I hope you have had a successful start to winter quarter in these unprecedented times. Everyone at Evergreen is focused on supporting your learning and well-being. I am writing to share plans with you about the remainder of this academic year and Evergreen’s goal to offer in-person instruction in Fall 2021.
Safety is our primary concern. Public health conditions will guide our way forward. We believe that with the progress of vaccinations and other health measures, Evergreen will be able to return to in-person learning by fall. This will offer you the rich seminar discussions, intense studio and lab experiences, and the personal student-faculty interactions long the hallmark of Evergreen.
We are excited at the prospect of seeing you on campus in September! Our faculty and staff know that being together in person as a teaching and learning community offers greater support, connection and possibilities for our students. And our amazing Olympia and Tacoma campuses are missing you.
We also recognize that within our community there are individuals with concerns about returning in person to campus. Evergreen will have a rich set of remote offerings as well. We will pay close attention to guidance from local and national authorities to create an educational environment that is safe and brings our campuses and classrooms back to life.
As of today, Washington is reporting a decrease of 44 percent in new cases per day from the average two weeks earlier. After a slow start, the state has recently ramped up the administration of vaccinations. At the federal level, on January 21 President Biden directed the departments of education and health and human services to provide colleges with evidence-based guidance on safely reopening for in-person learning.
Nevertheless, this positive momentum is not likely to be enough to allow us to safely return to much in-person instruction in the short term. Therefore, we plan to continue with largely remote teaching and learning for the rest of the academic year. Like fall and winter, spring and summer quarters of 2021 will be conducted primarily on a remote footing, with a few selected in-person and hybrid learning experiences. We hope to offer more in-person services and support as health conditions and guidelines allow.
Meanwhile, if vaccines are distributed effectively, we all continue to wear masks, avoid gatherings and do our part to stay safe, Evergreen should be able to welcome you back for in-person instruction in Fall 2021.
I am grateful to all in our community who continue to be so diligent in following health and safety rules to keep us safe. Although we will continue to be remote for the time being, our job now is to plan, work hard and prepare for better times ahead. I look forward to keeping you updated on this effort in the weeks ahead.
President George Bridges