Opinion: CWU shouldn’t continue in-person instruction

Opinion%3A+CWU+shouldn%E2%80%99t+continue+in-person+instruction

Addie Adkins, Copy Desk Chief

CWU isn’t prepared enough to continue in-person instruction. There are too many unanswered questions and concerns, or worse, a possible lack of transparency with the student body about the answers to these questions and concerns.

I commend CWU for its willingness to protect its students from COVID-19. There are policies and procedures in place, but I fear it won’t be enough. There are too many exterior factors that could create a perfect storm of conditions that would cause an outbreak; I think it’s just a matter of when it will happen.

I have yet to see any indication of a collective policy about providing instruction and grading in place for students who must isolate from face-to-face classes due to exposure. Does this mean policies will be created individually, leading to possible equality issues when it comes to class participation and grading?

As a student with dependents who also attend school in-person, I face a constant chance of exposure from my kids. Even if I am vaccinated and able to protect them from whatever exposures I may come across, it is not the same for them. Because they are both under 12, they are unable to be vaccinated, and are more susceptible to contracting the virus.

It worries me that I have not seen updated policies from either the university or in the syllabi of my classes that address missing possible class time because I must isolate in the instance of exposure. Will it affect my grades? Will I miss out on important lectures that were given in class, but not posted on Canvas? Will I have to drop out if I or one of my family members becomes severely ill or hospitalized?

These are important questions that I wish I could readily find answers to. For in-person instruction to be as safe as possible while also creating an environment where students can succeed, I can only hope that CWU has created contingency plans for these issues.

It is even more concerning because we are seeing a spike in cases in Kittitas County that is similar to the spike last winter.

According to the Washington State Department of Health’s (DOH) COVID-19 data dashboard, for the period of Sept. 7 to Sept. 13, the 7-day case rate was 326.13 cases per 100,000 people. The rate for the same period last year was 35.31 cases per 100,000 people and the highest spike was seen between Dec. 18 to Dec. 24 which topped out at 336.52 cases per 100,000 people.

To be returning to in-person instruction with case rates at that level seems irresponsible at best. To be returning to in-person instruction with a lack of accommodating attendance policies readily available for the student body to view is highly questionable.