Frequently Asked Questions

  • WMU campus status

    Western Michigan University's in-person instruction begins with fall classes on Sept. 2. Classes during the fall 2020 semester will be taught through one of five class delivery methods, including in-person, hybrid and distance education.

    The summer commencement ceremony, originally planned for June 27, will be postponed. The University is now focusing on a celebration in May 2021 that will provide graduates with an opportunity to be recognized on stage and include departmental reunions. We will share more with graduates as we finalize details for an event that best meets our needs for a safe and sincere celebration. We have refunded the $55 commencement fee to those who had previously indicated their interest in engaging in a future ceremony.

Personal and Public Health

  • What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

    Symptoms may include a dry cough, shortness of breath, fever, lessened sense of taste or smell, gastrointestinal issues, headache, chills, muscle pain or sore throat. If you are a WMU student, faculty or staff member in the Kalamazoo area and you have one or more of these symptoms, please contact Sindecuse Health Center at (269) 387-3287 to schedule an appointment for evaluation. The health care provider who contacts you may refer you for COVID-19 testing.

  • How do I know if I should be tested for COVID-19?

    Under new guidelines from public health officials, anyone may request a COVID-19 test. If you believe that you may have been exposed to the virus or if you have more than one of the symptoms listed above, please contact Sindecuse Health Center at (269) 387-3287 to schedule an appointment for evaluation. The health care provider who contacts you may refer you for COVID-19 testing.

  • What is the treatment for COVID-19?

    People infected with the novel coronavirus—COVID-19—should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. Currently, there is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19 infection.

  • What can I do to be safe and keep others safe?

    Keeping campus safe requires everyone’s participation.

    There are four strategies to this:

    • Wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth
    • Maintaining 6 feet of distance between yourself and others
    • Washing your hands frequently
    • Staying home if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and getting tested at the earliest signs of symptoms, or if you believe you have been exposed.

    Sindecuse Health Center has compiled a list of COVID-19 precautionsVisit the CDC’s webpage for comprehensive protection advice

  • Should I wear a mask?

    Yes. Wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth—a safety measure strongly recommended by public health experts and intended to protect all—is required of University community members. This fall, each WMU student and employee will be provided with two masks. Handmade masks are appropriate, but they should be laundered prior to wearing and on a regular basis. Remember, wearing a mask isn’t just about protecting wearers, it’s also about protecting those around them and their families.
     

  • Are there any exceptions to the mask requirement?

    Masks are required indoors  and in outdoor spaces where physical distancing is not possible. Students in their own residence hall rooms or apartments are not expected to wear a mask.  Wear masks inside public spaces whenever you are not alone. An employee in an enclosed office, with the door closed and with no expectation of visitors does not need to wear a mask. Accommodations for individuals who cannot safely wear masks will be arranged. Students who need accommodations should contact Disability Services for Students. Faculty and staff should contact the Office of  Institutional Equity.

    This fall, the University will provide each student and employee with two masks. Consider bringing additional masks because a clean one should be used each day.

    The success of the health and safety plan, such as the mask policy, relies on the thoughtfulness, consideration and cooperation of each individual. All members of the University community share the responsibility of adhering to mask wearing and encouraging the same in others.  

    We do understand that there are circumstances in which a face mask may not be feasible, including:

    • When an individual suffers from a medical condition that prevents the use of a mask.
    • During athletic activities, practices or events.
    • When the activity involves the use of the mouth such as is required when playing an instrument, acting, singing or eating.

    It is the intent of this policy that enforcement will be achieved primarily through education, awareness and a spirit of cooperation. As we all become adjusted to the new policy, it may become clear that there are repeated reports of non-compliance despite friendly and respectful reminders. We are developing and refining enforcement guidelines.

     

     

Student, Parent and Academic Questions

  • What is the fall schedule of classes?

    We will return to in-person instruction for the 2020-21 academic year on Wednesday, Sept. 2. Following the start of classes, students will work through the fall without the usual October break, and in-person instruction for most classes will end on Nov. 20, about a week ahead of Thanksgiving. The last weeks of classes and final exams will be conducted remotely, and the semester will end on Dec. 19.

  • What will be different in classrooms and on campus this fall?

    When students return to campus, they will do so to smaller in-person class sizes while practicing 6 feet of physical distancing, using face coverings and studying in spaces that are maintained using heightened sanitation procedures. Student housing and dining have been planned to promote safety and restrict the size of gatherings. We will provide additional information as we move closer to the fall.

  • How will instruction be delivered this fall?

    WMU's goal is to offer the opportunity to take face-to-face courses during the fall semester while maintaining physical distancing requirements. 

     

    Classes will be structured around safety protocols:

    • Classes of 70 and fewer will meet in physically distanced classrooms with proper safety precautions. 

    • Most large classes (those with more than 70 students) will be taught via distance education. 

    • Priority in-person learning will be given to experiential and hands-on learning in small-capacity classrooms. 

    • Masks are required when in classrooms on campus.

     

    Class delivery methods

     

    In-person Traditional classroom work that meets at certain times and locations.
    Hybrid A combination of classroom and virtual work and meeting times.
    Asynchronous distance education Distance education classes that do not require you to meet at scheduled times.
    Fully synchronous distance education Distance ed classes that meet at scheduled times like an in-person class.
    Partially synchronous distance education Distance ed classes that have some synchronous and some asynchronous instruction.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    In-person (traditional face-to-face)

    Courses meet physically in classrooms, laboratories or other instructional spaces in accordance with the existing meeting days and times scheduled in Banner. In-person delivery offers students hands-on or participatory learning in a physical format. 

    Considerations:

    • Students will attend all scheduled in-person course meetings.

    • Students should decide whether they are comfortable sharing a classroom space with other participants, wearing a mask and interacting with social distancing measures in place.

    • Office hours will mostly likely be held virtually due to social distancing requirements.

    Hybrid

    Courses meet both in-person and through virtual delivery with 51% or more of the instruction occurring through distance ed, either asynchronously or synchronously. Asynchronous content delivery takes place virtually without any scheduled meetings, whereas synchronous content delivery takes place virtually with scheduled meetings. The hybrid format is used when some of the course delivery requires hands-on or participatory learning scenarios in a physical format. 

    Considerations:

    • Students will attend all scheduled in-person or synchronous meetings.

    • For the distance ed portion of the class, students will need access to a computer with reliable Internet connectivity.  Please visit the laptop recommendations webpage for specific information.

    • If applicable, students will need to become familiar with synchronous meeting etiquette.

    • For the in-person portion of the class, students should consider whether they are comfortable sharing a classroom space with other participants, wearing a mask and interacting with social distancing measures in place.

    • Office hours will most likely be held virtually due to social distancing requirements.

     

    Asynchronous Distance Education

    Courses meet exclusively via distance ed through the learning management system (Elearning/D2L) and require no in-person or synchronous virtual meetings. Some instructors may offer optional virtual synchronous sessions for collaborative work or other course-related activities. 

    Considerations:

    • Distance delivery offers the greatest flexibility for both students and instructors but requires a high degree of self-discipline and motivation.

    • Students need to manage their participation by checking instructor emails, course announcements, due dates and, if applicable, group assignments.

    • Students should make a point to read faculty feedback on their assignments and seek out help in a timely manner from the instructor or teaching assistants. It is easy to fall behind in a class when it does not meet in-person.

    • Exams and other assessments may also be time-limited or held on specific days and times.

    • Students will need access to a computer with reliable Internet connectivity. Please visit the laptop recommendations webpage for specific information.

    • Office hours will be held virtually.

     

    Fully Synchronous Distance Education

    Courses meet exclusively through distance education technologies according to the pre-scheduled meeting days and times as indicated in Banner. The learning management system (Elearning/D2L) and other distance and collaboration technologies are used to facilitate activities such as discussions, collaborative exercises, distribution of materials, collection of deliverables, grades, etc.

    As an example, a synchronous distance ed course scheduled for TR 9:30-10:45 would stream its content and engage students in discussions via WebEx during those scheduled times. 

    Considerations:

    • This format allows students and instructors to follow a predictable schedule of meeting times without needing to be in a classroom space.

    • Students will need to become familiar with synchronous meeting etiquette.

    • Students are required to attend all scheduled synchronous course meetings.

    • Office hours will be held virtually.

     

    Partially Synchronous Distance Education

    Courses are facilitated through the learning management system (Elearning/D2L) and require no in-person sessions, but instructors can incorporate periodic synchronous virtual sessions when the subject matter requires real-time demonstration, collaboration or interaction. The dates and times for required synchronous sessions will be made clear to students on syllabi so they can coordinate their academic, personal and work schedules.

    Considerations:

    • Students will need access to a computer with reliable Internet connectivity. Please visit the laptop recommendations webpage for specific information.

    • Students need to manage their participation by checking instructor emails, course announcements, due dates and, if applicable, group assignments.

    • Students should make a point to read faculty feedback on their assignments and seek out help in a timely manner from the instructor or teaching assistants. It is easy to fall behind in a class when it does not meet in-person.

    • Students will need to become familiar with synchronous meeting etiquette.

    • Students are required to attend all scheduled synchronous course meetings.

    • Office hours will be held virtually.

    If students need more information about technology requirements or if they want access to technology tutorials, they can visit the Elearning webpage or laptop recommendations.

     

  • What if I do not have my own computer or access to one at home? Can I still take part in distance learning?

    University Libraries, in collaboration with the Office of Information Technology, has a limited supply of PC laptops available for loan. These laptops can be checked out for an entire semester by any registered WMU student who is in need of a computer to complete their coursework. Visit the Loaner Laptops page to check out a laptop. Also, we encourage students without home Internet services to explore temporary free services that have been offered by companies like Comcast and Spectrum/Charter. Instructors who do not have alternative access to a computer should contact their college IT office.

  • I am a student who is having technical difficulties or has questions about my course. What should I do?

    If your challenge is with course content, please reach out to your instructor.  If the problem is a technical dilemma, please visit wmich.edu/elearning/students or the University’s help desk

  • Is the Invisible Need Project food pantry still open?

    The Invisible Need Project Pantry hours are Monday through Wednesday from 1 to 4 p.m., Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Friday from 1 to 4 p.m. for walk-up visits only. No indoor entry. Please email dosa-inp@wmich.edu or call (269) 387-0706 for any questions.

    Students are still permitted to only visit the pantry at most once every two weeks, and must be a registered WMU student.  Visitors are not permitted to enter the pantry.  A Bronco ID must be shown at pick-up.

  • How can I get assistance through the Student Emergency Relief Fund?

    Invisible Need Project’s view of “unexpected & emergency” expenses has broadened in light of COVID-19.  SERF is available to help students with any basic/urgent expenses, even those which haven’t typically qualified for SERF (i.e., rent).  All requests still need to be submitted through the application (https://wmich.edu/invisibleneed/serf), including documentation.  Financial Aid eligibility is still part of the review process, and direct deposit of funds is being used when possible.

  • Is the city of Kalamazoo's bus service running?

    For detailed routes and bus schedules for the local transit authority, visit kmetro.com.

Student Well-being

  • What can I do to focus on my overall well-being during this time?

    It can be hard when you are out of your routine to make the same healthy decisions you were making before. It's important to remember all of the aspects of your well-being (physical, emotional, spiritual, social, environmental, intellectual, occupational, financial). For more information on how to maintain healthy habits during this distance education period, visit wmich.edu/healthpromotion for virtual workshops, well-being tips, and resources.

  • What is the Student Recreation Center offering online to help me stay physically active, relieve stress and combat any anxiety/depression I may be experiencing?

    Our fitness and intramural sports staff are working diligently to provide programs that you can do from your residence hall, apartment or home on a daily basis to keep you healthy and active. All of our remote programs will be available by following us on our Facebook and Instagram accounts. You can find Yoga, Zumba, Barre and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) options. Intramurals is offering bracket challenges, Movie Scavenger Hunt, and eSports tournaments. Visit wmich.edu/rec/covid-19 for more info. We also encourage students to get outside daily. We offer some outdoor classes as the weather allows. You can also take a walk, bike, go for a run or discover campus/neighborhood in a new way. Get a Frisbee and play Frisbee golf using the trees as your flag.

  • I’m having a lot of stress or anxiety because of COVID-19. What can I do?

    It is common to feel stressed, anxious or overwhelmed during this time, and a lot of it comes down to feeling like we have a lack of control. Even when it feels like you don’t have control of a situation, there are things you can do:

    • Pay attention to your body and feelings for warning signs of distress
    • Maintain routine as much as possible and keep your body in good-working order
    • Practice healthy habits and kinds of self-care that benefit you. For example, get outdoors, go for a walk, try yoga or meditation, or listening to music.
    • It’s a good idea to stay informed, but be mindful of media and news exposure
    • Reach out to support people
    • Seek out 3 good things each day to help balance out the negative. Celebrate successes (even tiny wins) throughout your day.
    • People with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment plans during an emergency and monitor for any new symptoms.

    Check out additional resources at the Sindecuse Health Center Counseling Services page: wmich.edu/healthcenter/counseling/resources

  • I feel isolated and lonely. How can I continue to stay connected while quarantined or at home?

    For those who live alone, you might have to seek out more social opportunities than you typically would and find new ways to connect with friends or family virtually. For example, use a video chat application like FaceTime or Zoom to hang out with friends or family members or have a virtual game night. You can also find talk to someone at SHC Counseling Services or other online support groups.

  • I don’t feel safe at home/while quarantined. How can I protect myself?

    While staying at home is critical to slowing the spread and severity of COVID-19, not everyone feels safe in their home.

    Various organizations can provide confidential support for people who feel unsafe or for people who are concerned about someone else’s safety.

    • The FIRE Place Resource and Support Center is available virtually to help the WMU community with issues of sexual assault, unhealthy relationships, and other bias incidents. Visit wmich.edu/healthpromotion/fireplace to get connected.
    • If there is an urgent need, please contact the Michigan Sexual Assault Hotline. To Call: 855-864-2374 Text: 1-866-238-1454 Website: https://www.michigan.gov/voices4
  • I have lost a loved one during the COVID-19 outbreak. Where can I find support?

    Losing a loved one can be deeply painful, and you deserve support. The types of gatherings and social experiences that many people would usually have after the death of a loved one are often not possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s important to seek alternative types of support.

    Sindecuse Health Center is offering telehealth visits for many appointments including counseling and psychiatric services. Visit wmich.edu/healthcenter to get set up.

  • Are Sindecuse Health Center Counseling Services still available?

    Yes. They recognize the negative impact on the emotional health of the WMU community as a result of the spread of COVID-19 and the disruption created to everyday life. This situation is both new and unpredictable. To support WMU's move to distance learning during the COVID-19 outbreak, the health center offers telehealth visits for many appointments. Primary care, counseling and psychiatric services are available. Eligibility varies according to services sought. Visit wmich.edu/healthcenter to get set up.

  • I don’t have health insurance or a regular doctor. How can I get care? Is Sindecuse Health Center still seeing people?

    Students may choose to investigate coverage options on the Healthcare.gov insurance exchange or Healthy Michigan Plan websites. Sindecuse Health Center will work with all students to help make sure that they are able to get care. Please call if you are in need of health care and are not sure of your options. Please call (269) 387-3287.

    Sindecuse health center remains open and recognizes the challenges of COVID-19. They will work with you to have your needs met. The health center may do patient assessments over the phone or using telehealth (online). Please call (269) 387-3287.

    There are organizations that offer health care at low cost, on a sliding scale or for free, under certain conditions. Because it’s important to stay home as much as possible, please call first with your concerns, whether or not you feel sick and even if you want to be tested for COVID-19.

  • I am having financial trouble because of the effects of COVID-19. What assistance programs can help me?

    There are multiple resources on campus that can help, including:

    For help with bills, visit https://www.usa.gov/help-with-bills. Information about government programs that help with bill payment, temporary assistance, jobs/unemployment, credit, etc. Website and Helpline also offered in Spanish.

Housing

Working on Campus

COVID-19 Allowance, Insurance and Related Matters

  • I’m a Staff Compensation System employee and I do not have any work assignment. What happens when I run out of COVID-19 allowance, annual and sick leave?

    Under the current plans provided, you would fall into a no-pay status and would continue as a WMU employee according to our existing policy language. After all of WMU’s benefits have been exhausted, an employee may be eligible for new federal benefits created by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which became effective April 1, 2020, and extends through December 31, 2020.

    For example, FFCRA includes the Expanded Family and Medical Leave Act (EFMLA) for eligible employees. This leave is available for up to 10 weeks after using the COVID-19 allowance hours. An employee must apply for EFMLA. Towards the end of April, Human Resources will provide detailed information regarding eligibility requirements, the application process and the payment to be received by the employee. Pay is calculated at two-thirds of the employee’s regular pay rate with a maximum of $200 per day for an aggregate total payment of $12,000.

    If you are not eligible for EFMLA and have used all your leave, you may remain an employee of WMU but without pay. In that case, you will be eligible to apply for unemployment benefits, including the enhanced federal unemployment benefit. For more information, call the Human Resources Service Center at (269) 387-3620.

     

     

  • What is COBRA?

    The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act —COBRA—is a health insurance program that allows an eligible employee and his or her dependents the continued benefits of health insurance coverage in the case that an employee enters a no-pay status. At WMU, there is a 30-day grace period allowed for the payment of premium to prevent any gap in coverage under COBRA for benefits-eligible employees.

  • In what order can I use my leave? Do I need to use one before the other?

    You may use COVID-19 allowance, annual leave or sick leave—or any combination of the three—at your discretion.

  • Are other leaves available to me?

    After all of WMU’s benefits have been exhausted, an employee may be eligible for new federal benefits created by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which became effective April 1, 2020, and extends through Dec. 31, 2020.

    For example, FFCRA includes the Expanded Family and Medical Leave Act (EFMLA) for eligible employees. This leave is available for up to 10 weeks after using the COVID-19 allowance hours. An employee must apply for EFMLA. Towards the end of April, Human Resources will provide detailed information regarding eligibility requirements, the application process and the payment to be received by the employee. Pay is calculated at two-thirds of the employee’s regular pay rate with a maximum of $200 per day for an aggregate total payment of $12,000.

    For additional information, contact the Human Resources Service Center at (269) 387-3620.

  • If I go into a no-pay status, am I eligible for unemployment insurance?

    The University complies with all applicable laws regarding unemployment insurance. Employee circumstances regarding no-pay status will vary. Any concerned employee should contact the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency.

  • I’m a SCS employee. Is it possible that I will be assigned essential work for less than 40 hours per week?

    Yes, this could happen. 

  • As an employee, if I'm assigned to essential work for less than 40 hours per week, how do I get paid?

    You would report the hours you work as normal and then use the COVID-19 allowance or one of the leave balances for the remainder to achieve a 40-hour work week.

  • Will staff have insurance deducted from their paycheck if they go below normal hours?

    Yes. Under the policy, from March 23 to April 25, employees whose hours drop below normal remain responsible for the same health care deduction as before.  The employee deduction—your share—remains the same. An employee who enters no-pay status for an extended period would become subject to COBRA.

     

     

  • What is the difference between no-pay status and a layoff?

    An employee in no-pay status remains an employee of WMU while not earning pay. That individual retains his or her job and the ability to return to it when hours are available. WMU has a reduction in force—layoff—policy for SCS employees. It is not being invoked.

Campus Operations

  • How does WMU clean and disinfect? What else is being done to limit risk and spread?

    From antimicrobial solutions and misters to electrostatic disinfecting equipment, a number of state-of-the-art cleaning processes are being employed to mitigate spread of COVID-19 on campus.

    Facilities Management is implementing best management practices for building HVAC—heating, ventilation and air conditioning—systems in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and ASHRAE (HVAC professional organization) recommendations:

    Adjusting applicable HVAC systems to increase the amount of ventilation air brought into a building to improve the indoor environment (two times normal design rates). This can be done by opening air dampeners, temporarily suspending Demand Control Ventilation.

    As humidifying the indoor environment has a positive affect on the human immune system's performance and also reduces the amount of time  airborne pathogens remain suspended, maintaining relative humidity between 40% and 60% reduces the potential for transmission. This will be implemented where possible within WMU building systems.

    All building HVAC systems will begin occupancy mode—increased ventilation—two hours before spaces are occupied. The standby mode—less ventilation—will be suspended.

    In occupied buildings, depending on the type of systems and HVAC technology that are in place, general modifications to WMU's general air-handling practices:

    •  Disable Demand Control Ventilation where applicable

    •  Increase air-change rates for densely occupied spaces

    •  Enable the outside air night purge where possible

    •  Review humidity levels during winter months

    • Due to the pandemic and lack of occupancy, WMU placed several buildings into hibernation status. With the return of students and occupants, there are formerly hibernated buildings that have been gradually reopened and brought back online.  Part of this reopening process includes flushing of the buildings domestic hot and cold water systems.  The thorough flushing is performed to ensure that the water meets safety standard established by the city of Kalamazoo, whom supplies all the potable water utilized on campus.  Adequate flushing helps reduce discoloration caused by non-hazardous sedimentation and also ensures the presence of trace amounts of free chlorine which helps prevent bacterial growth.

  • Are all facilities being regularly cleaned and sanitized?

    Yes, Facilities Management has stepped up cleaning and sanitizing for all University buildings, including residence and dining halls, offices, labs and recreation areas—every place on the campus.

  • Is Bronco Transit still running?

    The University has a contract with the local transit authority to provide bus service to the campus community. Throughout the semester, routes will be adjusted as needed based on usage, safety considerations and budget. To view updated route information for buses navigating to and from WMU's campus, visit the Busing webpage.

  • What is the status of Sindecuse Health Center and its services?

    Some Sindecuse Health Center operations have changed. Primary care, counseling and pharmacy operations continue. Visit https://wmich.edu/news/2020/03/58661 for details about adjusted hours and suspended services. If you have a fever, cough, or are experiencing shortness of breath and you have a travel history, you should call Sindecuse (269-387-3287) before visiting.

  • What is the status of the office of Disability Services for Students?

    Staff of the Disability Services for Students office have begun working remotely, following the governor's executive order to shelter in place. However, DSS staff members will continue to be accessible for students and faculty who may have questions or need additional support with navigating accommodations. You may contact one of the following individuals for assistance:

  • What is being done with building systems and occupancy to help to safeguard students and employees?

    WMU has reduced the population density in classrooms, residence halls and other campus spaces to enable and maintain the required 6 feet of social
    distancing.

    Reducing exposure from potential hazard where appropriate may include increased ventilation rates; opening windows; installing physical barriers such as sneeze guards. If sneeze guards are needed, supervisors should request these through Bronco Fix It.

    Use of building common areas—i.e. lobby areas, waiting areas, breakrooms, copier areas and kitchenettes—will be limited to numbers needed to maintain social distancing requirements. No one should congregate in large numbers in common areas.

    All touchpoints should be wiped after contact or as often as reasonably practicable. Maximum capacity for common areas should be posted, however, if it is not posted, then the maximum occupancy is based on the distancing requirement of 6 feet between individuals.

    As recommended by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air- Conditioning Engineers, the heating, ventilation and air conditioning—HVAC— professional organization, depending on the type of systems and HVAC technology that are in place, the University has, under current conditions, disabled demand control ventilation where applicable; increased air change rates for densely occupied spaces; enabled the outside air night purge where possible; and will review humidity levels.

  • What considerations are being made for people with physical disabilities, as far as getting around campus and access to buildings with restricted entrances and exits?

    The review of the online screening tool and any environments being modified are all going through ADA accessibility review so we can ensure individuals coming to campus will have the ability to have similar experiences and utilization of those tools. Once those decisions about building accessibility are made, Disability Services for Students will notify students so they know how to access buildings on campus.

University Finance and Business Questions

Privacy, Reporting and Sharing Information

  • I have information about an employee or student’s health that might need to be shared to protect public health. What do I need to know?

    A person’s medical record or condition should not be disclosed to anyone other than to his or her medical professional, a public health professional, or as the individual explicitly consents. University policy and federal law protect personal health information—Protected Health Information, or PHI. With the advent of the coronavirus, many people are, understandably, concerned about the health of students, co-workers and friends. The vast majority of these concerns arise from a genuine desire for the well-being of the individual and public health. But “genuine concern” is not an exception under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act—HIPAA—as it relates to Sindecuse Health Center, Unified Clinics or Human Resources records.

    Until further notice, unless the University is disclosing PHI to other providers or public health authorities, or there’s a serious threat to health or safety, WMU will not disclose the HIPAA-protected information of another individual.

    Individuals acting on their own behalf are not subject to HIPAA restrictions. They must, however, continue to follow University policy regarding confidentiality. The University will not tolerate surreptitious or secret surveillance of students or co-workers. If you suspect in good faith that someone may have health issues related to the virus, you should encourage them to self-report and comply with health authority directives. If they refuse to do so, you will not violate University policy or applicable law if you report your concern to the University’s medical director or to public health authorities. But you should disclose the least amount of information necessary to communicate your concerns.

  • I have information about a student that I think may impact public health. What do I need to know?

    The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA, makes the educational records of students confidential. Except in limited circumstances, the education record of a student may not be disclosed without the written authorization of the student. One such exception is for a matter of public health. In the event a student’s education record reveals something that may adversely impact public health, good faith disclosures to authorized individuals do not violate FERPA. You should disclose the least amount of information necessary to communicate your concerns.

  • A charity that I have never heard of sent me an email asking me to donate for COVID-19 relief. I also got an odd email with an attachment about COVID-19. What should I do?

    Unfortunately, in any time of uncertainty there are those waiting to prey upon the good intentions of the vast majority of people. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA, warns us to be vigilant for scams related to COVID-19.

    According to its website, the CISA recommends that we all avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails and be wary of email attachments. Do not reveal personal or financial information in email, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information. Verify a charity’s authenticity before making donations. Review the Federal Trade Commission’s page on Charity Scams for more information.

    If you are a member of the WMU community, visit https://wmich.edu/phishing to learn more about phishing attacks and other online scams. If you have received a suspicious email or text message, you can forward it by email to abuse@wmich.edu or call the help desk at 269-387-4357. If you believe your Bronco NetID has already been compromised, visit https://wmich.edu/phishing/account-compromised for help in restoring your account.

Travel