A podium with the WMU seal on it.

Policies and Disclosures

All University policies related to COVID-19 are updated according to the latest federal and state safety regulations. When substantial updates are made, the University community will be notified via email, delivered to University-provided email addresses, by the Office of Marketing and Strategic Communications or the most appropriate cabinet member. Updates will also be made on University social media channels. 

General policies

  • Vaccination

    The University strongly urges COVID-19 vaccination for students, faculty or staff. The University does not require students, faculty or staff to reveal whether they have been fully vaccinated.

    The University strongly encourages those who have been fully vaccinated to register and verify their vaccination

    Providing false or fraudulent documents regarding vaccination status is a violation of the student code and University policy. Individuals will be considered vaccinated only after their vaccination status is confirmed. Documentation regarding vaccination status and responses to the COVID-19 health screening will be maintained as protected health information under the HIPAA regulations.

  • Masking

    As of Aug. 4, 2021, WMU has reinstated its masking policy in indoor spaces—regardless of vaccination status—per CDC guidance on local transmission. Please refer to the message sent for more information.

    Masking is required for students, faculty and staff indoors when on campus or any other University-controlled properties with the following exceptions:

    • You have a medical exemption.
    • You are the only person in a closed space, such as an office with a door, and visitors are not expected.
    • You are in your own campus residence.
    • You are eating or drinking.
    • You are receiving medical care.

    As of Aug. 31, 2021, masking is recommended for outdoor events on campus with 100 or more people in attendance. Please refer to the message sent for more information.

    In rare instances of persistent noncompliance, disciplinary action that is consistent with our student code, employee policies and collective bargaining agreements will occur.

  • 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. 

    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.

  • Daily health survey

    To enhance the safety of our campus, all students, faculty and staff who are unvaccinated or have not had their vaccination status verified by Sindecuse Health Center must complete the daily health survey before coming to campus. 

  • Badging

    Sindecuse Health Center has deployed an enhanced University badging system to allow for easy COVID-19 safety communication on campus. Each day, individuals will be issued a digital badge that is based on their answers to the daily health survey and verified vaccination status.

    The badge quickly communicates safety statuses:

    • Green: You are cleared for public spaces on campus today and must wear a mask indoors. 
    • Red: You are not cleared for public spaces on campus today because you answered “yes” to one of the screening questions, you are not in compliance with mandated COVID-19 testing or you are taking exclusively online courses and not using campus resources.
    • Orange: You are required to quarantine; stay home and monitor for symptoms. 
    • Purple: COVID-19 positive: You must isolate for 10 days. 

    At the time of their classes, faculty may ask students to display their daily badge, and supervisors may ask the same of employees to their unit. 

    For more information about the University's badging system, visit Sindecuse's website.

  • Physical distancing

    We continue to ask unvaccinated individuals to social distance. As we increase our utilization of campus space, there will be many situations where a full 6 feet is not possible. We ask that unvaccinated individuals continue to distance up to 6 feet to the degree that is feasible and practical in a given space. 

Many University policies and procedures have returned to normal: 

  • The state and Western have lifted all indoor and outdoor capacity limits, effective June 22.

  • Building access has returned to standard pre-pandemic operations.

  • All divisions have returned to the Human Resource processes for new hires as they stood on March 1, 2020.

Additional information about living and working on campus is available on the Campus Health and Safety page.

Federal disclosures

  • CARES Act Student Emergency Assistance

    The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, provides institutions like WMU with resources to award emergency assistance to students who have been financially impacted by pandemic. The U.S. Department of Education has encouraged us to prioritize students with the greatest need, while balancing the need to help as many students as available funding allows. The University has aimed to strike this balance.

    Federal CARES Act requirements have established the following eligibility guidelines. A recipient must:

    • Have been enrolled for classes in the spring 2020 semester as of March 13, 2020, in an undergraduate or graduate degree-seeking program (Students who were exclusively enrolled in an online distance education program are not eligible);
    • Have a 2019-20 FAFSA on file with Western Michigan University; and
    • Demonstrate financial need or hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Students must apply for emergency assistance as outlined below. Once the Office of Student Financial Aid reviews applications, awards will be made directly to students. Refunds will disperse electronically for students with an established e-refund account. Those without an e-refund account will receive a paper check.

    Application Process

    1. Visit WMU ScholarshipUniverse using your Bronco NetID and password.
    2. Complete all of the screening questions.
      •     First time users: Click the "I'm Ready" button to begin and answer screening questions.
      •     Returning user: Click the gray banner or "Questions" tab and answer new screening questions.
    3. Click the brown "Matches" tab. If you are eligible for CARES emergency assistance, the CARES application will appear.
    4. Click "Apply" to begin.
    5. Answer the questions in the Student Emergency Funding section and click "Continue."
    6. Answer the Acknowledgements section and click "Continue."

    Applications will be accepted through Friday, May 29, 2020. Please allow 7-10 business days for application processing. Please continue to check GoWMU regarding the status of your refund.

    Please contact  Bronco Express for assistance at (269) 387-6000 or email finaid-info@wmich.edu.

  • CARES Act Report and Disclosure (30-day)

    CARES Act Report and Disclosure
    Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Reporting
    Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students
    Western Michigan University
    Thirty day report and disclosure
    May 29, 2020

    Western Michigan University acknowledges it signed and returned to the U.S. Department of Education the Certification and Agreement on April 16, 2020, and gives the assurance that WMU will use 50% of the funds received under section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students. 

    1. The total amount of funds WMU received on April 29, 2020, from the U.S. Department of Education for distribution to students is $7,743,152. 
    2. The total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of May 29, 2020, is $705,000.
    3. The estimated total number of students at WMU eligible to participate in programs under section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants under section 18004(a)(1) of the Cares Act is 12,642. 
    4. The total number of students who received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant under section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of May 29, 2020 is 1,410.
    5. The methods used to determine which and how much students receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants are as follows:
      • Have been enrolled for classes in the spring 2020 semester as of March 13, 2020.
      • In an undergraduate or graduate degree-seeking program (students who were exclusively enrolled in an online distance education program are not eligible).
      • Have a 2019-20 FAFSA on file with WMU.
      • Demonstrate financial need or hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
      • Submit an application using WMU’s ScholarshipUniverse tool.
    6. The instructions, directions or guidance provided by WMU to students concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants were sent via University email, published on the financial aid website https://wmich.edu/finaid and announced on social media. 
  • CARES Act Report and Disclosure (45-day)
    CARES Act Report and Disclosure
    Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Reporting
    Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students
    Forty-five day report and disclosure
    July 6, 2020
     
    Western Michigan University—WMU—acknowledges it signed and returned to the U.S. Department of Education the Certification and Agreement on April 16, 2020, and gives the assurance that WMU will use 50% of the funds received under section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.
     
    1. The total amount of funds WMU received on April 29, 2020, from the U.S. Department of Education for distribution to students is $7,743,152.
     
    2. The total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of July 6, 2020, is $2,058,000.
     
    3. The estimated total number of students at WMU eligible to participate in programs under section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants under section 18004(a)(1) of the Cares Act is 12,642.
     
    4. The total number of students who received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant under section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of July 6, 2020 is 4,116.
     
    5. The methods used to determine which and how much students receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants are as follows:
    • Have been enrolled for classes in the spring 2020 semester as of March 13, 2020

    • In an undergraduate or graduate degree-seeking program (students who were exclusively enrolled in an online distance education program are not eligible)

    • Have a 2019-20 FAFSA on file with Western Michigan University

    • Demonstrate financial need or hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic

    • Submit an application using WMU’s ScholarshipUniverse tool

     
    6. The instructions, directions, or guidance provided by WMU to students concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants were sent via University email, published on the financial aid website at wmich.edu/finaid and announced on social media.
  • FEMA reimbursement

    Have you incurred expenses directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic?

    WMU may be eligible to be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, for expenses directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Consequently, to receive any expense reimbursement, the University is required to submit documentation of such expenses. Eligible expenses include cleaning supplies, personal protective equipment, training supplies and communication materials. COVID-19-related donations to other entities may qualify for reimbursement, as well.

    Examples of potential eligible expenses, required documentation and submission procedures are available. After reviewing the documents, direct questions or requests for assistance to Michele Cole at bsvc_fema@wmich.edu.

    This FEMA reimbursement program should not be confused with any other federal or state grant funding source established to cover COVID-19 expenses. Continue efforts to pursue other sources of funding, as applicable and appropriate.

    Key information about submission procedures, including documentation time periods, is available.

    Potential eligible expenses

    Expenses must be:

    • Directly tied to the eligible emergency action to protect public health and safety
    • Adequately documented
    • Reduced by credits, such as insurance proceeds or salvage value
    • Authorized and not prohibited under federal, state, tribal or local government laws or regulations
    • Consistent with WMU internal policies, regulations and procedures that apply uniformly to both federal awards and other activities of the applicant
    • Incurred or used starting January 20, 2020 through September 20, 2020 (end date may be extended)
    • Necessary and reasonable to accomplish the work properly and efficiently

    Examples include:

    • Overtime to cover for another employee in quarantine if conducting eligible emergency protective measures work
    • Screening of essential employees reporting for duty in direct COVID-19 response activities
    • Overtime for reassigned employees due to emergency COVID related work (pay rate on January 20,2020)
    • Project costs to create a permanent physical barrier between employees and public
    • Redeveloping instructional plans and distance learning curriculum development
    • Training
    • Health and safety
    • PPE
    • Medical shelter operations
    • Communications of general health and safety information
    • Sanitizing/disinfecting/decontaminating facilities (time, equipment, supplies)
    • New purchase or from inventory
    • Storage facilities
    • Extra security/law-enforcement
    • Time associated with grant management activities
    • Emergency Operation Center costs
    • Triage and medically necessary tests
    • Emergency medical treatment
    • Patient prescription costs
    • Use or lease of specialized medical equipment
    • PPE, durable medical equipment, and consumable medical supplies (disposition requirements may apply)
    • Medical waste disposal related to eligible emergency medical care
    • Emergency medical transport
    • Lease, purchase, construction or alteration costs for medical care services
    • Non-congregate medical sheltering
    • Precautions necessary for remaining students and staff on campus
    • Labor – WMU or contracted
    • WMU donations to another entity
    • Equipment
    • Labor
    • Material/supplies

    Ineligible expenses

    • Costs associated with sending employees home
    • Purchase of equipment to allow employees to work from home
    • Increase of normal operations
    • Contracts that are cost + % of cost,  with a debarred contractor or contingent on FEMA reimbursement
    • Costs reimbursed from another funding source
    • Loss of revenue such as summer camps; room and board and  parking refunds; NCAA; Miller, Fetzer, West Hills, Lawson
    • Increased normal operational costs
    • Straight time for budgeted employees (or unbudgeted employed prior to declaration)
    • Salaries and leave time incurred while employees are working from home

    Under review by FEMA

    • Mid- and long-term costs for reopening and remaining compliant with regulations
    • PPE
    • Install/create permanent physical barriers at a “front desk” to protect employees and public
    • Special sanitation requirements
    • Labor and other costs associated with employees/public entering buildings, etc.
    • Tracking potentially exposed persons
  • HEERF Institutional Funds
  • A student wearing a mask getting her COVID-19 vaccination.

    Still not vaccinated?

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

    Learn about getting vaccinated

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    Keeping campus healthy and safe

    We have made a number of changes to provide students, faculty and staff with a healthy space in which to learn, live and discover.

    Learn about campus health and safety

  • A student wearing a mask studying in the library.

    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