EWU announces “online-first, maximum flexibility” plan for fall quarter

EWU logo

EWU logo

By Randle Kinswa, News Editor

EWU announced about 15 minutes into a livestream this morning that the university will be taking an online-first approach for classes in the fall quarter. 

Provost David May said that the online-first approach would be more of a “flexible plan” than a firm decision.

If there is a change to public health guidelines, EWU could have some, or even a majority of classes come back to being face-to-face. 

“Online offerings could switch to face-to-face instruction or a hybrid model if public health restrictions ease,” EWU president Mary Cullinan said in an email to students. “Likewise, if health concerns increase, all courses can shift online using the existing class meeting schedule.”

Classes that have to be in person, like labs, will be face-to-face in the fall. 

The residential halls and dining operations will remain open. However, only one student will be allowed per room, and Cullinan’s email said “Housing staff will assist residents with social distancing practices and guidance on how to follow other public health measures.”

As Gonzaga, Whitworth, and WSU have all announced they will be resuming classes face-to-face in the fall, EWU could be the only major university in the region to not have classes face-to-face in the fall. 

Tuesday’s announcement came on the same day that the state of Washington entered “Phase 1” of its reopening plan, which allows limited access to recreational activities and a small number of businesses being allowed to re-open. 

Later in the day, the Spokesman-Review interviewed the presidents of Gonzaga, Whitworth, WSU and EWU.

Cullinan said it would take nothing short of a miracle for EWU to consider fully coming back face-to-face in the fall. 

“In an amazing world where suddenly all of this goes away we could pivot back to face-to-face,” Cullinan said.

Cullinan said that EWU will have more class options and the faculty and staff will become much more prepared for online classes in the fall.

Cullinan said that many of the beginning of the year events will not happen this year. 

“The beginning of the academic year is disrupted,” Cullinan said. “Assume that no, we are not going to have our big massive events at the beginning of the year.”

Cullinan said that many students have pleaded to have an in-person commencement ceremony, but she said that is not a possibility. 

This is a developing story. More information will be added as made available.

The Easterner’s Drew Lawson contributed to this report.