Along with many of my colleagues I am adamant that the administration re-implement the hybrid model of teaching for those with medical or caregiver needs. My two boys are 3 years and 10 months, and they have never even had a cold. My significant other and I both teach large scale classes and are essentially being asked to expose ourselves, and therefore our children, to over 300 students multiple times a week. A mask mandate is a first step, but the Delta variant requires that the hybrid model must be an option. We know it works pedagogically and also keeps us and our children safe. We should not have to resort to such lengths to keep our families safe when we know this incredibly viable option exists. Thank you all for your efforts in keeping our community safe.
Given the recent news on both the contagiousness and the deleterious effects of the new Delta variant, especially on children, I find it my utmost responsibility to do everything in my power to keep my two, very young, unvaccinated children safe. If the latest numbers on the spread of COVID in Whitman county are correct (a 300-599% increase in the last 30 days), alongside our pandemic history this time last year (#1 New York Times hot spot) I really prefer to go back to a hybrid model of teaching that keeps me (and therefore my children!) socially distanced from students. Given the latest memo from the Provost outlining the various teaching options (e.g., some online, hybrid) why can’t we go back to such models knowing that they are quite effective?
Given the rise of the delta variant, I am incredibly worried about the public health implications (and for my family’s health) of returning in person next week.
I cannot believe I am saying this at an institution of higher learning—even the full-on commercial ventures have put off bringing people back into offices this fall (Google, Amazon) — but here it is. This is irresponsible from a public health perspective. There is no universal masking, no strict requirement that people are vaccinated. (Even with tightening on “personal reasons,” people do not have to be fully vaxxed until well into the school year, after the damage is done.)
Educators and health care professionals at WSU do not seem to care that cases in WA state rose 192% over the past 2 weeks (Texas was +53%, btw). Deaths are up 126%. Whitman county is currently 43% vaccinated (over 12).
And what about those of us with children under 12? Who is wondering what will happen in terms of transmission to and from them as they return to public schools? My zipcode where my child will attend school is 43% vaxxed as well. Teachers are not required to be vaccinated.
I sense that there is a high-stakes game of chicken being played on the backs of faculty, their families and – worst of all – students who belong to the highest hospitalization risk group now. It’s a frightening public health experiment that I have been told I cannot opt out of and students have no recourse if they are concerned about their own vulnerabilities.
Federal, state, and county public health officials strongly recommend masking indoors regardless of vaccination status. We would do well to follow UW’s lead and mandate masks. Here’s hoping Gov. Inslee issues a mask mandate soon so that WSU must comply.
Given the spread of Delta, I am concerned about the lack of a mandatory mask policy for the Fall 2021 semester.
As faculty/staff as well as a graduate student, I have serious reservations about not requiring student vaccination. This pandemic is clearly still a danger to all, and without a commitment from everyone to the benefit of all, this university—already on shaky ground in several ways—will suffer horribly. Ask not what your university can do for you, after all: Ask what you can do for your university and its community.
Given the Delta variant is more contagious, leads to more breakthrough cases, especially in older adults or immunocompromised individuals, and makes children who are not vaccine eligible sick in a way that the original COVID strain did not, I am concerned about the lack of a mask mandate for classrooms. Many member of the campus community, such as myself, live in multi-generational homes. In order to keep our families and greater community safe I would like to recommend a mask mandate regardless of vaccination status.
I am concerned about the lack of communication and contingency planning for the possibility that the Delta variant of the Covid virus causes a major rise in cases in the WSU community. Do we have plans in place, or at least under development, to fall back to on-line learning, social distancing, and mandatory masking? These are unpleasant possibilities but the community will, in my view, respond much more united and committed if the realities are laid out, plans are publicized well ahead of time, and specific benchmarks are identified that would trigger a contingency response. On the other hand, the lack of such public communication creates unnecessary doubt and concern that negatively affects the faculty’s preparations for the new school year.
Department of History
In light of the emergence and spread of the Delta variant, which seems to be making children more sick than the OG COVID-19, and causing more breakthrough infections in vaccinated people, it seems irresponsible to be sending instructors in full capacity classrooms where students will not be required to wear masks unless they are unvaccinated. Many instructors have young children at home who are not vaccine eligible and would thus be put at risk by parents’ exposure. The CDC is recommending mask wearing for indoors in areas of high transmission, which Whitman county is (and that is before the full return of students). As an institution of higher education, it would seem that following scientific standards should be at the forefront of our approach in this crisis. A mask mandate would not only protect our instructors and their families, it would also protect our students and our community.
Why is WSU not screening and routinely testing for Covid-19? Why do we not have asymptomatic testing available even on a voluntary basis? Other universities seem to be able to handle the logistics, short-term, expense, etc. Why is it that we just do the minimum and then just hope it doesn’t blow up in our faces?