Dear WWCC colleagues and community-
As we wrap up winter quarter and anticipate an unusual spring quarter, I want to share some important information with you. First, as previously proclaimed by Governor Inslee, we have been planning our revised operations through April 24th. I am announcing now that the decision has been made to extend those revised operations throughout the entirety of spring quarter (and possibly beyond, depending upon the spread of the virus). What that means for you is that you should not plan to “revert to normal” at any point in the spring quarter. Rather, please plan to be online for the entirety of the quarter. Workforce, science, nursing, and other courses requiring hands-on components will continue to meet as little as possible, practice social distancing, and sanitize after each session. The key message here is that the entire quarter will take place under these revised operations guidelines. Our WWCC homepage directs visitors to pertinent information for students, faculty, and staff. Please visit that regularly for updates.
Second, the library is offering virtual services, but will be closed to patrons. The space will still be accessible to college employees for particular purposes—primarily to reach eLearning support, and to use the resource room (computer lab) for professional development and other faculty and staff training. Reference support by the librarians will be provided to students virtually through the chat feature, as well as via phone and email. Faculty can continue to rely on librarians for instructional support of all kinds.
Third, we have increased staffing levels to support this transition to a virtual/remote instructional delivery. Brian Walker will be working completely remotely, and David Owens has agreed to work full-time, largely remotely, to provide additional levels of support to faculty who are new to the online learning environment. We are especially concerned about maintaining accessibility for all of our students. Veteran and new online instructors alike might need to seek additional assistance to ensure the accessibility of their course materials. Directions for accessing remote support of all kinds will be posted to this page Faculty Remote Support by the end of today.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, one of my favorite quotes from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is that “…character is formed in the stormy billows of the world.” That is equally true of individuals and institutions, and as the firestorm swirls around each of us, personally and professionally, it’s an opportunity to reflect on how what we are doing defines us, and sets us on the course for who we will be in the foreseeable future.
What I see happening across the College is tremendous dedication to our students, to our mission, and to each other. We are exhibiting magnificent flexibility in the face of these changes. We are keeping our sense of self and our sense of humor, while simultaneously taking very seriously this threat to public health. Rather than lingering on the negatives that are apparent to us all, I encourage you to take pride in being a part of this unprecedented response to a truly historic event. I am humbled by the constant dedication to helping the most vulnerable among us—students and staff alike. As one of you wrote to me just yesterday, “we’re only as good as what we’re doing for our most vulnerable populations…” and I am pleased to see that concern for those vulnerable individuals/groups features prominently in our planning for our disrupted operations. This situation is ongoing and our response is urgent. You are all amazingly flexible and dedicated. Please remember to show patience and kindness towards each other, and don’t settle with what just works for most people, but make sure you’re thinking about those on the margins when making decisions.
Please keep checking the main website and your email, as you’re able, for regular updates from Campus Communications and from me as often as events warrant. Please stay in close touch with your supervisor, and above all, please take care of yourself and your loved ones. We are forming our collective character in the stormy billows of COVID-19, and I am very pleased with how that character is looking.
Chad Emerson Hickox, Ph.D.