July

Communications sent to the UW Bothell community in July


July 22, 2020 | Things to consider as you prepare for autumn quarter (Message to students)

This message is being sent to all students across the University of Washington.

Dear Students,

We hope you are well and safe during these difficult times. As we shared in our Back-to-School overview in late June, all of our planning for autumn quarter is subject to where our county, state and nation are in terms of the COVID-19 outbreak. Unfortunately, the news on this front has not been good. Our nation is in the midst of an alarming increase in COVID-19 cases.

Infection rates are not quite as alarming in Washington state and King and Pierce counties, but cases have increased here. We know this may raise questions for you and your families about what the autumn quarter will entail as you make plans and decisions. Although conditions continue to be extremely fluid and unpredictable, we write today to provide you with the best information and guidance we have and to ensure that you stay as safe as possible while you continue your education.

The vast majority of our classes, including all classes of more than 50 students, are already scheduled for online instruction. However, based on the evidence we have now, we will likely need to move even more courses online, possibly to fewer than 10% in-person classes for undergraduates on the Seattle campus. In this scenario, in-person instruction would be heavily weighted toward courses in which hands-on and in-person learning is most critical, such as clinical instruction, certain labs, and arts- and performance-based courses. Within UW Medicine and other parts of health sciences graduate education, for example, a large portion of learning is currently happening in person in hospitals and clinics, and that will likely continue. UW Bothell and UW Tacoma already have the vast majority of all classes offered remotely.

All activities on campus will continue to be guided by state and county requirements and local COVID-19 prevention plans. The UW’s critical research enterprise, including work on a COVID-19 vaccine and antibody research, will also continue — it has never stopped — and research conducted in person will continue to be done in accordance with appropriate safety plans.

Reducing in-person instruction even further would be disappointing for all of us. But whatever the modality, we remain wholly committed to ensuring students can continue their academic progress. UW faculty, instructors and support staff are continuing to raise the bar and develop new ways of delivering instruction through high-quality online coursework, academic advising, student services and community-building activities. We will provide more definitive guidance about the degree to which instruction will be online or in person, including an updated course schedule, no later than Friday, Aug. 7.

In the meantime, given the rise in cases, we ask you and your families to think seriously about what living situation will make the most sense for you this fall. As we shared last month, residence hall accommodations will remain available, as they have been throughout the pandemic, for those students who desire or require on-campus housing. We are committed to taking every reasonable precaution to keep our community healthy, including creating the safest possible conditions on campus: requiring masks and cultivating community norms that make masking, good hygiene and physical distancing standard practices among students, faculty and staff in our facilities, academic spaces and residence halls. We will also provide robust testing and contact tracing in line with public health guidance.

We do not, however, have jurisdiction over housing that is off campus, including the enforcement of masking and physical distancing that will be the norm in campus facilities. Please think seriously about where you choose to live as well as the choices you make within your living environments. Community safety is a top priority for us, and we will do everything in our power to support healthy and safe behavior for all of our students. But ultimately, it’s the choices you make for yourselves and with your families and friends that will have the greatest impact on your health and safety and the course of this virus.

State and county officials continue to plan for a range of public health scenarios this fall based on the status of the virus. While there are still many unknowns, one thing we know with certainty is that it requires all of us to suppress transmission. Our University is driven by evidence and facts — relying on accurate information to make decisions is fundamental to who we are. We are fortunate to have some of the world’s most knowledgeable epidemiologists and health-care experts on our campus and advising us on a daily basis. They and public health experts across the nation and around the world have given everyone the information needed to slow the virus and operate our campuses and our communities safely. Their guidance — the “3 Ws” — is clear:

Wear Your Mask. Wash Your Hands. Watch Your Distance.

The containment of this virus and eventual reopening of society is in all of our (frequently washed) hands.

Thank you for your patience. We’ll be corresponding again soon.

Sincerely,

Ana Mari Cauce
President
Professor of Psychology

Mark Richards
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Professor of Earth and Space Sciences


July 22, 2020 | Update as we prepare for autumn quarter (Message to faculty & staff)

This message is being sent to staff, faculty and other academic personnel across the University of Washington.

Dear Colleagues,

We hope you are well and healthy during these difficult times. As we shared in our Back-to-School overview in late June, our planning for autumn quarter is contingent upon our county, state and nation continuing to manage the COVID-19 outbreak. Unfortunately, the current news is not good, and our nation is in the midst of an alarming increase in COVID-19 cases. Infection rates are not quite as alarming in Washington state and King and Pierce counties, but as you are no doubt aware, cases have also increased here.

We acknowledge that our community seeks clarity about how the current increase in cases will impact autumn quarter. In most instances, teaching, research and on-campus work continues to be guided by state and county requirements and your local COVID-19 prevention plans, which we expect to remain in effect for the majority of employees through the fall term. Our research enterprise, including work on a COVID-19 vaccine and antibody research, will also continue — it has never stopped — and research conducted in person will continue to be done in accordance with appropriate safety plans.

It’s also true that conditions continue to be extremely fluid and unpredictable. The degree to which instruction will be online versus in person is top of mind for many. Current plans call for holding the majority of our undergraduate classes, including all classes of more than 50 students, online, pending public health conditions. The Governor also issued a proclamation allowing in-person instruction to proceed starting Aug. 1 with appropriate safety protocols in place, irrespective of county phases. However, based on the evidence we have now, we will likely move even more courses online, possibly to fewer than 10% in-person classes for undergraduates on the Seattle campus. In this scenario, in-person instruction would be heavily weighted toward the kinds of courses in which hands-on and in-person learning is most critical, such as clinical instruction, certain labs, and arts- and performance-based courses. Within UW Medicine and other parts of health sciences graduate education, for example, a large portion of the learning is currently happening in person in hospitals and clinics, and that will likely continue. UW Bothell and UW Tacoma already have the vast majority of all classes offered remotely.

If we do need to scale back in-person instruction, it will be disappointing for all of us. But we, of course, remain wholly committed to ensuring our students can continue their academic progress. We appreciate that faculty, instructors and support staff continue to raise the bar and develop new ways of delivering instruction through high-quality online coursework, academic advising, student services and community-building activities. We also appreciate that clarity regarding changes to course modalities is essential to planning, and we will provide more definitive guidance, including a revised course schedule, about the degree to which instruction will be online or in person no later than Friday, Aug. 7.

State and county officials continue to plan — as do we — for a range of public health scenarios this fall based on the status of the virus. Our University is driven by evidence and facts — relying on accurate information to make decisions is fundamental to who we are. We are fortunate to have some of the world’s most knowledgeable epidemiologists and health-care experts on our faculty and advising us on a daily basis. Their guidance — the “3 Ws” — is clear:

Wear Your Mask. Wash Your Hands. Watch Your Distance.

Thank you for your patience. We’ll be corresponding again soon.

Sincerely,

Ana Mari Cauce
President
Professor of Psychology

Mark Richards
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Professor of Earth and Space Sciences


July 16, 2020 | Update on international students from Sharon A. Jones, Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs

Dear faculty and staff,

I write to give you an update on the still-evolving situation regarding international students, their visas and their ability to take classes in-person or remotely at U.S. universities — including UW Bothell.

As you may know, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on July 6 said it planned to end an emergency waiver that, in response to the pandemic, allows international students to maintain their visa status while taking only online courses.

The good news, as President Cauce reports in her blog on July 14, is that DHS has just rescinded the order that would have required international students to take in-person courses in order to maintain their visa status and stay in the United States. “This news is extremely welcome to both the University of Washington and to our international students who should never have been asked to choose between their safety and their education,” she noted.

There are still many questions as yet unresolved about the status of our new and continuing international students and about the follow-up actions they and we must take to ensure they can continue their educations uninterrupted, as much as is possible.

We ask for your patience as we actively work to find answers and make plans. If you have pressing questions, contact UW Bothell’s Center for International Education at uwbintl@uw.edu.

We are in close and regular communication with colleagues in Seattle, including leadership, government relations staff and the team in International Student Services. On our campus, the CIE staff and others are communicating directly with our international students and are preparing a survey to learn more about their circumstances and needs.

As we learn more about next steps, we will send updates to our students and reach out to the UW Bothell community.

Thank you again for your patience and concern.

Sharon A. Jones
Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs


July 10, 2020 | Back-to-School Info Session with campus leadership - full video recording (YouTube)

On July 10, 2020, UW Bothell campus leadership held an online information session for students and their families to learn more about plans for the autumn quarter. View the recording of the session below.


July 8, 2020 | July Update for Faculty and Staff from Sharon A. Jones, Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs

Dear Academic Affairs Faculty and Staff:

Your incredible work during extraordinary challenges this past spring supported our students beyond expectations. We retained our students during spring 2020, our autumn 2020 enrollments appear to be higher than they were a year ago, and by at least one incomplete metric, our students succeeded with 80% achieving a quarter GPA greater than 2.0 in spring 2020 as compared to 76% in spring 2019. Our students are resilient which is in large part due to our committed faculty and staff. Thank you!

Here are some supports I want to bring to your attention as we plan for autumn quarter:

  • With funds allocated by the Chancellor, we will hire an Academic Success Coach and Coordinated Care Case Manager to provide direct support to students during the pandemic.
  • Assuming we are in Phase 3 of the pandemic, faculty will be able to meet with 16 or fewer students on campus to supplement remote instruction. Faculty can request on campus meetings via a Classroom Request Form.
  • We will charge RIFF (Remote Instruction Faculty Facilitators) team to support faculty within and across Schools. Spring quarter RIFF members are currently sharing feedback on structuring this work moving forward.
  • Guidance for peer observation of teaching in the spring quarter can be found here and will be updated for 2020-21.
  • We will soon issue a call for proposals for Learning Communities with a focus on online learning and student support within the context of COVID-19.
  • IT staff are offering a fully-online asynchronous course designed to improve a faculty member’s digital course design and pedagogy skill set. The next group session begins August 3rd and there is also a self-paced version. The course will be repeated during the 2020-21 academic year.
  • Starting in August, IT staff are planning a variety of workshops, resources, and one-on-one consultations to help enrich and expand our ability to connect with students and each other.
  • Between now and June 2021 my office will reimburse faculty and academic affairs staff for registration fees up to $500 to support professional development and knowledge sharing on remote teaching and academic support. Please contact Kathryn Rich for help with reimbursement after completion of the course, workshop, presentation, etc.
  • The Back-to-Work task force has released guidelines for learning spaces at UW Bothell during Phase 3 of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Note: We are working closely with UW Seattle to better understand the proposed rule from the Department of Homeland Security and develop solutions for our international students. Please see the message from President Cauce.

The list above is focused on academic affairs support. Other Divisions at UW Bothell are also providing the community with support. That said, we know we can do more. As we navigate the COVID-19 crisis, we want to be in dialogue with you so that you can help us understand what else is needed. Below are some opportunities:

  • The Chancellor will host an information session (primarily for students) on July 10th at 10:00 am: https://washington.zoom.us/s/99200660299
  • The Chancellor is planning a similar information session for faculty and staff in mid to late July. Details soon.
  • Later this summer, the Center for Teaching and Learning at Seattle and the Faculty Senate will host a town hall for faculty, focused on pedagogy, policies, and best practices for teaching in autumn quarter. Details soon.
  • The academic affairs leadership team will host weekly “office hours” every fourth Friday of the month from 10:00am to 11:00am starting in August and continuing throughout the 2020-21 academic year to listen and to share updated information: https://washington.zoom.us/j/6223291864

Our community faces challenges beyond COVID-19. Many of you are faced with instability and trauma that make personal and professional well-being difficult. We also have to more substantively address the racial inequities in higher education at UW Bothell. I hope that the continued dialogue will help us to better understand these and other issues on an ongoing basis as we develop solutions collectively.

Wishing you the best for the remainder of the summer,

Sharon