Western Washington University to start winter quarter remotely

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Due to rising cases of the omicron variant, officials at Western Washington University said the first week of the winter quarter will be taught remotely with in-person instruction resuming Monday, Jan. 10.

The school’s president sent out a letter to the Western community saying the decision was made after leadership received data and advice from scientists and officials with the county and state health departments, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American College Health Association.

Remote learning will take place from Jan. 4-7, allowing time for post-travel COVID-19 testing and for employees and students to get booster shots, according to the letter.

A small number of lab, performance and other classes will continue to be taught in-person, but those will be determined by the chairs and deans.

The university did say those who are not comfortable attending an in-person class during that week should speak with their instructors.

According to the letter, other services like those at the student health center, housing, dining and student services are expected to continue as normal but may have in-person schedules adjusted.

The university is strongly recommending students and employees to get a booster as “All the data we have seen show boosters as not only the best way to shield yourself from Omicron by boosting your immune response but that they lessen the virus’ impacts and severity if you do get sick.”

Those with an approved exemption are advised to schedule their first campus test for the virus as soon as possible, starting the week of Jan. 3.