Health Officer: Local universities doing a ‘great job’ with COVID response

Gonzaga University Campus

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane County Health Officer Dr. Bob Lutz said Wednesday that local universities have done a great job with their COVID-19 response.

Classes, both in-person and virtual, are already underway at both Eastern Washington University and Gonzaga University.

Lutz said there have been no outbreaks at this point and specifically pointed to GU for doing a great job encouraging students to take the pandemic seriously.

“They’ve put in an awful lot of work,” Lutz said, adding that it has been paying off.

New Gonzaga students had the option to live on campus; typically, freshman and sophomores are required to live in the residence halls. The university has also allowed professors to choose whether courses will be taught virtually or online.

EWU has taken a similar approach. Some courses are being taught in-person, while others are online, but all classes will move to a remote style following Thanksgiving Break.

Whitworth University has not returned for the upcoming semester, but residence halls will begin to open on Friday.

All of this comes as Spokane County’s rate of COVID-19 cases has started to plummet. About 45 people are testing positive each day and the rate is now 103 cases per 100,000 residents.

Lutz said he is meeting with Gonzaga weekly and the health district is closely monitoring the other two universities.

RELATED: Spokane’s rate of COVID-19 plummets, other data still improving

READ: Move in day is looking a lot different this year at Gonzaga