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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Northwest Passages to host local college presidents for pandemic roundtable

From staff reports

The coronavirus pandemic has put extraordinary pressure on universities already wrestling with enrollment, technology and budgets.

Tuesday at noon four, university presidents, including Kirk Schulz of Washington State, Thayne McCulloh of Gonzaga, Mary Cullinan of Eastern Washington and Beck Taylor of Whitworth, will participate in a Northwest Passages roundtable discussion.

Rob Curley, editor of The Spokesman-Review, will moderate the “Higher education during and after pandemic” discussion.

The virtual event is free to the public and can be accessed at

The discussion comes as universities make tentative plans to resume classroom teaching in the fall after courses were moved online this spring due to COVID-19.

EWU is poised to give further guidance Tuesday morning regarding its plans for the fall. Already the presidents of WSU, Gonzaga and Whitworth have said they plan to reopen campuses.

But such moves involve risk and costs.

Social distancing guidelines and coronavirus testing are likely to be components of campus life in the fall. How universities can shift from large lecture sections to small class sizes may be among the challenges, along with the seemingly mundane such as dorm life, events such as sports and concerts, and even campus dining.

Schools are receiving millions of dollars to make changes, which also will include access to masks and other personal protection equipment.

The roundtable is the latest in a series of conversations hosted by Northwest Passages. At 2:15 p.m. Tuesday, reporter Kip Hill will have a conversation with Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

At 4 p.m. Wednesday, the S-R’s state capitol bureau chief Jim Camden will have a conversation with former Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire.

And at noon Thursday, reporter Arielle Dreher will have a conversation with Spokane County Health Officer Dr. Bob Lutz.