CWU confirms students tested positive for COVID-19


Bailey Tomlinson, News Editor

Sixteen students were confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19 by an email sent to the campus community by President James L. Gaudino on Sept. 24. According to the email, most of the students are living and isolating off-campus and “appear to be weathering the effects of the virus well.”

The email confirms that the healthcare capacity of Kittitas County has not been strained by these positive cases. 

Information was not provided on how long after the school year began students began to test positively, if the 16 cases were associated or isolated incidents, or whether the university has a threshold at which it will switch to entirely remote learning. 

“The tracing reports underscore the vital importance of maintaining physical distance from one another,” the email reads. “Our experiences and those at colleges and universities across the country show that social gatherings, often off-campus, pose the most significant risk of widespread infection.”

This is the first public report CWU has made regarding any number of students testing positive. Sept. 24 marked the 10th day of instruction for fall quarter.

“After consulting with academic leaders, health professionals, and campus leadership, it is clear that the virus is likely to pose a significant health risk through the academic year,” the email reads.

Along with the positive case number, the email outlined a tentative plan to continue emphasizing hybrid class modes, university employees working from home if they are able and prioritizing health and safety protocols through both winter and spring quarter 2021.

“The uncertainty will remain for a while longer because we do not yet have answers to vital questions such as the availability of federal aid, the impact of flu season, our willingness to continue social distancing, and the availability of an effective vaccine,” the email reads. “ There is one certainty – that we will persevere. … We can and will overcome these and future challenges by working collectively and by having confidence in the strength we possess as a community.” 

The email included a reminder to avoid gathering in groups and practice health and safety measures, such as wearing face coverings, maintaining social distance and washing hands frequently.