Gov. Inslee orders all colleges to move online

It appears that spring quarter at Edmonds Community College will begin online, and a week late.

The shift in class format comes after an announcement by Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday to close K-12 schools statewide until the end of April, and restrict activities at colleges out of concern over the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes the illness COVID-19. The college restrictions specify that there will be no in-person courses through April 24. However, labs and clinics could run if social distancing is imposed.

The order was scheduled to take effect beginning March 17.

At Edmonds Community College, most winter quarter classes had already shifted to an online format for the remainder of the quarter. While the campus remained open, nearly all events were canceled, multiple offices closed or distanced themselves from public interaction and in-person final exams were prohibited.

“Edmonds Community College will remain open only to employees from Wednesday, March 18 through Friday, April 3,” said EdCC President Amit Singh in an email sent to faculty on Friday. “During this time, employees will serve students and the community remotely.”

Spring quarter was to begin Apr. 6, but it has been delayed one week to allow instructors to prepare. However, the quarter will still end Jun. 16 as originally scheduled.

All classes spring quarter will be held completely online, with no exceptions, from Apr. 13 to Apr. 24, though President Singh states that he may extend it further. If extended, campus will be notified no later than Apr. 20.

“I strongly recommend that faculty make preparations to teach fully online beyond April 24 should the situation not improve,” said President Singh, adding that technical courses and labs may be allowed to be held on campus after Apr. 24.

In addition to the mandate regarding Washington state colleges, all K-12 schools in the Snohomish, King and Pierce counties will be closed during the same time period.

The announcement came on the same day that U.S. President Donald Trump declared a national state of emergency, releasing $50 billion in federal funds to bolster states as they ramp up efforts to fight the coronavirus. In Washington State, which saw the nation’s initial positive infections and first deaths from COVID-19, 568 positive cases had been confirmed and 37 people had died as of press time.

President Trump stated the previous day that out-of-state travel from Washington may be restricted if the state gets “too hot,” in a response to questions during a meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, but no restrictions are in place as of press time.