Frequently asked questions about the WWU response to COVID-19

— Updated Sept. 15, 2020 —


Why has WWU decided to switch to a reduced-density model for fall quarter?
We are in regular communication with local health professionals and authorities and have been monitoring local COVID-19 statistics. Working with local health professionals and authorities, we’ve determined that a reduced-density population on campus is prudent given current information and COVID-19 projections. However, like many of life’s circumstances—such as natural disaster or illness—we can’t completely know what will happen. We can, however, prepare well for a myriad of possibilities so we are ready to act as appropriate in the moment.

We have been listening to our community:

  • Some students have expressed concerns about the state of the pandemic and told us they would feel more comfortable remaining at home and taking courses online.
  • Some students are eager to be back on campus and taking classes in person.
  • Faculty and staff mirror both of these points of view.
  • In consultation with the Walla Walla County Department of Community Health, we have reduced the population density on campus, which has affected the number of residents in the residence halls in particular.

While the university is working with a reduced-density model for fall quarter, we anticipate increasing our occupancy winter quarter as circumstances allow.

Learn more about the fall quarter reduced-density model.

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Will my student be able to be successful in the environment WWU has created on campus?
Different students will do better in different environments. We invite each family to think about and discuss these different factors and others as they consider the on-campus environment:

  • Can my student live with the COVID-19 safety restrictions that WWU has had to put in place, such as daily symptom checks, contact tracing, required masks? See the complete list of safety protocols at wallawalla.edu/coronavirus under the heading "We will protect our community."
  • What are my student’s anxiety levels and fears about COVID-19 and their concerns about their safety and the safety of others?
  • What is my student's ability to concentrate at home? Do they have a place to study? Do they share a bedroom?
  • Does my student have access to WiFi and adequate internet speed for online learning at home?
  • Does my student have social support from friends and family if they are on campus or at home?
  • Does my student have access to employment if on campus or at home?
  • How well did my student do during distance learning last spring?

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Will face masks be required on campus?
Yes, it is our expectation that face masks will be worn on campus both indoors and outdoors. That requirement comes from the guidelines for higher education out of the Washington state governor's office. For labs when social distancing can't be maintained, such as nursing labs, the university will be providing face shields that will be worn in addition to face masks.

View the full COVID-19 Code of Conduct.

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Will the age or credit requirement for moving off-campus be lowered for students now that residence halls are going to only one person per room?
WWU’s housing policies remain consistent with previous years — students who do not qualify by age, class standing, or marital status are to live in the residence halls as a condition of their enrollment at WWU, unless otherwise approved. Students who don’t meet our criteria must be cleared for off-campus residency, and are asked to follow normal WWU procedures as outlined on our Residential Life and Housing Policy web page. Specifically:

Off-Campus Housing Eligibility
Students having a good citizenship record, not having received serious discipline during one quarter prior to applying to off-campus housing, and falling into at least one of the following categories can be granted approval to live off-campus:

  1. Living with parent(s), grandparents, or direct uncle or aunt (defined as a parent’s sibling) who maintains their primary residence in the Walla Walla area (or Portland area for Portland campus). Email housing@wallawalla.edu a copy of the resident’s local driver’s license, utility bill, and a written confirmation that the student will live with them full-time.
  2. Living with a brother/sister who does not have a roommate and is eligible. Email housing@wallawalla.edu a copy of their driver’s license, utility bill, and a written confirmation that the student will live with them full-time.
  3. Living with a full-time Walla Walla University faculty or staff member.
  4. Successfully completing 135 credit hours.
  5. 22 years of age or older.
  6. Married (marriage certificate must be submitted to Academic Records).
  7. Single parent (copy of child’s birth certificate required).

The housing information form is a part of the financial clearance process on myWWU. Select the appropriate housing and if you do not meet the age or credit requirement, please indicate your housing request in the notes section and submit the required documents to be reviewed for approval. 

Accepted WWU students may send a written off-campus housing request to: housing@wallawalla.edu (College Place campus) or housingcommitteePDX@wallawalla.edu (Portland campus).

Petitions must be submitted by the student requesting to live off-campus. Any documents submitted on behalf of the student will be reviewed as supplemental documentation.

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Why can’t students who aren’t in WWU housing find their own housing and still attend classes this quarter?
Guided by the Walla Walla County Department of Community Health, our current fall quarter plan is intended to help reduce our overall campus density by 50 percent — that means not only reducing density in our residence halls, but also in our other campus spaces. By doing so, we lower the risk of disease spread both on our campus and in our surrounding community. 

WWU recognizes that our residency requirements not only facilitate student safety and success, but they also impact the well-being of our surrounding community. Students who gather in our valley not only attend classes, but they also circulate in our community. We have made careful arrangements for students to continue to engage their WWU academic program from their own homes to help limit the spread of infection in our community. We continue to ask students to be cleared for off-campus residency as a condition of their enrollment.

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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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Since each student in the residence halls will have their own room, will you still set aside rooms for quarantine?
Yes, we have set aside a certain number of rooms in the residence halls and guest rooms for those who may have COVID-19 or been exposed to someone with COVID-19. These rooms have access to private restrooms.

Learn more about the processes we've put in place for COVID-19 care.

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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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