1) About the welcoming week events:
a. Why did the university sponsor and seek outside sponsorship (BECU) for unmasked and densely populated events to take place before classes started? (CougsGlow dance party = https://twitter.com/WSUPullman/status/1428951054335438848
b. What safety measures were in place?
c. Were vaccinations required at the door to get into these events? (As a point of comparison, real actual nightclubs in my community require vaccination proof PLUS masks at the door before entry. As an institution of higher learning, we should be held to a higher standard than nightclubs.)
d. Why did the university wait to announce universal masking until AFTER welcoming week events started? Why did they wait until after Gov Inslee had released the state mandate?
e. For all of these decisions, what reasoning was used to make these decisions?
i. what risk-to-benefit ratio or health economics modeling was considered?
ii. What ethical implications did the Administration consider here?
2) About the WSU COVID policy / FAQs
a. Where is the complete WSU COVID policy viewable? Not FAQs, I mean really.
b. Who is making these decisions about WSU COVID policy?
c. What are their public health qualifications?
d. Have faculty who teach, students, staff, adjacent communities, public health officials been invited to contribute to, see or comment on our institution’s full COVID policy?
e. How exactly has the rapid surge of the delta variant influenced policy? (NOT referring to the governor’s more recent masking and vaccination mandates. Those are WA state mandates. Not from WSU and were not institutionally in place before the state mandate.)
f. Why are the FAQs and multiple emails are not consistent. Here’s an example: “If vaccinated, wearing a mask is optional.” https://ehs.wsu.edu/public-health/distancing-and-disinfection-plan-2/. I know that’s not true, but it’s still in the policy. there are numerous examples of these inconsistencies.
g. How are we supposed to act according to state law and a singular policy if the policies do not always follow state law and are inconsistent?
h. What punishment will staff, students, faculty take if they enact something one way that is in line with the policy but it is at odds with another policy point due to internal inconsistency?
i. What punishment will be meted out to faculty, staff and students who refuse to follow policies to protect their own, their families and their communities’ health? Some of us have professional ethics we are obliged to follow. What can we expect? Will we lose our jobs?
3) Mask Mandates:
a. It says on FAQs that instructors can take off their masks at 6’ distance. This would be out of compliance with state law. How is this possible?
b. It says face shields and plexiglass may be available. But these DO NOT WORK and may make things worse by giving people a false sense of security and by disrupting the airflow to even negatively impact the circulation. The CDC does not recommend them. Why do the covid policies negate the science and even the CDC?
-Face shields do not work: https://nyti.ms/3kvxPZg
-plexiglass does not work: https://nyti.ms/3gy3Pur
4) Vaccination mandates:
a. Now that one of the vaccines has full FDA approval, is the personal reasons mandate for students gone in 45 days from 8/24? Or does that clock start when all three have full FDA approval? Why 45 days? Why not now?
b. Is that new documentation for religious/health reasons now in place as promised on the FAQs?
c. What requirements are there are that people register their documented vaccination status? What consequences do they face if staff, faculty or students fail to register their status THIS semester? I read things “may” happen this semester, but it’s unclear—just a hold on classes for students for next semester – what about this semester? what about for faculty and staff?
d. I read HR is “working on” ways to verify status. Why was this not done over the summer? When will vaccination status actually be established?
e. Why does administration refer to us as a “fully vaccinated” university, when we are NOT? At this point, we are — from a public health perspective — no better than institutions in Texas (except for some of those have acknowledged that and gone on line). Good intentions for future enforcement do not matter to the COVID virus. We are at high risk currently. We are not a fully vaccinated institution, please clarify.
5) The In-person Teaching/Learning Mandate:
a. What was the reasoning behind insisting vehemently on in-person classes BEFORE everyone was to provide documented proof of vaccination (or documented medical/religious reason)? That is nonsensical from a public health perspective. The fact is that staff, faculty do NOT have to be fully vaccinated until 10/18. Students still have a loophole of personal reasons until 45 days after full FDA authorization. This means we are unprotected for the first two months of class at least—likely longer. Again, as administration considers these questions, I ask them to remember that nightclubs are requiring proof of negative tests or vaccination cards and masks at the door before entry.
b. Why are there no accommodations for students, staff and faculty to work remotely—particularly those with unvaccinated children and family with underlying health conditions?
c. Why did the administration falsely indicate that our accreditation required going back in person, when this is verifiably false (https://nwccu.app.box.com/s/r2ircwnz8o0hkdrranqnzs0njwdl0tun), which was confirmed by an administrator at NWCCU.
d. Distancing is no longer required because the “requirements no longer apply to fully vaccinated institutions.” Again, we are not fully vaccinated. WSU doesn’t even have everyone’s status reported, much less proof that we are “fully vaccinated.” Further, this is truly unjustifiable because the policy reads as if it is based on the time from before delta, which is far more transmissible, in a far lower amount of time of exposure, and even outdoors. how is this justified? the only justification I can find is that it’s not state law. Again, that’s a low bar that even WA state nightclubs are overcoming.
a. Why is the link to the WSU COVID dashboard gone? http://news.wsu.edu/2021/01/22/wsu-launches-new-covid-19-dashboard/
b. Is there a new dashboard somewhere else?
c. If not, why was it removed?
d. When will it be reinstated?
a. What mandatory testing are unvaxxed students, staff and faculty required to do? at what intervals?
b. What regular testing is being done to ensure we detect cases at WSU and contain them? (And again, please connect these to a dashboard.)
8) When Outbreaks Occur
a. What exactly do we do if our students test positive? how will we know?
b. If they tell us that, what do we really do? This means most of my students will have been exposed, so the idea one student would “isolate” is an unlikely scenario in many of our programs in which students will be exposed to their fellow classmates in other classes or often across the course of a week. I assume we would need to quarantine and all go to online learning at that point?
c. What do parents do when their unvaxxed kids or vulnerable family members need homeschooling, quarantining and/or isolation? I assume we are engaging in online learning, but I find no FAQs responding to this.
d. Dr. Elizabeth Meade, immediate past president of the WA chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, recently noted that with delta, When parents of unvaccinated children are making decisions about going out into the community, they “need to behave as if nobody in the household is vaccinated.” Has the administration taken into account that many of us have children under the age of 12 and are thus vectors for infection back and forth? What are our accommodations for this point?
e. Our vaccinations are only 55% effective against asymptomatic transmission. I assume this is known by administration. How is that being accounted for in the calculations for all these regulations and how outbreaks are handled? (https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/18/health/covid-cdc-boosters-elderly.html)