Walla Walla Community College is moving ahead with our plans to provide in-person instruction and services this fall. With that commitment in mind, over the past few weeks WWCC officials have met and communicated regularly with various state and county officials to determine what policies and precautions are necessary to protect our students and employees from contracting or spreading COVID-19.

Message from 3/12/2020

Greetings,

Walla Walla Community College has been closely monitoring developments related to COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. After careful consideration, the College has suspended all school-sponsored student and community events until further notice. Canceled events include, but are not limited to, sporting events including baseball and softball games previously planned for March 13-15, as well as the WWCC College Rodeo and Cowboy breakfast, theater, and drama productions. All non-instructional student events such as open mics, sports viewing-parties, and so forth, as well as instructional program community advisory committee meetings likewise are canceled until further notice.

Winter quarter instruction will continue largely as planned for the remaining three instructional days of the quarter (March 13, 16, and 17), with the exception that finals scheduled for March 18-20 will be conducted entirely online. In cases where online finals are not an option, finals may be given during times normally reserved for instruction (March 16-17), or skipped entirely and a grade assigned based on work completed up to that point in the quarter. Students requiring accommodations can expect those accommodations to be provided as always, and the testing center will continue to function with social distancing and hygiene protocols followed carefully. For additional information regarding continuity of operations, please visit https://www.wwcc.edu/elearning/elearning/continuity-instruction-faculty/

Spring quarter is scheduled to resume on April 1. Faculty are expected to report to work as usual, but no instruction will occur on April 1, 2, or 3 for either online or face-to-face courses. During that time, full- and part-time faculty will make any needed modifications to their curriculum to convert face-to-face courses to majority-online instruction when classes resume on April 6. Students needing access to technology will be welcomed to computer labs on campus, which will be sanitized frequently, and social distancing will be practiced.

Because this is a rapidly developing situation, I encourage everyone to check a dedicated coronavirus page on our website, www.wwcc.edu/coronavirus, which we are updating regularly. The page includes frequently asked questions related to the coronavirus as well as phone numbers for campus, regional and state health services.

These are difficult decisions but necessary to ensure the safety of everyone in our communities.

Please keep in mind that it’s important for all of us to follow the safety protocols designed to thwart the spread of the virus in our communities. A reminder of the basics: Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Don’t touch your face. And, please stay, or go, home if you are feeling unwell.

Thank you for your flexibility and understanding as we collectively work to keep our WWCC communities safe.

Sincerely,

Chad Emerson Hickox, Ph.D.
Acting President

 

Effective immediately and until further notice, Walla Walla Community College is canceling all upcoming school-sponsored events, including those scheduled for this weekend:  WWCC College Rodeo, Cowboy Breakfast, baseball and softball games, and theatre and drama productions.

This decision did not come lightly but is necessary to ensure the health of our students, staff, and communities as we respond to the current COVID-19 crisis.

 

WWCC Campus Communications

Message from 3/6/2020

All,

Following is the most recent update on the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

We continue to work closely with the Walla Walla County Department of Community Health and the Washington State Department of Health. No cases have been reported in Walla Walla or Clarkston at this time and we are under no restrictions. However, we are taking several pre-cautionary measures to prevent the spread of all viruses. Our custodial staff has been working diligently to clean and disinfect all high traffic areas with EPA approved products. Our Incident Management Team has been working with staff and faculty to develop plans for future scenarios should the College be impacted by the Coronavirus.

We want to remind everyone of these simple safety measures to protect yourself and to prevent the spread of disease:

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Face masks are not recommended for individuals who are not sick.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are often touched.
  • If you are sick, please stay home until recovered.
  • Take care of your health overall. Staying current on your vaccinations, including flu vaccine, eating well and exercising all help your body stay resilient.

If you or someone you know is at high risk for infection due to underlying illness, please consult with your healthcare provider regarding any additional steps you should take. The CDC has helpful information for individuals at higher risk and special populations on their website.

Additionally, you may have heard that several Washington colleges have been affected by the Coronavirus. We have listed them below with links to information regarding their specific campuses. At this time, WWCC has not been impacted by the Coronavirus on either of our campuses.

  • Everett Community College has closed the campus through Sunday to clean after a student tested positive on their campus for COVID-19.
  • Lake Washington Institute of Technology closed for the weekend out of an abundance of caution after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.
  • University of Washington has taken a precautionary health measure and has decided that all classes and finals will not be held in person for the remainder of the winter quarter.
  • The NWAC in conjunction with Everett Community College has suspended the NWAC Men’s and Women’s Championship Tournament. You can find more information on their website.

As Spring break approaches, we know many of our students, faculty and staff are considering or have planned personal or work-related travel. Due to the fluid situation, we strongly recommend all members of our community evaluate any travel plans over the coming weeks, especially to or through areas included in CDC travel alerts. Individuals making travel plans should keep this information in mind:

  • If traveling abroad, we strongly suggest that U.S. citizens register travel through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Registration allows you to be easily located by embassy personnel in the event of an emergency.
  • Countries may be elevated to the CDC’s Level 2 or 3 travel advisories with little warning. Students, faculty and staff should be aware of the associated risk of disruptions to their reentry to the United States or other countries. Based on the quickly evolving international travel guidance, your return to the United States or to campus may be interrupted by federal or state restrictions.
  • If you are planning to travel to Seattle or King County, please refer to these recommendations from King County Public Health.

And lastly, please refer to this release from the Washington State Office of the Attorney General for guidance on possible scams related to the Coronavirus. Scammers may be looking for an opportunity to prey on the fears of individuals during this time and we want to ensure our campus community remains informed.

As a reminder, Coronavirus doesn’t discriminate and neither should you. Please know that viruses cannot target people from specific populations, ethnicities, racial backgrounds or geographical locations. Do not make assumptions about someone’s health status based on their ethnicity, race, national origin or where they are geographically located.

We will continue to provide updates as this situation evolves. Please refer to our webpage for additional resources and information.

Message from 3/2/2020

Walla Walla Community College is closely monitoring developments related to the Novel (new) Coronavirus (COVID-19) that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.  Cases are present in the United States, individuals in Washington State have been positively diagnosed, and regrettably there have been fatalities in Washington State from the disease.

Walla Walla Community College’s first and most important priority is the safety of our students and employees.  We have created an Incident Management Team that is in direct contact with the Walla Walla County Department of Community Health and we will be continually updating this page as new information becomes available.

There are no special or protective actions or orders currently in place for the Walla Walla or Clarkston areas at this time.  However, to keep our community healthy, please follow standard preventative measures such as:

  • Stay home when you are sick and/or running a fever.
  • Frequent hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose. If hands are visibly dirty, use soap and water to clean hands.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and clean hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer (if soap and water are not readily available).

 

At this time, the Walla Walla County Department of Community Health has identified a presumed positive case of COVID-19 in Oregon. While the person is an Oregon resident, they are hospitalized in Walla Walla, Washington. A copy of this release can be found here OR on the Oregon Health Authority Facebook page.

 

This is a rapidly evolving situation, and updates are available from the Washington State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including updated Travel Notices for countries with community transmission.

 

We will continue to communicate with the College community and, if you have questions, please feel free to contact: Campus Security and Environmental Health & Safety at [email protected] or 509-526-7233 (SAFE).

As a reminder, the risk of novel coronavirus is not at all connected with race, ethnicity or nationality.

Message to International Students:

Dear WWCC International Students:

You may be feeling concerned about the coronavirus, also referred to as COVID-19, which has been in the news. If so, you’re not alone.

Here’s what you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones:

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Wash your hands with soap and water regularly for at least 20 seconds. Alcohol hand sanitizers are also effective.
Try not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Stay home when you are sick (except to get medical care).
Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow. If you use a tissue, wash your hands afterwards.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Are you sick or worried you’ve come in contact with someone who is?
Chances are you have the flu or a common cold. Staying home to take care of yourself is one of the best ways to avoid spreading these illnesses.

Hope the rest of your quarter goes well and stay healthy!

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

UPDATED Aug. 23, 2021

What are current requirements at WWCC in terms of protecting the community from COVID?

In accordance with Governor Inslee’s August 18th announcement, WWCC is requiring everyone inside a campus building, facility or vehicle to wear a face covering. Face coverings are not required outdoors and/or when an individual is working alone. Individuals are considered to be working alone when they’re isolated from interaction with other people and have little or no expectation of in-person interruption.

Are vaccines mandatory for employees?

Yes. Governor Inslee is making vaccination a condition of employment for faculty and staff of all schools, colleges and universities in our state. WWCC employees, which includes student employees, must be fully vaccinated by October 18 to continue working for the College. Employees will be required to show proof of vaccination to a designated WWCC official. Medical conditions and sincerely held religious beliefs may qualify individuals for exemption to the vaccination requirement following an application and review process.

Are vaccines mandatory for students?

Yes. WWCC is requiring all students who come to campus for in-person classes or services to be fully vaccinated or have a medical or religious exemption from the college. Students must attest to their vaccination status.

What does “fully vaccinated” mean?

As defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an individual is not considered to be “fully vaccinated” until two weeks after receiving the second shot, or two weeks following the single dose vaccine. That’s why it’s important for WWCC employees to get their shots as soon as possible to meet the governor’s October 18 deadline. In partnership with the Walla Walla County Department of Community Health, WWCC is hosting free, on-campus clinics in Walla Walla on September 13 and October 4. The College is working with Washington State University to hold two clinics in Clarkston in September and October.

Are the doors to campus buildings locked during business hours to control who comes in?

Building doors are unlocked in order to make it as easy as possible for students and others to access services they need.

Due to current construction at the main entrance, we ask visitors to enter the main building at the bookstore, although other doors are unlocked, as well.

Is physical distancing still required or can in-person meetings resume?

In accordance with Gov. Jay Inslee’s higher education proclamation 20-12.4, physical distancing is no longer required but encouraged, where possible. In-person meetings may resume. However, everyone will be required to wear a face covering until the current mandate is lifted.

When will face coverings be optional?

Face coverings will be optional after the governor lifts the current mandate and as soon as public health guidelines indicate it’s safe to do so. An announcement will be made at that time, and the FAQs will be updated to reflect the change when it occurs. Throughout this past year, the College has made health and safety our highest priorities and will continue to put safety first when it comes to COVID precautions.

Are the Bookstore, Computer Lab, and Student Recreation Center now open?

The Student Recreation Center is scheduled to open fall quarter, depending upon the situation with the virus. The rest of campus is fully operational, though currently operating on summer hours: 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. The Bookstore is open to campus visitors and is also open online 24/7, https://collegestore.wwcc.edu/.

Will WWCC continue to offer on-line instruction?

Yes. In fact, we are offering more robust options than ever to meet the needs of all of our students, in addition to on-campus, in-person options.

Resources: