WSU officials emphasize importance of being tested in COVID-19 town hall

WSU created portal to report activities not following COVID-19 guidelines; goal of WSU testing is to test as many students as possible



WSU President Kirk Schulz said WSU wants to try different measures to address violations of COVID-19 guidelines in a town hall.

SYDNEY BROWN, Evergreen reporter

WSU established a portal for students to report on events and activities that do not follow COVID-19 guidelines, according to administrative officials during the virtual town hall on Thursday evening. 

Jill Creighton, WSU dean of students and associate vice president of student affairs, said WSU students need to police each other about the spread of the pandemic, especially with the spike in cases in Whitman County. 

“Be the Coug that says, ‘don’t be a COVID-iot, don’t throw that party,’” Creighton said. 

The administration did not address the steps the school will take to handle these complaints if students are caught violating social distancing measures.

WSU President Kirk Schulz said there is “no playbook” for handling these issues, and WSU wants to try different measures to address violations.

“I want to reiterate that we’re trying to walk a fine line here,” Schulz said. 

Bonnie deVries, Cougar Health Services medical director, said students may get tested free of charge at mobile centers at Cougar Health Services and at the Valley Road Playfields.

“Our primary goal is to test as many WSU students as we can,” deVries said. 

If students want to get retested, they should reach out to their healthcare providers, deVries said. One test should be sufficient to determine whether a student needs to quarantine and go through the confidential contact tracing process, she said.

“Every student in Pullman should be tested in the month of September,” said Phil Weiler, WSU vice president for marketing and communications. 

DeVries said students can experience both COVID-19 and the flu at the same time and should thus prioritize getting the flu shot even if they were tested for the coronavirus. 

“Plans are currently being developed for voluntary COVID-19 testing for WSU Pullman employees. Information will be shared with the university community as the plans become finalized,” WSU Human Resource Services wrote while in the YouTube live chat.

Decisions about which portions of the Pullman campus will reopen in the spring will be made by October, said Elizabeth Chilton, WSU provost and executive vice president. 

“That will give students plenty of time to work with their advisers and make decisions about their classes,” Chilton said.