Return to Campus

Facilities, Environment & Campus Life

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.

What to expect on campus

The COVID-19 pandemic created extraordinary challenges for the world and altered the way institutions of higher education serve students. Western Illinois University continues to adjust protocols and procedures on campus to follow the most up-to-date health and safety guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and other governmental and public health agencies.

All members of the University community, including visitors, are expected to follow University policies, protocols, and guidelines. 

Classroom and Instructional Spaces

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

  • Classroom and instructional spaces will go back to 100% capacity for the Fall 2022 semester.
  • Cleaning wipes and hand sanitizer will continue to be readily available.
  • If desired, faculty can request a podium shield by sending a request to Facilities Management through their respective building representative.
  • Instructors may determine if they require face coverings in their classrooms and must communicate accordingly. It is recommended that this expectation is included within their class syllabus.
  • Faculty should continue to work with students who are not present in face-to-face classes due to COVID or any other communicable disease.
Classroom Technology Enhancements

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

Residence Hall Operations

Residence halls will operate at standard occupancy. Adjustments in operations will be in effect to assist with the safety of students and hall staff. Adjustments to residence hall operations include:

  • All students living in the residence halls will receive a small bottle of disinfectant and access to a free face covering upon check-in. It is recommended that students bring additional sanitizer, face coverings, cleaning wipes/supplies, and a thermometer.
  • Residence hall restrooms will receive daily cleaning and disinfecting, every normal business day. Staff will be available for spot cleaning, restocking, and disinfection on non-business days. There will also be disinfection supplies in the restrooms for residents to use as needed.
  • Assigned roommates will be considered a “household” for purposes of quarantining/isolation processes. • Students who need accommodations should contact Disability Resources in the Student Development and Success Center (SDSC) at SDSC@wiu.edu or (309) 298-1884.
Campus Dining Operations

Campus Dining Centers are adjusting their facilities and offerings in accordance with food service industry best practices. At this time, dining centers will continue to offer carryout food container options.

Cleaning & Disinfecting Buildings

The University will invite and encourage all students, faculty and staff to be active participants and aid in the disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces to help eliminate the virus that causes COVID-19.

In addition to the increased measures being taken by the Building Services team, spray bottles containing an EPA approved surface disinfectant will be deployed and available for use by any University community member at any time. These bottles will be clearly marked and placed in classrooms, restrooms, conference and meeting rooms, common areas, and residence halls throughout campus. This disinfectant can be easily sprayed over surfaces in a mist that dries within minutes and will help kill any germs and viruses present.

Everyone is encouraged to help reduce any potential spread of the virus by routinely sanitizing their individual workspaces.

In addition:

  • Public area cleaning and disinfection will be performed every normal business day.
  • Disinfecting supplies will be placed in the classrooms to allow students and faculty to disinfect their space.
  • Hand sanitizer stations will be placed throughout both campuses in common area locations.
  • Occupants of offices and workstations are encouraged to disinfect high-touch areas before starting work and after completing the workday.
  • Departments/offices are expected to wipe all high-touch surfaces, including tables, refrigerator handles, coffee machines, etc. on a regular and frequent basis.
  • In most locations where there is a reception or transaction location, a plastic shield will remain in place and/or be installed as an additional pre-caution for not only COVID-19, but to mitigate the spread of other airborne viruses.
  • Computer labs will be open on both campuses however, individuals will be asked to help by disinfecting before and after they use a specific station.
  • Areas needing cleaning supplies or guidance on cleaning should contact Building Services at (309) 298-1834 or facilities@wiu.edu.

Ventilation and Air Conditioning Systems

  • The University’s buildings are equipped with a variety of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Most recirculating air systems are equipped with MERV 8 filters, with some buildings accommodating higher efficiency filters. WIU Mechanical Maintenance continues to replace filters in building systems that accommodate MERV13 filter ratings.
  • Facilities Maintenance continues to replace HEPA rated filters that according to space square footage have been placed in classroom settings where MERV13 filtration is not available. Facilities Management personnel will assess the need for such devices in campus locations.
  • When possible, maintenance personnel will recalibrate and adjust systems to maximize outside air flow in all buildings, while at the same time continuing to control temperatures to ensure comfort. It is recommended that windows are not opened in classroom spaces, so that buildings can be properly and efficiently climate-controlled.

Events & Activities

Western Illinois University is committed to providing engaging experiences this upcoming year, including hosting an array of events and activities. To ensure that WIU is monitoring events and providing a safe experience, event protocols have been established to help aid in planning and protection. 

  • The University strongly encourages events and programs occur in an outdoor setting as much as possible (especially during the first two weeks of the semester).
  • Event coordinators should be mindful that some members of the University community may be hesitant to participant in face-to-face/in-person activities and events. When applicable/ feasible, a virtual component should be made available to ensure maximum participation for all.
  • Concerts, comedians, lecturers, and other visiting performers are permitted on campus, but must follow all on-campus protocols and procedures. The event host is responsible for informing attendees of these procedures. Failure to comply with these procedures could result in the event host being sanctioned.
  • Any rental of a University facility must follow the on-campus protocols and procedures. It is the responsibility of the event host to inform all attendees of these procedures. Failure to comply with these procedures could result in the event host being fined.
  • Sanctioned University events hosted at an off-campus facility has the responsibility of following campus protocols in addition to any protocols the selected venue has in effect.
  • Some events may require attendance tracking (name/phone number/email) in the event participants need to be contact traced by the respective health department. The Scheduling and Events Services Office will provide guidance, card swipes, and other tools needed to successfully accomplish these tasks. It will be the event host’s responsibility to perform the necessary precautions as provided by the Scheduling and Events Services Office.
  • Event coordinators may request face coverings be worn at their event.
  • All individuals should be aware that these protocols and procedures could change based on compliance and directions from the health department.

Leatherneck Athletics

Western Illinois University Intercollegiate Athletics will host competitions as regularly scheduled, following all the protocols outlined by WIU, the NCAA, The Summit League, and the Missouri Valley Football Conference. Commencement Ceremonies:

For additional information regarding Western Illinois University Athletics, please visit www.goleathernecks.com.

Graduation Ceremony

At this time, the formal in-person December 2022 and May 2023 Commencement Exercises are planned to be held in Western Hall as regularly scheduled.

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 10 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.

What do I do if I as an instructor receive a call from a Health Department?

In some situations we have had other Health Departments contact an instructor to inform them of an exposure. The reason outside Health Departments are calling is most likely because the student registered their test and included their home address versus their campus address on their paperwork. The test result is then sent to the Health Department that is located in the student's respective hometown. If this occurs, please contact the Office of Risk Management at rmep@wiu.edu and someone will be in contact with you to work through the situation based on the information provided and campus procedures.

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.

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.