The move to distance learning for fall 2020

Dear Campus Community,

By now you have likely seen the email from WSU President Kirk Schulz announcing that WSU Pullman is going with an online Cougar experience for fall. WSU Vancouver will do the same. Undergraduate and graduate course delivery will be at a distance for fall semester. That means we will not hold face-to-face classes or labs on campus. Courses will be online with very few exceptions.

We used the early part of summer to plan for at least some face-to-face instruction this fall. In fact, we laid out our plan last week at a student forum. Soon after the forum, we started getting signals from the WSU system and the state of Washington that things might change. Unfortunately, the pandemic just doesn’t allow for face-to-face instruction right now. COVID-19 cases are increasing in Clark County, the state of Washington and nationally. Continuing distance learning helps keep us healthy and safe, and that is our number one priority.

Faculty and staff who can work effectively from home, please continue to do so.

We are committed to providing faculty, staff and students with equitable resources to be successful. We plan to provide the access, training, equipment and environment to succeed under these circumstances.

Students, you will get an email tomorrow that answers questions about registration, tuition and how to access resources.

Faculty, you will get an email tomorrow that answers questions about research, trainings and workshops, and graduate education.

I recognize the decision to go to distance delivery for fall stirs up a range of emotions that are different for each of us. I know some of you will be relieved, and others will be anxious or disappointed. Please use campus resources such as the Employee Assistance Program for faculty and staff, or Counseling Services for students if you feel like you could use some help in dealing with our ever-changing environment.

I also want to remind us all that distance delivery is in our DNA. WSU Vancouver was a pioneer in distance learning and was among the first to use video conferencing to deliver courses. When we had to change to distance delivery in March, we were well prepared, and we will be even better prepared for fall. I am confident we will deliver a high-quality education experience with personal contact between faculty and students this fall like every fall.

I know you still have questions. I am hosting a Campus Conversation from 10 to 11 a.m. Monday, July 27. You can ask questions in advance when you register online or you may use the Q&A feature during the event.

I get new information every day, and I remain committed to communicating updates to you in a timely fashion.

We are all in this together.


Mel Netzhammer