The American flag and the state flag of Washington wave in the wind earlier this month at Central Washington University. The university announced another set of restrictions Friday in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

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The Central Washington University Board of Trustees responded to a Kittitas County Public Health Department order by passing several resolutions to help curtail the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) at a special telephonic meeting on Friday.

The first resolution put the university in line with the health order, which elevated some of the restrictions CWU already had in place. Now all in-person classes, including labs and ensembles, are canceled and all campus buildings are closed to the public.

The university is now encouraging students to stay in place, whether they live on or off campus. If students have gone home for spring break, the university is telling them to remain there and attend spring quarter virtually. University staff have been required to work remotely since Monday, and will continue to do so indefinitely.

Back on campus, dining services will only provide food to go, with no in-person dining. All in-person, university-sponsored events through June are canceled, including graduation.

“We’ll be thinking creatively about how to hold these events,” CWU president Jim Gaudino said during the conference call. “See how we can create a virtual graduation or maintain some of the culture of the organizations that have celebrations.”

The Board of Trustee’s also passed a resolution expanding the executive committee, in order to make quicker decisions and communicate with the administration, as well as a resolution to use $730,000 in surplus student tech fees to invest in a cloud-based and virtualized lab environment at the start of spring quarter, at a cost of $60,000 one time and a $20,000 recurring monthly cost.


Gaudino started the meeting with a presentation addressing some logistics of the county’s health order, saying university had been leaning in these directions while and continuing to discuss options.

While staff is continuing to develop ways to teach classes online, some will be stuck. The aviation program is essentially grounded, and Gaudino said there is no way to move the flight instruction online, other than Microsoft Flight Simulator, which the FAA does not count for hours.

As of the end of Friday, campus buildings will be closed, and most have the ability to be locked down to the public. Some buildings with issues include using the Student Union and Recreation Center for dining, which do not have swipe-able card access for students. Gaudino said they are looking at additional door guards or security at those locations.

Gaudino said they are looking at options to enforce closing residence halls that have rooms with outside-facing doors. He said he expects some of the students to leave today and over the weekend, but said it’s hard to tell how many.

Our students will have left their stuff,” Gaudino said. “Rooms will be full, some of that will be disposable — food in the rooms, plants in the rooms — we will have to go through those rooms and remove those items.”

As of now, Gaudino said the current health order would not allow students to return to pick up their items.

“We’re negotiating with the county to see if they would allow a period of removal of materials by students or families,” Gaudino said.

Other issues to be worked out are refunds for dorm fees dining fees if the student doesn’t return to campus.


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