Be Smart. Be Safe. Be Broncos.

Campus Health and Safety

At WMU, the health and safety of our entire campus community is our first priority. Over the past year, we have charted a course through the COVID-19 pandemic that has allowed us to continue providing a safe and exceptional educational experience. As we return to campus, our goal is to provide students, faculty, staff and visitors with a healthy space in which to learn, live and discover.

Planning for a safe return

Many voices and perspectives have contributed to our plan for a safe return. Having considered the divergent and varying opinions, we are convinced that we can do this by working together and keeping the following values in mind:

  • We are inclusive and consultative. Students, families, faculty and staff have been engaged through committees, town halls and emails as well as formal and informal meetings. We are surveying our students and listening to our families.

  • We are resilient. Strength and resiliency will be required of all Broncos. Our society, higher education, our University and each one of us face unprecedented challenges and obstacles. We are determined to evolve and grow in response to this crisis.

  • We are informed by experts and facts. We listen to scientists and local, state and national public health officials. We track case numbers and an evolving understanding of the disease. Our informed decisions are designed to mitigate risk and engage with all of our communities to promote wellness.

  • We are a community. COVID-19 affects people differently, and the pandemic disproportionately impacts people of color and vulnerable communities. We will not tolerate the pandemic being used to excuse inequity, perpetuate systemic racism or tolerate stereotypes.

COVID-19 Operational Response and Recovery Plan

Phase 1

The University’s response phases are determined by factors including community spread, illness on campus, hospital admissions, contact tracing and isolation resources, testing and equipment availability. Phases are described in detail in the COVID-19 Operational Response and Recovery Plan. 

Vaccination

  • A student wearing a masking getting her COVID-19 vaccine.

    Get vaccinated

    Vaccines are widely available both on and off campus and are free of charge regardless of your health insurance or immigration status.

    Learn how to get vaccinated

Testing and exposure protocol

COVID-19 testing is available at Sindecuse Health Center for all students and employees. Everyone in the WMU community is strongly encouraged to get tested if they develop symptoms, have exposure to a positive individual or if they would like to know their COVID-19 status. Students, faculty and staff must test regularly unless they are fully vaccinated (14 days past their final dose) and have had their vaccination status verified by Sindecuse Health Center.

  • Mandatory COVID-19 testing

    All students, faculty and staff must test regularly at the Fetzer Center unless they are fully vaccinated (14 days past their final dose) and have had their vaccination status verified by Sindecuse Health Center. 

    Mandatory no-cost testing will begin at the start of the fall semester and continue every week. Individuals will continue to be subject to regular testing until fully vaccinated and verified.

    All testing must be completed at the Fetzer Center. The University will communicate directly with individuals about protocols specific to regional campuses.

    Learn more about mandatory COVID-19 testing.

    Students, faculty and staff have the option to avoid mandatory testing by providing their vaccination record to Sindecuse via the patient portal.

  • If you test positive for COVID-19

    In the event you test positive for COVID-19, the testing facility, whether it be Sindecuse Health Center or any establishment that conducts COVID-19 testing, is required by law to report positive cases to the health department. Sindecuse staff will work closely with county health officials to assess the patient's close contacts.

    After testing positive, you should isolate immediately.

  • Contact tracing and facility management

    Sindecuse clinicians will determine whether those in contact with confirmed cases should be in quarantine. Those who were in close contact with someone who was positive will be asked to quarantine. 

    Students who live on campus will need to follow Housing and Residence Life's protocols.

    Clinicians also will help determine the need for temporary, full or partial closure of a facility and what cleaning protocol may be needed. Locations impacted by a positive case will be cleaned in accordance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards for cleaning and disinfection.

Stop the spread

To prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Get vaccinated.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If you have symptoms, get tested.

Classroom safety

Academic instruction

WMU is planning a safe return to near-normal operations for the fall 2021 semester. We plan to offer a robust on-campus environment with a wide array of learning, living and co-curricular opportunities.

There are five different class delivery methods for classes at WMU:

  • 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 our course catalog. 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 and wearing a mask (if applicable).
    • Office hours will most likely be held virtually.
  • Hybrid

    Courses meet both in-person and through virtual delivery with 51% or more of the instruction occurring through distance education, either asynchronously or synchronously. 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 distanced portion of the class, students will need access to a computer with reliable internet connectivity. Please review laptop recommendations for specific information.
    • For the in-person portion of the class, students should consider whether they are comfortable sharing a classroom space with other participants and wearing a mask (if applicable). 
    • Office hours will most likely be held virtually.
  • Asynchronous distance education

    Courses meet exclusively via distance education through the learning management system 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 review laptop recommendations 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 indicated in the course catalog. The learning management system 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 education course scheduled for TR 9:30-10:45 a.m. 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 access to a computer with reliable internet connectivity. Please review laptop recommendations for specific information.

    • 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 review laptop recommendations 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 are required to attend all scheduled synchronous course meetings.

    • Office hours will be held virtually.

Additional information and resources

Support: Academic advising, tutoring and career services will be available to students both virtually and in-person.

Home internet needs: For some of our students, access to high-speed internet may be a hindrance. The state of Michigan, in partnership with Connected Nation Michigan, has developed a statewide Wi-Fi hotspot map to assist those students.

On-campus Wi-Fi: WMU has amplified activity to cover many outdoor spaces on campus to make it easier to access the internet.

Laptops: Laptop specifications are available to support students in purchasing the necessary hardware for a flexible semester. Need more information about technology requirements or want access to technology tutorials? Visit the Elearning webpage or laptop recommendations.

Contingency planning: Faculty and instructors who teach in-person and hybrid courses are encouraged to develop a transition plan in the event that WMU, in consultation with local public health officials or by government directive, must transition to distance education delivery. An effective plan is student-centered, can be available within a 48-hour period after the announcement and contains, at minimum, these elements:

  1. An introductory module with the revised syllabus and schedule, as well as links to Help Hub, instructions for joining online office hours and, if applicable, synchronous Webex or Microsoft Teams sites.

  2. Dropbox folders for assignments.

  3. A gradebook.

WMUx offers a variety of ways that instructors can access assistance as they create their transition plans. Go to wmich.edu/x to learn more. 

Campus life at WMU

Submit your Bronco Card photo

New employees and students will submit their own Bronco Card headshots. Your Bronco Card is used for dining, entering residence halls, riding the bus, attending WMU events and more.

  • How to add your photo
    • Use your Bronco NetID to log into https://photo.wmupd.wmich.edu.

    • Review details on the type of photos that will be accepted and upload your photo.

    • Allow 24 hours for processing after submission.

    • Once approved, you may pick up your card at Parking Services.

    If a replacement card is needed, please contact the Bronco Card Office at (269) 387-6278 or email dps-broncocard@wmich.edu. Obtaining a new Bronco Card may result in a replacement fee.

Three students walking on campus.

  • Students sitting at a table eating in the dining hall.

    Dining

    The dining experience is designed to protect the well-being and safety of all while providing nutritious and delicious food with the opportunity to socialize safely.

    Learn more about Dining Services

  • Two students talking in a residence hall room.

    Housing

    Student health and safety while living in the residence halls are our top priorities. Some protocols may change as we monitor the pandemic and impact of the vaccine.

    Learn about Housing protocols

  • A student wearing a helmet holding a bike in front of a bus.

    Getting around campus and town

    Students, faculty and staff can ride Metro Transit with a valid Bronco Card. Routes will be adjusted as needed based on usage, safety considerations and budget.

    View bus safety guidelines

Western at work

WMU's services have resumed in-person operations. The University will work with staff who are at heightened risk of infection and, if at all possible, make reasonable accommodations to allow these employees to work in a lower-risk environment.

  • Employees are required to wear masks indoors in public spaces, regardless of vaccination status, unless you meet one of the exemption criteria.

  • A mask may be removed if in a private office with the door closed and the expectation of no visitors.

  • Employees will check for COVID-19 symptoms and complete the daily health survey before coming to campus each day. Those with verified vaccination do not need to fill out this survey.

  • The standard approval process for essential travel to in-state and domestic travel events utilized prior to COVID-19 has been restored. Travel needs to be approved by your department's vice president using the waiver form available on the travel webpage.

Cleaning services and facilities management

  • Cleaning services

    Offices will be cleaned once per week. Classrooms, restrooms and public areas, such as entryways, hallways and lobbies, will continue to be cleaned on a daily basis. The custodial team has been asked to provide extra attention to high-frequency touch points when possible to help address concerns about cleanliness and sanitation.

    For an immediate issue, please submit a request to Bronco Fix-It and a member of Custodial Services will resolve it.

  • Building ventilation and air quality

    Facilities Management is continuing to follow best management practices for building HVAC—heating, ventilation and air conditioning—systems in accordance with CDC and ASHRAE (HVAC professional organization) recommendations. These include:

    • Adjusting applicable HVAC systems to increase the amount of air brought into a building to improve the indoor environment (two times the normal rate). 
    • Maintaining relative humidity between 40% and 60% where possible to reduce potential for transmission. 
    • All building HVAC systems begin occupancy mode—increased ventilation—two hours before spaces are occupied.
  • Building water quality

    As part of the reopening process, Custodial and Maintenance Services thoroughly flush the hot and cold water systems to ensure the water meets safety standards established by the city of Kalamazoo. The departments are also replacing drinking fountain filters and discarding any ice in refrigerator ice bins and ice machines.

  • Plexiglas shields

    Consult with safety professionals in the Office of Environmental Health and Safety to determine if Plexiglas shields are required. If so, they are available to departments upon request for $50 each through Bronco Fix-it. Costs will be charged to the department’s funding and cost center.

  • A woman wearing a shirt that reads: I vaccinate for: Myself, my family, my friends, my partner, my peers, my instructors, my coworkers, my campus.

    We’re showing our gratitude

    Fully vaccinated? You’re eligible for a $5 coffee gift card! Students will also be entered to win scholarships throughout the fall semester.

    Learn about vaccination incentives

  • A plane on the tarmac.

    Traveled internationally?

    If you traveled outside the U.S. this summer, you’ll need to follow some additional guidelines before returning to campus.

    Learn about international travel guidelines

  • Looking for assistance?

    As we navigate this year, Western is prepared to guide you to success. We encourage you to reach out for help and support one another.

    Learn about available resources