Be smart. Be safe. Be Broncos.

Safe Return Plan

The health and safety of the entire WMU community is our first priority. We have charted a course through the COVID-19 pandemic that continues WMU’s high-quality educational experience.

At WMU, we care about each other and must work together to protect the well-being of all people in our campus community. We have adopted this safe return plan to continue to provide students, faculty, staff and visitors with a healthy space in which to learn, live and discover.  

Many voices and perspectives have contributed to the plan. Having considered the divergent and varying opinions, we are convinced that we can do this—by working together. If we follow expert advice and remain vigilant, WMU can and will operate in-person for the 2020-21 academic year, and we will have an excellent year. We know this for sure: It will take the entire community to succeed. 

Classes will begin Sept. 2. WMU's student-facing services will resume in-person operations on Aug. 17. Each unit's daily office hours and general operations may differ from previous semesters. Please check each office's website or call for details. Phone numbers can be found on departmental websites.

A Welcoming Community

The WMU motto is, "So That All May Learn." We aim to advance that ideal every day. Western Michigan University is a place where we want to affirm human dignity by treating everyone with respect. Behavior that is dehumanizing or that engenders racism or discrimination is not welcome at WMU.  We acknowledge that systemic racism and inequities are real and exist in every institution. We will do our part to eliminate them from ours.

 

Our Safety Planning Point of View

We are inclusive and consultative: Faculty, staff, students and parents 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 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 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 a community: Continuing our way of life, fighting this pandemic and staying open will require thinking selflessly and acting flexibly. 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.

 

Health and Safety at WMU

The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff are top priorities. We have taken the following steps to promote a safe learning and working environment:

  • Masks are required in indoor spaces and outdoor spaces where social distancing is not possible. The facial covering (mask) policy is available on the policies webpage.

  • Testing with no out-of-pocket cost is available at Sindecuse Health Center to all students and employees.

  • Everyone in the WMU community is strongly encouraged to get tested at Sindecuse if they develop symptoms, have exposure to a positive individual or if they would like to know their COVID-19 status.
  • Expedited contact tracing is available through our electronic health record technology.
  • Physical distancing will occur wherever possible.
  • Vigilant hand-washing and personal hygiene are strongly encouraged.
  • Cleaning by custodial staff and individuals of work areas, instructional spaces and public areas of living spaces has been intensified.
  • We require daily employee self-monitoring for symptoms and exposure.
  • Leaders must submit department-level safety plans.
  • Employees will work remotely when feasible to promote social distancing.
  • The modified academic schedule and limited business travel will mitigate disease spread.
  • More Information

    Be smart. Be Safe. Be Broncos. Collective selflessness, being gracious with one another and remaining vigilant are our greatest tools for fighting COVID-19. Staying safe requires taking protective measures at all times—not just in class or on campus. Attentiveness is required all day, every day, on campus and off. 

     

    What You Can Do

    Masks: Masks are required indoors (see information on expectations for students in residence halls below) and in outdoor spaces where physical distancing is not possible. Wear them inside public spaces whenever you are not alone. 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. The facial covering (mask) policy is available on the policies webpage.

    The University will provide each student with two face coverings upon arrival. Consider bringing additional face coverings because a clean one should be used each day.

    The success of the health and safety plan, such as our 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.  

    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.

    No-cost testing and monitoring: Testing at Sindecuse Health Center is available to all students and employees with no out-of-pocket costs. Testing claims will be filed with the student’s insurance provider, consistent with federal law requiring insurance providers pay for testing. This means we will charge insurance for those who have it, but there will be no cost to you. Those without insurance will be tested at no charge. We strongly recommend that all students get tested upon arriving on campus through this no-cost option at Sindecuse. 

    Monitor your health and watch for symptoms. Do the same for those with whom you come into contact. Get tested immediately upon experiencing the earliest symptoms. Do not go to class or work sick—or if you think you may have been exposed—until you have consulted your doctor. Take care of yourself: exercise regularly, eat well, sleep and monitor your physical and mental health. Make an appointment for your well-being.

    • Testing and in-person or telehealth primary care appointments can be scheduled by calling (269) 387-3287. In-person primary care and nursing appointments have fully resumed at Sindecuse. 

    • Counseling and psychiatry services continue to be offered to students through telehealth visits. We encourage any student who needs counseling and psychiatry services (crisis or initial) to call (269) 387-1850.

    Physical distancing: Maintain 6 feet of distance between you and others at all times: in class, at work, while eating, when meeting up with friends, even at indoor and outdoor social gatherings. Avoid travel that requires close contact with those outside your immediate social circle.

    Vigilant hygiene: Wash your hands frequently and correctly. Clean work spaces and high-touch surfaces thoroughly and frequently. Don’t share food or drinks. When sneezing or coughing, cover your mouth with a tissue or sneeze into your elbow.

     

    What We'll Do

    No-cost testing and monitoring: Testing is available to all students and employees with no out-of-pocket costs. Testing claims will be filed with the student’s insurance provider, consistent with federal law requiring insurance providers pay for testing. This means we will bill insurance for those who have it, but there will be no cost for testing for those without coverage. Those without insurance will be tested at no charge. We strongly recommend that all students get tested upon arriving on campus. Everyone should get tested immediately upon experiencing the earliest symptoms.

    Sindecuse Health Center now offers rapid-result antigen testing, which offers results in 15 minutes, to detect active COVID-19 cases for University students, faculty, staff, retirees and their dependents, along with Kalamazoo College and Kalamazoo Valley Community College employees and students. 

    Enhanced cleaning protocols: Custodial staff are on top of cleaning procedures throughout the University. We are using specialized cleaning products such as Clorox 360, Aqueous Ozone (no hazardous odors or toxic chemical residues) and UV light, and we have increased focus and intensity on high-touch areas such as switches and door knobs. We have also upped the number of hand sanitizers across campus. The University is also hibernating some buildings so that cleaning can be focused and intensified.

    Enforce employee self-monitoring: WMU employees must complete a daily online health screening before or upon arriving on campus. The employee screening questionnaire can be found at GoWMU. Log in and you will see the survey in a section titled "COVID-19 information." AFSCME employees will also have a call-in protocol. 

    Department-level safety plans: Each unit must submit a return-to-campus safety plan, which includes procedures for utilizing space in a way that limits the potential for novel coronavirus spread and exposure, and allows for required physical distancing;  training in the usage of personal protective equipment; how the unit will receive visitors and related topics. Each plan is being reviewed and approved by the COVID-19 Response Coordination Team.

    Remote work for employees when feasible: Working remotely is encouraged whenever it is practical. This strategy reduces the number of people physically present on campus and in offices. Each unit is developing a return-to-work plan. University leaders are also assessing which buildings will and will not be open this fall so that cleaning personnel and resources can be consolidated to provide enhanced cleaning. Preparations for fall return and the adaptations departments have made to accommodate remote work have supplanted the need for limited work schedules in many cases. Employees should consult with their supervisors on how and where they will continue their work through the summer and into the fall. 

    Altered academic schedule to limit travel that spreads disease: Following the Sept. 2 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 for most classes, and the semester will end on Dec. 19.  Forgoing fall break and ending in-person instruction early reduces the public health risk associated with employees and students potentially bringing the coronavirus back to campus after traveling.

     

    Exposure Protocol

    In the event someone tests positive for COVID-19, if Sindecuse Health Center performed the test, health center clinicians will notify the Kalamazoo County health department. Staff will work with county health officials to assess the patient's close contacts. As with Sindecuse, any establishment that conducts COVID-19 testing is required by law to report positive cases to the health department. 

    A WMU campus community member who has a confirmed case of COVID-19 should isolate at home and not return to campus until informed by a health care provider that it is safe to end isolation. 

    If the individual is a student who lives on campus, that student will be asked to isolate. The University will take appropriate precautions to restrict access to the living space of the isolated person. 

    Sindecuse clinicians will determine whether those in contact with confirmed cases should be sent home. Those who were in close contact with someone who was positive will be asked to quarantine. Those who test positive will isolate where they live. 

    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 Health and Safety Administration standards for cleaning and disinfection.

Academic Instruction at WMU

This academic year at WMU will be unlike any other. It will require flexibility, resilience and grace from the entire campus community. This year will also be characterized by a high-quality academic experience that puts health and safety at the forefront.

WMU’s strategy includes a modified academic calendar, a diverse mix of course types that includes in-person, experiential learning and physically distanced classroom environments.

Courses begin on Sept. 2 and will be offered via in-person, hybrid (both in-person and distance education) and virtual distance learning through Friday, Nov. 20, at noon. For most courses, the remainder of the term, including final exams, will be completed remotely through virtual distance methods. We will not have fall break; classes will meet on Oct. 21, 22 and 23. These class schedules are designed to limit travel and discourage close contact with those beyond your close social circle.

  • More Information

    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

    Updated class delivery methods have been entered in the student record system and are now viewable to students, even though course schedules are not finalized. We plan for schedules to be finalized and ready for student review by July 23. Before that date, students may see changes to a class' delivery method from day to day. We will notify students when schedules have been finalized.

     

    Class delivery methods are described as follows:

    In-personTraditional classroom work that meets at certain times and locations.
    HybridA combination of classroom and virtual work and meeting times.
    Asynchronous distance educationDistance education classes that do not require you to meet at scheduled times.
    Fully synchronous distance educationDistance ed classes that meet at scheduled times like an in-person class.
    Partially synchronous distance educationDistance 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 most 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.

     

    Contingency planning

    Faculty teaching in-person and hybrid courses have been encouraged to develop rapid-transition plans in the event that WMU, in consultation with local public health officials or by government directive, transitions to distance education prior to Nov. 20. For those classes not offered through distance learning, faculty have been asked to have transition plans at the ready so they can move to fully remote instruction within 48 hours if needed.

     

    Support

    Academic advising, tutoring and career services will be available to students both virtually and in-person during the fall semester.

    At-home high-speed 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 Wi-Fi activity to cover many outdoor spaces on campus to make it easier to access the internet.

    Laptops

    Laptop specifications and a laptop loaner program are available to support students in purchasing or securing the necessary hardware for a flexible semester.

    How do I order my textbooks and course materials? 

    Textbooks, course materials, tech and gear are available to order online now on the Bookstore’s website. The WMU Bookstore provides contact-free home delivery. Pickup at the Bernhard Center also will be available Aug. 18.

    Can I visit the WMU Bookstore in person? 

    The bookstore opens in the Bernhard Center on Tuesday, Aug. 18. To accommodate physical distancing, a limited number of customers of about 50 will be allowed in the store at one time. Masks are required, and order pickup lines will reflect 6-foot distancing. Closer to the start of school, curb-side pickup of materials will be available in front of the building.

Living on WMU's Campus

WMU Housing and Residence Life

Our staff in WMU’s residence halls and apartments is looking forward to welcoming students to campus in August. With a modified move-in process, new policies and procedures, and enhanced cleaning and physical distancing measures, we are focused on your health and well-being.

Adjustments include:

  • Closing halls with community bathrooms that are not semi-private. Western Heights has semi-private bathrooms with floor to ceiling walls and a full door. 

  • Strongly encouraging testing for all residents at Sindecuse health Center upon move-in.

  • Modifying move-in to a touchless process while promoting social distancing.

  • Requiring masks indoors but not in one’s own room.

  • Increasing the frequency and intensity of cleaning in public spaces.

  • Enhancing safety measures.

  • Limiting occupancy in gathering spaces.

  • More Information

    Housing Options

    Public health concerns, social distancing requirements and related constraints brought on by COVID-19 required us to temporarily forgo the use of some facilities. Residence halls with community bathrooms are closed for the 2020-21 academic year as a safety precaution. 

    Western Heights (WH) has semi-private bathrooms, so the complex remains open. The shower and toilet stalls have three floor-to-ceiling walls and a floor-to-ceiling door. The bathroom is disinfected multiple times a day, including a daily deep cleaning. There is a maximum of 36 residents in each single-gender house.

    We have made the following changes to our housing options this year:

    • Ernest and Smith Burnhams and Henry Hall will not be open.

    • Residents of Ackley, Britton and Hadley Halls in Valley 1 will be meal-plan optional.

    • Learning communities have been moved: 

      • Aviation House moved to Ackley Hall (Valley 1).

      • Fine Arts House moved to Harvey Hall (Valley 2).

      • Honors Community has no change.

      • Suspended communities: Education Community, Human Performance House, Honors STEM/Health option, Honors subsets in business, engineering and fine arts.

    •  Shilling Transfer Community will still have single rooms.

     

    Move-In

    We have a move-in plan that is designed to enhance safety. 

    Students are encouraged to get tested for COVID-19 with no out-of-pocket expense at Sindecuse Health Center the day they arrive on campus and prior to checking in at their residence hall or apartment. Testing claims will be filed with the student’s insurance provider, consistent with federal law requiring insurance providers pay for testing. Those without insurance will not be charged. Details about tests will be emailed the week of July 20. The email includes a link for students to confirm interest in being tested so appointments can be scheduled. In the event a student tests positive, the student will be provided appropriate guidance from Sindecuse health professionals. Sindecuse will also lead contact tracing for positive diagnoses in coordination with the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department.

    WMU Housing and Residence Life has identified isolation spaces for students unable to leave campus.

    New students will receive their assigned move-in time on Aug. 7 by email. Returning students will get an arrival survey that week. The survey results will be used to determine if assigned move-in blocks are needed to ensure social distancing for returning students.

     

    Move-in Procedure

    • Local students will be asked to drop off belongings early and return on their Fall Welcome move-in day.

    • Residents will be assigned a move-in block that will be capped at 33 students per building.

    • Each resident will be permitted a maximum of two move-in helpers who will be required to wear face coverings.

    • Masks will be required while outside of one’s own room or apartment.

    • An online pre-check-in form and touchless check-in will be provided.

    • We will enhance custodial support to intensify cleaning.

    Visit housing's website to see the move-in schedule and full move-in details.

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Click on the question below to view response:

    When will students return in January?

    At this time we plan to have in-person instruction for spring semester, which is scheduled to begin Jan. 11, 2021. 

     

    Will Arcadia Flats open for fall move in?

    The Arcadia Flats opening is delayed until January 2021. Construction was suspended for six weeks earlier this year due to shelter-in-place executive orders.  Arcadia residents were emailed June 12 with a variety of options. They include:

    • Temporary on-campus housing in Zimmerman and Davis until the complex opens. With this option, the Bronco 14 meal plan is included at no additional cost with the temporary housing rate.

    • Moving to a residence hall for the academic year.

    • Beginning the Arcadia Flats contract upon the complex opening in January 2021.

    • Students were also offered the opportunity to cancel their Arcadia Flats contract with no penalty by July 10.

    If the complex is ready for move-in prior to January, students will be able to move in at that time.

     

    Will there be housing contract and rate adjustments with students leaving Nov. 20? Will there be options if someone needs to stay until Dec. 18 or later?

    Under the University’s revised academic calendar for the 2020-21 academic year, most in-person instruction is ending Nov. 20, 2020. In response to that change, WMU has several options to consider.

    If all of your classes will be delivered via distance education and you choose to complete your course work from home, you will be allowed to cancel your housing contract with no penalty if you do so by 5 p.m. on Aug. 3. To cancel your contract, sign into the housing portal, click on Contract/Lease Cancellation Request and then follow the prompts.

    Once Housing and Residence Life confirms all of your classes will be delivered via distance education, you will receive an approved cancellation email to your WMU email account and your cancellation will be complete. If you do not cancel by Aug. 3, and you decide to do so later, you will be subject to our regular cancellation policy, which is included in the contract.  If you have any face-to-face classes and you decide to cancel your housing contract, you will be subject to our regular cancellation policy.

    Please note that should you decide to move back into on campus housing for the spring semester, there is no guarantee that your space will still be available, as it may be occupied by another resident.

    If your classes will be delivered via in-person, hybrid, distance education or a combination thereof, you will be billed for the fall 2020 room and board charges as indicated on your housing contract and at the applicable rate found at wmich.edu/housing/info/rates.

    The date that you will move into your residence hall will not change, but you will be provided with two options to complete the semester:

    1. You may choose to continue to live in the residence halls through the end of the fall 2020 semester, which concludes Dec. 18. If this is your choice, no further action is required. It is important to consider that many on-campus resources will continue to be available between Nov. 20 and Dec. 18, such as modified dining services.
    2. You may choose to move out of the residence halls on Nov. 20, 2020.  If this is your choice, you may be eligible for a housing credit as follows:  
    • An $860 WMU account credit for residents with a meal plan during the 2020 fall semester
    • A $430 WMU account credit for residents without a meal plan during the 2020 fall semester

    Students must meet the following criteria to be eligible for the credit:

    • You must complete the early move-out request found in the housing portal. This will be available starting on Monday, Sept. 14 at 1 p.m.
    • You must be living in the residence halls during the fall 2020 semester as of Oct. 2.  These credits are not available to students who move out of the halls on Oct. 2 or before.
    • You may not be eligible for the credit if you have received institutional funds for room and board, including, but not limited to, student athlete scholarship recipients, resident assistants and room grant recipients.  If you have received institutional funds, your credit may be reduced or you may receive no credit.  If you have questions about the amount of credit that you received, you should contact Bronco Express.

    How was the credit determined?

    The residence halls were scheduled to be open for 110 days during fall 2020. Students have the option option of moving out of the halls by Nov. 20, missing 28 of those days. About half of the costs of operating a residence hall are variable, and about half are fixed. A variable cost varies from day to day. Examples are perishable food and student staffing. Fixed costs are incurred for the entire year, cannot be liquidated, and make it possible for the facilities to exist and operate. Examples are building debt service, contracted services and building maintenance.

    Moving out on Nov. 20 will cause students to miss about 25% of their time in the halls. The variable portion of that loss is approximately 12.5%. Using that calculation, and rounding up, the University arrived at a $860 credit.

    About half of the cost of a room and meal plan is the room portion and the other half is the meal portion. The room-only credit of $430 is half of the credit of $860.

     

    Will I need to move out on Nov. 20?

    If you are planning to go home on Nov. 20 and return to WMU for spring semester, you may leave your belongings, taking home essential items as needed over the break. If you do not plan to return in the spring, there will be a designated date by which to move out.

     

    What if I do not want to live on campus due to COVID-19?

    Students wishing to cancel their housing contracts must submit a cancellation request. A cancellation fee may apply, depending on your schedule of courses and when you cancel. 

    To cancel your housing, log into the housing portal and click on the "Contract/Lease Cancellation Request" link. Your request will be reviewed, and you will receive an email reply regarding your contract status. 

     

    How will resident's safety be safeguarded?

    Our residences are smaller versions of the University community. Therefore, the first step toward protecting yourself and others is to follow the four key safety behaviors. They are presented here with the adapted behaviors that are required in your campus home, including residence halls and apartments.

     

    Masks

    Masks are required indoors, except if in one's own room. Wear them inside public spaces whenever you are not alone. 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 Institutional Equity

    The University will provide students and employees with two face coverings. Consider bringing additional face coverings because a clean one should be used each day.

    In Campus Housing: Residents will be expected to wear masks in residence hall public areas, including lobbies, lounges, elevators and stairwells and laundry rooms. Masks are not required in your room or apartment. We recommend wearing them in your room if someone from a neighboring room is visiting.

     

    No-cost testing and monitoring

    Testing is available to all students with no out-of-pocket costs. This means we will bill insurance for those who have it, but there will be no cost to you. Those without insurance will be tested at no charge. We strongly recommend that all students get tested upon arriving on campus. Testing and in-person or telehealth primary care appointments can be scheduled by calling (269) 387-3287. 

    In Campus Housing: Residents are strongly encouraged to be tested before check-in. See move-in procedures for more information. 

     

    Physical distancing

    Maintain 6 feet of distance between you and others to the maximum extent possible: In class, while eating, when meeting with friends, even at parties (seriously). Avoid travel that requires close contact with those outside your immediate social circle.

    Think of your roommates the way you might think of your family at home. When you protect yourself, you are also protecting your roommates and friends. Keep your roommates in the know about symptoms or exposure so they can take the appropriate testing and contact tracing steps. 

    For those Western Heights residents in semi-private bathrooms, students will be encouraged to create physical distance at sinks. The bathroom is disinfected multiple times a day, including a daily deep cleaning. There is a maximum of 36 residents in each single-gender house.

     

    Vigilant hygiene

    Wash your hands frequently and correctly. Clean workspaces and high-touch surfaces thoroughly and frequently. Don’t share food or drinks. When sneezing or coughing, cover your mouth with a tissue or sneeze into your elbow.

    Residence halls and apartment complexes are cleaned by custodial professionals who specialize in educational and office environments. They are on-site daily. Custodial practices were developed using U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and industry recommendations. Custodial employees wear personal protective equipment, complete a health screening at the beginning of each shift and practice social distancing.

     

    How will residence halls be cleaned?

    All high-frequency touch points in residence halls are cleaned and disinfected multiple times each day.

    Semi-private and public bathrooms are deep cleaned daily and wiped down (disinfected) multiple times each day along with product stock checks and refills.

    Public spaces are cleaned with electrostatic disinfecting equipment prior to fall move-in. This equipment will continue to be used during the semester to disinfect large spaces quickly and effectively.

    The high-touch surfaces that are cleaned and disinfected multiple times per day. Those include door handles, light switches, hand sanitizer dispensers, tabletops and counters, seating, water bottle filling stations, stair handrails and elevator buttons.  

    In kitchens and house commons, high-touch intensive cleaning includes door handles, light switches, tabletops and counters, seating, appliance exteriors and handles, sink faucets and handles, and telephones (house commons).

    In Residence Halls, we will also provide the following: 

    • Hand sanitizer dispensers are located in all residence hall lobbies. Stations in residence hall lobbies are checked and restocked daily.

    • Plexiglas is being installed at all front desks and in-hall offices to reduce contact between students and staff while still providing needed services.

    • Gloves are provided for staff who handle and distribute mail and packages.

    • All buildings will have signs and markings as reminders of social distancing requirements.

    • When inside buildings, please keep right in stairwells and hallways, and make every effort to maintain social distancing.

     

    How will the apartments be cleaned?

    All high-frequency touch points in apartment common areas are cleaned and disinfected multiple times per day.

    Bathrooms are deep cleaned daily and wiped down (disinfected) multiple times a day along with product stock checks and refills.

    All public spaces are cleaned with electrostatic disinfecting equipment prior to fall move-in. This equipment will continue to be used during the semesters to disinfect large spaces quickly and effectively.

    The high-touch surfaces that are cleaned and disinfected multiple times a day. Those include door handles, light switches, hand sanitizer dispensers, tabletops and counters, seating, water bottle filling stations, stair handrails and elevator buttons.

    In public spaces, high-touch surfaces are cleaned and disinfected multiple times a day. Those include door handles, light switches, tabletops and counters, seating, appliance exteriors and handles, and sink faucets and handles.

    In Spindler Hall, we will also provide the following:

    • Hand sanitizer dispensers located in the lobby. They are checked and restocked regularly.
    • Plexiglas is being installed at the front desks to reduce contact between students and staff while still providing needed services.
    • Gloves are provided for staff who handle and distribute mail and packages.
    • The building will have signs and markings as reminders of social distancing requirements.
    • When inside the building, please keep right in stairwells and hallways, and make every effort to maintain social distancing.

     

    What are the Western Heights bathrooms like?

    Each WH house (floor) has two fully enclosed bathrooms as well as a large shared bathroom. In the shared bathroom, shower and toilet stalls have three floor-to-ceiling walls and a floor-to-ceiling door. The bathroom is disinfected multiple times a day, including a daily deep cleaning. There is a maximum of 36 residents in each single-gender house.

     

    What happens if I develop symptoms for COVID-19?

    Get tested immediately at the earliest symptoms. Sindecuse Health Center has rapid-result testing available. Call ahead for a telehealth appointment and familiarize yourself with their COVID-19 information online.

     

    What happens if I test positive for COVID-19?

    Students who test positive for COVID-19 should follow the recommendations of their health professional. Contact tracing for all positive diagnoses will be conducted by the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department in coordination with Sindecuse Health Center professionals.

    WMU Housing and Residence Life has identified isolation spaces for students unable to leave campus. Food will be delivered to rooms of those isolated or quarantined using no-touch measures.

     

    What are my responsibilities as a resident?

    You are responsible for following all safety and public health guidelines as provided in this plan and by housing staff. Your room or apartment will be cleaned and disinfected before you arrive. Once here, it is your responsibility to regularly clean and disinfect your room, including the exterior door handle. Suitemates should work together to clean the bathroom. We will be providing suggested cleaning guidelines.

    Click here for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for cleaning your home.

     

    When will I know information about my roommate?

    We will email you July 24 with your roommate's name and contact information.

     

    Can I change my room or hall?

    Residence hall students can change their room in the housing portal July 27 through Aug. 6. After move-in, room changes will be limited and prioritized based on space availability and reducing the risk of transmitting COVID-19.

     

    Will guests be allowed in the halls and apartments?

    Guests, defined as anyone not living in your current residence hall or WMU apartment, are not allowed. Students may have one visitor, meaning someone who lives in your current residence hall or WMU apartment, in their room or apartment. Visitors may not spend the night. Roommates and suitemates should consent to a visitor prior to them coming into the room or apartment. Hosts and visitors are encouraged to wear a mask when in the room or WMU apartment. Click here to see the full guest rule.

     

    Will common areas be open?

    Yes. We want you to be safe and be social. New occupancy limits for lounges will be posted so physical distancing can be maintained. Furniture in lounges will match the maximum number of occupants.

     

    Will laundry rooms be open?

    Yes. Each hall and apartment complex, other than Western View, has a laundry room. New occupancy limits for laundry rooms are posted. Students should wipe down machines before and after use. You can use the WaveVision laundry app to check machine availability before going to the laundry room to see how much time is left until your laundry is done. You can also sign up to get a text message when your laundry is done.

     

    For more information about housing, visit the Housing and Residence Life webpage.

Dining at WMU

The WMU dining experience is designed to protect the well-being and safety of all patrons while providing nutritious and delicious food and the opportunity to socialize within the safety guidelines. Throughout the pandemic, Dining Services has adapted and evolved service style, location, points of service, hours of service, and health and safety procedures consistently and often ahead of directives and recommendations. You can review changes in Dining Services’ orientation video.

Students with food allergies or special dietary needs will find options and meals that control or eliminate ingredients. Students with special dietary needs are strongly encouraged to contact Emily Hazel, Dining Services nutrition specialist, in advance of arriving at WMU. She can be reached at emily.v.hazel@wmich.edu.

Meal plans will provide students access to dining centers and grab 'n' go locations, as well as sandwich carryout (customized sandwich ordered online). Students will have the ability to customize some of the selections from micro-restaurants in the dining centers, though some choices may be eliminated to expedite service (such as discontinuing the option to have a burrito grilled). Everything will be served to students, though students can choose how much food they would like to be served from the dining centers.  

All locations have occupancy limits along with reduced-seating capacities in the dining centers to allow room for physical distancing. Guidelines and reminders about 6-foot distancing and appropriate wearing of face masks are posted throughout the dining locations and entrances. All guests and employees will be expected to wear face coverings except when seated and eating.

  • More Information

    Dining in

    As capacity allows, students will have the opportunity to dine in the dining centers. Meal selections are plated and will be handed to the customer or available for the customer to select. Self-service and customer use of serving utensils and dispensers has been eliminated. This service style eliminates touch points and speeds service so lines are minimized or avoided.

    Two dining centers, Hoekje/Bigelow and the Valley Dining Center, will continue to serve all-you-care-to-eat options. Additionally, two grab 'n' go locations (each located right next to a dining center) will offer to-go meals with similar, though less extensive, options for quick and secure services. The menus for dining centers and grab 'n' go locations will be posted online at wmich.edu/dining/options/centers.

    Monday through Friday, dining centers will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner (Valley Dining Center will also serve late-night meals, Monday through Thursday), and grab 'n' go locations will serve lunch, snacks and dinner. Weekend options include breakfast, lunch and dinner at the Valley Dining Center as well as grab 'n' go options at Henry grab 'n' go, located next to the Hoekje/Bigelow Dining Center from noon to 6 p.m. The dining centers will close daily from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. to allow dining staff to thoroughly disinfect all surfaces and touch points (grab 'n'  go locations will remain open). Enhanced cleaning and disinfection procedures occur prior, during and after meal service as well as frequent sanitation throughout service. 

     

    Grab 'n' Go

    Dining Services offers a grab 'n' go menu with items packaged for customer selection. The service area is set up for one-way customer traffic and physical distancing of 6 feet, as delineated by floor markers. Management will monitor customer traffic inside or outside of a service area to prevent crowding. 



    Cleaning procedures

    Dining Services is following expanded and more intensive cleaning and sanitizing procedures, including kitchen prep areas, dine-in service areas, grab'n' go service areas, customer contact and high-touch points throughout the facilities.

     
    Employee health and PPE requirements 

    Employees receive extensive training on all procedures related to cleaning and disinfecting protocols, safe service and safe work procedures. All employees must complete a daily wellness check. Dining Services has further heightened hand-washing frequency. Staff are required to properly wear face masks and practice physical distancing throughout shifts and during breaks. This is further enhanced by properly placed Plexiglas barriers throughout the entrance and service areas. All employees have responsibilities and participate in enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures. Learn more at wmich.edu/dining/precautions.

Work and Play Outside of Class

Stay safe. Stay social. Social connections are some of the most important and fulfilling aspects of going to college. We want you to have fun. We want you to spend time with friends. We want you to get to know new people. However, we want you to do it safely. The policies we have created are designed to balance the importance of safety with the mental health and life enrichment importance of social connection.

Students can expect that public spaces will be open and available for working together and hanging out. Furniture will be arranged to enable social distancing and masks will be worn. RSO’s will meet and gather. Dining will be open on campus. The Student Recreation Center—SRC—has some online and in-person activities. Fitness classes are being offered on Facebook Live and there will be some classes offered in the SRC. Learn more about the SRC at wmich.edu/rec.

  • More Information

    Outdoor Space and Gatherings Guidance

    There are many outdoor spaces and venues on campus that can accommodate groups ranging from a handful of people to several thousand. Outdoor space requests should be processed with some consideration, including, but not limited to compliance with the WMU COVID-19 health and safety plan.  The following guidelines should help in decision making for any request for campus space: 

    • The ability of the group to maintain 6 feet of social distance in the event space or wear a face covering if social distancing is not possible.
    • The ability of the group organizer to identify persons attending the gathering for possible contact tracing in the event of a positive COVID-19 exposure. 
    • The ability of the group organizer to administer a health screening questionnaire to determine if anyone might have symptoms or possible exposure to COVID-19 before that person is admitted to the event. 
    • To consider if the event or gathering supports student engagement or academic mission. 

    WMU is operating with very limited resources.  Care should be taken when processing non-university affiliated group requests.  All spaces that have events need the support of WMU custodial or Landscape services. If groups require access to restrooms for their event, then it will need to be coordinated with Facilities Management to ensure proper support for the event. They will be responsible for any costs associated with this support.

    In addition to the above guidance, below is a summary of Michigan Executive Order 2020-115.

     

    MI-Executive Order 2020-115 (COVID-19)

    Under the executive order MI-Executive Order 2020-115 (COVID-19) (June 5, 2020), social gatherings and organized events are permitted among persons not of the same household only in the extent that:

    • Persons not of the same household maintain at least 6 feet of distance from one another.
    • If it is indoors, the gathering or event does not exceed 10 people. (Phase 4)

            1. For educational purposes, the gathering or event does not exceed 50 (per Kalamazoo County Health Department)

            2. For educational instructional purposes, the gathering or event does not exceed 70 (per Kalamazoo County Health Department)

    • If it is outdoors, the gathering or event does not exceed 100 people. (Phase 4)
    • Notwithstanding, the restrictions in subsection (a), an arcade, bowling alley, cinema, climbing facility, convention center, performance space, meeting hall, night club, sports arena, theater or similar venue may, if it is indoors, be open to spectators or patrons, but only to the extent that it:

            1. Enables persons not part of the same household to maintain 6 feet of distance from one another at all times while in the venue.

            2. Limits the number of people in the venue to 25% of its maximum capacity or to 250, whichever is smaller. For purposes of this order, each separate auditorium or screening room is a separate venue.

    • Notwithstanding the restrictions in subsection (a), a concert space, race track, sports arena, stadium or similar venue may, if it is outdoors, be open to spectators or patrons, but only to the extent that it:

            1. Enables persons not part of the same household to maintain 6 feet of distance from one another at all times while in the venue.

            2. Limits the number of people in the venue to 25% of its maximum capacity or to 500, whichever is smaller.

    • Subsection (a) does not apply to the incidental gathering of persons in a shared space, including an airport, bus station, factory floor, restaurant, shopping mall, public pool, or workplace.
    • Unless otherwise prohibited by local regulation, outdoor parks and recreational facilities may be open, provided that they make any reasonable modifications necessary to enable employees and patrons not part of the same household to maintain 6 feet of distance from one another, and provided that areas in which social distancing cannot be maintained be closed, subject to guidance issued by the Department of Health and Human Services.
    • Unless otherwise prohibited by local regulation, public swimming pools, as defined by MCL 333.12521(d), may be open, subject to guidance issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, provided that:

           1. If they are outdoors, they limit capacity to 50% of the bather capacity limits described in Rule 325.2193 of the Michigan Administrative Code.

           2. If they are indoors, they limit capacity to 25% of the bather capacity limits described in Rule 325.2193 of the Michigan Administrative Code.

    Other resources and guidance can be found at Event Planning and COVID-19 Questions and Answers.

    The above information is based upon current Michigan Executive Orders dealing with COVID-19 and can change as the pandemic evolves.  Federal, state, and local guidance, recommendation and declarations may become more or less restrictive as the severity of the pandemic changes.

     

    Student Employment

    Students who are new to campus or interested in finding a new opportunity can discover job opportunities at Career and Employment Services.

    Returning students who are interested in returning to their jobs should contact their supervisors.

Getting Around Campus and Town

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.

  • More Information

    Safety requirements

    The transit authority has taken the following steps to address ridership capacity and social distancing:

    • Face coverings are required for all riders.
    • Passengers will enter and exit from the rear door of the bus.
    • A hand sanitizer dispenser is installed inside the rear door for passengers to use.
    • Seating on the bus has been designated to promote social distancing. No standing is allowed.
    • As weather permits, drivers will operate their bus with the hatches open and the windows open to facilitate the greatest air flow through the bus.

     

    Cleaning

    • Buses and vans are sanitized daily. This entails spraying sanitizer on all touchable surfaces in the passenger and driver compartments.
    • Buses and vans are being detailed on a weekly basis. This includes wiping down all handrails, straps, wheelchair tie down strap ends and ratchets, seat control handles and seat belt ends, radio mics and knobs, and all dashboard knobs and controls.
    • Additionally, aerosol disinfectant foggers are used weekly in buses and vans.

     

    Route information

    To view updated route information for buses navigating to and from WMU's campus, visit the Busing webpage.

 

Parking at WMU

Beginning fall semester, WMU Parking Services will have a virtual permit system, replacing physical parking tags and stickers, and will no longer require permits on campus to park overnight and on weekends beginning fall semester.

  • More Information

    The virtual permit system will first be established for student permits. WMU employees will have a similar system in place to obtain their permits at a later date with details to come.

    Under the new system, students purchase an internet-based permit online where parking rights are assigned to the license plate of a registered vehicle.

    Vehicles can be registered at any time beginning at 10 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 17, by clicking the "Get a Permit" button located on the Parking Services main webpage. Follow the prompts to complete the process.

    Virtual permits are then scanned by parking enforcement officers to verify the vehicle is parked according to its designated parking rights. When parking with a virtual permit, the vehicle should be parked with the plate facing the aisle so it can be easily read.

     

    The system has a number of advantages for the Bronco community, including:

     

    Increased convenience

    You can register for a parking permit anywhere, at any time, with a computer, smartphone or tablet. Permits are valid immediately, so you don't have to make a trip to the Parking Services office or wait for a permit to arrive in the mail.


    Greater flexibility

    Family, rental and loaner cars can also be attached to the users account and selected for the permit during the time they are being used, with the vehicle switch and permit activated in real time. No more trips to Parking Services to obtain a temporary permit while your primary vehicle is out of service. Upon discontinuing the use of a temporary vehicle, such as a rental or a loaner, it can be removed from the account by contacting Parking Services.


    Improved sustainability

    Did you know Parking Services replaces hundreds of lost permits each year? With this system, you won't have to worry about paying to replace a lost or stolen permit. In addition, Parking Services will stop printing and distributing tens of thousands of permits annually, which is a plus for sustainability.

     

    More information about this new technology can be found here.

    In addition, to help facilitate an open and accessible campus when the demand for parking is less, permits will no longer be required to park on campus between 5 p.m. and 2 a.m. on weekdays or from 4 p.m. on Friday to 2 a.m. on Monday.

    Accessibility spaces, reserved spaces, 15-minute spaces, 30-minute spaces, "not parked in a marked space" and tow-zone violations will still be enforced 24 hours a day. Events that have a need for parking are still required to register with Parking Services, even if it occurs after hours or on weekends, and might be charged a user fee in certain instances.

    For questions, email parking@wmich.edu or call Parking Services at (269) 387-4609 during business hours of 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday.

Western at Work

WMU's student-facing services will resume in-person operations on Aug. 17. Each unit's daily office hours and general operations may differ from previous semesters. Please check each office's website or call for those details. Phone numbers can be found on departmental websites.

  • As feasible, employees will work remotely for the foreseeable future. This approach helps promote physical distancing. Supervisors will determine work assignments, locations and plans consistent with each department’s return-to-work safety plan.

  • Employees are required to wear masks indoors in public spaces and in outdoor spaces where physical distancing is not possible.

  • 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 screening before coming to campus each day. 

  • All nonessential travel, whether to a domestic location or an international destination, is suspended. Essential travel needs to be approved by your department's vice president, the provost or the president using the waiver form available on the travel webpage.

WMU will work with staff who are at heightened risk of infection. If at all possible, the University will make reasonable accommodations to allow these employees to work in a lower-risk environment.

 

Communication

This website is the best place to get the latest information. 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.  Other sources of official updates include:

All information in this plan is subject to change.