Dear Colleagues,

As the WMU community continues to persevere every day despite the coronavirus pandemic, we remain focused on our core mission of offering students a high-quality academic experience. To that end, our intention is to hold classes in person this fall while prioritizing public health and adhering to any related mandates that may still be in effect to stop the spread of COVID-19. We want to be reunited as a campus community, but we want to do so safely.

At WMU, we are fortunate to have passionate, collaborative faculty, staff and administrators who strive to carry our educational mission forward no matter the challenges at hand. This was particularly proven true with the massive effort to move close to 5,000 course sections to distance delivery over mere days this past spring.

Now, we have another substantial task ahead of us as we plan the return to campus in the months ahead. A dedicated team drawn from across campus has joined me to form a Fall Contingency Task Force, which will embark on scenario planning for a safe and responsive open for the fall 2020 semester, given any limits the future may hold.

Over the next six weeks, members of this task force will be tackling truly critical work. They are charged with:

  • Developing recommendations for instructional policy decisions, with a focus on ensuring our students' degree progress and providing rich educational experiences;
  • Creating guidance on implementation plans for health and safety as it relates to scheduling courses and ensuring appropriate social distancing in a variety of instructional scenarios;
  • Building contingencies for anticipated instructional interruptions; and
  • Liaising with the already active Joint Instructional Advisory Committee that's been engaged with online instruction during late spring and over the summer.

We have created this website to document the task force's work. This site will be updated with information and resources over the coming weeks. Recommendations of the task force will inform decisions made by the president’s cabinet, the provost’s council and college-level leaders.

As plans come together, fall semester may unfold differently than it has in the past, but WMU will still meet students' instructional and co-curricular needs. Our collective mission is to ensure that every student has access to the experiences that lead to the great learning and professional outcomes that characterize a WMU education.

I appreciate everyone's efforts dedicated to delivering on that promise.

With gratitude,

Jennifer Bott, Ph.D.
Provost and vice president for academic affairs

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