EWU faculty encouraged to hold finals online, no plans to suspend operations amid coronavirus concerns

CHENEY, Wash. — Faculty members at Eastern Washington University have been asked to forego in-person finals amid concerns over the COVID-19 outbreak.

There are no confirmed cases of coronavirus at EWU, nor in Spokane County, but the university is going forward with the measure out of an abundance of caution.

Faculty members are encouraged to conduct finals online during the scheduled finals weeks of March 17-20, but may choose to conduct in-person tests ahead of the scheduled finals week.

“We’re helping students and we’re helping faculty in the sense that they are able to get out of this tight contagious environment but also go back and deal with their families,” Interim Provost of EWU David May said.

The university has no intention of closing or suspending operations at this time. Housing and dining operations continue to stay open. However, the Union Market will suspend self-service and salad bar offerings, replacing them with behind-the-counter options.

Eastern plans on doing additional cleaning while students are gone during this time, and they hope classes will return to normal at the start of the next quarter on March 30.

In the meantime, students are already seeing the impact of coronavirus on campus.

“The gym right now is still being used, but it’s a little more empty than usual,” said Grace Cvancara, a student at EWU. “People are more aware of cleaning everything really well, and I am noticing more masks around campus.”

The school also isn’t requiring students to provide a doctors not for absences right now.

Eastern does have some students studying abroad but not in any countries that are impacted by the outbreak.

The school is asking them to come home anyway.

Meantime, the University of Washington will be suspending all in-person classes starting on Monday as a staff member has been diagnosed with coronavirus. All UW students will take their finals online, as well.

Seattle University is following that same trend, while Central Washington University says it is not making any changes at this time.

Washington State didn’t return our call to see if there will be any changes there.

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