November 19, 2020
Dear Cougar Community:
There’s a potentially life-saving gift we can give each other
this upcoming holiday season: doing our part to mitigate the
spread of COVID‑19.
Extra vigilance is required by all of us as virus cases surge
and many prepare to spend time with loved ones during the upcoming
Thanksgiving and winter breaks.
It is tempting to relax safety measures around the family and
friends we typically spend time with during breaks and holidays.
But COVID‑19 is overwhelming many of our communities. You can be
contagious and pass along the virus before you show symptoms or
feel sick. We recognize how challenging it can be not to “make an
exception” when visiting with those closest to you. Please
don’t let your guard down. The decisions we make now have
the potential for long-lasting impact to our health and the health
of our loved ones.
The recent spike in cases has been caused primarily by people
in group settings not wearing masks or physically distancing.
Practicing the three W’s remains the most effective prevention:
Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Watch your distance.
Given the current situation, we encourage our entire
WSU community to limit travel this holiday season.
If you do have to travel, please check your destination’s
local public health website to see if there are specific
requirements in that area. Pullman students, if you are traveling
home, please get tested for the virus before you go. Once
you leave campus for Thanksgiving break, please don’t
return until spring semester begins in January.
We offer a few other reminders to guide your actions
during the coming weeks:
Similar to the fall semester, most of the spring semester
classes will be offered at a distance.
All WSU employees should continue to work remotely
Employees who cannot work remotely must attest online
daily that they are free of COVID‑19 symptoms.
Employees should not enter the workplace if they feel
ill. Unfortunately, contact tracers are aware of some employees
in the Pullman/Moscow area who had what they thought was a common
cold come to work and spread COVID‑19 to coworkers.
If you test positive for COVID‑19, provide contact
tracers with a complete list of your close contacts. That
information is critical to prevent the spread of the
While we all look forward to holiday celebrations
with coworkers, please do so virtually this year. Again,
avoiding group gatherings is a key step in slowing the virus.
- Refer to the University’s COVID‑19 website to stay
up‑to‑date with the latest developments.
The data from our own state demonstrate the challenges
we face. In Washington, the daily virus case counts are
increasing consistently, with more than 2,000 cases a day
over the past weekend and average cases statewide doubling during
the past two weeks. In response, Washington Governor Jay Inslee
on Sunday announced a new four‑week statewide set of restrictions.
Though K–12 and higher education institutions are generally exempt from the
restrictions, which include limitations on indoor social gatherings
and occupancy limits in retail establishments, we urge you to
practice these preventative measures.
We’re all familiar with the saying that Cougs take care of
Cougs. Now—more than ever—is the time to demonstrate that
principle in action. Do so for each other and for the communities
for which we live and work.
Thank you for your ongoing efforts to ensure the health and
safety of the extended Cougar family.
Provost and Executive Vice President