Recast | On Our Way to Fall 2021

From: Evergreen President’s Office <>

    February 22, 2021 

Dear Campus Community, 

While today we are mostly still teaching, learning and working from home, there’s a great prospect of coming back together mostly in person for fall quarter.   

There is a lot of work ahead to prepare for that first day of the next academic year, September 27 2021. COVID numbers will need to keep declining and health authorities will have to give us the OK in order to reach that goal. But now is the time to lay the groundwork.  

I’m writing to tell you about some recent policy decisions we’ve made to enable Evergreen to offer current and prospective students the in-person experiences they are looking for this fall, while keeping our community safe.   

1) Evergreen strongly encourages staff, students and faculty to be vaccinated when they can be. If and when FDA-approved vaccines are available to all who want them, we will consider requiring vaccinations for all on our campuses by fall quarter.  We know more vaccines are on the way, and the more of us who are vaccinated, the safer we all will be.   

2) Evergreen pledges to follow or exceed re-opening guidelines in the state’s “Safe Back to School Plan” ordered by the Governor’s Higher Education Proclamation 20-12-1 and the Healthy Washington plan, as detailed in “COVID-19 Safety Protocols for Higher Education Institutions.”  We will consult Thurston and Pierce County public health officers on our college safety plans.  

We anticipate updated guidance for fall operations from the Biden Administration, Governor Inslee, the Washington Council of Presidents and other authorities as well. 

3) For Fall ’21 instruction, we will significantly increase the amount of in-person/hybrid learning while maintaining some completely remote programs and courses. Large gatherings, such as lectures, will be held remotely; small-group activities such as seminars, lab and studio work should be held in-person where possible. Cohort sizes for in-person instruction will be set to correspond with facilities limitations.   This reflects our desire to offer as much in-person as possible this fall, while understanding the need to maintain some offerings remotely for students looking for that option.   

4) As conditions continue to improve, Evergreen deans and managers should prepare for resumption of in-person teaching and student services where possible, developing plans with faculty and staff to return for fall quarter, unless they are receiving accommodation or their request to work remotely has been approved by their dean or supervisor.   We know our diverse and low-income students are best served in person, and we know that prospective students are looking for in-person experiences. We also know from experience over the past 12 months there is some work that can be done remotely, efficiently and with cost savings. This policy helps us maintain an equity focus as we set the direction for in-person for fall, while giving us options for remote operations where they meet a need.   These decisions are just the beginning of many we will need to make over the coming weeks. There are many more to come, and many details to be worked out. Members of Evergreen’s senior leadership team and I are looking forward to discussing these and other topics at a March 1 employee winter update meeting and at future opportunities as well.  

Please stay safe, 

George S. Bridges President The Evergreen State College    
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