Public and private universities, colleges, technical schools, apprenticeship programs and similar schools and programs may resume general instruction, including in-person classes and lectures, starting Aug. 1. Pictured: The University of Washington-Bothell campus. File photo

Public and private universities, colleges, technical schools, apprenticeship programs and similar schools and programs may resume general instruction, including in-person classes and lectures, starting Aug. 1. Pictured: The University of Washington-Bothell campus. File photo

Universities and colleges may reopen in fall, governor says

His order requires masks and physical distancing, among other measures, to help prevent infections.

Gov. Jay Inslee on June 24 cleared the way for Washington’s universities and colleges to welcome students back to campuses this fall.

Public and private universities, colleges, technical schools, apprenticeship programs and similar schools and programs may resume general instruction, including in-person classes and lectures, starting Aug. 1 under a proclamation signed by the governor.

It won’t be a “usual situation” he said at a televised news conference. And the spread of the virus could swiftly change things on any campus.

To get students back in classrooms, universities and colleges must commit to implementing and enforcing health requirements aimed at preventing coronavirus infections.

That will mean having students wear masks in classrooms, dining halls and dormitories. To maintain physical distance, classes may be less crowded and common areas may get remodeled with furniture removed to reduce places for people to gather in numbers.

Sanitizing doorknobs, elevators and vending machines, as well as bathrooms, classrooms and high traffic areas, will need to be increased.

In areas where food is served, diners must wear cloth face coverings except while eating. And when it comes to paying, cash is not acceptable. It should be done with a card or another means that doesn’t require physical contact, Inslee said.

Each institution will have to draw up a reopening plan that incorporates detailed guidance developed by a work group of leaders from two- and four-year colleges.

One key component will be regular health screenings. Colleges will need to sort out how to make sure students and staff are asked if they have experienced any COVID-19 symptoms since their last visit to any place on campus. And, to the extent possible, keeping a log of everyone — students, staff, administrators and visitors — who comes to a campus, information that would be used for tracing contacts of an infected person.

While everyone is eager for college life to restart, Inslee stressed it must be done “in a manner that is safe.”

Colleges shuttered campuses and started conducting classes online in early March as the COVID-19 outbreak spread. As businesses reopen and a degree of normalcy returns, colleges are diagramming plans to offer a combination of in-person and remote classes for the fall quarter.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@seattleweekly.com.

More in News & Comment

t
Smith, Basler running for District 9 Congress seat

Republican challenger takes on Democrat incumbent.

Puget Sound renters will need housing assistance

Nonprofits, activists are expecting greater need as workers are laid off.

File photo
State Supreme Court strikes down $30 car-tab initiative

Justices unanimously agreed that voter-approved Initiative 976 is unconstitutional.

t
Kent girl, 12, dies trying to help her mother during seizure in car

Miranda Bhattacharyya ’always put the well-being of others before herself,’ family says

Hilary Franz (left) and Sue Kuehl Pederson
Wildfires, forest health are key issues in race to lead DNR

Republican Sue Kuehl Pederson is challenging incumbent Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz.

power grid electricity power lines blackouts PG&E (Shutterstock)
State extends moratorium on some electric, gas shutoffs

Investor-owned electric and natural gas utilities in WA can’t disconnect customers through April.

Screenshot from the state Employment Security Department’s website at esd.wa.gov.
State still sifting through thousands of unemployment claims

The recent Lost Wages Assistance program pumped an extra $625 million to Washington’s unemployed.

Washington Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee (left) and Republican challenger Loren Culp during Wednesday's debate. (TVW) 20201007
Inslee, Culp joust on COVID, climate, crime in feisty debate

In their only televised match-up, the two gubernatorial candidates differed on pretty much everything.

Gov. Jay Inslee during his Oct. 6 news conference. (Screenshot)
Gov. Inslee loosens rules for bars, libraries and movie theaters

New rules come as coronavirus cases are on the rise statewide.

This white SUV was stolen about 15 minutes before the Oct. 6 shooting incident. Courtesy of Trooper Rick Johnson
Man in stolen SUV shot and killed by pursuing driver in Auburn

Someone in a vehicle that was chasing an SUV on an on-ramp… Continue reading

Jay Inslee (left) and Loren Culp
Inslee, Culp will meet in only televised debate Wednesday

The two candidates will answer questions for an hour but they will not be on stage together.

Cecil Lacy Jr. (Family photo)
Court: New trial in case of man who told police ‘Can’t breathe’

Cecil Lacy Jr. of Tulalip died in 2015 while in police custody.