Risk Management and Emergency Preparedness

Return to Campus

Updated July 2, 2020 2:17pm - Office of Risk Management & Emergency Preparedness

Western Illinois University is committed to creating a campus environment focused on your academic success and health. We plan to welcome you to campus this fall with some adjustments to ensure proper social distancing as well as safety measures to limit exposure and person-to-person contact. This page has been developed to provide information related to the process and procedures of returning this fall 2020. As more information is provided and announced, it will be posted on this dedicated webpage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Table of Contents
University Calendar Changes

[UPDATED] What changes to the University Calendar are expected for Fall 2020?

  • Move-In: Residence Hall Move-In to begin Wednesday, August 19, 2020
  • Election Day: By order of the Illinois Governor, Tuesday, November 3, 2020 is deemed a state Holiday and the University will be closed with classes canceled.
  • Fall Break: This year, the fall break originally scheduled for Friday, October 2 will be cancelled and classes will be held.
  • Thanksgiving Break: In an effort to reduce exposure to the coronavirus that students could face in traveling back and forth between break destination and campus, all in-person instruction will conclude on Friday, November 20, 2020. Classes will resume on Monday, November 30, 2020 with virtual classes and exams being held for the remainder of the semester.

To view the complete 2020-2021 University Calendar, please click here.

General Safety

What safety precautions will be taken? 

Precautions include the following. Additional steps may be taken as we see new guidelines from health officials.


  • Staffing Levels: Directors, deans and chairs of departments were asked to limit the number of people who return to work in in each phase of the Return to Work plan. Stage I: Wellness=25% Stage II: Integrate=50%. Decisions will ultimately be based on the needs of the unit.
  • Area Specific Control Plans: Each area of campus is required to develop and send a copy of a “Control Plan” respective to their area to highlight the specific procedures being implemented to provide a safe environment for their employees. These plans are then reviewed by a committee to provide further recommendations and ensure that consistency across campus is being implemented.
  • Signage: Signage and other messaging will be created and available for campus entities to use to create a consistent look and communication.
  • Training: Before returning to work, all employees will be provided and must complete COVID-19 Training, which provides information on the pandemic, proper procedures for such things as wearing a mask, and provides them guidance on how to return to work.


  • Rearranging of Furniture: When possible, office furniture will be removed to ensure social distancing. For example, some chairs around conference tables may be removed. In classroom settings, chairs will be moved around to comply with the mandated occupancy guidelines for gatherings. In classroom settings with fixed seating, seats will be wrapped with plastic to take them offline and to properly distance individual seating.
  • Separating Work Stations: Individuals are being asked to ensure that at least six feet be maintained between employee work stations. If this is not possible, alternative work stations will be identified, staggered work schedules may be implemented or other steps will be taken to ensure social distancing.
  • Floor decals or “distance dots”: Decals are available to areas of campus to be used to be placed 6 feet apart for spaces in which individuals typically form lines.
  • Hallway doors: Interior hallway and suite entrance doors should be left open whenever possible to minimize contact by people touching doorknobs. This does not apply to doors to individual offices and laboratories that do not serve as reception areas.
  • Entrances to Buildings: Centralized one point of entry locations were identified and shared with employees for the summer Return to Work processes. As school begins, each building will have doors labeled for ENTRANCE or EXIT accordingly.


  • Face Coverings: Employees will be required to wear a face covering when in an indoor common/ public area of the University. Examples of these locations include: spaces anyone can access, such as reception areas with walk-in access, lobbies of buildings, and laboratory spaces where multiple people are present and social distancing is variable or not possible. It is anticipated that face coverings will be required in the fall as school begins, so the University is working on a plan to distribute masks to all students, faculty, and staff in August.
  • Water fountains: Fountains will be disabled with exceptions for touchless water-bottle fillers.
  • Partitions/Shields: Clear, acrylic shield partitions will be provided for reception areas or between work stations that are less than 6 feet apart and cannot be changed.
  • Sanitizer Stations: Hand sanitizers will be available in each building. The goal is to install one sanitizer station per floor in each building, including residence halls. Due to the low availability of the traditional sanitizer stations, Facilities Management is looking at ways to possibly utilize soap dispensers as a temporary solution.
  • Sinks: Where applicable and where there is more than one sink in a bathroom next to each other, sinks will be shut-off and taken offline.


  • Disinfecting and cleaning supplies: Spray bottles with an EPA approved disinfectant and paper towels will be provided in each office area and classroom for students and employees to clean their areas before and after use.
  • Cleaning protocols: Facilities Management is developing specific procedures for campus facilities which include:
    • Restrooms and common areas will be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis.
    • Staff from Facilities Management will clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in public areas, including doorknobs, light switches, toilets, faucets, elevator buttons, and sinks.
    • Employees will be responsible for wiping down their private offices; supplies will be provided upon request by unit directors or designees.
    • Employees should clean and disinfect frequently-touched equipment in their areas such as telephones, keyboards, copy machine buttons, shared break room appliances, etc.
    • Surface disinfectant will be provided for employees to wipe down frequently used countertops.

Where will I be required to wear a face covering?

Face coverings will be required in campus indoor settings, including classrooms, dining centers, computer labs, and other common areas. Students will not have to wear face coverings in their residence hall rooms. Face coverings will need to be worn outdoors if social distancing cannot be maintained

Will flu shots be required for students?

While not required at this time, flu shots will be strongly encouraged for all students, faculty and staff to lessen the possibility of dual outbreaks when the traditional flu season begins.


Will classes be taught in-person this fall semester?

WIU will be open with face-to-face instruction beginning August the 24th. Students should expect the following adjustments to their classes:

  • Classes will be a mixture of in-person and virtual instruction to provide the physical distancing that inhibits spread of the virus.
  • Class schedules will be adjusted so back-to-back sessions are not held in the same room.
  • The number of seats in classrooms will be adjusted to allow for proper social distancing
  • Classrooms will be cleaned and disinfected daily (students will be asked to assist in disinfecting their workstations following classes).
University Housing/Dining

Will the residence halls be open for fall?

University residence halls will be open for the fall semester. Special move-in instructions will be communicated with students later this summer.

Are residence hall rooms only going to be singles?

Residence hall occupancy will be limited to two students per room.

Will dining centers be open?

Campus dining facilities will be open throughout campus with meals available for carryout, and in-person dining will be limited.

Will students living in the residence halls receive face coverings?

Western Illinois University will be providing all WIU students with at least two university issued face coverings. It is recommended that students bring with them additional face coverings to get them through between laundering.

What happens if someone gets COVID-19 in the residence halls?

University Housing and Dining Services, WIU Risk Management, and Beu Health Center have created areas on campus to assist students who test positive for COVID-19 or display symptoms. Trained University personnel will assist students with obtaining meals, contacting professors, answering questions, and any other reasonable amenities needed while the student recovers.

Since the fall on-campus experience will be shortened, will I receive any refunds for my housing and dining costs?

Students will be required to notify University Housing and Dining Services if they plan to return or stay on campus for any part of the remaining semester after Friday, November 20, 2020. Students who choose not to return to their residence hall for any part of the remaining fall semester will receive a credit adjustment to their housing and dining charges. This credit adjustment will be made directly to students' accounts in late November.

Campus Life & Events

What will events and programming look like for Fall 2020 on campus?

While we still plan to have engaging events throughout the fall, staff are adjusting plans for welcome activities and experiences to ensure you still meet and are able to interact with fellow Leathernecks through events recognizing social distancing.

Can I still plan my event?

Yes. The University is working to develop protocols and procedures for events on campus. The size of gatherings will be based on standards under the state reopening guidelines in force this fall and beyond.

Are Leatherneck Athletics competitions still occurring?

In coordination with the NCAA, WIU Athletics is working closesly to deterime the feasibility of Leatherneck Athletics for the fall. As details are determined and finalized, WIU Athletics will announce at goleathernecks.com. GO NECKS!

[UPDATED] Is WIU canceling the formal graduation ceremony in December?

A virtual ceremony recognizing the academic and personal accomplishments of Western Illinois University students is being planned for the fall (December) graduation ceremony.

At this time the formal spring 2021 graduation ceremony is still being planned at both the Macomb campus and Quad-Cities TaxSlayer Center as normal.

Will the Recreation Center be open?

The WIU Campus Recreation Center will be open with limited operations and services to preserve safety.