WSU to move classes online following spring break due to coronavirus concerns

PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University will soon move all in-person classes to online formats due to concerns about COVID-19.

The announcement was made by university President Kirk Schulz on Wednesday. Classes will formally move online following spring break and starting Monday, March 23.

WSU officials said the move is being made to allow for increased social distancing in light of the spread of COVID-19,

The university’s five physical campuses and other locations across the state will remain open during this period to provide for continued business operations. The Pullman campus’ residential, dining and healthcare facilities will also remain open.

The switch from in-person classes to online classes leaves student Erin Mullins with questions.

“Well, we just got two emails about how classes are moving online following spring break, which I think is interesting because I don’t think we’ve had any confirmed cases in Pullman, only people being tested,” Mullins said.

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On Tuesday, WSU sent an email to faculty saying a student was being tested for coronavirus. That student is in self isolation while awaiting results, which will not be available for a few days. That student’s housemates have been notified and asked to contact their health care providers.

Mullins told 4 News Now she’s a little worried about the coronavirus.

“I also think that being too worried just is causing unnecessary panic like all of the shops being out of supplies and stuff, that’s just going to hurt us,” she said.

Professor Matt Loveless, with the Murrow College of Communications, says he’s seen fewer students on campus because of COVID-19.

“I can’t speak for anybody but myself, but at this point you kind of make class a little optional. If you’re not comfortable, don’t come in. There are only a few more days until spring break actually hits,” he said.

Loveless says if classes had to be switched online immediately, they’d be able to pull it off. There might be a few hiccups, though.

“Some faculty are ready to go. Myself personally, I will be working through spring break to make sure I troubleshoot some of the technology, make sure I know how to use it,” he said.

It’s a little harder for Loveless because he’s a broadcast journalism professor.

Students practice in a studio and are normally learning hands-on.

“Maybe this is just a way we try to figure out how to go about making this work ourselves,” he said.

Loveless says he is still working on a plan for the hands-on learning part, but will be ready regardless on March 23 when that switch happens.

Employees will also be reporting to work as normal and supervisors will coordinate with employees who request to work from a different location.

Read more about WSU’s decision here.

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