Evergreen looks forward to 2022 and welcoming back students to winter quarter on Monday, January 3. The college will maintain its previous instructional plans for winter quarter while faculty and staff continue taking steps to ensure the health and safety of everyone on campus.
Nationally, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has caused concern and Evergreen is monitoring it carefully. Other colleges and universities are moving fully or partially online for the beginning of winter quarter 2022. Nearly all those institutions were fully in-person this fall or had less stringent masking and social distancing requirements.
Evergreen is not planning any significant changes to its instructional footing for winter. The data show that Evergreen’s COVID practices are keeping students, staff, and faculty safe. Since the beginning of the pandemic – even through the Delta variant – there has been only one confirmed case of on-campus transmission of the virus.
What is Evergreen doing differently? Evergreen has retained a variety of online learning options and provides a good balance of in-person, remote, and hybrid offerings. By and large, most students have chosen remote or hybrid options, which have some, limited in-person instruction. Many students take a single program rather than multiple courses so there is less mixing between students receiving in-person instruction in different classes. Classroom space for in-person classes is also generous. This set of practices, in addition to universal indoor masking and our vaccination policy, means that COVID has limited opportunity to spread on the college’s campuses.
Beginning next week, Evergreen will offer free COVID PCR testing to students.
Thurston County Public Health will also continue administering free COVID tests in parking lot B from 10 a.m. to 1p.m. on Friday, January 7. These tests are available to everyone, and testing is recommended for individuals who have travelled between quarters. The college encourages our Tacoma community members to consult the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department for information on testing options in that area.
If travel delays or health considerations disrupt a student’s plans to participate in the first week, they should be in close communication with faculty so they know the student still plans to be enrolled in their course or program. Anyone experiencing COVID symptoms or other seasonal illnesses (such as cold, flu, etc.), should also contact their faculty and follow Evergreen’s COVID health and safety protocols.
The college will continue monitoring local conditions carefully and will announce if any changes occur which warrant Evergreen to change its approach.