EWU takes action on stopping spread of COVID-19



Graphic of the various levels of cases of COVID-19 as of March 10, 2020. (Dark=more cases)

By Lauren Reichenbach and Rose Hammack

With 136 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Washington State alone, EWU has begun to take some preventative measures in order to keep its students as safe as possible.

Perhaps the biggest measure EWU has decided to take is moving finals week from March 17-20 to March 9-13. The university stated its two main reasons for doing so: to minimize face-to-face interaction and to allow students to get off campus and reduce stress levels by spending more time with family. EWU encouraged its professors to cancel any in-class presentations and move all finals online.

With this change in finals week, EWU students will now get a two-week spring break rather than one. While some are grateful for this extended break, many students feel like moving finals week is doing more harm than good. Stress levels have increased as due dates have been moved up, and final projects and big exams are now due sooner.

“[Moving finals week up] is actually forcing students to be on campus more than normal in this coming week as we’re all cramming to get everything done,” -Naomi Comstock, EWU Student

There are currently no confirmed cases of the coronavirus on campus or in the city of Spokane, but the university wants to be on the safe side. “We’re not panicking, we’re planning,” said David May, interim provost and vice president of Academic Affairs. “There are things that are outside of our control and we’ll have to deal with those as they come up. But we need to deal with the things that are in our control. And that change to the finals week is one thing.”

In addition to moving finals week forward, EWU has also hired about a dozen extra custodians and is purchasing specialized cleaning equipment for sanitizing campus while students are away on break.

“From the university side, we get the advantage of an extra week, which is gonna allow us to do some additional cleaning,” said May. “It’s gonna allow us to hopefully replenish some supplies. Our supply chains have been a little interrupted. Have you tried to buy hand sanitizer lately?”

Starting March 16, the Union Market in the PUB as well as Einstein Bros. will temporarily suspend all self-serve bars in order to reduce human contact with items that can contain lots of germs. Behind the-counter options will be available for all previous self-serve fo

Drew Lawson
Picure of the EWU Union Market.

od areas.


EWU is also preparing for the immediate return of all current study abroad students. Arrangements will be made for those students to be able to complete their courses in the U.S. The university is also cancelling any sponsored faculty and staff travel to countries in which the CDC issued Travel Health Notices of Level 2 or higher, including China, Iran, Italy, South Korea and Japan. More countries may be added to the list down the road, should cases of COVID-19 arise in those countries.

EWU’s Health, Wellness & Prevention Services is working closely with public health partners to assess the coronavirus situation.

“We have been in close contact with our partners at Multicare Rockwood and the Spokane Regional Health District,” said EWU senior director for Wellness and Recreation Programs, Tricia Hughes. “The Multicare Rockwood system has put a robust response plan in place for their clinical providers with concrete testing protocol.”

President Mary Cullinan is also conducting a panel of campus experts to answer questions and provide more information concerning the coronavirus and how to stay safe. The panel will be available for live streaming in order to reduce large groups. The panel will take place on March 17 from 1-2 p.m.

If EWU students want to have questions answered but are unable to make the meeting, they can submit their questions to https://docs.google.com/ forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfP6YD05uUuhkH_ Urz98Itg1YXj7Bv110qBY_rdLvsh9EI9Eg/ viewform by March 12 at 5 p.m.

Prevent the spread of the corona virus by following health guidelines such as washing your hands and not touching your face.

EWU’s Tips to Stay Healthy
• Wash your hands with warm water and soap, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if water and soap are not available.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth if your hands are not washed.

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and stay home if you are feeling sick.

• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or the inner part of your elbow.

• Clean frequently touched objects such as door handles, computer keyboards, and phones.

• Consider reducing physical contact with others such as hugging, kissing or shaking hands

• Avoid communal food, such as candy dishes in an office.•

The Easterner’s Rose Hammack contributed to this report.