On March 23, 2020, Washington Governor Jay Inslee issued a “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order related to COVID-19 directing Washingtonians to stay home unless absolutely necessary or a person’s job is considered essential. The order was extended and has been amended multiple times since.
To comply with the order, the only WSU Health Sciences Spokane (WSU Spokane) faculty and staff who are currently on campus are those who are considered essential to operations, including some research.
Buildings on campus are locked and can only be accessed with a staff or student ID card.
- If a student/staff/faculty tests positive for COVID-19, they should follow directions given to them by public health officials. WSU Spokane Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) is cooperating with the Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) and has the authority to act as an SRHD representative for conducting contact tracing. Students/employees/faculty are encouraged to contact EH&S directly when they receive a positive COVID-19 test so EH&S can conduct a contact tracing interview with them. The quicker that interviews are conducted and contacts are advised to quarantine the more effective contact tracing is.
- If an employee discloses their positive result with a faculty member, the information will be forwarded to EH&S. Names of employees will be kept confidential.
- EH&S works with members of SRHD to confirm positive test results as applicable and appropriate.
- In the event of a positive COVID-19 case, only those individuals who were potentially exposed will receive notification and instructions on next steps. There will be no campus wide messaging regarding suspect or confirmed cases unless instructed to do so as part of an SRHD case investigation.
- EH&S will work with WSU Spokane custodial staff to identify areas potentially affected by suspect or confirmed COVID-19 cases to take precautionary measures to clean and disinfect. Individuals names will not be shared as part of this process, just locations identified during the interview.
- The campus ICS team also remains in close contact with the WSU system ICS team and collaborates with them closely on matters involving operations and communications.
Contact tracing is one of several important efforts being made to contain the spread of COVID-19. Physical distancing, wearing face coverings, frequent hand washing, sanitizing common touch surfaces and not touching your face remain critically important to accomplishing this public health goal.
WSU Spokane is cooperating with Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) to facilitate contact tracing to help identify and isolate anyone associated with the WSU Spokane campus who was in close contact with a confirmed case. The WSU Spokane Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) department has people trained as contact tracers and has the authority to act as a SRHD representative for conducting contact tracing.
Contact tracing is a process of identifying and tracking the spread of infectious disease. It begins with health care providers alerting health districts of a COVID-19 positive case. A trained interviewer then contacts the positive person and ask them for the contact information of close contacts. Under current state and federal contact tracing protocols, a close contact is defined as someone who was within six feet of an infected person for a cumulative of 15 minutes or more over a 24 hours period starting from two days before illness onset (or for asymptomatic people, two days prior to positive specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.
Once an interview is conducted, the interviewer will reach out to everyone who was identified as a close contact and advise them to quarantine at home for 14 days since the last time they were in contact with the confirmed positive person.
When extra cleaning and disinfecting is required due to a report of suspected or positive exposure to COVID-19, campus custodial staff will respond to clean the area as soon as possible. Faculty, staff and students who are working in the space will be notified and asked to leave the area prior to the cleaning/disinfecting process. People working in a potentially infected area may move to another designated location to continue their work, or they could return home for the day. Individuals are to consult with their supervisor or instructor for direction.
Custodial staff will clean and disinfect the following surfaces:
- Doors and door handles
- Desks, chairs and tables
- Computers and keyboards
- File cabinets
- Light switches
- Other potentially infected surfaces
Occupants may return to the space for work or instruction the following day after cleaning/disinfection is complete.
With COVID-19 vaccine distribution occurring in many areas of the state, many students, staff and faculty have questions specific to potential distribution on WSU campuses. As a reminder, the CDC primarily manages the distribution of COVID-19 vaccine. In turn, the federal government works with the state to consider many factors to guide who receives the vaccine such as prioritization of high-risk groups, vaccine supply and distribution, logistics, safety and clinical guidance.
At a high level, this chart from the state Department of Health offers more information on when you could be eligible to receive the vaccine. If you are eligible, please contact your health care provider. WSU Health Sciences is not planning on providing COVID-19 vaccinations for students, staff and faculty. If circumstances change in the future, students, staff and faculty will be notified. As a reminder, the COVID-19 vaccine is not required for WSU employees.
In addition, WSU Health Sciences is not currently planning on administering the vaccine to the public.
You can find WSU’s vaccine guidelines here.
Aug. 27, 3 p.m.
April 7, 2020
- Special Announcement: Coronavirus – Feb. 28, 2020
- Message from VP and Chancellor Daryll DeWald – March 3, 2020
- Preparing for Alternative Teaching Methods – March 9, 2020
- Navigating these times together – March 16, 2020
- Our Campus Responds to Coronavirus – March 20, 2020
- Update on Coronavirus and Campus Operations – March 24, 2020
- An Update on Coronavirus – March 27, 2020
- Well-Being Message – April 23, 2020
- Special Announcement: Returning to Campus – May 1, 2020
- COVID-19 During the Summer Months – May 22, 2020
- Fall Instruction Announcement – May 29, 2020
- Spring 2021 Instruction Announcement – Oct. 15, 2020
- Fall 2021 Planning – Jan. 25, 2021