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WENATCHEE - Wenatchee Valley College classes are going online.

College leaders decided late last week to move most classes online through the end of the academic year and to suspend all on-campus events involving more than 20 people. The decision affects both the Wenatchee and Omak campuses.

Neither campus will close; most offices will remain open and operational, said college officials.

WVC instructors on both campuses are being asked to suspend all face-to-face finals this week and prepare for online finals. Final exams begin today, March 18; winter quarter ends March 20.

The decision was made following Gov. Jay Inslee’s announcement that all kindergarten through 12th grade schools in Washington would be closed through April 24. Inslee indicated that essential operations at Washington state colleges should continue.

WVC President Jim Richardson sent an announcement to WVC campuses and partners March 13 announcing the changes.

“To limit exposure and maximize social distancing, WVC instruction will be moved online through the remainder of the current academic year wherever possible, including classes, advising and student support to maintain instruction and service to help our students graduate on time,” he wrote. “Computer labs, the library, labs and other services will configure to maximize social distancing and gather fewer than 20 people at a time, based upon guidance of state and local departments of health.”

Instruction for spring quarter will not begin until April 13 – a week later than the original end of spring break on April 6. Instructors will spend the week of April 6 preparing instruction to be done remotely, said the college announcement.

Some programs, like automotive technology and welding, require in-person access to work labs and equipment. Those programs will be allowed to meet on campus, but social distancing and sanitization precautions will be taken to limit how many students are in the room at a time and to ensure good hygiene, officials said.

In addition, clinical visits for allied health students, including nursing, will continue as scheduled until further notice.

Inslee, in his Friday announcement, acknowledged that some programs could not be moved entirely online.

College officials still plan for graduation to take place on June 19 for the Wenatchee campus and June 20 for the Omak campus. Other than the later start date of April 13, there are no plans to change the spring academic calendar.

WVC is working with employees and supervisors to allow for telecommuting when possible and to ensure staffing remains safe while allowing for the continued operation of college services.

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