Important announcement for Ordal Hall residents – November 24

Dear Ordal Hall Residents,

We have received notification that a resident of Ordal who has been in isolation in South Hall has tested positive for COVID-19. It has been determined that the student was exposed to the virus in another county at a small gathering with friends, none of whom are PLU students. It has also been determined that there are no close contacts among the students in Ordal or elsewhere on campus. The student is in good health and has transitioned off-campus for their recovery.

Just a reminder: if you are considered a close contact of a Lute who has tested positive, someone from PLU’s Health Center or from the Tacoma–Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) will reach out to you directly.

We are wishing our PLU family member a safe, speedy return to health!

What happened after the diagnosis?
The TPCHD was informed immediately, and with assistance from the PLU Health Center, managed all contact tracing and notification of close contacts. All known close contacts of the affected student have now been identified and contacted by TPCHD.

High touchpoints in Ordal Hall are disinfected and cleaned several times a day, with a special concentration on bathrooms and any shared spaces.

Health and safety
As we move forward into winter, the best way for us to keep our PLU community healthy is to fully participate in preventative practices together. These practices include wearing face masks, physical distancing at least six feet, frequently washing hands and disinfecting surfaces, and self-quarantining in case of exposure. Self-monitoring for symptoms, participating in the daily Wellness Check-In, and communicating any concerns about symptoms are also important precautions.

Should any concerns or questions arise, students should call the Health Center, utilize LuteTeleHealth when away from campus or when the Health Center is closed, and, in case of testing positive for COVID-19 after hours, contact Campus Safety for support. (In that case, Campus Safety will notify one of our Health Center providers, who will get in touch with you.) Employees should communicate with their healthcare providers for guidance, and notify PLU Human Resources about suspected or positive cases. The Washington Department of Health also has detailed information about what to do if you suspect or have confirmed that you have COVID-19, might have been exposed to it, or are showing symptoms of the virus but haven’t been around a positive case.

In community,
Elizabeth Hopper, Director, Health Services
Joanna Royce-Davis, Vice President for Student Life

New statewide restrictions in Washington – November 17

To: PLU Community
From: Student Life from the Recovery Planning Team

Dear PLU community,

We’d like to start by thanking all of you for being a part of PLU’s collective effort to keep us all safe and healthy. Over the last five days, Washington Governor Jay Inslee has been taking steps to slow the spread of the coronavirus in Washington State. We would like to highlight two of his recent press conferences and discuss what they mean for the Lute community.

On Friday, Governor Inslee urged families to plan for “virtual Thanksgivings”—holiday celebrations that are restricted only to family members who have self-quarantined successfully for fourteen (14) days in advance. The governor also announced a new interstate travel advisory, which is a reminder that everyone needs to be paying attention to the CDC’s current travel guidance. See below for PLU’s Thanksgiving travel reminders.

On Sunday, the governor issued another statewide order restricting indoor gatherings, dining in restaurants, and exercising indoors at gyms and fitness centers as COVID-19 cases surge in Washington State. While K–12 and higher education are exempt from most of these restrictions, we are following public-health guidance and making the following changes effective immediately. These measures will be in place until the governor’s order expires, currently scheduled for December 14:

  • Names Fitness Center will shift to even more limited capacity during open hours.
  • We will switch to virtual tours only for Admission and Athletics.
  • On-campus residents will no longer be permitted to have guests or visitors in their residence hall rooms or apartments. Card access will be restricted to residents of each residence hall.
  • All employees who have been working from home should continue to do so. Vice presidents will be working within divisions to evaluate current on-campus staffing and necessary adjustments.

Additionally, we will update the PLU Wellness Check-In in the coming days to include new questions reflecting the governor’s executive orders.

What does this mean for the Campus Status Dial?

We will remain at Stage 3. The decision to maintain Stage 3 is based on the data from our proactive community testing, our on-campus capacity for managing quarantine and isolation, and local metrics. While COVID-19 infections per 100,000 have surged in Pierce County, all other metrics in our model, including the testing positivity rate, PLU and regional healthcare system capacity, and current case percentages in the county continue to meet or exceed our Stage 3 requirements. We will continue to evaluate campus and regional data.

Reminders for Thanksgiving

  • Thanksgiving Break begins Wednesday, November 25, at 1:35 p.m. and extends through Sunday, November 29. PLU offices will be closed Thursday and Friday, November 26 and 27. The residence halls will remain open; OMM, the Commons and 208 Garfield will be open throughout the weekend with limited hours and menus. The Commons will be open to pick up a festive Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving Day. (Thank you, Campus Restaurants staff!)
  • With the exception of a small number of Nursing courses, all classes held after Thanksgiving Break will be held online. Final exams will also be held remotely.
  • After Thanksgiving Break, campus will remain open, with COVID-19 mitigation measures fully in place. Lutes will have continued access to campus facilities and services, including campus restaurants, some limited recreation opportunities, and the library.

We join the CDC in strongly encouraging Lutes to:

  • Get a COVID-19 test prior to your travels (Pierce County testing sites are listed here)
  • Plan on wearing a mask for all indoor activities other than meals
  • Add more spacing than usual around participants during meals

Even returning to your own home should be undertaken with care. Remember, even if it’s only been a few weeks since you’ve been there, during that time your family has likely been taking all the necessary precautions to stay safe and healthy, and it’s important to respect that.

Gathering in groups—even with people we know—can easily spread the virus. The more people we interact with at a gathering, and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher our risk of becoming infected. The safest action, therefore—especially if you’re in a high-risk category—is to avoid gatherings and find different ways to celebrate with those you love. This site includes ideas for how to gather virtually, for example; and if that’s not an option, here’s a checklist to help you plan a safer gathering.

Community testing post-Thanksgiving

On-campus residents who remain on campus—and any other students who visit campus for any reason—after Thanksgiving will be required to either test or engage in a combination of quarantine-test-quarantine (QTQ) practices, depending on their behavior and travel over the break. Click here for more information for on-campus residents.

Travel Guide COVID Chart

Note to residential students: If you are a current on-campus resident and would like to change your housing plans for Thanksgiving, post-Thanksgiving, J-Term or Spring 2021, please submit a new Housing Survey. Refer to the Residential Life Approach to COVID-19 webpage for additional information.

In community,

Allan Belton
President

Joanna Gregson
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Joanna Royce-Davis
Vice President for Student Life

Teri Phillips
Chief Operating Officer
COVID-19 Site Supervisor

Lace M. Smith
Associate Vice President of Marketing & Communications

Elizabeth Hopper
Director of the Health Center

Shawn Thompson
Assistant Director of Emergency Programs

Off-campus student tests positive for COVID-19 – November 16

Posted on the Coronavirus Update site on November 16, 2020.

An off-campus student has tested positive. All close contacts have been identified. We are required to honor the Washington State law that protects this individual’s confidential information and privacy, and as a result, we will not release their name. We wish our Lute family member a speedy and uncomplicated recovery!

Please continue to take all precautions outlined in the Return to Learning on Campus Guide, including wearing face coverings, maintaining basic hygienephysical distancing, and self-monitoring for symptoms.

For questions, please contact PLU Health Services, at health@plu.edu, or the Washington State Department of Health at (800) 525-0127. If you need someone to talk to now, please connect with LuteTelehealth for support.

Stay informed, and stay safe.

To: PLU Students and families
From: Office of the President

Dear Lutes and families,

As we’ve worked together these past months to ensure our community’s well-being, I’ve been inspired by the fortitude, empathy, and resolute spirit of our students, faculty, staff, and families.

I remain committed to keeping our community up to date with news and our current thinking. In the following short video message, I address the questions, “why don’t we have more in-person classes now? Will we have more in-person learning in the spring?” The short answer: we have more than twice as many spring courses listed as blended—both online and in-person learning opportunities—compared to the fall. Play the video for the longer answer on what it takes to safely deliver in-person instruction.

Thank you again for extending your care during this time. Through these challenges, Lutes remain steadfast in our commitment to caring for each other. In this season of thanks, I am grateful for that and for you.

Allan Belton
President

For the full transcript of Allan’s message to the community, click here.

Join us for Veterans Day!

Today, we honor and celebrate those who served as members of our armed forces. Join us for an online statewide celebration, hosted by Pacific Lutheran University, the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs, Vet Corps, and university partners across the state. With heartfelt gratitude, thank you for your service.

Thanksgiving travel guidance

Thanksgiving is almost upon us—and for many of you, that may mean travel, visiting family or friends, and gatherings to celebrate the holiday. As you make plans to leave campus, please remember to be conscientious about practicing COVID-19 etiquette. Check in with your family or host to see if they have any special requests that will help them and you remain safe while you’re visiting or staying home for the remainder of the semester.

We join the CDC in strongly encouraging Lutes to:

  • Get a COVID-19 test prior to your travels or visit
  • Plan on wearing a mask for all indoor activities other than meals
  • Add more spacing than usual around others during meals

Even returning to your own home should be undertaken with care. Remember, even if it’s only been a few weeks since you’ve been there, during that time your family has likely been taking all the necessary precautions to stay safe and healthy, and it’s important to respect that.

Gathering in groups—even with people we know—can easily spread the virus. The more people we interact with at a gathering, and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher our risk of becoming infected. The safest action, therefore—especially if you’re in a high-risk category—is to avoid gatherings and find different ways to celebrate with those you love. This site includes ideas for how to gather virtually, for example; and if that’s not an option, here is a checklist to help you plan a safer gathering.

Throughout this fall semester, our students, staff, and faculty members have dedicated themselves to the cause of living and learning safely, demonstrating tremendous resiliency in service of the greater good. What that resiliency has looked like day-to-day is a very quiet, sleepy campus—a campus waiting to reawaken.

I’ve been hearing from some students, in particular those living on or near campus, that they’re eager to return to our campus classrooms. I’ve heard from others, especially those who are waiting out the pandemic in multigenerational households, that they are thankful that the majority of our courses have remained remote.

That’s why I wanted to share with you our current thinking about spring semester. The long and the short of it is this: Pierce County is currently in the midst of its third surge of the pandemic. The case rate per 100,000 people (one of our ten dial metrics) is currently above 130. For context, that’s up nearly 300 percent from mid-September. At that point, we were approaching a case rate of 50, which is where we would want that metric to be to support moving to Stage Four of our Campus Status Dial. In short, the disappointing reality is that things are not getting better in Pierce County right now.

That said, one thing that has greatly improved in the last few months is our understanding of the virus. That understanding is helping us better meet the needs of students, keep our campus safe, and prepare our varsity athletic teams to safely return to competition in the spring.

The spring class schedule is already out, with the instructional methods listed for each course. Classes listed as Online will remain online for the duration of the semester. Classes listed as Blended will have both online and in-person learning opportunities—provided, of course, that we can safely deliver in-person instruction. We have more than twice as many spring courses listed as blended compared to the fall.

We are also committed to creating additional opportunities for in-person interactions within the academic division, which might take the form of casual, small group interactions with students and faculty from a related set of courses, or small group gatherings with deans, students, and even alumni from particular majors, minors, or fields of study. We’ll share more details as plans develop.

Currently, our campus safety dial remains at Stage Three. The dial reflects data from campus, county, and state health reporting, along with directives from public-health officials.

If things are able to improve in the county and in Western Washington, and we are able to remain safe on campus, I am hopeful that we will be able to move the campus safety dial to Stage Four or even Stage Five sometime during the spring semester, providing students with new opportunities to safely experience the in-person elements of blended courses.

I imagine we are all in agreement that we cannot responsibly move that dial forward while our county is experiencing a surge in cases. In the meantime, what we’re doing behind the scenes is preparing as many courses as we can to provide blended learning opportunities so that when that dial does move, as many students as possible will experience a substantial change in the learning and will be able to gradually reconnect with our campus.

We just have to stay committed and stay together, Lutes. And I know we will.

Off-campus student tests positive for COVID-19 – November 11

Posted on the Coronavirus Update site on November 11, 2020.

An off-campus student has tested positive. All close contacts have been identified. We are required to honor the Washington State law that protects this individual’s confidential information and privacy, and as a result, we will not release their name. We wish our Lute family member a speedy and uncomplicated recovery!

Please continue to take all precautions outlined in the Return to Learning on Campus Guide, including wearing face coverings, maintaining basic hygienephysical distancing, and self-monitoring for symptoms.

For questions, please contact PLU Health Services, at health@plu.edu, or the Washington State Department of Health at (800) 525-0127. If you need someone to talk to now, please connect with LuteTelehealth for support.

Stay informed, and stay safe.

Off-campus student tests positive for COVID-19 – November 9

Posted on the Coronavirus Update site on November 9, 2020.

An off-campus student has tested positive. All close contacts have been identified. We are required to honor the Washington State law that protects this individual’s confidential information and privacy, and as a result, we will not release their name. We wish our Lute family member a speedy and uncomplicated recovery!

Please continue to take all precautions outlined in the Return to Learning on Campus Guide, including wearing face coverings, maintaining basic hygienephysical distancing, and self-monitoring for symptoms.

For questions, please contact PLU Health Services, at health@plu.edu, or the Washington State Department of Health at (800) 525-0127. If you need someone to talk to now, please connect with LuteTelehealth for support.

Stay informed, and stay safe.

Off-campus student tests positive for COVID-19 – November 5

Posted on the Coronavirus Update site on November 5, 2020.

An off-campus student has tested positive. All close contacts have been identified. We are required to honor the Washington State law that protects this individual’s confidential information and privacy, and as a result, we will not release their name. We wish our Lute family member a speedy and uncomplicated recovery!

Please continue to take all precautions outlined in the Return to Learning on Campus Guide, including wearing face coverings, maintaining basic hygienephysical distancing, and self-monitoring for symptoms.

For questions, please contact PLU Health Services, at health@plu.edu, or the Washington State Department of Health at (800) 525-0127. If you need someone to talk to now, please connect with LuteTelehealth for support.

Stay informed, and stay safe.

Summer Term 2021 study away programs – October 30

Due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19 locally and globally, as well as program enrollment numbers, academic planning needs, and other factors, PLU has made the difficult decision to cancel participation in all PLU short-term faculty-led Summer Term 2021 study away programs. The timing of the decision is to allow students to work with the Center for Student Success and faculty advisors in order to revise their academic plans prior to the J-Term and Spring 2021 registration period in November.

J-Term 2022 study away course offerings will be announced in January 2021 and the application will open on February 1, 2021. Students interested in semester study away, are encouraged to schedule a study away advising session with the Wang Center.

Off-campus student tests positive for COVID-19 – October 29

Posted on the Coronavirus Update site on October 29, 2020.

An off-campus student has tested positive through this week’s proactive community testing. All close contacts have been identified.

We are required to honor the Washington State law that protects this individual’s confidential information and privacy, and as a result, we will not release their name.

We wish our Lute family member a speedy and uncomplicated recovery!

Please continue to take all precautions outlined in the Return to Learning on Campus Guide, including wearing face coverings, maintaining basic hygienephysical distancing, and self-monitoring for symptoms.

For questions, please contact PLU Health Services, at health@plu.edu, or the Washington State Department of Health at (800) 525-0127. If you need someone to talk to now, please connect with LuteTelehealth for support.

Stay informed, and stay safe.

Gatherings and Parties During COVID – October 27

Dear Students,

Let me start with an acknowledgment that this semester has been like none other and really hard. It’s complicated navigating learning that is often online; being socially distanced from your friends, your family, your classmates, your faculty; and just having a college experience that allows you to live and grow as an adult.

On behalf of the PLU community—staff, faculty, and your peers—I am writing to ask you to think carefully about what it means to gather together for parties. Let me be clear: public-health guidelines do not support gathering in groups that include more than five people from outside of your household. I’m not talking about you and five other students who gather informally after class or practice. I’m explicitly talking about a traditional college party. You know what I mean. And a traditional college party does not include proactive COVID-19 measures.

PLU has chosen to be very cautious about how we respond to COVID-19 concerns. Everyone here is required to complete the daily Wellness Check-In. Symptomatic students are quarantined as quickly as possible. COVID-19 testing is more common at PLU than at many other schools. AND—each of us needs to weigh the impact of our choices that can put our entire Lute community at risk—faculty, staff, peers, Parkland community members, and all of our families.

For this academic year, 2020–2021, the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities will be taking a hard-line response to students who host parties. If students are found to have hosted a party, disciplinary probation will be the minimum sanction, with a possibility of removal from in-person learning. This minimum sanction also includes the possibility of removal from participation in on-campus groups (ROTC, athletics, clubs/orgs, internships, clinical placements, etc.) and on-campus employment. Please note this is a minimum sanction.

If you are going to choose to attend or host a party:

  1. LIMIT THE GROUP SIZE TO SIX OR FEWER PEOPLE (including you).
  2. ACCEPT THE RISK TO YOURSELF AND OTHERS—of contracting COVID-19, of exposing close contacts of every guest to illness, and of facing serious consequences from the university.
  3. KNOW WHO ALL YOUR GUESTS ARE, ALONG WITH THEIR CONTACT INFORMATION (first name, last name, and phone number at a minimum), AND BE PREPARED TO SHARE THAT INFORMATION WITH THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT OR UNIVERSITY OFFICIALS IF IT IS NEEDED FOR CONTACT TRACING.
  4. BE HONEST WITH YOUR DAILY WELLNESS CHECK-IN, AND INFORM YOUR EMPLOYER, COACH, FACULTY, INTERNSHIP SITE, ETC. IF YOU HAVE ATTENDED A PARTY so you can appropriately quarantine or respond to symptoms, if they arise.
  5. IF YOU HAVE SYMPTOMS, CALL THE HEALTH CENTER FOR AN APPOINTMENT TO GET TESTED. If the PLU Health Center is closed, or if you want to test proactively after attending a large gatheringget tested at Walgreens or at a Pierce County testing event. Results are generally received quickly.

I invite you to join me and others in our community in making the choices that are necessary to support the whole Lute community’s health and well-being. Everyone wants our world to be different—and this is part of the journey. Thank you for being with us on it.

In community,

Dr. Eva Frey
Dean of Students

Off-campus Parties – October 22

Dear Lutes,

This is really tough. There’s just no way around it. It’s tough not being able to have classes like normal, it’s tough not being able to compete on the athletic field, it’s tough not being able to have our concerts and performances, and—perhaps most of all—it’s tough not being able to be together and have fun in the ways that PLU students have always done.

As we near the halfway point of the semester, let’s not lose sight of why we’re undertaking this challenge together. Let’s not lose sight of why we need to practice physical distancing, of why we need to wear our masks, of why we all need to get our flu shots, and of why we need to follow the university’s COVID-19 safety policies. We’re doing this together because, as of earlier this month, this pandemic has killed more U.S. residents than live in the city of Tacoma. Your PLU community members have lost mothers, fathers, siblings, aunts, uncles, and best friends to COVID-19. Please let that sink in for a moment.

Listen, we know how hard everyone is working to follow our COVID-19 safety guidelines, and we are proud of how well we all have done. And we know it’s getting harder with every passing week. But on Monday, when we heard multiple reports of an off-campus party attended by more than 40 students last weekend, our hearts sank. We know that none of you who attended that party, or similar recent gatherings, meant any harm to anyone. PLU classes are a challenge, and we want nothing more than for you to be able to unwind and even let loose a bit with your fellow Lutes at the end of the week. But please don’t lose sight of the fact that as a small university community, we are navigating one of the great crises in modern human history. We need to dig deeper, we need to care deeply for each other, and we need to stick together to get through this.

Halloween weekend is just over a week away. We know that Halloween is known to many as “the best party weekend of the year at PLU.” That’s why we know this is disappointing to hear—and as folks who have all had a ball at Halloween parties ourselves, we find this message no fun to deliver—but we just can’t gather in large groups right now. Not without putting members of our extended community in danger. So if you’re thinking of hosting or attending a large Halloween gathering, we strongly urge you to reconsider and choose to safely gather in a small group instead.

In community,

Allan Belton
President, Pacific Lutheran University

Gracie Anderson
President, Associated Students of Pacific Lutheran University

Sam Ebner
President, Student-Athlete Advisory Council

Joey Grabowski
President, Residence Hall Association

Socially gather with no more than five people from outside your household per week, including on holidays.
For the CDC’s tips for a safer Halloween, click here.

Important information for South Hall Residents – October 21

Dear South Hall Residents,

We have received notification that a student in quarantine in South Hall has tested positive for COVID-19. The student was determined to be a close contact to the Kreidler and Pfleuger Hall residents who tested positive 10 days ago. Last week they were advised by the Health Department to have a second test while in quarantine and this test provided a positive result. The student is in good health and will transition to off-campus isolation tomorrow and continue to remain there for the duration of their isolation.

If you are considered a close contact of any of these students, you will be contacted directly by PLU’s Health Center or by Tacoma Pierce County Public Health.

We are wishing our PLU family member a safe, speedy return to health!

What happened after the diagnosis?
The Tacoma–Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) was informed immediately, and, with assistance from the PLU Health Center, managed all contact tracing and notification of close contacts. All known close contacts have been identified and contacted by TPCHD.

High touchpoints in South Hall are disinfected and cleaned several times a day, including a concentration on doors and shared spaces.

Health and safety
As we proceed into the fall, the best way for us to keep our PLU community healthy is to fully participate in preventative practices together. These practices include wearing face masks, physical distancing at least six feet, frequently washing hands and disinfecting surfaces, and self-quarantining in case of exposure. Self-monitoring for symptoms, participating in the daily Wellness Check-In, and communicating any concerns about symptoms are also important precautions.

Should any concerns or questions arise, students should call the Health Center, utilize LuteTeleHealth when away from campus or when the Health Center is closed, and, in case of testing positive for COVID-19 after hours, contact Campus Safety for support. (In that case, Campus Safety will notify one of our Health Center providers, who will get in touch with you.) Employees should communicate with their healthcare providers for guidance, and notify PLU Human Resources about suspected or positive cases. The Washington Department of Health also has detailed information about what to do if you suspect or have confirmed that you have COVID-19, might have been exposed to it, or are showing symptoms of the virus but haven’t been around a positive case.

In community,

Elizabeth Hopper
Director, Health Services

Joanna Royce-Davis
Vice President for Student Life

Important information for South Hall Residents – October 20

Dear South Hall students,

We have received notification that a resident in a second-floor South Hall apartment has tested positive for COVID-19. The student was notified of the positive test result within the last 24-hours, after securing testing at an off-campus location on October 13th. They initiated and have remained in isolation since their testing date.

We are wishing our PLU family member a safe, speedy return to health!

What happened after the diagnosis?
The Tacoma–Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) was informed immediately, and, with assistance from the PLU Health Center, is managing all contact tracing and notification of close contacts. As of this afternoon, known close contacts have been identified and will be contacted by TPCHD.

High touchpoints in South Hall are disinfected and cleaned several times a day, including a concentration on doors and other shared spaces.

Health and safety
As we proceed into the fall, the best way for us to keep our PLU community healthy is to fully participate in preventative practices together. These practices include wearing face masks, physical distancing at least six feet, frequently washing hands and disinfecting surfaces, and self-quarantining in case of exposure. Self-monitoring for symptoms, participating in the daily Wellness Check-In, and communicating any concerns about symptoms are also important precautions.

Should any concerns or questions arise, students should call the Health Center, utilize LuteTeleHealth when away from campus or when the Health Center is closed, and, in case of testing positive for COVID-19 after hours, contact Campus Safety for support. (In that case, Campus Safety will notify one of our Health Center providers, who will get in touch with you.) Employees should communicate with their healthcare providers for guidance, and notify PLU Human Resources about suspected or positive cases. The Washington Department of Health also has detailed information about what to do if you suspect or have confirmed that you have COVID-19, might have been exposed to it, or are showing symptoms of the virus but haven’t been around a positive case.

The PLU Health Center’s well-established partnership with TPCHD has been strengthened over the past several months. They were invaluable in assisting with the management of this case, as well as with arranging transportation, medical evaluation, and safe housing off-campus for our student, and we have their assurance that they will continue to assist us in any way they can. The PLU COVID-19 web page will also be kept updated with information on any new confirmed cases at PLU, as well as general information about cases for community members who are interested.

We are eager for everyone to return to campus, meet old friends, and make new ones—all the while continuing the public-health precautions we have been learning to live with over the past several months. The coronavirus is unpredictable, stealthy, and serious, which means that we need to be conscientious about staying as healthy as possible, keeping up our consideration for one another—especially those more vulnerable to COVID-19—and developing the daily practice of care that’s inherent in the PLU mission.

Stay informed, and stay safe!

In community,

Joanna Royce-Davis
Vice President for Student Life

Elizabeth Hopper
Director of Health Services

For questions, please contact PLU Health Services, at health@plu.edu, or the Washington State Department of Health at (800) 525-0127. If you need someone to talk to now, please connect with LuteTelehealth for support.

Important message for Tingelstad Residents – October 16

Dear Tingelstad Hall students,

We have received notification that a resident of Tinglestad Hall has tested positive for COVID-19. The student developed illness symptoms on Tuesday, after being determined to be a close contact to the Kreidler and Pfleuger Hall residents who tested positive on Monday. Because the student in Tinglestad had already come forward with symptoms and had been identified by the PLU Health Center and the Health Department as a close contact of the two students who tested positive on Monday, they entered into off-campus isolation beginning on Monday and will continue to remain there for the duration of their recovery.

If you are considered a close contact with any of these students, you will be contacted directly by PLU’s Health Center or by Tacoma Pierce County Public Health.

We are wishing our PLU family member a safe, speedy return to health!

What happened after the diagnosis?

The Tacoma–Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) was informed immediately, and, with assistance from the PLU Health Center, managed all contact tracing and notification of close contacts. All known close contacts have been identified and contacted by TPCHD.

High touchpoints in Tingelstad  Hall are disinfected and cleaned several times a day, including a concentration on the bathrooms and any shared spaces.

Health and safety

As we proceed into the fall, the best way for us to keep our PLU community healthy is to fully participate in preventative practices together. These practices include wearing face masks, physical distancing at least six feet, frequently washing hands and disinfecting surfaces, and self-quarantining in case of exposure. Self-monitoring for symptoms, participating in the daily Wellness Check-In, and communicating any concerns about symptoms are also important precautions.

Should any concerns or questions arise, students should call the Health Center, utilize LuteTeleHealth when away from campus or when the Health Center is closed, and, in case of testing positive for COVID-19 after hours, contact Campus Safety for support. (In that case, Campus Safety will notify one of our Health Center providers, who will get in touch with you.) Employees should communicate with their healthcare providers for guidance, and notify PLU Human Resources about suspected or positive cases. The Washington Department of Health also has detailed information about what to do if you suspect or have confirmed that you have COVID-19, might have been exposed to it, or are showing symptoms of the virus but haven’t been around a positive case.

The PLU Health Center’s well-established partnership with TPCHD has been strengthened over the past several months. They were invaluable in assisting with the management of this case, as well as with arranging transportation, medical evaluation, and safe housing off-campus for our student, and we have their assurance that they will continue to assist us in any way they can. The PLU COVID-19 web page will also be kept updated with information on any new confirmed cases at PLU, as well as general information about cases for community members who are interested.

We are eager for everyone to return to campus, meet old friends, and make new ones—all the while continuing the public-health precautions we have been learning to live with over the past several months. The coronavirus is unpredictable, stealthy, and serious, which means that we need to be conscientious about staying as healthy as possible, keeping up our consideration for one another—especially those more vulnerable to COVID-19—and developing the daily practice of care that’s inherent in the PLU mission.

Stay informed, and stay safe!

In community,

Joanna Royce-Davis
Vice President for Student Life

Elizabeth Hopper
Director of Health Services

For questions, please contact PLU Health Services, at health@plu.edu, or the Washington State Department of Health at (800) 525-0127. If you need someone to talk to now, please connect with LuteTelehealth for support.

Announcing J-term and Spring 2021 plans – October 14

To: PLU Community
From: Office of the Provost

Dear PLU Community,

As our highest priority remains the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff, PLU has adopted a new calendar for J-Term and the Spring 2021 semester.

The primary rationale for adjusting the calendar is minimizing our community members’ entrance to and exit from campus en masse—activities that necessitate quarantine and testing processes for students, and introduce increased risk to all members of our communities. The same priority of health and safety has also informed our decisions about instructional modality, which we describe below.

Read on for:

  • Specific changes to the J-Term and Spring 2021 calendars, including the delayed start of J-Term for most students and the compression of the spring semester calendar
  • Details about instructional modality for each term
  • Instructions for opting in to remote learning
  • Housing and dining information for J-term and Spring 2021

January Term 2021

January Term, or J-Term, allows students to immerse themselves in one course for four weeks, focusing on a topic in their major field or experiencing something in a new area of study. J-Term is intentionally designed as a period for discovery and innovation that builds an intentional culture of learning inside and outside the classroom. With the exception of a small number of courses with experiential elements (select clinical and didactic courses, practica, field placements, or internships), J-Term classes will be held online. 

This year, our J-Term calendar has been adjusted to reflect our priorities of health and safety. The schedule for most courses has been shifted forward two weeks, meaning that most students’ J-Term experience will begin and end two weeks later than the calendar originally showed. Exceptions to this calendar are select courses in the School of Nursing and some program-specific dates for the experiential elements of certain courses (such as clinical placements, practica, field placements, or internships). Additionally, some of our graduate programs may also soon announce dates that align more closely with the original calendar. These exceptions will be communicated separately by each program prior to registration.

Our updated calendar is as follows:

  • School of Nursing* Classes Begin: Monday, January 4
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: Monday, January 18—No classes; offices closed
  • All Other University Classes Begin**: Tuesday, January 19
  • School of Nursing* Classes End: Friday, January 29
  • All Other University Classes End**: Friday, February 12*Select clinical and didactic classes only.
    **Some graduate programs may announce program-specific start/end dates in the coming weeks; the timeline for starting/ending experiential elements of select courses may also vary from this schedule.

The interactive schedule will be updated to show J-Term/Spring 2021 courses on October 23, in advance of advising and registration periods.

Spring 2021

With J-Term now ending in February, the spring calendar has also been modified. The most notable calendar shift is the elimination of our traditional spring break, a move that will likely be unsurprising to those who have seen similar decisions made at other universities. Unlike many of our peers, we will be observing the Good Friday holiday (the Friday of our original spring break), which we hope provides a mid-term opportunity for observance, rest, and rejuvenation.

The elimination of spring break makes possible a later start date to the term, which we have intentionally scheduled to follow a holiday weekend. This schedule permits a minimally disruptive return to campus for residential students whose requisite quarantine/testing processes would have otherwise interfered with the beginning of spring classes.

Our updated spring calendar is as follows:

  • Presidents’ Day: Monday, February 15—No classes, PLU offices closed
  • Classes Begin: Wednesday, February 17
  • Good Friday: Friday, April 2—No classes, PLU offices closed
  • Classes End: Saturday, May 22
  • Final Examinations: Monday, May 24–Friday, May 28
  • Spring Semester Ends: Friday, May 28
  • Commencement: Saturday, May 29

We are planning for a mix of blended and online classes for spring. As of this writing, students can anticipate having more opportunities for in-person instruction than they’ve had this fall. We’ve opened up additional large spaces on campus for teaching with physical-distancing measures in place, erected tents for outdoor teaching, and established clear protocols for classroom cleaning and disinfection.

That being said, there are two very important variables to underscore that may affect our instructional plans.

First, the public-health situation continues to evolve. It is impossible to make a pronouncement in October about what February through May will look like. We are hopeful that conditions will improve, particularly after the winter months are behind us, but our Campus Status Dial is dynamic and will move as conditions on campus and in the region change. This means that we’re preparing for more in-person instruction, but we want to be transparent in acknowledging the uncertainty of the pandemic.

Second, as long as we are experiencing a global pandemic, we will continue to offer faculty the opportunity to teach remotely. We offer this as a caveat to set student expectations accordingly, but we also mention it as a point of pride. At PLU, our Lutheran heritage calls us to value the whole person—and that means extending the same expression of care to faculty whose pedagogy and personal circumstances align with their teaching remotely as we do to students who choose to learn remotely. Students will be able to see the planned instructional method of each of their courses when the interactive schedule goes live on October 23.

Options for Remote Learning

Just as we made the option available to all students to participate in classes remotely for Fall 2020, so we will do for J-Term and Spring 2021. No documentation is required.

The Office of Accessibility and Accommodation (OAA) is managing students’ requests for fully remote learning. To register for remote learning for J-term and/or Spring, please complete this brief form on the OAA site.

Housing Availability and Options

On-campus housing will continue to be offered in the form of single rooms and South Hall apartments for J-Term and the spring semester. Current on-campus residents will have the option of renewing their housing, and new applications from current and incoming students will be accepted.

Current on-campus residents will receive an email from Residential Life on Monday, October 19, 2020, that fully outlines housing options and processes from Thanksgiving 2020 through Spring 2021. This information will prepare you to complete the survey/application you will be emailed on Monday, October 26, 2020.

Reminder: all current residents agreed to a Fall Semester ONLY Housing Addendum, and must complete this survey/application in order to remain in on-campus housing for J-Term and/or Spring. The deadline for completion will be 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, November 1, 2020.

Updated information for potential new applicants regarding housing options and processes will be posted on the J-Term & Spring Housing page, no later than Monday, October 19, 2020.


Thank you for your flexibility as we work together to provide a healthier and safer environment for the entire campus community. We understand that PLU’s students, families, faculty, staff, and community members are in many different places and have many different needs, sensitivities, and desires regarding this pandemic.

Again, we hope that given the flexibility of our campus plans, and the ability to choose the teaching and learning environment that meets your needs, you find comfort. We are confident that with the comprehensiveness of our health and safety measures, focused squarely on mitigating risk to our community to the best of our ability, you may also find strength.

Thank you for coming together and helping to face a health threat unlike any other in our lifetimes. This pandemic drives home the essential interconnectedness of our global family and our Lute community.

Looking through winter to the spring ahead—we will get through this, together.

Joanna Gregson
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Allan Belton
President 

Joanna Royce-Davis
Vice President for Student Life

Teri Phillips
Chief Operating Officer

Reminders about Thanksgiving Break and Post-Thanksgiving plans – October 13

To: PLU Community
From: Office of Student Life

Dear PLU Community,

Reminders about Thanksgiving Break and post-Thanksgiving plans

In addition to starting the fall term remotely for most classes, this is a reminder that, with a few exceptions, we will also be ending the term remotely for most classes. Here are some important things to remember about November and beyond:

  • Thanksgiving Break begins Wednesday, November 25, at 1:35 p.m. and extends through Sunday, November 29. PLU offices will be closed Thursday and Friday, November 26 and 27. The residence halls will remain open; OMM, the Commons and 208 Garfield will be open throughout the weekend with limited hours and menus. The Commons will be open for a festive Thanksgiving dinner.
  • With the exception of a small number of Nursing courses, all classes held after Thanksgiving Break will be held online. Final exams will also be held remotely.
  • After Thanksgiving Break, campus will remain open, with COVID-19 mitigation measures in place. Lutes will have continued access to campus facilities and services, including campus restaurants, some campus recreation options, and the library.

Post-arrival and proactive community testing

View QTQ Decision Chart

For students who remain on campus—or visit campus for any reason—after Thanksgiving, we are requiring testing or a combination of quarantine-test-quarantine (QTQ), depending on their behavior and travel over the break.

We will require QTQ for Lutes:

  • Who choose to leave campus over the break and who travel to a COVID-19 “hot spot” (i.e., a location where infection rates have been increasing for the last 14 days, or where infections are widespread)
  • Who have gathered in groups larger than five (including for a Thanksgiving dinner) where physical distancing was not observed and/or people were not wearing face masks

The groups above will be required to quarantine for three days if returning, and then will be expected to participate in the proactive community testing event on campus on Wednesday, December 2, and quarantine until they receive their results.

Testing will still be required for Lutes who do not fit in any of the groups described above (i.e., those who have remained in Western Washington or on campus and have not been in groups, or exposed to somebody with COVID-19, or suspected of having COVID-19). However, these Lutes will not be expected to quarantine, either before or after the test.

NOTE: If you feel ill and have any of the symptoms consistent with COVID-19

Additional reminders:

  • On-campus residents who depart for Thanksgiving Break and who do not return for the remainder of the semester will receive a prorated refund of their room and meal charges. Residential Life will communicate full details in an email sent to residential students on Monday, October 19.
  • Students with on-campus employment are encouraged to talk with their supervisors proactively and early to confirm November and December work plans.

In community,

Joanna Royce-Davis
Vice President for Student Life

Elizabeth Hopper
Director of the Health Center

Important Message for Pflueger Hall residents – October 12

Dear Pflueger Hall students,

We have received notification that a resident from Pflueger Hall has tested positive for COVID-19. The student was notified of the positive test following asymptomatic surveillance testing last week at an off-campus location.

After being notified of the positive test, they notified the PLU Health Center and the Health Department. After a brief medical assessment at the Health Center the student immediately entered into isolation at an off-campus location and will remain there for the duration of their recovery.

We are wishing our  PLU family member a safe, speedy return to health!

What happened after the diagnosis?

The Tacoma–Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) was informed immediately, and, with assistance from the PLU Health Center, we are managing all contact tracing and notification of close contacts. All known close contacts will be identified and contacted by TPCHD.

High touchpoints in Pflueger Hall are disinfected and cleaned several times a day, including a concentration on the bathrooms and any shared spaces.

Health and safety

As we proceed into the fall, the best way for us to keep our PLU community healthy is to fully participate in preventative practices together. These practices include wearing face masks, physical distancing at least six feet, frequently washing hands and disinfecting surfaces, and self-quarantining in case of exposure. Self-monitoring for symptoms, participating in the daily Wellness Check-In, and communicating any concerns about symptoms are also important precautions.

Should any concerns or questions arise, students should call the Health Center, utilize LuteTeleHealth when away from campus or when the Health Center is closed, and, in case of testing positive for COVID-19 after hours, contact Campus Safety for support. (In that case, Campus Safety will notify one of our Health Center providers, who will get in touch with you.) Employees should communicate with their healthcare providers for guidance, and notify PLU Human Resources about suspected or positive cases. The Washington Department of Health also has detailed information about what to do if you suspect or have confirmed that you have COVID-19, might have been exposed to it, or are showing symptoms of the virus but haven’t been around a positive case.

The PLU Health Center’s well-established partnership with TPCHD has been strengthened over the past several months. They were invaluable in assisting with the management of this case, as well as with arranging transportation, medical evaluation, and safe housing off-campus for our student, and we have their assurance that they will continue to assist us in any way they can. The PLU COVID-19 web page will also be kept updated with information on any new confirmed cases at PLU, as well as general information about cases for community members who are interested.

We are eager for everyone to return to campus, meet old friends, and make new ones—all the while continuing the public-health precautions we have been learning to live with over the past several months. The coronavirus is unpredictable, stealthy, and serious, which means that we need to be conscientious about staying as healthy as possible, keeping up our consideration for one another—especially those more vulnerable to COVID-19—and developing the daily practice of care that’s inherent in the PLU mission.

Remember, wash hands often, cover your cough, and stay home if you’re sick!

Stay informed, and stay safe!

In community,

Joanna Royce-Davis
Vice President for Student Life

Elizabeth Hopper
Director of Health Services

Important Message for Kreidler Hall residents – October 12

Dear Kreidler Hall students,

We have received notification that a resident from Kreidler Hall has tested positive for COVID-19. The student was notified of the positive test following asymptomatic surveillance testing last week at an off-campus location.

After being notified of the positive test, they notified the PLU Health Center and the Health Department. After a brief medical assessment at the Health Center the student immediately entered into isolation at an off-campus location and will remain there for the duration of their recovery.

We are wishing our  PLU family member a safe, speedy return to health!

What happened after the diagnosis?

The Tacoma–Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) was informed immediately, and, with assistance from the PLU Health Center, we are managing all contact tracing and notification of close contacts. All known close contacts will be identified and contacted by TPCHD..

High touchpoints in Kreidler Hall are disinfected and cleaned several times a day, including a concentration on the bathrooms and any shared spaces.

Health and safety

As we proceed into the fall, the best way for us to keep our PLU community healthy is to fully participate in preventative practices together. These practices include wearing face masks, physical distancing at least six feet, frequently washing hands and disinfecting surfaces, and self-quarantining in case of exposure. Self-monitoring for symptoms, participating in the daily Wellness Check-In, and communicating any concerns about symptoms are also important precautions.

Should any concerns or questions arise, students should call the Health Center, utilize LuteTeleHealth when away from campus or when the Health Center is closed, and, in case of testing positive for COVID-19 after hours, contact Campus Safety for support. (In that case, Campus Safety will notify one of our Health Center providers, who will get in touch with you.) Employees should communicate with their healthcare providers for guidance, and notify PLU Human Resources about suspected or positive cases. The Washington Department of Health also has detailed information about what to do if you suspect or have confirmed that you have COVID-19, might have been exposed to it, or are showing symptoms of the virus but haven’t been around a positive case.

The PLU Health Center’s well-established partnership with TPCHD has been strengthened over the past several months. They were invaluable in assisting with the management of this case, as well as with arranging transportation, medical evaluation, and safe housing off-campus for our student, and we have their assurance that they will continue to assist us in any way they can. The PLU COVID-19 web page will also be kept updated with information on any new confirmed cases at PLU, as well as general information about cases for community members who are interested.

We are eager for everyone to return to campus, meet old friends, and make new ones—all the while continuing the public-health precautions we have been learning to live with over the past several months. The coronavirus is unpredictable, stealthy, and serious, which means that we need to be conscientious about staying as healthy as possible, keeping up our consideration for one another—especially those more vulnerable to COVID-19—and developing the daily practice of care that’s inherent in the PLU mission.

Remember, wash hands often, cover your cough, and stay home if you’re sick!

Stay informed, and stay safe!

In community,

Joanna Royce-Davis
Vice President for Student Life

Elizabeth Hopper
Director of Health Services

For questions, please contact PLU Health Services, at health@plu.edu, or the Washington State Department of Health at (800) 525-0127. If you need someone to talk to now, please connect with LuteTelehealth for support.

Supplemental to Campus Status Dial – October 7

TO: PLU Community
FROM: Office of Student Life

Dear PLU Community,

As a supplement to the Campus Status Dial, we are adding an overview to keep our community informed about known COVID-19 cases on campus, as well as about the number of known COVID-19 cases that were positive but are no longer considered active cases. This information will be updated every Wednesday (at minimum), in tandem with the dial, and will reflect the data from the previous week.

Data collection reaches back to the beginning of the pandemic.

Reminder: As we learn about any new positive cases, we will post them all on the COVID-19 site under Updates and Announcements. If there is a positive case in a residential hall, we will send out a message to the hall community. Close contacts (students or employees) of positive cases will be notified directly and as quickly as possible.

In community,

Joanna Royce-Davis
Vice President for Student Life

Elizabeth Hopper
Director of Health Services

PLU employee tests positive for COVID-19, now in recovery – October 6

Posted on the Coronavirus Update site on October 6, 2020.

We received word that a PLU employee tested positive for COVID-19 last week. Contact tracing has been initiated, and two close contacts on campus have been identified. Each contact is now self-quarantining off campus; neither are PLU students. 

We are required to honor the Washington State law that protects this individual’s confidential information and privacy, and as a result, we will not release their name. All of us at PLU wish our fellow Lute a speedy, safe return to health!

Please continue to take all precautions outlined in the Return to Work Guide, including wearing face masks, maintaining basic hygiene, physical distancing, and self-monitoring for symptoms.

For questions, please contact our COVID-19 Site Supervisor, Teri Phillips (phillitp@plu.edu) or utilize the form on the campus COVID-19 website if you need personal support,

  • Students can contact PLU Counseling, Health & Wellness Services and seek 24/7 medical and mental-health support with LuteTelehealth.
  • Faculty and staff, if you need someone to talk to now, please connect with PLU’s Employee Assistance Program at (800)777-4114 for support. Health concerns should be directed to your personal healthcare provider.

Stay informed, and stay safe.

Important announcement for Harstad Hall residents – October 1

Dear Harstad Hall students,

We have received notification that a resident from Harstad Hall has tested positive for COVID-19. The student was a known close contact to the Ordal Hall resident who tested positive on Friday.

After hearing that they were identified by PLU Health Center and the Health Department as a close contact on Friday, the student immediately entered into quarantine.

Both Lutes who tested positive are currently recovering and have moved to an off-campus location for the duration of their recovery. We are wishing our PLU family members a safe, speedy return to health!

What happened after the diagnosis?

The Tacoma–Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) was informed immediately, and, with assistance from the PLU Health Center, managed all contact tracing and notification of close contacts. All known close contacts have been identified and contacted by TPCHD.

High touchpoints in Harstad Hall are disinfected and cleaned several times a day, including a concentration on the bathrooms and any shared spaces.

Health and safety

As we proceed into the fall, the best way for us to keep our PLU community healthy is to fully participate in preventative practices together. These practices include wearing face masks, physical distancing at least six feet, frequently washing hands and disinfecting surfaces, and self-quarantining in case of exposure. Self-monitoring for symptoms, participating in the daily Wellness Check-In, and communicating any concerns about symptoms are also important precautions.

Should any concerns or questions arise, students should call the Health Center, utilize LuteTeleHealth when away from campus or when the Health Center is closed, and, in case of testing positive for COVID-19 after hours, contact Campus Safety for support. (In that case, Campus Safety will notify one of our Health Center providers, who will get in touch with you.) Employees should communicate with their healthcare providers for guidance, and notify PLU Human Resources about suspected or positive cases. The Washington Department of Health also has detailed information about what to do if you suspect or have confirmed that you have COVID-19, might have been exposed to it, or are showing symptoms of the virus but haven’t been around a positive case.

The PLU Health Center’s well-established partnership with TPCHD has been strengthened over the past several months. They were invaluable in assisting with the management of this case, as well as with arranging transportation, medical evaluation, and safe housing off-campus for our student, and we have their assurance that they will continue to assist us in any way they can. The PLU COVID-19 web page will also be kept updated with information on any new confirmed cases at PLU, as well as general information about cases for community members who are interested.

We are eager for everyone to return to campus, meet old friends, and make new ones—all the while continuing the public-health precautions we have been learning to live with over the past several months. The coronavirus is unpredictable, stealthy, and serious, which means that we need to be conscientious about staying as healthy as possible, keeping up our consideration for one another—especially those more vulnerable to COVID-19—and developing the daily practice of care that’s inherent in the PLU mission.

Stay informed, and stay safe!

In community,

Joanna Royce-Davis
Vice President for Student Life

Elizabeth Hopper
Director of Health Services

For questions, please contact PLU Health Services, at health@plu.edu, or the Washington State Department of Health at (800) 525-0127. If you need someone to talk to now, please connect with LuteTelehealth for support.

Spring 2021 Study Away Programs announcement – October 1

In response to the Coronavirus pandemic and to ensure the safety of all of our students and community, PLU participation in all Spring 2021 study away programs has been suspended. Currently, all Summer-Term 2021 study away programs are continuing as planned. Students are advised, however, that given the fluid and unpredictable nature of the COVID-2019 outbreak, the university will continue to assess risk levels and may suspend and relocate programs if warranted. Should such a change take place, program participants will be notified promptly and informed of alternative options if available. For more information, www.plu.edu/studyaway or email wang.center@plu.edu.

Important announcement for Ordal Hall residents – Sept. 30

Dear Ordal Hall students,

We have received notification that another resident from Ordal Hall has tested positive for COVID-19. The student was a known close contact to the Ordal Hall resident who tested positive on Friday.

After hearing that they were identified by PLU Health Center and the Health Department as a close contact on Friday, the student immediately entered into quarantine.

Both residents who tested positive are currently recovering and have moved to an off-campus location for the duration of their recovery. We are wishing our Lute family members a safe, speedy return to health!

What happened after the diagnosis?

The Tacoma–Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) was informed immediately, and, with assistance from the PLU Health Center, managed all contact tracing and notification of close contacts. All known close contacts have been identified and contacted by TPCHD.

High touchpoints in Ordal Hall are disinfected and cleaned several times a day, including a concentration on the bathrooms and any shared spaces.

Health and safety

As we proceed into the fall, the best way for us to keep our PLU community healthy is to fully participate in preventative practices together. These practices include wearing face masks, physical distancing at least six feet, frequently washing hands and disinfecting surfaces, and self-quarantining in case of exposure. Self-monitoring for symptoms, participating in the daily Wellness Check-In, and communicating any concerns about symptoms are also important precautions.

Should any concerns or questions arise, students should call the Health Center, utilize LuteTeleHealth when away from campus or when the Health Center is closed, and, in case of testing positive for COVID-19 after hours, contact Campus Safety for support. (In that case, Campus Safety will notify one of our Health Center providers, who will get in touch with you.) Employees should communicate with their healthcare providers for guidance, and notify PLU Human Resources about suspected or positive cases. The Washington Department of Health also has detailed information about what to do if you suspect or have confirmed that you have COVID-19, might have been exposed to it, or are showing symptoms of the virus but haven’t been around a positive case.

The PLU Health Center’s well-established partnership with TPCHD has been strengthened over the past several months. They were invaluable in assisting with the management of this case, as well as with arranging transportation, medical evaluation, and safe housing off-campus for our student, and we have their assurance that they will continue to assist us in any way they can. The PLU COVID-19 web page will also be kept updated with information on any new confirmed cases at PLU, as well as general information about cases for community members who are interested.

We are eager for everyone to return to campus, meet old friends, and make new ones—all the while continuing the public-health precautions we have been learning to live with over the past several months. The coronavirus is unpredictable, stealthy, and serious, which means that we need to be conscientious about staying as healthy as possible, keeping up our consideration for one another—especially those more vulnerable to COVID-19—and developing the daily practice of care that’s inherent in the PLU mission.

Stay informed, and stay safe!

In community,

Joanna Royce-Davis
Vice President for Student Life

Elizabeth Hopper
Director of Health Services

For questions, please contact PLU Health Services, at health@plu.edu, or the Washington State Department of Health at (800) 525-0127. If you need someone to talk to now, please connect with LuteTelehealth for support.

Important announcement for Ordal Hall residents – Sept. 25

Dear Ordal Hall students,

We have received notification that a resident from Ordal Hall has tested positive for COVID-19. The student has had very limited contact with others in their residence hall or on campus and has only participated in remote classes. The known close contacts have been notified by PLU Health Center and the Health Department and are being advised on their 14-day quarantine; the resident who tested positive is currently recovering and has moved to an off-campus location for the duration of their recovery. 

We are wishing our  Lute family member a safe, speedy return to health!

What happened after the diagnosis?

The Tacoma–Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) was informed immediately, and, with assistance from the PLU Health Center, managed all contact tracing and notification of close contacts of the student. All known close contacts have been identified and contacted by TPCHD. 

High touchpoints in Ordal Hall are disinfected and cleaned several times a day, including a concentration on the bathrooms and any shared spaces.

Health and safety

As we proceed into the fall, the best way for us to keep our PLU community healthy is to fully participate in preventative practices together. These practices include wearing face masks, physical distancing at least six feet, frequently washing hands and disinfecting surfaces, and self-quarantining in case of exposure. Self-monitoring for symptoms, participating in the daily Wellness Check-In, and communicating any concerns about symptoms are also important precautions. 

Should any concerns or questions arise, students should call the Health Center, utilize LuteTeleHealth when away from campus or when the Health Center is closed, and, in case of testing positive for COVID-19 after hours, contact Campus Safety for support. (In that case, Campus Safety will notify one of our Health Center providers, who will get in touch with you.) Employees should communicate with their healthcare providers for guidance, and notify PLU Human Resources about suspected or positive cases. The Washington Department of Health also has detailed information about what to do if you suspect or have confirmed that you have COVID-19, might have been exposed to it, or are showing symptoms of the virus but haven’t been around a positive case.

The PLU Health Center’s well-established partnership with TPCHD has been strengthened over the past several months. They were invaluable in assisting with the management of this case, as well as with arranging transportation, medical evaluation, and safe housing off-campus for our student, and we have their assurance that they will continue to assist us in any way they can. The PLU COVID-19 web page will also be kept updated with information on any new confirmed cases at PLU, as well as general information about cases for community members who are interested.

We are eager for everyone to return to campus, meet old friends, and make new ones—all the while continuing the public-health precautions we have been learning to live with over the past several months. The coronavirus is unpredictable, stealthy, and serious, which means that we need to be conscientious about staying as healthy as possible, keeping up our consideration for one another—especially those more vulnerable to COVID-19—and developing the daily practice of care that’s inherent in the PLU mission.

Stay informed, and stay safe!

In community,

Joanna Royce-Davis
Vice President for Student Life

Elizabeth Hopper
Director of Health Services

For questions, please contact PLU Health Services, at health@plu.edu, or the Washington State Department of Health at (800) 525-0127. If you need someone to talk to now, please connect with LuteTelehealth for support.

Expanded proactive community testing – Sept. 17

To: PLU Community
From: President’s Office

Dear PLU Community,

Following our fourth week of testing—including large scale testing last week—we have had one positive case out of more than 1400 tests administered for returning students and some frontline faculty and staff. (We wish our Lute family member a speedy and uncomplicated recovery!)

As we move into the semester, we are transitioning from arrival testing to our proactive community testing strategy—sometimes referred to as surveillance testing, pooled testing, or batch testing. We will continue to refine, improve, and expand our testing efforts, because they are a critical component of safe and healthy campus life.

Working in collaboration with local public-health services, we are expanding our proactive community testing for asymptomatic individuals. We will also continue to test for individuals who feel ill and conduct contact tracing if and when there are positive cases. Our goal is to make testing as accessible as possible for our students, faculty, and staff.

Expanded proactive community testing
Proactive community testing is a critical aspect of our community-health strategy. It will help us monitor and respond to any spread of infection within the campus community, within specific campus populations, and  in areas identified as being at higher risk based on real-time feedback from our testing team.

Testing dates:

September 29

October 14 & 27

November 10 & 24

December 9 & 22

Testing times: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Location: Behind the Columbia Center

More information will be emailed to you by the PLU testing team if you are requested to participate in a scheduled testing date.

We plan to test up to 250-500 community members every two weeks using a strategic, science-based approach for sampling. The university will identify and reach out to individuals and groups to participate. Participating in testing will be required at various times for all students coming to campus this fall, including:

  • Student-athletes
  • Residential students
  • Students living off campus who will be coming to campus for any reason

Additionally, we will offer testing for faculty members who are teaching courses with in-person elements, and for critical infrastructure workers who work in residence halls, mail services, dining services, and other positions with a high likelihood of in-person engagement with campus community members.

Proactive community testing is done at no cost to the individuals being tested, who will also be notified directly if they test positive. This type of testing does not require quarantine, either before or after testing.

Testing for individuals who feel ill
Feeling ill? Individuals who might have signs or symptoms consistent with COVID-19 are required to test and self-isolate. It can feel scary to be sick right now—but if you feel ill, let’s make sure you are well cared for!

  • If you are a student exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, you can consult and schedule a test with the PLU Health Center. We will have the capacity to test symptomatic students on weekdays and will assist in identifying testing locations on the weekends. Also, LuteTelehealth—PLU’s 24/7/365 medical and mental healthcare phone and video telehealth service—is available for ongoing support and coordination of care.If you are a student who tests positive for COVID-19 at a testing facility that is not coordinated by PLU, you should share this information with the Health Center for any follow-up that may be required for you and for other members of the PLU community. Confidentiality will be maintained.
  • If you are a faculty or staff member who is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, you should test with the healthcare provider of your choice.If you are a faculty or staff member who has symptoms or is being tested for COVID-19, you should report that result to your supervisor.

Close contact tracing (exposed individuals)
The Tacoma–Pierce County Health Department will continue to conduct close contact tracing for university community members who test positive for COVID-19. Contact tracing helps slow the spread of COVID-19 by identifying individuals who have been in close contact with those who test positive, and requiring that they quarantine and also get tested. The TPCHD has a robust team of experienced contact tracers on hand to identify and test close contacts in a timely manner. If you’ve been identified as a close contact, you will be notified and advised of next steps, including the possibility of a self-quarantine period.

—————————–

Our success as a university begins and ends with the health of our community. This work continues with robust and rigorous proactive community testing, but also includes our individual actions as community members like wearing face masks, participating in daily Wellness Check-Ins, following proper hand hygiene, and social distancing. Our most effective approach to mitigation and keeping our community well involves purposeful, consistent use to all of these preventative measures by all community members.

Shields up, Lutes!

Allan Belton
President

Healthy and safety update // COVID-19, wildfires, and sexual assault prevention – Sept. 11

To: PLU Community
From: President’s Office

Dear PLU Community,

To prepare for the weekend, we have a few health and safety updates for all Lutes.

As you know, PLU will begin the 2020–21 school year with a staged approach to reopening. We are currently in Stage 3, based on the data from campus testing and continuing significant improvements in local metrics. Following our fourth week of testing—including large scale testing this week—we have had one positive case out of more than 1400 tests administered for returning students and some frontline faculty and staff. We will continue to evaluate campus and regional data, with particular attention in the days ahead to trends reflecting Labor Day, and PLU residence hall move-in activity and our continuing capacity for response.

One positive case of COVID-19
We have received notification that a resident in a South Hall apartment has tested positive for COVID-19 during our Quarantine-Test-Quarantine (QTQ) process. The student has had very limited contact with others in their residence hall and on campus, and has only been participating in remote classes. Their known close contact has been notified by the health department and is being advised on their 14-day quarantine. The resident is currently feeling well, and is moving to an off-campus location for the duration of their recovery. We wish our Lute family member a speedy and uncomplicated recovery!

What we need to do
Lutes, we all need to:

  • Wear a face mask
  • Stay at least six feet apart from others (even when outside)
  • Wash hands frequently
  • Socialize in groups of no more than five
  • Complete the daily Wellness Check-In
  • Be kind and hold each other accountable

For those students who have QTQ’ed—thank you! You’ve demonstrated your care for others with this important first step. The next steps require a longer commitment: to wearing masks, maintaining physical distance, keeping social groups to fewer than five people, and prioritizing the health and well-being of our campus community.

These next steps are equally vital, because your negative test reflects your health status only for the time in which the test was taken: the moment you left the testing facility (and came in contact with other people, surfaces, etc.), your status may have changed. In other words: just because your test came back negative does not mean that you can stop protecting yourself and others, nor does it mean that expectations for face coverings and physical distancing no longer apply to you. We continue to hold those expectations for all campus community members, and we will continue to enforce these standards because they matter to the health and well-being of all Lutes.

“Super-massive” smoke plume
Dozens of wildfires continue to burn in the forests, grasslands, and foothills of the Pacific Northwest, forcing evacuations and filling the air with smoke and soot that is only predicted to get worse through the weekend. Officials have warned of a “super-massive” smoke plume inching north from blazes in Oregon and California, which could inundate the South Sound. The state’s Department of Ecology forecasts unhealthy conditions today through Sunday. Unhealthy air quality means that everyone, and especially sensitive groups, should limit time spent outdoors and avoid strenuous activities.

It’s on us—it’s on Lutes
There is a lot going on now, Lutes—and we want to bring up one more challenging topic as we head into this first weekend of the academic year, another issue that will require all of us and our constant vigilance. Everyone plays a unique role in the prevention of sexual assault. We know that sexual assault on college campuses throughout the nation are more common at the start of the school year, and that we can create a culture of respect, equity, and safety at PLU by serving as active bystanders. Doing so requires reflection and progress in how we think and talk about sexual violence and consent.

PLU provides necessary tools and resources through the Center for Gender Equity that allow our community to uphold a commitment to safety for all. These tools will help us keep each other safe from sexual assault and violence—both on campus and in the greater community. Take the time to balance building your awareness with committing to action and positive change. And if you need help, please ask.

Let’s keep our community safe, Lutes!

Allan Belton
President

Important announcement for South Hall residents – Sept. 11

To: South Hall Students
From: Office of Student Life

Dear South Hall students,

We have received notification that a resident from a South Hall apartment has tested positive for COVID-19 during our Quarantine-Test-Quarantine (QTQ) process. The student has had very limited contact with others in their residence hall or on campus, and has only been participating in remote classes. The known close contact has been notified by the health department and is being advised on their 14-day quarantine; the resident who tested positive is currently feeling well and is moving to an off-campus location for the duration of their recovery.

We wish our Lute family member a speedy and uncomplicated recovery!

What happened next?
The Tacoma–Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) was informed immediately, and managed all contact tracing and notification of close contacts of the student. All known contacts—only one—have been identified and contacted by TPCHD.

Health and safety
As we proceed into the fall, the best way for us to keep our PLU community healthy is to fully participate in preventative practices together. These practices include wearing face coverings, physical distancing at least six feet, avoiding gathering in groups, frequently washing hands and disinfecting surfaces, and self-quarantining in case of exposure. Self-monitoring for symptoms, participating in the daily Wellness Check-In, and communicating any concerns about symptoms are also important precautions.

Should any concerns or questions arise, students should call the Health Center, utilize LuteTeleHealth when away from campus or when the Health Center is closed, and, in case of testing positive for COVID-19 after hours, contact Campus Safety for support. (In that case, Campus Safety will notify one of our Health Center providers, who will get in touch with you about next steps.) Employees should communicate with their healthcare providers for guidance, and notify PLU Human Resources about suspected or positive cases. The Washington Department of Health also has detailed information about what to do if you suspect or have confirmed that you have COVID-19, might have been exposed to it, or are showing symptoms of the virus but haven’t been around a positive case. The PLU COVID-19 web page will also be kept updated with information on any new confirmed cases at PLU, as well as general information about cases for community members who are interested.

Everyone is eager to engage in campus life, to meet old friends and make new ones, to learn what a COVID-19 college experience will feel like, all the while continuing the public-health precautions we have been learning to live with over the past several months. The coronavirus is unpredictable, stealthy, and serious, which means that we need to be conscientious about staying as healthy as possible, keeping up our consideration for one another—especially those more vulnerable to COVID-19—and developing the daily practice of care that’s inherent in the PLU mission.

We are all responsible for maintaining our personal health, keeping up consideration for the health and safety of one another—especially those more vulnerable to COVID-19—and developing the daily practice of care that’s inherent in the PLU mission.

Stay informed, and stay safe!

In community,

Joanna Royce-Davis
Vice President for Student Life

Elizabeth Hopper
Director of Health Services

For questions, please contact PLU Health Services, at health@plu.edu, or the Washington State Department of Health at (800) 525-0127. If you need someone to talk to now, please connect with LuteTelehealth for support.

Out-of-county student tests positive for COVID-19, now in recovery – Sept. 4

Posted on the Coronavirus Update site on September 4, 2020.

We received word that a student residing in another county tested positive for COVID-19 last week. Classes were not in session at the time and the student had not been on campus. The student is doing well and recovering.

We are required to honor the Washington State law that protects this individual’s confidential information and privacy, and as a result we will not release their name. We wish our Lute family member a speedy and uncomplicated recovery.

Please continue to take all precautions outlined in the Return to Learning on Campus Guide, including wearing face coverings, maintaining basic hygienephysical distancing, and self-monitoring for symptoms.

For questions, please contact PLU Health Services, at health@plu.edu, or the Washington State Department of Health at (800) 525-0127. If you need someone to talk to now, please connect with LuteTelehealth for support.

Stay informed, and stay safe!

PLU moves to a tentative Stage 3 on Campus Status Dial – Sept. 2

Dear PLU Community,

As you know, PLU will begin the 2020–21 school year with a staged approach to reopening. We’ve created a status dial to ensure that our community members can quickly and easily see which stage we’re currently in, from fully remote learning and working to full capacity with in-person operations. As public-health conditions continue to evolve over the next several months, the PLU dial will be a regular part of our guidance for learning, living, and working on campus.

PLU is moving tentatively to Stage 3

Please note that we are specifically identifying this dial move as “tentative.” We anticipate having more complete PLU campus metrics to consider as additional community members return and are tested in the days ahead. The “tentative” qualifier acknowledges that these incoming test results and related capacities for response could shift the dial back to Stage 2, either with a future weekly update or, if called for, in an immediate change.

The decision to move the dial forward is based on continuing significant improvements in local metrics, particularly the fourteen-day rate of new cases per 100,000 people in Pierce County, which improved by an additional 20% in just the past seven days. Trends in this key metric, as indicated by the fourteen-day rate without a reporting lag, also show that Pierce County is currently below the stated target for K–12 schools to begin a phased return to in-person learning. Just as significantly, each of the other metrics in our model (including the current R factor [a key measure of how fast the virus is growing], healthcare system capacity, and test positivity rate) meets or exceeds our Stage 3 requirements.

Following our second week of testing, we have had no positive cases among more than 250 returning students.

What is Stage 3?
The dial move to Stage 3 makes it possible for students, staff, and faculty to begin planning for limited opportunities for blended learning, in-person co-curricular activities, and student-facing support services no sooner than September 14th. More about Stage 3.

Important note: This is Stage 3 for PLU, not Phase 3 of Governor Inslee’s “Safe Start Washington” plan.

What’s it going to take for us to remain in Stage 3?

While the progress we are seeing comes as welcome news, it is critical that we all do our part to ensure that we aren’t required to revert to Stage 2. Results from expanded testing on campus will certainly inform the movement of our status dial in the coming days. Perhaps more importantly, actions that demonstrate care for community and for one another will determine our ability to maintain this momentum—as their lack will cause us to move backward.

Lutes, we all need to:

  • Wear a face mask
  • Stay at least six feet apart from others (even when outside)
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Socialize in groups of no more than five
  • Complete the daily Wellness Check-In
  • Be kind and hold each other accountable

For those students who arrived early and successfully QTQ’ed—thank you! You’ve demonstrated your care for others with this important first step. The next steps require a longer commitment: to wearing masks, maintaining physical distance, keeping your social groups to fewer than five people, and prioritizing the health and well-being of our campus community.

These next steps are equally vital, because your negative test reflects your health status only for the time in which the test was taken: the moment you left the testing facility (and exposed yourself to other people, other surfaces, etc.), your status may have changed. In other words: just because your test came back negative does not mean that you can stop protecting yourself and others, nor does it mean that expectations for face coverings and physical distancing no longer apply to you. We continue to hold those expectations for all campus community members, and we will continue to enforce these standards because they matter to the health and well being of all Lutes.

Protect yourself. Protect others.

Shields up, Lutes!

Allan Belton
President

Reminder: The dial will be updated weekly on Wednesdays by 12 p.m. with any new information (including indications that the status remains unchanged). Should public-health circumstances warrant an immediate shift, we will utilize the campus text alert system to notify PLU community members of the change.

Introducing the PLU Campus Status Dial – August 28

TO: PLU Community
FROM: Office of the President

PLU will begin the 2020–21 school year with a staged approach to reopening. We’ve created a visual representation—a status dial—to ensure that our community members can quickly and easily see which stage we’re currently in, from fully remote learning and working to full capacity with in-person operations. As public-health conditions continue to evolve over the next several months, the PLU dial will be a regular part of our guidance for learning, living, and working on campus.

The dial reflects the consideration of data gleaned from campus, county, and state health reporting that, in combination with directives from public-health officials, will inform our decision-making related to campus operations. The dial will be updated weekly on Wednesdays by 12 p.m. with any new information (including indications that the status remains unchanged); should public-health circumstances warrant an immediate shift, we will utilize the campus text alert system to notify PLU community members of the change. 

PLU is currently in Stage 2Most of the data supporting our decision process would indicate that we should introduce the dial in Stage 3. However, while regional COVID-19 infection and healthcare capacity data is clearly trending in the right direction, we made a purposeful decision to begin in Stage 2—allowing us to intentionally consider PLU-specific factors as we all transition back to campus and to then act on more complete campus data. It is worth noting that early results on campus are also positive. PLU has tested more than 200 students, and has experienced no positive COVID-19 cases to date. As we continue to test larger numbers of our community over the coming days, we will consider whether the status should change. Click on here to learn more about the dial and the six stages.

What’s it going to take to get to Stage 3? It’s going to take you, it’s going to take me, it’s going to take all of us together, doing the right things. We need all members of the PLU community to join us in the effort to protect each other from COVID-19. 

  • Wear a face mask.
  • Stay at least six feet apart from others.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Complete the daily Wellness Check-In.
  • Be kind-hearted to each other.

Let’s turn up the dial, Lutes!

Allan
President

Six mid-August details you need to know for fall – August 21

TO: All students and families
FROM: Office of the President

1. Campus Status Dial

Pacific Lutheran University will begin the 2020-21 school year with a staged approach to reopening. We’ve created a visual representation—a dial—to ensure that our community members can quickly and easily see which stage we’re currently in, from fully remote learning and working to full capacity with in-person operations. As public-health conditions continue to evolve over the next several months, the PLU dial will be a regular part of our guidance for learning, living, and working on campus.

The dial reflects the consideration of data gleaned from campus, county, and state health reporting that, in combination with directives from public-health officials, will inform our decision-making related to campus operations. The dial and these reporting metrics are being reviewed by the Tacoma–Pierce County Health Department. After this important consultation is complete, we’ll share the dial with the campus community.

2. Pre-arrival Wellness Check-In

All students should complete the daily Pre-Arrival Wellness Check-In, beginning at least 14 days before arriving on campus. All students are strongly encouraged to follow public-health guidance, limit their activities, and stay close to home for the 14 days prior to joining campus life.

During the academic year, all Lutes will be expected to attest to their health via the Wellness Check-In every day that they visit campus or participate in a PLU-related activity. One exception: students who have opted for 100% remote learning through the fall semester and will not be coming to campus for any reason are excused from completing the Wellness Check-In.

3. Upon arrival: Quarantine, test, quarantine (QTQ)

Testing PLU community members at different points throughout the fall is an important component of our planned mitigation measures. Click on the link below for a list of student groups that have been identified for initial testing. Do you need to quarantine or be tested before arriving on campus? Find out now! If you are a residential student, your test date will correspond with your move-in date and related quarantine period. Test dates and locations for the fall semester will be published and updated on the COVID-19 website.

Thank you to the students who have properly quarantined and diligently followed public-health guidelines so far. We appreciate your leadership and your demonstrated care for our community.

4. Course schedule changes

Start and end times for classes have been adjusted slightly to accommodate a 30-minute break between classes instead of our usual ten minutes. This increase is intended  to provide remote learners with opportunities to take a break from their screens, and in-person learners with ample time to disinfect their individual workspaces and shared equipment. The interactive schedule has been updated to reflect these adjustments. Be sure to check the schedule and update your personal calendar accordingly!

If you haven’t already asked for accommodations to learn remotely, it’s not too late! Send an email with your request to our Office of Accessibility and Accommodations at OAA@plu.edu.

5. Return-to-campus guides

Both the Return to Learning on Campus guide and the Return to Work guide have been updated with recent changes in federal, state, and local guidelines and responses to questions we have received regarding life on campus. Significant changes to the guides include:

  • Acceptable and unacceptable types of face masks, distinguished based on recent research
  • A recommendation to get your flu shot
  • Expansion of the Visitors on Campus section, including categories of visitors allowed on campus and links to required forms

6. PLU Athletics and NWC update on fall sports

This week, the Northwest Conference (NWC) Presidents’ Council made the difficult decision to suspend all conference competition and championships until January 1st, 2021. We applaud the leaders of the NWC for putting the health and well-being of our student-athletes first, and thank our student-athletes and coaches for their understanding and resilience. Fall practices and other athletics-related activities for all sports are permitted in accordance with NCAA Division III rules, as well as with institutional and state and local health directives. We’ll be ready to cheer you on in the spring. Go Lutes!

Wellness requirements for all Lutes — August 10

To: All students and families
From: Student Life

Dear Lutes and families,

The daily Wellness Check-in is now live! Please familiarize yourself with this simple process so you’ll be ready when it’s time.

CHECK IT OUT

Pre-arrival Wellness Check-in
All students should complete the daily pre-arrival Wellness Check-in beginning at least 14 days before arriving on campus. All students are strongly encouraged to follow public-health guidance, limit activities, and stay close to home for the 14 days prior to joining campus life.

During the academic year
All Lutes will be expected to attest to their health via the Wellness Check-in every day that they visit campus or participate in a PLU-related activity this semester, whether they participate in person or remotely.

One exception: students who have opted for 100% remote learning through the fall semester and will not be coming to campus for any reason are excused from Wellness Check-in.

Why a Wellness Check-in?
When all members of our community complete the Wellness Check-in regularly and accurately, community members can have greater assurance about the health of everyone with whom they will come into contact, and individuals who are experiencing symptoms can get the care that they need.

UPON ARRIVAL: Quarantine, test, quarantine (QTQ)
Testing PLU community members at different points throughout the fall is an important component of our mitigation measures. Click on the link below for a list of student groups that have been identified for initial testing.

Do you need to quarantine or be tested before arriving on campus?

FIND OUT NOW

In community,

Joanna Royce-Davis,  PhD
Vice President for Student Life
Pronouns: she/her/hers

Elizabeth Hopper, MN, ARNP
Director, Health Center
Pronouns: she/her/hers

J-Term 2021 Study Away Program Postponement - August 4

To: J-Term 2021 Study Away Program students
From: The Wang Center for Global Education

Dear J-Term 2021 Study Away Program participants,

On behalf of the Wang Center for Global Education, I write to inform you that, due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19 locally and globally, we have made the difficult decision to postpone January Term 2021 study away programs to Summer 2021 Term I or II.

In partnership with university officials, the Wang Center has been monitoring developments of the COVID 19 global pandemic with special attention to notifications and updates from standard points of reference (US State Department, CDC, WHO, among others) as well as on the ground sources including US Embassy and public health notifications in locations where you had planned to study and acknowledges the current ban on US travelers to many parts of the world.

Based on the information we have gathered and the ongoing concerns that unpredictable surges of COVID 19 would compromise student safety and wellbeing, J-Term 2021 programs have been rescheduled and we are hopeful that conditions will improve by June/July 2021.

In order to support you through this change in plans and to aid you in navigating next steps, we have prepared answers to what we anticipate will be your most frequently asked questions.

MORE  INFORMATION

PLU School of Arts and Communication Updates – August 4

To: PLU SOAC Community
From: The School of the Arts + Communication

Dear PLU School of Arts and Communication Community:

In coordination with PLU’s Return to Campus announcement sent on Monday, August 3rd, the following are additional details regarding our School of Arts and Communication (SOAC) programs for the Fall 2020 semester.

Over the past many months, we have been following national and international discipline specific research and guidelines regarding the COVID-19 virus and its potential impact on our programs. We understand the increased risk of COVID-19 infection from droplets and aerosols generated in rehearsals and performances in the performing arts, as well as the close-contact required in studio-based instruction in the visual arts. There are numerous studies that are continuing to move forward, funded by an unprecedented international coalition of arts organizations, to better understand how to mitigate the risk so that we can safely return to practicing, performing, and creating art. While the research is not yet complete, all options that we considered have the safety of our students and faculty as the primary focus.

In the School of Arts and Communication, a select number of blended courses have been prioritized for phasing in elements of in-person instruction, pending public health conditions and faculty discretion. These include: a number of Studio Art courses in Art & Design (Ceramics, 3D Design, Graphic Design, and Photography); Applied Context/Lab courses in Communication (Media Lab and Student Media); Ensembles, String Lab, and some Applied Private Lessons in Music; and Acting courses in Theatre & Dance.

All of our artistic offerings will continue. To ensure safety for all students, faculty, and staff, many of these will be offered in an online mode. All Fall 2020 courses will be offered either as BL (Blended) or ON (Online). At this time, online (ON) courses are not planned to have any on-campus or in-person elements. Should public health conditions change, and pending individual faculty discretion, there may be the potential to phase in limited in-person components at a later date. However any added in-person components will not be required of students.

In Art & Design, studio art courses not listed above, as well as art history courses, will be offered online.

In Communication, most courses that are not Applied Context/Lab-based, will be offered fully online.

In Music, most of our large music ensembles will be divided into smaller chamber ensembles for the Fall semester and will proceed with a mixture of online, blended, and in-person rehearsals (with appropriate distancing both inside and/or outside). Many applied lessons (voice, woodwind, and brass instruments) will need to be offered remotely, with regular opportunities for in-person group masterclasses; applied lessons in other areas will be offered in a mixture of online, blended, and in-person modalities. Most music academic courses will be offered online. Details regarding ensemble auditions will be announced directly from the Department of Music.

In Theatre and Dance, most non-acting courses will be taught online. All dance courses will be offered fully on-line. Theatre and Dance students will gain experience with recorded performances, acting and designing for the camera, and other skills to prepare them not only for opportunities on stage but also in film, television, and new media. Details regarding auditions for Fall semester shows will be announced directly from the Department of Theatre & Dance.

Due to safety and care for our community at-large, all School of Arts and Communication performances this Fall 2020 semester will be presented without live audiences. In Music, most performances will be pre-recorded and streamed live via SOAC’s YouTube channel. Theatre & Dance has received special permission from publishers to live-stream productions in the Fall. Art Gallery exhibits will be virtual, as similar to the Senior Capstone Show from this past Spring semester. A schedule of all of our broadcast performances and exhibits will be published on our calendar page and updated by the beginning of the Fall semester.

Our goal throughout our planning has been to ensure safety for all, while continuing to provide our excellent artistic programs. We remain committed to providing meaningful and engaging experiences for all of our students. Our faculty continue to be hard at work in their planning, and soon we will have some exciting announcements regarding additional artistic elements being added to our programs during this Fall 2020 semester. In regard to scholarships, should any requirements for maintaining artistic achievement awards in any discipline be modified, you can be assured that the retention of awards will not be impacted in any way.

Sincerely,

Cameron Bennett, Dean
School of Arts and Communication

Read message on the SOAC webpage

Return to Campus for Fall 2020 – August 3

To: Students and Families
From: Office of the President

Dear Lutes and families,

As we’ve spent this summer planning for a wide range of scenarios, the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff have been front of mind. This complicated moment poses different challenges to different institutions, taking countless variables into account. Some universities have announced plans to be fully remote; many more have announced plans to maintain fully in-person or blended education. Every university and every situation is different — sometimes even within a shared community.

The message from our students has been clear: you want to return to campus this fall while remaining safe and healthy. Most of you would appreciate the option for blended learning, combining online and in-person classroom, lab, and studio experiences. To date, about 3% of students have requested that they be allowed to learn entirely remotely, and we are glad to accommodate those requests. Taken together, all of you want an education that aligns with your individual circumstances. There’s no better place to make that happen than PLU.

Below, you’ll find a summary of our plan for a thoughtful return to campus, with flexible options for everyone. This plan prioritizes safety, makes every effort to mitigate risk, and provides us an opportunity to be together as a campus community in meaningful ways this fall.

We are acutely aware of the increase in infection rates in Pierce County over the past month. The state and county are reinforcing preventive measures and re-implementing several restrictions to reverse these trends. We have partnered with the Tacoma–Pierce County Health Department from the very beginning of this pandemic and have worked with them to design our mitigation strategies and testing process, and they have supported our plans to return to campus.

In our email on July 24th we shared that providing in-person learning this fall depended on securing rapid testing for students coming to campus. With the assistance of key partnerships, we have been able to secure rapid testing for PLU (plans for which are detailed below). With this testing in place and full participation from you and other members of the PLU community in all public-health directives and mitigation measures, we are ready to return to campus.

As you review the following information, please consider your needs as a learner and student, and determine which combination of options will be best for you. Please also know that once the semester has begun, if we believe that our campus community’s safety has been compromised, we will act swiftly to alter our plans to ensure your well-being.
We know this won’t be the semester you imagined or hoped for. Just as we have experienced changes in our daily lives during this pandemic, there are hallmark elements of a vibrant semester at PLU that we just won’t be able to offer safely. That’s why, later in this email, we’ll share more about our plan to offer a PLUS year — one additional year tuition-free to all undergraduate students enrolled full-time, and free continuing education opportunities for graduate students, to be taken after their currently scheduled degree completion.
This semester is going to be different. It’s going to be challenging — there’s just no way around that. We will all be managing the stress and anxiety that accompanies rapid change and highly unusual circumstances. But our staff, faculty, and alumni stand ready to support you through it all. We’re going to be there for you, both on campus and off.

Return to Campus

Beginning the semester
We’re excited to welcome you to the first day of class on Tuesday, September 8th.

Our plan to safely welcome students back to campus on time requires that we begin the semester with a one-week period of remote learning for all classes, regardless of whether those courses will ultimately be blended or fully online. Doing so allows for adequate testing and quarantine periods for our campus community, and it reflects the current health conditions and guidance in Pierce County. Because we’ll be learning remotely that first week, faculty will be in touch with you by September 4th to let you know where and how to “show up” for their classes.

In week two, we will begin to move to in-person learning for blended courses as long as doing so is supported by conditions and health authorities. Your faculty care about your health and your education, and we’ve asked them to determine a timeline for introducing in-person instruction that supports their course content and lesson plans—for example, it may make more sense to complete a unit first. Faculty will give students a minimum of one week’s notice before the addition of any in-person learning elements.

Flexible learning environment
Our phasing-in to campus learning will also be shaped by the nature of the courses. A select number of classes have been identified as priorities for in-person learning because their learning outcomes can most readily be achieved face-to-face. Those courses — which include some labs, clinical and performance-based experiences, and formative community-building classes for first-year students — will phase back in first.

More in-person elements of blended classes may be added as public-health guidance indicates it is appropriate to increase population density on campus. Additional in-person elements will be implemented by individual faculty in the manner that best suits their courses and learning objectives.

Plans and potential pivots
It’s important to underscore that our return to the classroom may not follow a straightforward path. While our campus experienced a pivot in one direction last March — going from fully in-person to fully remote learning — the potential pivots in Fall 2020 may happen in different ways and at different times.

In addition to starting the term remotely, we will also be ending the term remotely. Your courses will continue after Thanksgiving break, though in-person instruction will conclude when the university closes for Thanksgiving break. The two weeks of instruction following Thanksgiving, and finals week, will be remote. During this time, the campus will remain open and housing and dining options will remain available. (See below for more specifics about campus housing and dining.)

Other scenarios, such as presumed positive cases among students, faculty, and their respective households, hold the potential to be more unpredictable and disruptive. If you or a member of one of your in-person courses tests positive for COVID-19, or if a member of your household does, you can expect a required quarantine of up to 14 days.

My community, my responsibility
Fellow Lutes, these possibilities underscore again that the key to being able to complete any in-person learning ultimately hinges on personal responsibility and individual decision-making: wearing face coverings, washing hands, and avoiding large groups are essential. Our ability to rejoin in-person learning is contingent upon all of our behavior.

We are PLU together
One of the beautiful things about the PLU community is the commitment to connection and care lived by your faculty and staff across our campus. The student body and 40,000-strong alumni network reflect and enhance this sense of community. We don’t know how the pandemic will proceed this fall or how often in-person learning may be disrupted. With these uncertainties in mind (and not even considering individual student’s course schedules), we want to name upfront the possibility that most or even all of your learning could be remote this fall. But no matter what happens, you won’t be alone.

As we work for the collective care and well-being of our Lute community and neighbors, we know this: whether we’re learning on campus or remotely, masked up, physically distant, or whatever else we may need to be to face this challenge, we are PLU together.

Transparency and care
We are laying this out as transparently as possible because we know from many of you that you are balancing the competing desires of wanting to return to in-person campus experiences while simultaneously safeguarding your own health and safety and that of your loved ones.

We also know that your decisions about on-campus or near-campus living are dependent on these variables. We hope that by laying out our plans, including our commitment to follow public-health guidance and the invitation to learn remotely for the term (see “Getting connected with remote learning” below), we will give you the confidence you need to make whatever decisions that are best for you.

Comprehensive Plan for COVID-19 Testing

Testing options for campus
Guided by public-health guidelines, it is essential that we have the ability to conduct rapid results testing to begin in-person learning. We have secured three primary avenues for testing on campus, and we’re working to open up even more options for students, faculty, and staff.

#1: In partnership with the Tacoma–Pierce County Health Department and the county Emergency Management team, we will be testing all residential students in the first week of classes, and we’ll have options for commuter students.

#2: The county will assist us in hosting frequent batch ‘surveillance’ testing across campus. Throughout the semester, we’ll have regularly scheduled batch testing for large groups of students, faculty and staff. We’ll also conduct batch testing for smaller sub-populations of our campus community such as Athletics.

#3: PLU’s Health Center has obtained a rapid-testing device that will produce results in 15 minutes, along with a ready supply of testing kits. The center will prioritize students who feel sick, as well as the close contacts of positive cases.

We will be publishing a COVID-19 testing guide and calendar in the coming days.

PLU also offers non-rapid—longer than 48-hour turnaround—testing through our Health Center in partnership with a local lab, which provides a backstop to those students for whom rapid testing is not indicated. In addition to these established testing capabilities, PLU continues to pursue additional testing options in order to provide expanded and back-up capabilities for students, faculty, and staff. Details of additional testing capabilities will be published when available.

Travel-related self-quarantine guidance
Because we now have access to robust testing for students on campus, we are modifying our self-quarantine requirement of two weeks prior to leaving for campus, and are no longer asking students to arrive early on campus based on their mode of travel or place of departure. Our hope is that you’ll make the safety-conscious decision to stay as close to home as possible within those 14 days, and plan your farewells with friends to occur prior to that period. All students are still expected to complete the daily pre-arrival Wellness Check-In, beginning 14 days prior to coming to campus.

Rooms at the ready
If needed, PLU will have a residence hall wing set up with a care team responsible for the comprehensive coordination of care and support for any student, residential or commuter, who needs to be placed in quarantine or isolation while attending PLU. In case more rooms are needed, PLU is partnering with the Pierce County COVID-19 Temporary Care Center to house any additional medically stable students requiring isolation. Any such student will be transported, have their basic needs met, and be medically supervised, at no cost to them or their family.

The Classroom Experience

The classroom will look very different in Fall 2020!

The physically-distanced classroom
Consistent with health guidelines for Washington State and Pierce County, students and faculty must wear face coverings at all times and remain six-feet apart, even for discussions. In addition to regularly scheduled cleaning, cleaning kits will be present in every classroom. Students will be expected to sanitize their desks and other shared equipment before and after use. To accommodate extra cleaning and reduce crowding in hallways, passing periods between classes will be longer.

For students whose experience will include in-person learning, please know that in addition to modifying our room capacities to accommodate physical distancing requirements, we have taken the extra precaution of assessing each learning space for air exchange. Classrooms that don’t permit safe distancing or airflow will be offline for the term.

A blended education that prepares you for the future
The classroom will also look different than in years past because, as we’ve shared in an earlier communication, we are adopting a blended learning format for Fall 2020. Blended classes combine the best parts of in-person and online instruction. In some blended classes, the online portions will comprise lectures, with discussion saved for in-person meetings; in others you’ll find the opposite, with discussions online and lectures in person. Some blended courses will have in-person components on a regular schedule (such as meetings once per week). Other courses’ in-person components will be less frequent (perhaps meeting just a couple of times a semester).

Faculty truly care about PLU students, and they are working to design impactful learning for this semester. Thus, each class’s composition and schedule will vary based on how the faculty member can best achieve the course’s learning objectives. They’ll provide you with concrete directions, so you’ll always know what the game plan and expectations are for each course.

Getting connected with remote learning
For many students, the “classroom” may be virtual for the entire term — because you’ve opted for remote learning in what is otherwise a blended class, because community health conditions warrant it, or because the university has shifted a course modality to minimize population density on campus or honor a faculty member’s personal circumstances. (If you haven’t already asked for accommodations to learn remotely, it’s not too late! Send an email to our Office of Accessibility and Accommodations at OAA@plu.edu with your request.)

Most of these shifts from in-person to blended or online happened after our registration period; to check the instructional method of your courses, click here for a priority list for in-person classes. As soon as permissible, those courses — which include some labs, clinical and performance-based experiences, and formative community-building classes for first-year students — will phase back in first.

Our online interactive schedule will reflect these and any future changes beginning August 7th.

And of course, for PLU students, the classroom experience extends to office hours, the vast majority of which will be held virtually this semester. Your faculty want to support you and connect with you – it just may need to be via a digital meeting where you talk about a question or assignment. Still personal, still connected, and still caring — just not necessarily in the same room.

Deep connections with faculty
Our faculty are ready to teach you — and teach you well — regardless of how the class is delivered. Since 2014, our faculty have trained through our intensive PLU Teaching Online (PLUTO) Institute and blended-learning programs.

We know that even with our engaging and dynamic virtual experiences that there are elements of the in-person academic experience you’ll deeply miss. That’s why we are creating the option for a PLUS Year (which you’ll read more about below) and we’re introducing two new experiences to help you forge deeper connections with our outstanding faculty.

First, every student will be assigned a faculty mentor for the 2020-21 academic year. We know student-faculty mentorship is one of the reasons you chose a small school like PLU, and it’s one of the things we do best. You’ll learn more about that in September.

Second, throughout the fall term, a Salon Series sponsored by PLU’s Wild Hope Center for Vocation will feature faculty from various departments sharing highlights of their research, stories of their vocational journeys, and reflections on the kinds of questions that keep them up at night. For those of you choosing to remain at home for the term, the Salon Series will not only keep you connected, it’ll also give you a chance to share what you love about PLU with your household members.

Residential Living

The residence halls will also look very different in Fall 2020!

The physically-distanced residence hall
As we welcome Lutes home, there are measures that need to be in place to care for you and the wellbeing of other members of our community. Consistent with the public-health guidance in Washington State, you will be required to wear face coverings when outside of your room or apartment (even when using the shared wing bathroom), participate in daily digital wellness checks, limit your contact with others, restrict visitors, participate in COVID-19 testing on a regular basis, and quarantine or isolate as directed when exposures or confirmed cases have occurred. Visit the Residential Life Approach to COVID-19 webpage for a broader accounting of expectations and limitations.

Changes to housing assignments
Because the reality of infection rates in Pierce County is different from what we anticipated it would be when some of you originally requested on-campus housing, we are revising our approach to fall housing assignments. We are in a position where we must decrease housing density in order to care for students who are required to quarantine or isolate, and in order to optimize our ability to manage any possible outbreaks of COVID-19 on campus. To do so, we must reduce the number of students who live on campus this fall. This is one of multiple interacting mitigation measures that must be in place to decrease the chance of infections on campus.

Our best case scenario for reducing housing density is for every student residing on campus to be assigned a single room, limiting close contact in common living spaces and shared bathrooms. This means that we will have significantly less capacity for on-campus residents during the fall term. We’re asking you to help in achieving this goal by reconsidering your plan to live on campus during the fall and, if your circumstances allow, choosing to live off-campus or at home. We recognize that not all PLU students will have a viable alternative residence in which to live and learn, and are asking that those who are able provide space for those with this need. To further assist students in seeking suitable alternative living accommodations, the University Residency Requirement has been suspended for the 2020-21 academic year.

A change in your decision about fall housing does not impact your ability to live on campus during J-Term and spring, should public-health conditions permit, nor will it incur any cancellation penalty. All students who have applied for residential housing this fall must complete this survey no later than 11:59 pm on Wednesday, August 5th, 2020, to update us on your housing plans and requests, and to indicate your ability to assist us in achieving this goal. If we have requests for on-campus housing that exceed availability, assignments may be prioritized by residence life staff, and will include consideration of student and family needs. Students requesting housing will be notified by close of business on Monday, August 10th, 2020, whether their request has been approved. If approved, notice of residence hall assignment will be communicated at the same time.

Billing
Since we’re asking students and families to reconsider their housing plans, we have shifted our billing dates accordingly; you can now expect to receive your bills for fall semester by Saturday, August 15th with a new due date of Monday, August 31st.

Post-Thanksgiving housing
By decreasing our density, following public-health guidelines, and all doing our part to keep our community safe, we anticipate being able to offer housing and dining through the scheduled end of the semester, even as the university shifts to fully remote instruction after the Thanksgiving break.

Residential students choosing to depart campus at Thanksgiving for the remainder of the semester will receive a prorated refund. Those remaining on campus during and after Thanksgiving break will have continued access to campus facilities and activities, including — but not limited to — campus restaurants, some campus recreation and the library. Residents planning to return to on-campus living for J-Term and/or spring will be permitted to leave their belongings in their room. Should the university shift to fully remote instruction at any time during the semester as the result of an outbreak on campus and/or changed public-health requirements, on-campus residence may be further restricted.

Community connections
We recognize that for many of you, your residential experience is important to how you may experience belonging at PLU. We know that a sense of community does not require physical presence, and that structured learning communities, pop-up virtual gathering spaces, and purposeful opportunities for virtual gatherings with staff, faculty, and peers can contribute meaningfully to that sense. You can expect to see expanded opportunities for connection in the fall, and you will be able to easily find a dynamic schedule of options using our new app in Guidebook.

The PLUS Year

Thoughtful care as an essential aspect of our mission is a point of pride at PLU. That’s why we are pleased to announce that PLU will offer undergraduate students a “PLUS Year” — an additional year at PLU, tuition-free.

In simple terms, all undergraduate students enrolled full-time this academic year, and who remain continuously enrolled — regardless of class standing — will be eligible for two tuition-free semesters immediately following their anticipated degree completion date. Graduate students enrolled full-time at PLU this fall will be eligible for continuing education credits upon completion of their graduate degree program.

We understand the importance to our students of the countless activities, productions, competitions, and other community events that are temporarily on hiatus. It’s our hope that this free additional year will ensure that all of our students will get every opportunity to experience our university at its fullest and most vibrant, while maintaining the momentum of their education in the year ahead.

We expect students to take advantage of their PLUS Year in a lot of different ways. For some, it will mean an extra semester on the field or the stage. Others will take advantage of the opportunity to study away prior to their PLUS Year, engage in additional research with a favorite faculty member, use the extra time to complete your intended degree, or delay graduation in order to seek an additional minor or major. We also hope that the PLUS Year will give students the flexibility to take a lighter course load during the pandemic, and give special focus to the health and well-being of themselves and those around them.

The PLUS Year is deeply consistent with the core elements of Lutheran higher education, in that it offers students additional time to learn in community while building skills in thoughtful inquiry and leadership, in order to serve and care for the common good.

Look for further details on this program in the very near future.

———————————————–

All of this is a lot to process, and we thank you for taking it all in. We understand that PLU’s students, families, faculty, staff, and community members are in many different places and have many different needs, sensitivities, and desires regarding this pandemic. But we hope that given the flexibility of our campus plans, and the ability to choose the teaching and learning environment that meets your needs, you find comfort. We are confident that with the comprehensiveness of our health and safety measures, focused squarely on mitigating risk to our community to the best of our ability, you may also find strength.

With great personal regards,
Allan

Safe Plans for Campus & Travel Related Guidance – July 24

Dear students,

With the start of the term less than two months away, we find the pandemic moving in the wrong direction. If you’re like us, you are worried about the record numbers of new cases across the country, including here in Pierce County. We’re planning for all that will be required for us to safely participate in PLU’s learning community and to keep one another healthy and well.

We sent out another email earlier today about additional fall preparations, but we wanted to share our expectations specifically for travel-related quarantine and testing guidance. In this message, we’ll outline our expectations for students joining our community, including residential and commuter students, returning continuing students, and first-year students joining us for the first time.

Our return plan includes two stages: the pre-arrival period leading up to your return to campus, and the immediate post-return period. We’ll outline expectations for these two periods here, as well as our expectations for travel to campus.

Thank you for showing up for this challenge in the way that Lutes do, by committing to following through on each of these expectations. The health and well-being of every member of our community depends on it.

In community,

Joanna Royce-Davis
Vice President for Student Life

Elizabeth Hopper
Director, Health Services

July update on Fall 2020 planning – July 24

TO: All students and families
FROM: President’s Office

Dear students and families,

If you’ve been tracking the cases here in Pierce County, you know that our local community, like our country, is still struggling to curb the spread of the coronavirus. You are also seeing some colleges and school districts make public their decisions to shift to remote-learning. While we plan for return to campus in September, we are acutely aware that continuing growth in infection rates or directives from health authorities may require that we adjust our plans for a full return to campus.

Last month, Governor Inslee outlined the steps that would be necessary for higher education to resume in-person instruction beginning August 1. In that guidance, he acknowledged that campuses vary in their ability to respond to the virus and that the decisions that make sense for one campus may not make sense for others.

At PLU, we have worked through most of the challenges the virus presents, from modifying our physical density through classroom schedule alterations and housing policies to analyzing air exchange and circulation rates in all buildings and adjusting our cleaning protocols. The one piece that remains for us to solve is COVID-19 testing, an issue that’s emerged as a challenge in just the past few weeks.

While we have testing capacity through our Health Center, we need to be able to secure sufficient rapid result testing in order to begin in-person learning. If we are unable to do so in the coming weeks, we will announce our alternative return to campus plan no later than August 5. Guided by public-health best-practice guidelines and our commitment to reducing person-to-person contact, the alternative return to campus plan would provide the flexibility necessary for every member of our community to remain engaged and connected.

Here at PLU, staff, faculty members and student leaders have been leveraging their wisdom, talents, and strengths to help ensure that this fall we will provide excellent instruction while keeping our community safe. Thank you to our PLU community members who are dedicating their summer to this vital work.

With just under seven weeks until the first day of fall classes, there is still much planning to be done. We also know that in the next seven weeks the challenges we face will evolve. Please be assured that—no matter the circumstance, no matter the challenges—student and community well-being is our priority, and we will continue to provide you with updates.

We plan to share additional information on current travel-related quarantine and related guidance later today. We will also be sending and requesting information on housing for residential students next week. As always, please check with our Coronavirus Update page for news and details on our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are navigating this period of time together and your questions help us focus our energy on the things that matter most to you right now.

As you and I change our collective behaviors by wearing face coverings, washing our hands way more than ever, and maintaining social distancing, we are doing our part to protect ourselves and our community. We are taking these health and safety precautions because we are connected to other Lutes and to their neighbors and loved ones. Self-care is community care, and both have never been more important.

Because the world needs more Lutes,

Allan Belton
President

———————————————-

Classroom and modality changes
As we’ve communicated in earlier messages, our mission calls us to care for one another just as we care for the larger community. In that spirit, students were provided with instructions for opting-in to remote learning last month (see our June 24th email, “Healthy Lutes—June update on Fall 2020 planning” from the Office of the President)—requests we are still happy to honor, despite the original deadline having passed. Similarly, we invited our faculty to teach remotely during Fall 2020 if that modality best aligns with their personal circumstances.

At the same time, our efforts to ensure that students’ classroom experiences include adequate physical distancing and appropriate air exchange resulted in shifting some originally scheduled classroom locations, as well as some course modalities.

What this means is that students who have already registered for classes may see some adjustments in a class location and/or teaching modality (for example, a formerly in-person class now being taught online). The online interactive schedule will be updated no later than mid-August; all students whose courses include modality changes will be contacted by the Center for Student Success in early August.

Travel-related quarantine and testing guidance
In a separate email later today, we will share our expectations specifically for travel-related quarantine and testing guidance for students joining (and re-joining!) our community. Our return plan includes two stages: the pre-arrival period leading up to your return to campus, and the immediate post-return period. In this email, we will outline expectations for these two periods, as well as recommendations for traveling to campus.

Convocation ceremony and the first day of classes
Each year, on the first day of classes, the Centennial bell is rung to announce the arrival of the new class to campus and the beginning of the Convocation ceremony to open the new academic year. Join us for a virtual community Convocation at 9 a.m. on September 8th. Classes will begin at 9:55 a.m. (There are no 8:00 a.m. classes on this day.)

Additional CARES Act funding for students
PLU still has a significant amount of funding from the CARES Act that has not yet been issued to students. Emergency grants from this pool of funds will be available to students in the fall semester. Students can find additional information on the Student Financial Services webpage and can expect to receive more information about how these funds will be distributed at the beginning of the school year.

Art & design, music, and theatre & dance updates
Plans for the fall semester have been in development for the past few months, with faculty and leaders from art & design, music, and theatre & dance working together. All options that we are considering have the safety of our students and faculty as the primary focus.

Considerations:

  • National and international discipline-specific research and guidelines regarding the COVID-19 virus and its potential impact on our programs, which the School of Arts and Communication is following.
  • Analysis of facilities for physical distancing and effective air circulation.
  • Increased risk of COVID-19 infection from droplets and aerosols generated in rehearsals and performances in the performing arts, as well as from the close contact required in studio-based instruction in the visual arts.

Our goal is to have definite discipline-specific plans announced in early August. Information on private music instruction, ensembles, audition information for music ensembles and theatre shows, and other requirements will be announced at that time. No matter the mode of instruction, the School of Arts and Communications remains committed to providing meaningful and engaging experiences for all of our students. Should any requirements for maintaining artistic-achievement awards in any discipline be modified, students can be assured that these decisions will not impact the retention of awards.

Athletics update
On Wednesday, the Northwest Conference Presidents’ Council announced the postponement of competition in the sports of football, soccer, rowing, and volleyball for Fall 2020. Cross country, golf, and tennis will be permitted to continue this fall in accordance with local, state, and federal health directives.

This decision, while surely difficult, is in the best interest of our student-athletes. We applaud the leaders of the Northwest Conference for putting their safety first, and we thank our student-athletes and coaches for their understanding and resilience. This fall, we’ll enjoy rooting for our cross-country, golf, and tennis teams, while looking forward to supporting our soccer, football, volleyball, and other affected teams this coming spring.

Sports practice and other athletics-related activities for all sports at member institutions’ campuses are permitted in accordance with NCAA Division III rules, as well as with institutional and state and local health directives.

LuteTelehealth
We once again highlight that telemedicine and remote-care services can be critical in the safe management of COVID-19. Accordingly, LuteTelehealth is here for students in the summer. LuteTelehealth provides 24/7 access for medical and mental-health support, via both on-demand and scheduled appointments.

PLU Athletics and NWC Update on Fall Sports — July 22

Dear Lutes and families,

The NWC, along with its member institutions, have been working diligently over the past several months to plan for the safe reopening of their campuses this fall while prioritizing the health and well-being of students, faculty, staff, and campus communities. With the start of the term less than two months away, we find COVID-19 infection rates and recovery from the pandemic moving in the wrong direction. With this information as the context for decision making about the fall sports season, the Northwest Conference has adjusted its plans for fall programs.

Today, the Northwest Conference Presidents’ Council announced the postponement of competition in the sports of football, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s rowing, and women’s volleyball for the fall of 2020, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Pacific Lutheran University, in conjunction with the NWC is working to develop a schedule for competition for these sports in the spring.

Men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, and men’s and women’s tennis will be permitted to continue this fall in accordance with local, state, and federal health directives.

The NWC and PLU will continue to monitor changing federal, state, and local public-health guidance and consult with our NWC health-advisory group, the NCAA, and public-health officials as we look to make a decision on the upcoming winter season and beyond. We will provide updates as they become available.

“This decision, while surely difficult, is in the best interest of our student-athletes,” said PLU President Allan Belton. “I applaud the leaders of the Northwest Conference for putting their safety first, and I thank our student-athletes and coaches for their understanding and resilience. This fall, we’ll enjoy rooting for our cross country, golf, and tennis teams while looking forward to supporting our soccer, football, volleyball, and other affected teams this coming spring.”

(Read the full news release at GoLutes.com.)

We have plans to send out additional communications on Friday and next week with other updated academic year preparations, including travel-related quarantine guidance, fall planning for music and arts, CARES Act funding resources for students, and more. Please continue to look for updates on the COVID-19 website and to share your questions with us. We are navigating this period of time together and your questions help us to focus our energy on the things that matter most to you right now.

In community,

Joanna Royce-Davis
Vice President for Student Life

Jen Thomas
Interim Director of Athletics and Recreation

Update on Rescheduled Commencement — July 17

To: Class of 2020 and graduating students
From: Office of the President

Dear graduates,

This spring, as the impacts of COVID-19 were just beginning to be understood, we announced that we would be unable to host our commencement event at the Tacoma Dome. After hearing from many of you about your desire to celebrate together in person, we also shared our plan to hold commencement on campus during Labor Day weekend, pending public-health directives. Lutes, we are disappointed and sad to announce that the status of the pandemic and current public health directives preclude us from hosting the Labor Day weekend event as planned.

Please know we have explored every possible way—including in coordination with the Tacoma–Pierce County Health Department—to follow through with the September 5th event. Unfortunately, the size of the graduating class far exceeds what Pierce County permits for in-person gatherings at this time—even if we were to exclude the guests, faculty members, and others who make such a ceremony meaningful.

When surveyed for preferences, the Class of 2020 overwhelmingly indicated a desire for an in-person commencement ceremony. This is why we indicated in our original message that, should we be prevented from celebrating together on September 5th, our back-up plan would be to celebrate the Class of 2020 along with the Class of 2021 next spring. We remain committed to following through with that plan. Please mark your calendars now for Saturday, May 29th, 2021. Details will follow in the new year.

We know this decision may not come as a surprise to those who have been following the global progression of the virus, our understanding of how it is transmitted, and the related local/state restrictions on gatherings, and we recognize that this will feel like another loss for you. We are so, so sorry.

While nothing can truly demonstrate how deeply the people at this university care for you, we hope that the personal phone call from PLU faculty or staff members, the virtual LuteBox sent to each graduate, and the tribute videos from faculty and fellow graduates demonstrated that to you. Expect a physical package with your diploma cover and PLU swag to arrive at your address at the beginning of September. (Please make sure your mailing address is accurate by filling out the New Alumni Survey.)

And although we have not yet formally celebrated you, we hope you know that you are now a PLU alum! As an alumnus, you join a family 40,000 strong—all Lutes who are out in the world living their unique lives of thoughtful inquiry, service, leadership, and care.

More practically, as an alum of PLU you have access to career resources for life. These include:

  • Virtual career-advising appointments, cover letter and résumé reviews, mock interviews, job-search tools, advice and much more. You can find more information about these services on the Alumni & Student Connections page, here.
  • A group of PLU alumni are calling every new graduate this summer to welcome you to the alumni family, help you with your post-PLU plans, and offer their support and encouragement on your new adventures.
  • To further benefit from our alumni network, make sure you sign up for LuteLink, where you can connect with PLU alumni who are eager to meet you and provide specialized career insights, résumé feedback, interview tips, and more. Creating an account is easy and only takes a moment!

We are grieving the loss of the community rituals that these decisions represent, but we are committed to celebrating the achievements of the Class of 2020.

We continue to be so proud of you, Lutes!

Allan Belton
President

Joanna Gregson
Provost

Dan Lee
Vice President for University Relations

Joanna Royce-Davis
Vice President for Student Life

Summary for first COVID-19 case on campus – July 7

Posted on the Coronavirus Update site on July 7, 2020.

Dear PLU Community,

We are writing today to share that late last week, we learned that one of our residential students had developed mild COVID-19 symptoms and subsequently tested positive for the virus. The student took the initiative to self-isolate after they were tested, and had very limited contact with others in their residence hall or on campus; and has not been enrolled in summer courses. Within 24 hours of receiving their positive test result, the student moved off-campus for isolation and recovery. They are currently doing well, and already appear to be recovering from mild symptoms.

We are required to honor the Washington State law that protects this individual’s confidential information and privacy, and as a result we will not release their name. We wish our Lute family member a speedy and uncomplicated recovery.

The Tacoma–Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) was informed immediately, and managed contact tracing and notification of close contacts of the student. A friend of the student also proactively went to get tested, and is currently self-quarantining and awaiting their test results. Other residents and staff in the student’s wing and in the building were notified to continue to take precautions, and told that if they did not hear from public health that they were not considered to be at risk, but should still practice preventative measures, and self-monitor for symptoms. Students were also informed that if they chose to be tested prior to any further communication, they could access testing services over the holiday weekend at the Walgreens on Pearl Street, the Community Health Clinic on Pacific, or the MultiCare Clinic.

As we proceed through the summer and into the fall, the best way for us to keep our PLU community healthy is to fully participate in preventative practices together. These practices include wearing face coverings indoors (and outdoors when physical distancing isn’t possible), physical distancing, frequent hand washing, disinfecting of surfaces, and self-quarantining in case of exposure. Self-monitoring for symptoms, participating in daily attestations, and communicating concerns about symptoms are also important precautions. Should any concerns or questions arise, students should call the Health Center during our summer open hours (T—Th, 9—4), utilize LuteTeleHealth when away from campus or when the Health Center is closed, and, in case of testing positive for COVID-19 after hours, contact Campus Safety for support. (In that case, Campus Safety will notify one of the Health Center providers, who will get in touch with you.) Employees should communicate with their healthcare providers for guidance, and notify PLU Human Resources about suspected or positive cases. The Washington Department of Health also ha detailed information about what to do if you suspect or have confirmed that you have COVID-19,might have been exposed, or are showing symptoms of the virus but haven’t been around a positive case.

The PLU Health Center’s well-established partnership with TPCHD has been strengthened over the past several months. They were invaluable in assisting with the management of this case through immediate contact tracing, with arranging transportation, medical evaluation, and safe self-isolation housing off-campus for our student, and have their assurance that they will continue to assist us in any way they can. The PLU COVID-19 webpage will also be kept updated with counts of all new confirmed cases at PLU, as well as general information about cases, for community members who are interested.

Everyone is eager to return to campus, to meet old friends and make new ones, to learn what a COVID-19 college experience will feel like, all the while continuing the public health precautions we have been learning to live with over the past several months. The coronavirus is unpredictable, stealthy and serious. This means that we need to be conscientious about staying as healthy as possible, keeping up consideration for the health and safety of one another – especially those more vulnerable to COVID-19 – and developing the daily practice of care that’s inherent in the PLU mission.

We are all responsible for maintaining our personal health, keeping up consideration for the health and safety of one another—especially those more vulnerable to COVID-19—and developing the daily practice of care that’s inherent in the PLU mission.

Stay informed, and stay safe!

In community,

Joanna Royce-Davis
Vice President for Student Life

Elizabeth Hopper
Director of Health Services

Important announcement for Kreidler Hall summer residents – July 3

To: Kreidler Hall summer residents
From: Office of Student Life

Dear Kreidler Hall students,

We have received notification that a resident from the first floor on the east wing of Kriedler has tested positive for COVID-19. The resident who tested positive is currently feeling well and has moved to an off-campus location for the duration of their recovery.

We are required to honor the Washington State law that protects this individual’s confidential information and privacy, and as a result we will not release their name. We wish our Lute family member a speedy and uncomplicated recovery.

What happens now?

If you have been identified as a close contact of the resident, you will be notified by the Tacoma-Pierce County Public Health Department about initiating self-quarantine and other next steps by 8 p.m today, Friday, July 3rd.

If you are notified, please contact LuteTelehealth—PLU’s 24/7/365 medical and mental healthcare phone and video telehealth service—for ongoing support and coordination of care over the holiday weekend. You may also be advised to be tested, the timing of which would likely be contingent on when you may have been exposed.

Click here for local testing options that are available in Pierce County. If you are out of the county, consult LuteTelehealth for additional testing sites throughout the state and nation. PLU’s Health Services office is available for testing beginning on Tuesday, July 8th, at 9:00 a.m. Remember to call for an appointment. Walk-in appointments are not currently available.

Health and safety

Common areas in the affected wing, the first floor, and the laundry room are being deep cleaned, and signage will indicate when cleaning has been completed.

For all residents, please continue to take all precautions outlined in the Return to Learning on Campus Guide, including wearing face coverings, maintaining basic hygiene, physical distancing, and self-monitoring for symptoms.

For questions, please contact Elizabeth Hopper, Director of Health Services, at hopperea@plu.edu, or the Washington State Department of Health at (800) 525-0127. If you need someone to talk to now, please connect with LuteTelehealth for support.

In community,

Joanna Royce-Davis
Vice President for Student Life

Elizabeth Hopper
Director of Health Services

Shawn Thompson
Assistant Director of Emergency Programs

Healthy Lutes / June update on Fall 2020 planning – June 26

To: Students and Families
From: Office of the President

Opening message from Allan

This week, I had the honor of joining Washington Governor Jay Inslee and representing the Independent Colleges of Washington in announcing our state’s return to campus guidelines for the fall.

This plan will allow universities like PLU to safely return to in-person classroom instruction, lectures, and similar educational gatherings after August 1st, independent of the four-phase safe-return plan announced back in May. PLU has been intricately involved in developing this comprehensive plan that ensures the safety and security of students, faculty, and staff.

Today, I am happy to announce the major components of PLU’s plan to welcome you back. These are updates reflecting the planning being done all over campus by staff and faculty who are dedicating their summer to this vital work. We will continue to update you throughout the 10 weeks that remain before the start of classes.

As we work for the collective care and well-being of our Lute community and neighbors, we know this — no matter if we are on campus, learning from a distance, masked up, or whatever the challenge — we are PLU together.

Return to Learning on Campus

  • As part of the University’s ongoing efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, all students, faculty, and staff are required to complete a daily health-screening attestation. This simple attestation must be taken daily when you expect to be participating (on-campus or virtually) in university activities, including classes, work, dining, social events, and athletics and recreation.
  • The PLU Return to Learning on Campus Guide was designed to provide students with the information they need to safely resume in-person learning at PLU. Please familiarize yourself with this guide prior to your arrival on campus. The guide will be updated as public-health guidance for higher education changes, and we encourage you to check the coronavirus update webpage for updates on a regular basis.
  • The 2020-2021 academic calendar includes important dates, such as the first day of class (Tuesday, September 8), breaks, and finals. We’ll continue to assess the period following Thanksgiving break: we know that instruction will continue and that final exams will proceed as scheduled, but we are conferring with public-health authorities to determine the right teaching modality. Expect a decision by August 1st.

Covering, cleaning, and distancing

  • Face masks will be required, per the State of Washington’s COVID-19 safety requirements. For example, you can expect to wear face coverings on campus this fall in class and during meetings—essentially, in any building and outdoor setting on campus, except in instances in which you are able to maintain appropriate physical distancing. PLU will provide a cloth face covering to every student in addition to the ones you bring from home. PLU will also provide disposable face coverings for visitors, vendors, or others without access to a face covering.
  • Maintaining safe physical distancing in most settings is a critical step in limiting the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Physical-distancing policies are in place across campus and in most contexts. These expectations will apply to all office spaces, in-person classes, official activities and events, uses of residence-hall common spaces, and meetings. Room and venue occupancy limits are being adjusted accordingly. Physical distancing will also be encouraged for all activities.
  • Custodial crews will continue to abide by enhanced cleaning protocols, particularly in high-traffic and shared areas. In some settings, students and employees will be asked to use provided supplies to clean their work areas, classroom desks, or computer stations before departing.

Screening, testing and tracing

  • Students exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19 will have access to no-cost testing at the Health Center.
  • Should it be necessary, the Health Center — with assistance from the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department — will conduct contact tracing of students.
  • PLU will have isolation rooms set aside for quarantining students. If more rooms are needed, PLU is also partnering with the Pierce County COVID-19 Temporary Care Center to house any additional medically stable students requiring isolation.

Members of vulnerable populations

As we prepare for our return to campus, we recognize that some students’ personal health circumstances may make remote learning a more appropriate option for them. If for health reasons you need to participate in classes through a completely remote modality, please contact the Office of Accessibility and Accommodation (oaa@plu.edu) by July 15th to schedule a meeting to arrange accommodations.

LuteTelehealth

Telemedicine and remote-care services can be critical in the safe management of COVID-19. Accordingly, LuteTelehealth is here for students in the summer. LuteTelehealth provides 24/7 access for medical and mental-health support, via both on-demand and scheduled appointments.

Safe classroom design and flexible courses

  • Our goal is to provide an in-person learning experience, as safely as possible, for as many students as we can. Students’ learning experiences will likely include on-campus classes, blended classes, and some remote classes, a mix designed to maximize opportunities for in-person learning while prioritizing community well-being.
  • Teaching spaces will be configured to align with physical-distancing requirements, and faculty and students will use personal protective equipment appropriate for each learning activity. In most cases, this will take the form of face coverings, but for some classes, face shields and gloves may also be utilized. Each classroom will have a cleaning/disinfectant kit for students to use, prior to and after their use of any shared equipment.
  • Larger spaces traditionally used for events and performances will be adapted for classroom use to allow physical distancing in classes with larger student enrollments.
  • Reflecting our mission of care for community, we are also accommodating those members of our faculty whose personal circumstances make remote teaching the best option for them. Students who registered for Fall 2020 classes that will be shifted to a remote modality will be notified by early August.

Housing and dining

  • Living on campus remains an important part of the PLU experience for many students, and, like most of the college-going experience this upcoming academic year, it is going to look and feel different than it has in the recent past. Refer to the Residential Life Approach to COVID-19 webpages for more information.
  • Physical distancing in residential living will be maximized by increasing the number of single-living options available and spreading them across all nine residence halls, although approximately 60% of students living on campus will have roommates in the fall. Students living together in the same room or apartment will be considered a family unit, which removes the requirement of wearing face coverings and maintaining physical distancing within the shared space.
  • To assist us in managing residence hall density, there has been a temporary loosening of restrictions related to the University Residency Requirement. Any student interested in pursuing this option should follow the process outlined here.
  • Should a resident experience a change in their individual or family circumstances, causing them to make the decision to shift to remote learning only and cancel their housing, they will receive a prorated refund of housing charges and be able to request an exemption from the cancellation penalty. If, in consultation with state and local health authorities, we make the difficult decision to move to remote learning through the end of the term, residents will be expected to depart from campus and would receive a prorated refund with no cancellation penalty. In this eventuality, students requiring housing will be able to request to remain (with the original housing contract intact.)
  • Meal plans will be available on a declining-balance basis only, and balances will be carried over to the spring term. The “all-you-care-to-eat” option will not be available. Menus and station concepts have been expanded to provide a wider variety of options, and self-service areas have been replaced with full-service menu options. Operating hours in the Commons will be adjusted to provide greater flexibility while decreasing density. Online ordering, using the PLU GET Mobile app, will be utilized to reduce lines.

PLU athletics and recreation

The NCAA and the Northwest Conference are currently working on plans to resume competitive athletics this fall. Coaches will contact their players regarding specific details and schedules. Since athletic competition will, in most cases, reduce the ability to physically distance and utilize face coverings, increased surveillance testing may be necessary for athletes. Such testing will be done at the University’s expense and in coordination with local public-health resources.

This global pandemic does not follow a calendar or syllabus. However, we do know that the comprehensive planning we are doing now will ensure that we are prepared for any possible combination of variables this fall.

Thank you again to our PLU community members who are dedicating their summers to this vital work.

In community,

Allan
President

PLU Daily Health Attestation Guidelines and Expectations for All Campus – June 19

To: Faculty and staff
From: PLU Finance and Administration

Guidelines: Per the State of Washington Phased Reopening for Higher Education, PLU must screen all employees/students at the beginning of their day by asking them if they have a fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle aches, or new loss of taste or smell. This requirement serves the purpose of ensuring that all campus community members remain vigilant of their health in order to avoid the possible transmission of COVID-19 onto our campus. Additionally, a YES response to any of the questions will increase the effectiveness of tracing possible contacts in the event an individual is suspected of or tests positive for COVID-19.The State guidelines also require that PLU maintain a daily attendance log of all employees and students. The PLU Health Attestation Form allows the university to meet these requirements so that we can begin to reopen our campus. This attestation must be taken daily when you expect to be participating in university activities (on-campus OR virtually) beginning Monday, June 22nd. You are welcome to try the link prior to that to familiarize yourself with the process.

Expectations: Because this attestation is a requirement for reopening our campus to in-person learning and returning to our workplaces, there is the absolute expectation that all members of the community – faculty, staff and residential/commuter students – will comply with this before they commence with their day. This link will take you to your ePass login and attestation. Depending on your responses you will be given approval to come to campus, or you’ll be advised that your answers require you to stay home. If you are an employee, follow your department’s procedure for calling out sick or requesting to work from home and contact your healthcare provider. If you are a student, inform your professors, work supervisors and/or coaches about your absence and contact the PLU Health Center.

Beyond this expectation as part of the State Guidelines, there is the expectation of all members of our community to consider the health and safety of one another, especially those more vulnerable to COVID-19, and to develop the daily practice of care that is inherent in the PLU mission.

Stay Healthy and hopeful.

Elizabeth Hopper Teri Phillips

Director, Health Services Chief Operations Officer

P.S. Remember to bookmark the link location on the Coronavirus webpage.

Return to Work Guide – June 15

To: All Faculty and Staff
From: Office of Finance and Administrative Services

Dear Faculty and Staff,

The PLU Return to Work Guide can be found here, and is also attached for easy reference. Please become familiar with this guide, as it contains important information concerning your work at PLU. This document will be updated as guidance changes, and I encourage you to check the website frequently for updates.

You will see an email soon from Pacific Lutheran University asking you to complete a SafeColleges Online Training on Coronavirus Awareness. This basic awareness training is required, and should take about 10 minutes to complete.

As we transition through the Safe Start phases, we are slowly reintroducing offices and services. During Phase 2, PLU’s open offices will include Admission, Student Financial Services, and the Business Office. 208 Garfield will be open for take-out meals and limited dine-in service, and the Anderson University Center will be available for seating and internet access, as we begin to welcome students back on-campus for face-to-face instruction.

You will be contacted by your school, unit, or program leadership when your unit is approved to return to campus. Until that occurs, we expect that you will continue to work remotely.

Stay healthy and hopeful,

Teri
Chief Operations Officer

Fall 2020 Study Away Program Suspension – June 8

Dear Fall Semester Study Away Program participants,

On behalf of the Wang Center for Global Education, we write to inform you that, due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19 locally and globally, we have made the difficult decision to suspend participation for all fall study away programs.

In partnership with university officials, the Wang Center has been monitoring
developments of the COVID 19 global pandemic with special attention to notifications and updates from standard points of reference (US State Department, CDC, WHO, international insurance providers, local US Embassy alerts, among others), as well as on the ground sources including US Embassy and public health notifications in locations where you had planned to study. Based on the information we have gathered, it is highly unlikely that travel restrictions and U.S. State Department travel advisories will be lifted in time for a fall start. Most importantly, there is ongoing concern that unpredictable surges of COVID 19 would compromise student safety and well-being abroad.

We understand that this news, while not entirely surprising, will be a disappointment to many of you. In order to support you through this change in plans and to aid you in navigating next steps, we have prepared answers to what we anticipate will be your most frequently asked questions. Finally, we remain committed to working with each of you to explore study away options in the future. To that end, we encourage you to sign up for an individual Zoom planning meeting with a Wang Center staff member by using this link or contact a Wang Center staff member at:

Brynn Smith (Gateway Programs)
smithba@plu.edu (preferred method of communication)
Cell: 253-549-3765

Holly Peterson (Featured/Approved Programs)
holly.peterson@plu.edu
Cell: 503-530-0717

If I want to defer to spring 2021, how would I do that?

Contact Holly (Featured/Approved) or Brynn (Gateway) via email by June 19th. Both can help you navigate your individual next steps. Emails are provided above.

What will happen to my Global Scholar Award?

Eligibility for the Global Scholar Award is contingent upon participation in an eligible study away program for the designated 2020-21 school year only. In the event that a Fall 2020 student elects to change to Spring 2021 participation, the Wang Center will move all eligible awards to that term. In the case that a student is not able to study away during the designated 2020-21 school year, the award will be rescinded. Students must reapply for consideration for Global Scholar Awards for 2021-22 programs. Applications will open in November 2020, and eligibility will be based on 2021-22 FAFSA.

What should I do to ensure I am prepared for on-campus coursework in the fall?

Per Wang Center instruction, Fall Study Away 2020 students were asked to sign up for on-campus PLU courses as a contingency option. We have learned that the overwhelming majority of students did follow this instruction. Thank you for your diligence! At this point, please review the courses you have enrolled in through your Banner account. Ask yourself: (1) By taking these classes will I stay on track with my academic plan? (2) If I want to study away for a semester later on, how might I plan my fall 2020 on-campus courses in order to take advantage of the classes that would only be available to me on a study away program?

If you did not register for PLU fall courses, be sure to do so as soon as you are able. If you have questions regarding on-campus course registration for fall 2020, contact your academic advisor or the Center for Student Success (css@plu.edu).

What do I do if I would like to live on-campus Fall 2020?

If you haven’t already applied to live on campus, you can do so using this link. The
sooner you sign up for the housing, the more likely you’ll be able to secure your top
choice.

What should I do if I am considering studying away in a future semester?

As indicated above, we recommend you schedule a planning meeting with a Wang Center staff member. You can sign up for a time here or contact Holly at holly.peterson@plu.edu.

Will I have to pay another application fee if I choose to study away for another term in the future?

Students who choose to defer to Spring 2021 will not need to pay another application fee. Students that choose to withdraw their Fall 2020 application and apply for Summer or Fall 2021 or later will need to start a new application and pay a new application fee. The application for Summer 2021, Fall 2021 or Spring 2022 will open in November 2020.

If I am expecting to graduate in Spring 2021, could I defer to study away in Spring 2021 during my final semester?

Per PLU study away policies, students may study away during their senior year. Keep in mind, however, that due to the timeline of when PLU receives transcripts from study away, graduation would likely be delayed to either summer or fall 2021. If you intend to graduate upon completion of a study away program in Spring 2021, you would need to apply to graduate by the March 1st, 2021 deadline as well as demonstrate to the registrar how study away coursework meets your final requirements. This is normally done by using your Assignment of Credit form. Regardless of your graduation date plan, we strongly recommend that you confirm with your academic advisor that you are able to participate in a study abroad experience and stay on track to graduate.

Thank you for your patience under these unprecedented circumstances and, once again, please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions or concerns.

Tamara R. Williams

Recovery Update – May 29

To: Staff and Faculty
From: Office of the President

Dear PLU faculty and staff,

As we conclude the spring semester, we remain grateful for all the patience and dedication our community has shown during this difficult time. Taking a moment to celebrate our PLU graduates this weekend—albeit in some unconventional ways—gave us a much-needed and joyful break.

We are writing today to update you on our plans for the months ahead. Our plan, based on modeling and indications from public-health agencies, is to return to in-person learning for the fall term with the appropriate and necessary health and safety measures in place. (Any changes to Summer Term II will be communicated separately in the days ahead.)

Planning Structure
The PLU Recovery Planning Team, tasked with spearheading our efforts to return safely to campus, has assigned subgroups to focus on more detailed operational elements. Serving with me on the Recovery Planning Team are:

  • Joanna Gregson, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Joanna Royce-Davis, Vice President for Student Life
  • Teri Phillips, Chief Operating Officer
  • Lace Smith, Associate Vice President for Marketing & Communications
  • Elizabeth Hopper, Director of the Health Center
  • Shawn Thompson, Assistant Director for Campus Emergency Programs

Across campus, divisions have formed collaborative working groups.

  • Academic Affairs. Provost Gregson established the Academic Division’s COVID-19 Response Task Force to develop recommendations for the fall, on topics ranging from classroom logistics and curriculum delivery to educational policies. This group is comprised of members of the Provost’s Academic Council and representatives from faculty governance.
  • Student Life. Vice President Royce-Davis called together a COVID-19 Fall and Future Planning group that is now working on detailed plans associated with caring for the safety and well-being of students in co-curricular contexts, including residential spaces, campus restaurants, athletics and recreation programs, and orientation. This group is also ensuring that resources needed for student success—relating to basic needs, health and mental health, connection, and engagement—are accessible in a variety of formats that support equitable access by students.
  • Administrative Services. Chief Operating Officer Phillips pulled together working groups for solidifying cleaning protocols across campus spaces, making recommendations for a campus-wide health attestation and developing a safe-return-to-campus policy and practices that will inform our return.

All of these groups are working in close alignment. The expanded Coronavirus and Campus Updates website will provide updates on these efforts this summer.

Forthcoming Guide
While much remains uncertain about how college campuses everywhere will need to adapt in the months ahead, the health and well-being of our community remains our top priority, and we will need to work together to ensure everyone’s safety.

We are preparing to move ahead with Governor Inslee’s Washington State Phased Approach to reopen. In anticipation of this phased reopening, our Recovery Planning Team is developing a set of core responsibilities and guiding principles that will inform our return-to-campus strategy and approach. This guide will be released no later than June 12th.

Because these plans will depend on cooperation from all of us, they will include expectations for full participation and adherence to safety policies, inclusive of:

  • Physical distancing
  • The use of masks and face coverings when indoors and when physical distancing is not otherwise possible, including in certain outdoor spaces
  • An emphasis on workplace sanitation and personal-hygiene practices
  • Consistent health monitoring and frequent communication
  • Select training in updated cleaning protocols
  • A commitment to the protection of vulnerable members of our community

Phased Return to Campus
Our return to on-campus activity, though urgently desired by many of us, must be accomplished in a manner that prioritizes the safety of our community and region. We will be minimizing our on-campus population density as much as possible while we reopen in the coming months, and insisting that you only come to campus when your department or unit permits. For many of you, that will mean continuing to work remotely after campus officially reopens.

Within Phase 1, our current reopening phase, only those faculty and staff whose onsite presence is required are allowed to be on campus.

The next stage of our reopening plan will begin when Pierce County moves into Phase 2. At PLU, this will first entail reactivating Admission and Student Financial Services, implementing the best practices outlined above and staggered on-campus work schedules. Individual employees from other units may also be approved to return to campus if their presence is required to prepare for the reintroduction of faculty/staff in later phases, or for the return of students in the fall. You will be contacted by your school, unit, or program leadership when your unit is approved to return to campus. Until that occurs, we expect that you will continue to work remotely.

Note: Pierce County will be allowed to move into Phase 2 when the county has no more than 90 new COVID-19 cases within a 14-day period. Numbers are released daily on the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department website before 2 p.m. Metrics have not yet been established for movement into Phases 3 and 4.

Future Updates
Our policies and guidelines will continue to evolve as the situation around us develops, and the significant planning that remains to be done will include continued engagement and updates. The Recovery Planning Team will provide monthly updates as we plan for fall, and will work with supervisors to give employees as much individual guidance and advanced notice as possible when it is time to prepare for their return to campus.

Whether we are called back to campus during Phase 1, 2, 3, or 4, we are all responsible for protecting the community’s health. We appreciate your understanding and flexibility as we work to collectively care for the well-being of our Lute community and of our neighbors.

In community,
Allan

What’s Happening This Fall – April 29

To: All students and families
From: Office of the President

Dear students and families,

My oldest son, a first-year university student, recently quipped, “Remote learning was okay for a few weeks, but I just want to get back to learning in person and enjoying life on campus.” Our youngest, a high-school junior, responded with, “I just hope I’ll get to experience college on a campus.”

That sobering exchange reminded me of the uncertainty you are all dealing with right now. Today, I am reaching out to share with you PLU’s intention to return to campus this fall, and how we are preparing to welcome you while continuing to care for the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff. Whether you’re a returning or new Lute, our goal is to provide for the welcoming and purposeful learning experience that attracted you to PLU in the first place — all within the realities of the global pandemic that continues to impact us every day.

Our plan, based on modeling and indications from public-health agencies, is that we will return to in-person learning for the fall term with the appropriate and necessary health and safety measures in place. In Washington State, the governor’s office is partnering with colleges and universities to develop a phased easing of the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” restrictions issued in March. Higher education is on a shortlist of industries included in the initial planning for easing of restrictions — an easing that will be carried out thoughtfully, incrementally, and throughout the spring and summer. Of course, a successful return to campus life and the ability to maintain in-person learning remains highly dependent on the availability of testing and contact tracing, and on our ability to adapt in real time to potential increases in new cases or new public-health directives.

Fortunately, PLU is well prepared to welcome you to campus under multiple scenarios, because of the nature of our campus and the proactive leadership of our faculty, staff, and administration in preparing for such a return. A few ways in which we are prepared or preparing for a return to campus life include:

  • Our park-like campus setting. Our Tacoma address belies our physical reality: that PLU is a largely self-contained 156-acre woodland campus in the Parkland neighborhood, with comprehensive services and room to safely experience college life while maintaining physical distancing. Take our virtual tour to see/remember what it’s like to walk across campus, experience the beautiful Lagerquist concert hall, attend a science class, and more.
  • Smaller class sizes. PLU’s smaller class sizes — with a student-to-faculty ratio of 12:1 — make it easier to accomplish physical distancing. Fully 76% of classes in Fall 2019 had 25 or fewer students — and just 2% of all sections were at full classroom capacity. Roughly two-thirds of all PLU classes could accommodate current physical-distancing requirements with no changes.
  • Flexible classroom spaces. For classes with more students, we are planning to use flexible, larger spaces to allow for physical distancing. For the 2020–21 academic year, spaces traditionally reserved for conferences, events, and performances will transform into classroom spaces to enable appropriate physical distancing between students in all classes.
  • Academic program preparedness. A task force made up of leaders from across the academic division is actively planning for maximum flexibility and sharing of best practices for teaching remotely to prepare for any possible disruption, and in case any members of the class are particularly vulnerable and require special accommodation for remote learning.
  • Pandemic contingency protocols. PLU has established policies and protocols based on CDC and Washington Department of Health guidance for anyone experiencing possible exposure, those at heightened risk, and those returning to campus. We have also developed contingencies to provide living spaces, meals, and related services for self-isolation on campus, should it be necessary.
  • Online learning readiness. Since 2014, the PLU Teaching Online (PLUTO) program has prepared approximately half of our faculty to teach fully online or via blended courses — courses that capture the fundamental elements and high impact practices that are hallmarks of a PLU education, but are conducted in a virtual modality.
  • Continuous improvement in remote education. To prepare for new health directives in the future, PLUTO training will be available to all faculty this summer, and will incorporate lessons learned from students and faculty about what was most effective this spring. As part of our commitment to teaching excellence, we are also assessing student needs regarding access to technology for any distance-learning scenarios that may emerge.
  • Adaptable residential facilities. We are working to expand both our capacity for and enforcement of physical distancing in residence halls through various measures, including maximizing the availability of single rooms, reducing density in living spaces, and ensuring coverage by our residential staff with direct experience in managing public-health directives.
  • Flexible dining services. Our campus restaurants are self-operated rather than outsourced, allowing us to swiftly respond to new scenarios while continuing to care for students’ needs. During our early response to COVID-19, we have demonstrated that we can quickly offer flexible dining programs that prioritize physical distancing and full implementation of public-health directives, while still providing students with a variety of high-quality, great-tasting, and nutritional choices.
  • Athletic program planning. We are partnering closely with the Northwest Conference and member schools to adjust practice and competition schedules and travel plans as needed to ensure the optimal student-athlete experience and full compliance with public-health directives. We also expect to offer a range of great recreational experiences, both outdoors in the Pacific Northwest and using the large spaces available to us on campus.
  • Performing and visual arts. All of our rehearsal and gallery spaces are large enough to accommodate appropriate physical distancing. Faculty are prepared to be flexible with the size of ensembles and theatrical productions, as well as repertoire and show selection. All musical performances and select theatre productions are streamed via PLU YouTube in high-definition video and high-quality audio. All 2020–21 art exhibits will also be available via a virtual tour, so student works can be shared with family and friends who are not able to see them on campus.
  • Emergency funding. In addition to CARES Act funding, PLU has raised over $150,000 in COVID-19 emergency funds, and additional donations are being sought. Help is available to both prospective and enrolled students experiencing pandemic-related financial challenges. If you submitted the FAFSA or WASFA but your 2018 income information no longer reflects your family’s current financial situation, you can request to have your financial aid offer reconsidered.
  • Study Away leadership. PLU is a long-established leader in Study Away programming. Our Wang Center for Global Education is currently preparing for multiple scenarios, including the possibility that Study Away may need to be limited or postponed for the fall semester. Students who intend to study away for Fall 2020 are now registering for on-campus courses and housing to ensure that their studies will continue uninterrupted, should our programs be cancelled due to the pandemic.
  • Remote-health resources. Just prior to the emergence of COVID-19, PLU launched a new service called Lute Telehealth, which provides students with access to no-cost, on-demand physical and mental healthcare by phone or video chat, regardless of their location. Our on-the-ground Counseling and Health Centers also have added telehealth to the scope of services that they provide.
  • Hygienic living/learning spaces. Our facilities team have boosted their cleaning efforts and increased the frequency at which we sanitize high-touch areas, including railings, doors, and other high-traffic surfaces in our living and learning spaces. Our Campus Restaurant teams continue to be diligent in their cleaning protocols as well. Hand sanitizer and washing stations are never far away, and we continue to invest in our inventory of hygiene supplies.
  • Student care resources. The Student Care Network provides support and resources for students using a hybrid approach that engages students through in-person and online interactions to provide care and support.

These are just a few important examples of how PLU is demonstrating our commitment to welcome you to campus while caring for your safety. Of course, you likely have many more questions and will seek additional certainty as we get closer to the fall term. I encourage you to return regularly to our COVID-19 support site, and particularly to the Frequently Asked Questions section (FAQs specific for prospective students here), for regular updates, including any actions from state and local authorities that may impact our return to campus. I also strongly encourage you to stay in contact with your admission counselors, academic advisors, professors, and other support staff on campus — they can help answer your questions or bring them to my attention.

Stay connected, and stay safe.

Allan Belton signature

Allan Belton
President

Guidance for when to stay home from work and when to return – April 16

TO: PLU Human Resources
FROM: Faculty and Staff

In order to help ensure a safe work environment for PLU essential staff, we have developed guidance for employees and their supervisors who are needed on campus. It has been developed based on CDC and WA Department of Health advice for essential workers and is subject to change as the pandemic evolves and more information becomes available.

Attached to this memo are two flowcharts. Their purpose is to help you better understand the recommendations for duration of self-quarantine in the following situations:

  1. An employee or a household member is sick with respiratory symptoms that may be consistent with COVID-19, or they have been in close contact with someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

  2. The requirements in order to return to work after a period of self-quarantine;

  3. Also, a reminder that if an employee becomes ill at work, they must be isolated immediately and sent home as soon as possible.

If you need further, detailed information about self-quarantine situations, these are Department of Health publications that can help answer your questions:

  1. What to do if you have symptoms of COVID-19;

  2. What to do if your were potentially exposed to COVID-19;

  3. What to do if you have confirmed or suspected COVID-19.

Please understand that “suspected” is any case where a health care provider believes the person has COVID-19. If you or a close contact is showing symptoms of COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider to determine whether your case is “suspected.”

If you have any questions specific to your situation and need additional information, contact your supervisor or Human Resources. We are extremely appreciative of and grateful for the dedication all of you have shown and continue to show throughout this COVID-19 pandemic. PLU is a community of many; a community of people who show up when they’re needed and put heartfelt effort into their work on a daily basis. Thank you!

Elizabeth Hopper
Director of the Health Center

Mary Jones
EHS Manager

Gretchen Howell
Director of Human Resources

Important COVID-19 update from the Health Center — April 5

TO: All residential students still on campus as of April 5
FROM: Student Life

Please read this brief communication from Dr. Elizabeth Hopper, Director of the Health Center, which contains two important messages:

1. If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 or are diagnosed, are exposed to, or develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19, you must notify the PLU Health Center immediately. The Health Center will provide you with consistent guidance and protocols for self-quarantine or self-isolation. We will also notify Campus Restaurants and Residential Life staff for on-campus students, so that they can determine meal delivery and appropriate housing for you during the period of self-quarantine or self-isolation.

2. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued updated recommendations for the use of face coverings by the general public. While it is critical to emphasize that maintaining six-feet social distancing remains one of the most effective measures for preventing the spread of the virus overall, we are following the voluntary public-health recommendation. Therefore, we are advising the use of simple cloth face coverings as another important means to slow the spread of the virus and to keep people who may have the virus and not know it from transmitting it to others.

This is an expectation for situations where six-feet distancing is difficult to maintain, such as in grocery stores, pharmacies, medical-clinic waiting rooms, and food-service pick-up locations. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made in residence halls from common materials at low cost — e.g., scarves or bandanas — can serve this purpose. The CDC recommends that face coverings be laundered on a daily basis and that they can be washed with other items in a regular washer.

Again, remember to model the active bystander behavior you learned during orientation and in your leadership roles. As a PLU community member, you have the responsibility to say something when community well-being and public health are threatened by people not practicing physical distancing or gathering in groups. Note: Be sure to react to an individual’s actions rather than to what you think “might” happen to avoid biased-based profiling. Also, because communities of color have been historically discriminated against and criminalized in the United States, wearing a cloth face covering can be an uncomfortable experience for some, apart from the physical aspect. It is important to remember how race, class, gender, and other identities impact how we exist within the world and how that may show up during this global pandemic.

Wearing cloth face coverings can’t replace social distancing and good hygiene — wash your hands! Don’t touch your face! Staying in your own space is BY FAR the best thing you can do to slow the spread of the virus. Do not assume it’s safe to participate in non-essential activities because you are wearing a face covering. Stay home.

Let’s take care of each other, Lutes!

If you have questions about either of these messages, please contact the Health Center at health@plu.edu or 253-535-7337. You can access additional updates and new FAQs, recommendations, and communications at www.plu.edu/coronavirus.

PLU Commencement 2020 – April 3

TO: All students, faculty and staff
FROM: Office of the President

Dear PLU community,

Earlier this week, we made the heart-wrenching announcement to graduating students that we would be unable to host our planned Commencement event at the Tacoma Dome on May 23rd. We invited graduating students to vote for their preferred alternative: an online ceremony on May 23rd, or an in-person, on-campus event in September, during the Labor Day weekend. Our students expressed an overwhelming preference for the in-person option on the PLU campus.

We know relationships matter at PLU, that it’s the people who make our institution special, and that there is a profound desire among our community members to celebrate together. This is especially true for a class that has accomplished, struggled through, learned, and realized so much to get here.

Commencement 2020 will be held on Saturday, September 5th, at 2 p.m. (PDT) at PLU to honor the accomplishments of graduating students that have brought them to this moment, and also to honor their transition into their Lute alumni community. The event will be livestreamed for those unable to attend.

As our graduates were informed when selecting between the two options, please note that space constraints require us to limit the number of guests included in an on-campus commencement ceremony. We’ll soon be asking graduates via their PLU email to let us know whether they’ll be joining us in September; once this headcount is determined, we’ll announce how many guests each participant may invite.

Given the extraordinary events of this Spring, a special celebration for graduates of 2020 will be held on PLU’s campus during Homecoming on October 10, 2020. In addition, our May 2021 Commencement in the Tacoma Dome will be open to this graduating class and all of their guests, if the timing or larger venue is a better fit. Given the uncertainty of the global health pandemic, we note that this option will also serve as a contingency plan for an in-person commencement, should PLU be required to postpone the September 5th event.

Along with commencement, the spring semester brings with it a host of activities and events designed to honor our graduates. Updated details about commencement-related events hosted by various programs and departments on-campus will be posted at www.plu.edu/commencement as they become available.

We are grieving the loss of the community rituals that these decisions represent, but we are committed to celebrating the achievements of the Class of 2020 fully in the fall. We are so proud of you, Lutes!

In community,

Allan Belton
President

Joanna Gregson
Provost

Dan Lee
Vice President for University Relations

Joanna Royce-Davis
Vice President for Student Life

IMPORTANT: Additional financial resources in response to COVID19 outbreak – March 30

TO: PLU Students
FROM: Office of Student Financial Services

Dear Student,

On March 19th, the Office of Student Financial Services sent an email outlining a variety of financial resources available to students who may be experiencing a financial hardship due to the impact of COVID-19, including PLU emergency funding. Be aware that the deadline to apply for PLU emergency funding is this Friday, April 3rd. The application to apply can be found here. Since funding is limited, applications will be prioritized based on a set of criteria, including factors such as job loss due to COVID-19, family income, unmet need, and remaining loan eligibility. The maximum award is $750. These funds will be disbursed in the form of a scholarship and will not be applied against any owing balances on your student account. We will make every effort to disburse these funds and notify recipients by April 9th. Please contact us with any questions.

We hope you find these resources helpful during this challenging time.

Best Regards,

Office of Student Financial Services

Gov. Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” executive order – March 24

To: The PLU Community
From: Office of the President

Dear PLU community,

I’d like to start by thanking all of you for being a part of PLU’s collective effort to keep each other safe and do our part to help slow the spread of the coronavirus in our community and in Washington state. We’ve heeded the recommendations of the CDC, local and state health-department experts, and Governor Jay Inslee every step of the way, and will continue to do so until this pandemic is behind us.

Washington issues statewide “stay at home” executive order

Last night, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee issued a statewide executive “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order requiring all Washington residents to stay home or at their place of residence for at least the next two weeks, to further limit gatherings, and to limit the number of people in any given space. The PLU community has already transitioned to remote learning and shifted to only essential functions on-campus while other services continue remotely. Governor Inslee’s order extends the more restrictive measures to businesses throughout the state. We are in compliance with the new order and exceptions for essential workers.

Confirmed case — PLU community member

We received notification that a PLU employee has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. We are in contact with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD). This employee was last on the PLU campus on March 16. We are also in direct communication with three community members who were the only people identified as being in contact with the person; they are currently in self-quarantine at home under the guidance of medical and public-health officials. PLU’s Health Center is working under the direction and with the assistance of the TPCHD to notify any additional close contacts and provide them with the necessary quarantine instructions. Please note that if you have not been notified by the PLU Health Center, no action is needed from you at this time.

If you are healthy, without any respiratory illness symptoms, then you are at very low risk. Current CDC guidelines are clear that monitoring, quarantining and testing or any other special management is not required for asymptomatic contacts of people who had possible contact with individuals who were presumed or confirmed to have COVID-19.

We intend to honor the Washington State law that obligates us to protect this individual’s privacy, and as a result we will not release their name. We wish our Lute family member a speedy and uncomplicated recovery.

For residential students

Community care, health, and safety remain the highest priorities of the PLU response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Campus will continue to operate the essential functions needed to support remaining residential students. For many students, PLU still is the best and safest home address for participating in remote learning, and it is imperative that we continue to serve those students. To allow for allocation of resources for the Lutes who need it the most, we request that those remaining in on-campus housing who are able to return to their permanent home addresses to please do so for the rest of spring term or until public health directives indicate otherwise.

Residential students received an email earlier yesterday with a link to a final Residential Life Census Survey and a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) regarding community standards and expectations for all students continuing to reside on campus. If you have not yet completed the Census Survey, please do so immediately.

As a reminder, most people with the COVID-19 infection develop mild to moderate illness, without the need for medical care. However, healthy young people who carry the virus without any symptoms can spread it to others who may be at significant risk of severe COVID-19 illness due to age or underlying health conditions.

For staff and faculty

PLU will continue to practice the measures announced last week surrounding remote work wherever possible. Each division on campus has identified personnel that serve essential functions necessary for the continuity of care for students, education and business. These personnel should also be working remotely when possible.

All Lutes, everywhere

This isn’t easy. It’s a challenge for all of us. Your sacrifices are not going unnoticed, and we deeply believe they are making a difference to our shared community. In the coming weeks, all PLU students, faculty, and staff are advised to stay at home and practice the proven methods of prevention to help stop the spread of the virus and to flatten the curve so that people who require related healthcare are able to receive it. To each of you, thank you for your caring, your flexibility, your grace, and your patience. Together we will meet this challenge.

As a reminder, you can access updates and new FAQs, recommendations, and communications at www.plu.edu/coronavirus.

In community,

Allan Belton
President

Joanna Royce-Davis
Vice President for Student Life

Essential Information: PLU COVID-19 Community Standards & Final Census Survey – March 23

Dear Student

This email is being sent to all PLU students who have not formally checked-out of their on-campus residence according to Department of Residential Life records.

PLU intends to continue to provide a safe place for our students for whom their residence hall currently is the best or only place that they are able to live, learn, and to be in community during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Toward that end, we have information to share and requests of you. It is critical that you take a few minutes now to complete the Final Census Survey and read the MOU.

  • Open and read the MOU (Memorandum Of Understanding) for Residential Students. This MOU is particularly timely given the possibility of travel during Spring Break; however, the expectations outlined in it are applicable at all times.

  • Complete the attached Final Census Survey form. In order to provide the highest level of care and service for our residents who remain on campus, an accurate accounting is essential. We know that individual circumstances may continue to change and, if so, we expect that you will continue to update your CD regarding changes to your situation. We are also committing to this being our last Census Survey unless campus circumstances evolve significantly.

  • In order to assist in providing a safe living environment, Card Access to our residence halls will be adjusted to nighttime levels beginning on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. In other words, residents of a hall will continue to have full access, but other visiting students will need to be met at the door and small group and physical distancing restrictions will need to be met fully.

Thank you for your attention and assistance as we continue to navigate these uncertain times together.

Residential Life

Actualizaciones del Coronavirus

Ver actualizaciones y mensajes para la comunidad PLU.

A special message from President Belton – March 20

To: The PLU Community
From: PLU President Allan Belton

To say it has been an unusual spring semester at PLU would be an understatement. Thank you to all of the alumni and friends who have shared encouragement and offered support during this unprecedented season of COVID-19.

As we’ve worked together these past few weeks to ensure the well-being of our community, I’ve been inspired by the fortitude, empathy, and resolute spirit of our students, faculty, staff and friends. Our global Lute community has united in a remarkable way to support each other emotionally, implement a wide variety of health and safety measures, and continue our teaching and learning.

This won’t be the spring anyone imagined. Earlier this week, we made the difficult decision to extend remote learning through the end of the term. Many students have left campus, and many still remain. PLU truly is home for many of our students, and so residence halls, dining services, campus health center, and other essential student services will remain open. Upcoming concerts, athletic competitions, guest lectures and on-campus gatherings have been canceled or postponed.

We must all find new ways in this new reality to connect and care.

Despite the many unexpected realities of this spring, PLU remains PLU. Our faculty members and students are leaning into remote learning. Our staff, though largely working from their homes, continue to serve. And many friends like you have reached out to see how you might best help.

In response to this question, “How best can we help?” I would say, simply, “By being a Lute.”

You know that care is at the center of all Lutes do. As we are forced to distance physically, now is the time to extend the helping hand of our Lute community. Care as only the PLU community does.

Spring semester has been upended for students and faculty. Now, more than ever, your positive words of encouragement are needed. If you know a PLU student, please reach out. If there is a professor who made a particular impact on you, please send a simple note of gratitude.

Thank you again for extending your care during this time. Through all of life’s challenges, Lutes remain steadfast in our commitment to caring for each other and our world. I am grateful for that and for you.

Best wishes for you and your loved ones,

Allan Belton,
President

A special message from President Belton – March 20

To: The PLU Community
From: PLU President Allan Belton

To say it has been an unusual spring semester at PLU would be an understatement. Thank you to all of the alumni and friends who have shared encouragement and offered support during this unprecedented season of COVID-19.

As we’ve worked together these past few weeks to ensure the well-being of our community, I’ve been inspired by the fortitude, empathy, and resolute spirit of our students, faculty, staff and friends. Our global Lute community has united in a remarkable way to support each other emotionally, implement a wide variety of health and safety measures, and continue our teaching and learning.

This won’t be the spring anyone imagined. Earlier this week, we made the difficult decision to extend remote learning through the end of the term. Many students have left campus, and many still remain. PLU truly is home for many of our students, and so residence halls, dining services, campus health center, and other essential student services will remain open. Upcoming concerts, athletic competitions, guest lectures and on-campus gatherings have been canceled or postponed.

We must all find new ways in this new reality to connect and care.

Despite the many unexpected realities of this spring, PLU remains PLU. Our faculty members and students are leaning into remote learning. Our staff, though largely working from their homes, continue to serve. And many friends like you have reached out to see how you might best help.

In response to this question, “How best can we help?” I would say, simply, “By being a Lute.”

You know that care is at the center of all Lutes do. As we are forced to distance physically, now is the time to extend the helping hand of our Lute community. Care as only the PLU community does.

Spring semester has been upended for students and faculty. Now, more than ever, your positive words of encouragement are needed. If you know a PLU student, please reach out. If there is a professor who made a particular impact on you, please send a simple note of gratitude.

Thank you again for extending your care during this time. Through all of life’s challenges, Lutes remain steadfast in our commitment to caring for each other and our world. I am grateful for that and for you.

Best wishes for you and your loved ones,

Allan Belton,
President

We got you. Student CARE Network signing on. – March 20

Toggle content goes here, click edit button to change this text.