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Eastern Washington University working toward returning 'mostly in-person' next fall

Interim President David May said the university is developing a plan to "prepare us for the goal of normal or near-normal operations."

CHENEY, Wash. — Eastern Washington University is working toward returning to campus in person next fall, according to an announcement Interim President David May sent out Tuesday. 

May said the university is "developing a comprehensive plan to prepare us for the goal of normal or near-normal operations." 

The plan will include checkpoints along the way and ongoing assessments of state guidelines and public health measures, he said. 

However, returning to in-person learning will depend on how the pandemic and vaccine rollouts progress in the coming months, May said. 

"I pledge to everyone we are not going to be fully back on campus until it is safe to do so," he wrote. "The health and safety of our students, staff and faculty will continue to be the primary driver for all of the decisions that we have to make." 

May said the plan's success requires the participation of the entire campus community, which includes getting vaccinated when the opportunity is available, continuing to wear masks, wash hands, clean and sanitize regularly and practice social distancing. 

The university is currently working with the Spokane Regional Health District to develop vaccine eligibility criteria and distribution plans for EWU employees and students, according to the message. 

Online classes will continue through winter and spring, and the majority of summer courses are also expected to remain online, May said. 

The university will be hosting a COVID-19 Town Hall Thursday, Jan. 21 at noon for a more in-depth discussion on the state of the pandemic, vaccinations and preparing for a safe return to campus, May said.