A collage of students wearing masks.

COVID-19

Western Michigan University is offering a robust on-campus environment with a wide array of learning, living and cocurricular opportunities for the 2022-23 academic year. It is our goal to keep you informed of any and all changes that may affect your campus experience. While we will continue to update you via email and social media, you may also check back here for timely updates.

COVID-19 protocols

  • Vaccination

    The University strongly urges COVID-19 vaccination for students, faculty and staff. The University does not require students, faculty or staff to reveal whether they have been fully vaccinated. Sindecuse Health Center is no longer collecting vaccination information; you do not need to report your vaccination status.

    Learn how to get vaccinated

  • Masking

    Masks are optional on campus and in University facilities with two exceptions: Sindecuse Health Center and Unified Clinics, which is in accordance with specific CDC and MDHHS guidance for clinical and health care settings. Masks are optional but not required at events.

  • Testing

    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.

    If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, wear a close-fitting mask (preferably a KN95 or N95) and get tested as soon as possible. Testing is widely available at local health care providers and Sindecuse Health Center by appointment, and at-home test kits are available to order online. Please be aware that regardless of where you are testing, it is required by law to report positive cases to the health department. 

  • If you are ill, exposed to or test positive for COVID-19

    If you are ill

    If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, take a test as soon as possible and wear a close-fitting mask (preferably a KN95 or N95). 

    Learn how to get tested

    If you test positive

    If you test positive, follow the CDC guidelines for isolation and notify close contacts of your exposure. Close contacts should follow these same CDC recommendations for quarantine and testing for COVID-19. 

    Reporting

    Students should communicate directly with their instructors and employees with their supervisors about their positive test result and need for isolation. There is no need to notify Sindecuse about your positive test.

    If you are exposed

    If you know or suspect you were in contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19, follow CDC guidelines that explain what to do in the event of an exposure.  

Make 2022-23 a safe and healthy academic year

On Aug. 17, 2022, President Montgomery encouraged all Broncos to follow the CDC's COVID-19 and monkeypox health and safety guidelines as well as utilize well-being resources on campus. Sindecuse Health Center has created a resource page to learn more about monkeypox.

  • Get vaccinated, get boosted

    Western strongly recommends all members of the campus community get fully vaccinated.

    See where to get vaccinated

Stop the spread of COVID-19

  • Get tested if you have symptoms. Follow the CDC's protocols for isolation.

  • Stay home and avoid close contact with people when you are sick, except to get medical care.

  • Cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

  • Consider your individual health situation.

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

Sindecuse Health Center 

Sindecuse continues to provide critical health care and guidance as the pandemic moves toward endemic status.

  • Vaccination

    The health center continues to offer vaccinations for the primary series for all in the campus community. When eligible, students can receive a booster dose at Sindecuse as well. Those seeking vaccination can make an appointment by calling Sindecuse at (269) 387-3287. Sindecuse is no longer collecting COVID-19 vaccination information for verification.

    Get vaccinated

  • Testing

    Sindecuse offers COVID-19 testing to students, faculty and staff by appointment with a health center provider. If you test positive, there is no need to notify Sindecuse or receive a confirmatory test at the health center. Sindecuse staff members are not providing notification to the dean of students or registrar for release from classes for positive tests.

    Get tested

  • Services

    All Sindecuse appointments in the primary care and sports medicine departments are offered in person.

    Visit Sindecuse

Two students sitting at the counter in the kitchen in Western Heights.

Housing and dining

Current CDC guidance considers residence hall living as a “low-risk congregate setting due to the lower risk of severe health outcomes (such as hospitalizations and death) for children and young adults” and recommends campus housing follow general public guidance for isolation.

  • Housing and Residence Life

    In accordance with this guidance, Housing does not currently offer dedicated on-campus isolation housing. Residents are encouraged to have a plan to relocate off campus in the event they need to isolate. Students who test positive are strongly encouraged to isolate to the best of their ability, preferably off campus.

    During the isolation period you should:

    • Monitor your symptoms and if you have an emergency warning sign, including trouble breathing, seek emergency medical care immediately.

    • Stay in a separate room from other household members, if possible.

    • Use a separate bathroom, if possible.

    • Take steps to improve ventilation at home, if possible.

    • Avoid contact with other members of the household and pets.

    • Don’t share personal household items, like cups, towels and utensils.

    • Wear a close-fitting mask when you need to be around other people. Masks can be obtained at Sindecuse Health Center or residence hall desks for those who have difficulty obtaining them.

  • Dining Services

    Students in isolation or quarantine may get food at Valley Dining Center through Grab‘n Go service. Students should enter the Valley Dining Center wearing a close-fitting mask (preferably a KN95 or N95). Request and complete a carryout slip at the cashier stand and wait in the lobby area. Dining Services will collect requested items and bring them to the student in the lobby. Students should then leave the dining hall and eat in a setting consistent with isolation and quarantine guidelines. 

    Masks can be obtained at Sindecuse Health Center or residence hall desks for those who have difficulty obtaining them. 

COVID-19 management strategy

Western has successfully navigated the pandemic to date by following federal, state and local public health guidance, coordinating directly with our local health department, collaborating with Western’s medical director and monitoring and adapting to the course of the disease with responsive, multilayered strategies. The result has been high vaccination rates, low positivity rates and our ability to continue to safely deliver our mission. We will continue to follow this approach as we look forward. 

In February 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidance to govern the nation’s emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic, leading organizations like Western to adjust their management of COVID-19. The University continues to strongly recommend that all members of the Western community get fully vaccinated and keep their status up to date. 

Going forward, the University stands ready to reimplement, as indicated by new guidance or changes in the course of the disease, the numerous strategies it has developed as necessary. This includes those that remain indefinitely suspended, such as mandatory testing, physical distancing, the daily health survey, badging system and masking. 

Review WMU's alignment with public health guidance

A professor holds up a camera while showing how to use a printing machine.

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. 

Resources

  • A student holding a laptop in a hammock.

    Tips and tools for academic and career success, mental and physical well-being, and a sense of purpose and connection.

  • A plane on the tarmac.

    If you're traveling to Western from outside the U.S., you’ll need to follow some additional guidelines before returning to campus.

  • Dr. Brian Gogan sitting with a laptop outside.

    Find information for employees and supervisors about reporting, testing, disclosures and accommodations.

  • 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.
  • COVID-19 dashboard archive
     Campus vaccination rates
     Primary series*Fully vaccinated**
    Faculty97.0%91.1%
    Staff88.9%79.8% 
       
    On-campus students88.1%75.3%
    Off-campus students84.9%71.8% 
       
    Campus total86.7%74.5%

    Last updated: March 15, 2022

    *Primary series means individuals who have received one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or two doses of Pfizer/BioNtech, Moderna or approved international vaccines and are 14 days passed the final dose.

    **Fully vaccinated means individuals have received all primary series doses and, for those who are eligible, a booster dose.

     

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