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Washington State University
Washington State University Return to Work FAQ

Faculty Return to Campus FAQ

Will I be forced to return to campus?

If your health or the health of a family member is at risk, or you have other concerns related to COVID-19, you will not be required to return to campus.

Why are we being asked to inform our chair/director (Pullman) or VCAA (Vancouver, Tri-Cities, Spokane, Everett) about our intent to return to campus in fall when so many COVID-19 issues are unknown?

At this point, we are attempting to model available classroom space for face-to-face instruction for classes of less than 50 students. Until we know which faculty members intend to return to work vs. which faculty members have concerns that would prevent them from returning to work, we cannot model classroom space. When determining your intention to return, we ask you to consider the best-case scenario for your campus (Phase 3). Of course, we are bound by the Washington State Department of Public Health, and should the situation worsen, we would move to online instruction.

What should I tell my chair/director or VCAA about my intentions for the fall term?

You need to inform your chair or director only about your intention to return, based on best-case assumptions at the current time.  Please do not disclose details about your concern.

If I have a concern such as health risks, child care, being a caregiver for a person at-risk, etc. what should I do?

Complete this form on the Human Resources Services website

COVID-19 Return to Work Concerns

Why not just move fall to online now?

We know that moving to online disproportionately impacts our Latinx and underrepresented minority and financially disadvantaged students. Students who pivoted to online in spring 2020 with the least impacts on their learning had had good laptops, high-speed internet access, quiet study rooms, food, and secure housing.  WSU’s mission is to serve the state and all of our students. Further, on the Pullman campus, we have a significant population of students who rely on WSU housing. We also surveyed students about their experience moving from face-to-face instruction to online instruction at the end of the spring term. A majority of students who responded indicated their desire to return to campus while some indicated their preference is to remain online. We are working to allow as much flexibility as possible.

Will students be forced to return to campus?


Will students be tested?

As WSU’s largest campus, Pullman has applied for and been granted certification for human COVID-19 testing through the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (WADDL). WADDL along with Cougar Health Services will be able to process about 4,000 COVID-19 tests per week. Sample collection will be via nasal swabs – a far less invasive collection technique than the current nasopharyngeal swabs. At this time, we cannot mandate testing without state approval.

Will staff and faculty be tested?

WSU will have the capacity to test staff and faculty for COVID-19, however, insurance will only cover the cost if ordered by a physician. Appeals to the Washington State Insurance Commission are ongoing.


Please describe any questions of concerns that are not addressed with these Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Please let us know if you have concerns or questions that have not been addressed above.