days post that exposure. Symptomatic close contacts are tested immediately. Asymptomatic contacts can be tested five to seven days after that contact. If you are tested too soon, it may produce a false negative. 

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Is there a reason why students are not being told who tested positive? Letting the rest of the students know who has tested positive would not be considered HIPPA, would it?
Medical information, such as a positive diagnosis of COVID-19, is HIPPA protected information.

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Will the remainder of classes and work for fall quarter be moved to an online format?
Not at this time. Continue with your classes as scheduled (in person, online, and dual modality) while following the COVID-19 Protection Plan.

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Do we have the option to continue the rest of the quarter online if we feel unsafe?
If your classes are available online or in dual modality, you can check with your professor about switching to online.

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What will happen for winter quarter?
Registration for winter quarter classes is open, and students have been notified about times for registration by class level. Any news or updates will be sent to your WWU email account and posted on the WWU coronavirus website.

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I was told that students in the dorms who contracted COVID-19 would be quarantined in a completely separate hall or area. Are we sticking with those original plans?
All students in the residence halls who have tested positive for COVID-19 have been moved off the halls to isolation.

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Where are the students who tested positive for COVID-19 being quarantined?
There are designated isolation spaces outside the general hall and bathroom spaces for students who have tested positive for COVID-19. Students are moved to those spaces. There are also spaces off campus as needed for students living in WWU Village Housing.

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Do students in the residence halls share public areas like bathrooms with students who have tested positive? What about quarantined students that were potentially exposed?
All students who have tested positive for COVID-19 are moved to isolation and will not use general restrooms or showers. Access to general restrooms or showers for students in quarantine (not isolation) varies depending on their level of exposure. The Residential Life and Housing office carefully follows the instructions of the WWU COVID-19 director.

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Is there any way to further limit exposure in public places in the dorms, such as the restrooms, showers, and other common areas?
Be sure to physical distance as much as possible, wear your mask, and limit your time in these areas.

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So let me get this straight, if we are in quarantine we are not allowed to go home for break until we are cleared?
This is a public health standard, but we will help each student make the best decision for their circumstance.

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Is it unsafe to hold a door open for someone?
If you are wearing a mask, holding a door open for that brief moment is low risk.

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Will I have to move again for winter quarter if other students come back to campus later?
We will minimize all moving, but this will be based on housing requests and if the residence halls will be permitted to have more than one person per room. The Office of Student Life and Housing will work with residents individually.

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Have another question?

We have a team on standby, ready to answer your questions. Click the “Ask a Question” button below to submit your query.

If you are the parent of a current student and would like to speak to someone at the university, please contact Claudia Santellano, director for alumni and parent relations, during normal business hours at (509) 527-2644 or (800) 541-8900.

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