Return to Campus

Academics

Individuals with questions, comments, or constructive feedback can email covid-19@wiu.edu. In addition, a comments/concerns form has been established for easy submission.

Schedule

The University intends to begin in-person classes the week of August 24, continue through without a fall break, and conclude face-to-face instruction on Friday, November 20. A limited number of graduate-level courses are scheduled to begin prior to August 24.

Beginning Monday, November 30, the remainder of the semester will be provided through alternative methods as chosen by the instructor.

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

Course Instruction

As the fall semester will certainly be a new experience for many, it is the goal of Western Illinois University to provide quality, effective instruction to all students, no matter the circumstance.

We know that there could be potential disruptions during the semester, and as such, all departments were provided guidance and encouraged to create coursework that is delivered both in the physical classroom and through other alternative methods. The aim of this course design is to provide flexibility for the students and agility for the instructor as we move through the semester. Departments have been guided to design course content so that we are able to pivot to an alternative learning mode at any point during the term. This will ensure that students are able to complete their courses, even if there is an unplanned disruption.

Resources for students who are fully online can be found on the Online Student Resources Page.

As always, the University recognizes that there are a wide variety of pedagogical approaches to teaching undergraduate- and graduate-level course content. There will be several modes of course instruction offered in Fall 2020:

On-Campus
  • Macomb On-Campus (numeric course sections) – These courses meet in- person on the Macomb campus at the identified days and times and in the Location identified on STARS. Arranged courses for Macomb students, such as independent studies, internships, practicums, etc. also comprise this course type. Some Macomb courses are video-conferenced with the Quad Cities campus. Macomb campus tuition and fees will apply; An access charge will apply for video-conferencing receiving sites.
  • Quad Cities On-Campus (Q section numbers) – These courses meet in-person on the Quad Cities campus at the identified days and times and in the Location identified on STARS. Arranged courses for Quad Cities students, such as independent studies, internships, practicums, etc. also comprise this course type. Some Quad Cities courses are video-conferenced with the Macomb campus. Quad Cities campus tuition and fees will apply; An access charge will apply for video-conferencing receiving sites.
Online (I section numbers)
  • Asynchronous –These are traditional 100% online courses that students access and complete on their own, without the need to login at a specific day or time for real-time interaction with the professor or classmates. Online courses that are asynchronous will have a Location of Online and a meeting time of Arranged. Most online courses follow this format. Distance Learning and Outreach tuition applies, and either the Distance Learning Charge or the Macomb Campus & Online fee may apply, depending on the student’s Tuition Plan.
  • Synchronous – These are 100% online classes that require the student to log onto the course on designated days and times in order to participate in lectures or class activities in real-time with others, often using Zoom or Google Meets for these online meetings. Courses that are synchronous will have a Location of Online and specific meeting days and times identified. These courses will also have a Footnote stating that students are required to attend online meetings at the indicated days and times. Distance Learning and Outreach tuition applies, and either the Distance Learning Charge or the Macomb Campus & Online fee may apply, depending on the student’s Tuition Plan.
Hybrid (H section numbers)
  • These courses are mostly (75% or more) delivered online, with some limited face-to-face, in-person meetings. The Location will be Online with an Also Meets meeting day, time, and location identified. Distance Learning and Outreach tuition applies, and either the Distance Learning Charge or the Macomb Campus & Online fee may apply, depending on the student’s Tuition Plan.
On-Campus Blended (Section numbers vary based on campus location)
  • These courses are a mixture of in-person class meetings and online course content, but there is more face-to-face content delivery than with the Hybrid course sections. These courses will have identified meeting days, times, and a specific location, and will also have an “Also Meets” location of Online or Arranged. The Online course delivery may be asynchronous or synchronous. Synchronous meetings will be identified in the course Footnotes. Macomb or Quad Cities tuition and fees will apply, as relevant to the meeting location of the face to face, in-person portion of the course.
Live Streaming (L section numbers)
  • These courses have face-to-face, in-person class meetings and are synchronously live-streamed. Students are able to participate in some or all class meetings virtually through Zoom or Google Meets from their individual location. Some Live Streaming classes will require students to alternate between in- person and virtual attendance, in order to ensure the social distancing classroom capacity is maintained. For example, for a Tuesday/Thursday class, ½ of the students may attend a Tuesday class meeting in person, but attend via live stream on Thursday, while the other ½ of student attend Tuesday via live stream and attend Thursday in person. Check the course Footnotes for any special attendance stipulations. Macomb or Quad Cities tuition and fees will apply, as relevant to the meeting location of the face to face, in-person portion of the course.
Extension (E or T section numbers)
  • These courses are offered at off-campus extension sites. Extension courses may be video-conferenced with the Macomb or Quad Cities campuses. Distance Learning and Outreach tuition applies, and either the Distance Learning Charge or the Macomb Campus & Online fee may apply, depending on the student’s Tuition Plan. An access charge will apply for video-conferencing receiving sites.
Weekend (W section number)
  • These graduate level courses are held between 5:00 pm Friday and 11:59 pm Sunday on the Macomb or Quad Cities campuses. Some Weekend courses are video-conferenced between the Macomb and Quad Cities campuses. Distance Learning and Outreach tuition applies, and the Macomb Campus & Online fee may apply, depending on the student’s Tuition Plan; An access charge will apply for video-conferencing receiving sites.

Classroom Technology Enhancements

University Technology is installing enhanced technologies to support interactive learning by remote students, including adding cameras, computers, and ambient microphones to classrooms. These technologies will allow students joining the class remotely to hear, see, and interact with the instructor through Zoom, as well as other remote learning platforms.

Classroom Assignments

The Fall 2020 class schedule has been modified to incorporate more distance learning options. Current course options may be viewed on the STARS Course Search screen. Changes continue to be made to course delivery format and classroom location. Updated schedule confirmations will be emailed to all student via their WIU email accounts on Friday, July 31 and Friday, August 21. Students are encouraged to continue to check their STARS Class Schedule screen for the most recent Fall 2020 schedule information. If a course has been changed to a format the student does not prefer, course section changes may be made on STARS Registration screen. Students who wish to make more substantial changes to their Fall 2020 class schedule are encouraged to speak with their academic advisor first, to ensure that the degree plan is not negatively affected.

Attendance Policy & Seating Charts & Dismissal

As contact tracing will become an imperative part of the follow-up process during a confirmed COVID-19 case, WIU Administration has implemented a temporary policy where faculty are being requested to develop seating charts for their classes, as well as take mandatory attendance that can be requested and accessed quickly if the need arises.

  • Wherever possible, faculty should assign seats in a classroom, starting at the back of the room and working toward the front.
    • This seating arrangement will allow for maximum distance between the faculty member and the students in the front of the room.
  • Wherever possible, instructors should dismiss students by row at the end of each class (using alternating doors, if available), starting with the row closest to the door(s), in order to reduce congestion at the doors and in the hallways.
  • Instructors should remind students to move through the hallways and go directly to either to their next class or out of the building and to not congregate in the halls.
  • Students are required to comply with seating assignments, directional signage, designated building entrances and exits, and social distance dots.

Concerns About In-Person Instruction 

The University is committed to taking every reasonable step to create a safe and healthy environment as the campus is reopened. To do so, specific changes will be made to make our classrooms and workplaces as safe as possible. Individual circumstances, including age and certain underlying health conditions, can increase the risk that, if acquired, the course of the virus can be more severe. WIU has a streamlined process for responding to individual requests for further accommodations related to COVID-19 based on personal circumstances. We may extend accommodations into the spring 2021 semester, without further requirements, as we learn more about the course of COVID-19. If you believe you may need further accommodation, we urge you to submit a request as soon as possible so we can begin working with you.

Students who need accommodations should contact Disability Resources in the Student Development and Success Center (SDSC) at SDSC@wiu.edu or (309) 298-1884.

Employees who need accommodations should contact the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access (EOA) at EOA-OFFICE@wiu.edu or (309) 298-1977.

Instructional Spaces

Classroom and Instructional Space Reconfiguration
  • Nearly 300 classrooms have been reviewed and measured, and members of our Facilities Management staff are now reconfiguring these spaces to accommodate the needed distance for social distancing.
  • Classrooms and other instructional spaces have been reconfigured to allow for 100sqft per instructor which should account for 10' distance from students. In cases where 10' is not available a barrier will be put in place.
  • Clear plastic barriers will be affixed to the teaching lectern or deployed as portable screens in some classroom settings.
  • Non-traditional spaces have been converted for use as classrooms and can accommodate physical distancing and other health and safety protocols.
  • To accommodate physical distancing, the capacity of classrooms has been reduced by an average of 61%. Classrooms/auditorium desks or chairs have been evaluated and seating that is off-line (not available for use) for social distancing purposes will be wrapped and designated with a decal or signage.
Laboratories and Close-Contact Courses

Working closely with specific departments where “hands-on” instruction is their primary method of instruction, protocols are being developed for courses that require closer contact such as science and engineering labs, music courses, and art and design classes. Maximum capacity has been adjusted to accommodate social distancing requirements.

Study Abroad

After carefully considering current international travel restrictions and unknown international health and safety concerns and protocols, Interim President Abraham approved a recommendation to suspend study abroad programs until further notice. While this decision is disappointing to faculty and students, it is a necessary step to protect the health and safety of all. The university is working to ensure a meaningful and fulfilling experience on campus, with particular attention to their international interests, for those students who would otherwise have been abroad.

Cleaning and Sanitizing

  • Classrooms will be cleaned and sanitized by Building Services each night. 
  • Classrooms will be disinfected, at a minimum, 2 times each day by Building Services in conjunction with normal cleaning processes. 
  • Most classrooms will have a minimum of 1 hour between classes, so that proper sanitizing measures can be performed.
  • Disinfecting spray for surfaces and hand sanitizer will be available in each classroom for use by faculty and students.
    • It is recommended that faculty disinfect the lectern and their working space(s) at the beginning and end of each class.
    • It is recommended that faculty and students disinfect their working space at the beginning and end of each class. Each classroom will be outfitted with disinfection spray and paper towels.

Frequently Asked Questions for Instructors

What do I do when a student in one of my classes tests positive for COVID-19?

Step 1: Show your support. Remember, the student is most likely nervous and is concerned with a plethora of things. They will have a lot of questions and receiving support from their professors will help ease the situation. Please work with them on assignment deadlines and other types of reasonable accommodations they may need to successfully progress in the class until the student can physically return.

The University has setup isolation space in Bayliss Hall for students who are positive or who are symptomatic. The Student Development and Success Center (SDSC), working with Beu Health Center and other campus entities will take the lead on coordinating communication with the student, transportation, and other accommodations needed. To view this plan, please visit the Health and Hygiene Section of the Return to Campus Plan.

  • Do Not notify your class of the test outcome of the student-Under HIPPA law, this information should remain confidential.
  • Do Not move your class to another location-doing so would have a larger impact on the schedule as rooms are scheduled to allow adequate time between classes.
  • Do Not cancel class or move to an online format.

Step 2: Depending on how the student was tested (i.e. not through Beu Health Center), they may not be aware yet of the services that the Student Development and Success Center (SDSC) offer. Inform the student that they can contact the (SDSC) 309-298-1884 or sdsc@wiu.edu to inform them of their situation and that the SDSC can help notify professors of their in-person absence. SDSC will also provide wellness checks on the student to ensure that their questions are being answered and that they are progressing through recovery.

Step 3: It’s important to know that after an individual is confirmed positive, that the process then resides with the local Health Department for the purpose of contact tracing. Instructors may be asked to provide seating charts and the class attendance record for a specific day, so please have this information readily available. As the contract tracing process is initiated, the Health Department will work to identify anyone who had close or direct contact with the positive student.

Note: For COVID-19, a close contact is anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes.

If one student in a class tests positive, will all students in the class, including the instructor have to quarantine?

No. Once the contact tracing process begins through the Health Department, they will work with the positive student to determine who they’ve had direct or close contact with. Instructors may be asked to provide seating charts and the class attendance record for a specific day to help expedite the process, so please have this information readily available. Only those who have been within close contact of a person who tests positive will be asked to quarantine.

Note: For COVID-19, a close contact is anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes.

How will the instructor know if a student tests positive?

Due to HIPPA law, this information will remain confidential. A professor could be made aware if the student discloses the information to them. An instructor could be notified by the Student Development and Success Center (SDSC) that a student will not be in attendance due to extenuating circumstances, however, they will not be told the specific reason.

What if I am concerned about a student or they are showing symptoms in the classroom?

Western Illinois University is committed to the emotional and physical well-being of all students, as well as their academic success. The Division of Student Services offers an easy-to-use tool to share nonemergency-related concerns about student behaviors and potential barriers to success. In conjunction with this system, if an individual learns that a person may need assistance due to illness related to COVID-19, they can submit a Leatherneck Care Referral. A member of the Student Development and Success Center will be in contact with the individual being reported to provide further guidance.

How will instructors know that a student is "cleared" to return to the classroom?

If a student is in quarantine, they should be expected to remain there for 14 days unless symptoms develop during that time. If an individual is in isolation due to being positive or symptomatic, they have to meet the following criteria :

  • 10 days since symptoms first appeared and
  • 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
  • Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving*

If they are positive but have no symptoms, they will be in isolation for at least 10 days.

During their time in either quarantine or isolation, they will be working with members of the student services team on wellness checks, as well as with the Health Department who will track and provide guidance based on the individual's progress of recovery. Due to HIPPA and other medical laws, we cannot provide instructors any updates or information specifically related to the individual's condition, other than the initial email that states that the individual will be out of the class due to extenuating circumstances.

Each Case Manager will work with their assigned student to assure that they are following University protocols in relation to recovery and after meeting the criteria will work with the student to provide clearance to return back to their assigned residence hall space and return to classes. Please note that the Case Manager is not providing medical guidance or clearance, but simply ensuring that CDC, IDPH, and University protocols criteria are being met.

Students will not be required to take a follow-up test or receive medical clearance before being allowed to return to their regular campus activities, but will undergo continued evaluation and consultation throughout their quarantine and/or isolation period.

What if I see a student in my class and I do not believe they completed their isolation period?

In some cases, you may see a student return to class before what you believe is the date they should return based on email correspondence from the student or the date of the notification you receive from the Student Development and Success Center (SDSC).

Remember, when a student emails you to inform you that they won't be in class or you receive the notification email from SDSC, there are still a lot of details being worked out through case management and the student doesn't always know that dates can change based on when symptoms start, when they were tested, etc. and not always the day they find out their test results.

Can I require a student to produce written documentation that verifies they are truly released from a quarantine or isolation situation?

No, a student should not be asked to provide written documentation that verifies release as in some cases, the individual may have developed symptoms or decided to quarantine on their own accord without testing or seeking professional medical advice.

Frequently Asked Questions for Students

What if I was originally scheduled for an in-person class and it was moved to an online format?

Students should work with their academic advisor to see what options are available to them. This includes possibly moving to a different section number for the class or switching classes entirely. Your academic advisor will be able to work with you to see what other options are available to qualify for your degree program.

What if an online class isn't being taught how it was described, such as being canceled repeatedly, not utilizing the methods of technology and communication as indicated, etc.?

If a student has concerns in regards to the methods or how an online class is being instructor, they should first contact the chair of the specific department the course resides in. They can also contact the Dean of the college the course resides in if they feel that they are not getting an adequate response.

Will WIU switch to alternative instruction following the Thanksgiving Break?

Yes, the last remaining 3 weeks of classes, including finals will be done through alternative methods and no in-person instruction will occur after students leave for Thanksgiving Break on Friday, November 20.

What if someone in my class tells me they haven't been feeling well or shows symptoms of COVID-19?

Western Illinois University is committed to the emotional and physical well-being of all students, as well as their academic success. The Division of Student Services offers an easy-to-use tool to share nonemergency-related concerns about student behaviors and potential barriers to success. In conjunction with this system, if an individual learns that a person may need assistance due to illness related to COVID-19, they can submit a Leatherneck Care Referral. A member of the Student Development and Success Center will be in contact with the individual being reported to provide further guidance.