Return to Campus

Facilities & Environment

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

As a condition of returning to campus, community members are required to follow the COVID-19 related policies and requirements established by Western Illinois University.

Classroom and Instructional Spaces

Fall 2021 classes will reflect a more traditional campus experience including the majority of courses taught in-person. Classroom seating will be distanced at six feet between seats/stations. Face coverings are required to be worn in all classroom settings. Students and instructor have the option to remove face coverings when classes are taught outdoors and proper distancing can occur.

Cleaning wipes and hand sanitizer will continue to be readily available across campus, including classrooms.

The Provost's Office, Registrar's Office, and Facilities Management will continue to work with Departments/Schools to set enrollment maximums and classroom capacities based on pedagogical reasons and physical activity in the classroom (e.g. playing a wind instrument, singing, dancing) and in compliance with public health..

Faculty should continue to work with students who are not present in face-to-face classes due to COVID or any other communicable disease.

Research that requires individual or group travel should follow the COVID-19 travel guidelines found at wiu.edu/policies.

Classroom Technology Enhancements

University Technology has implemented 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.

Department/Area Control Plans 

As part of the 2020-2021 COVID-19 mitigation efforts, all departments, offices, and areas on campus were directed to provide a control plan for their respective area(s). This allowed the individual areas to develop their own parameters and procedures. These mitigation efforts must remain in place for the 2021-2022 academic year, and be adjusted accordingly, if necessary, to ensure adherence to University protocols and procedures.

Attendance Recording & Seating Charts

As contact tracing is an imperative part of the follow-up process during a confirmed COVID-19 case, the WIU administration has implemented a temporary policy where faculty must develop seating charts for their classes, as well as take attendance.

  • 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 quickly 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 and any other measures in place to assist with COVID-19 response.
 
Elevators

Most elevators should be limited to two occupants per cab. Some elevators may have varying capacity; signage on each elevator will indicate maximum occupancy. Floor decals will be placed to suggest where occupants should stand. Those waiting for elevators in lobbies should practice appropriate physical distancing.

Restrooms 

Individuals are expected to keep at least six feet of distance in restrooms across campus.  

Individuals are expected to wash hands thoroughly after each use (with soap and water for at least 20 seconds). Only use alternating sinks when washing hands in a restroom; use alternating urinals in men's restrooms..

Meetings

Meetings held in-person that involve students, faculty, and staff are asked to limit the number of attendees present, wear face coverings, and ensure that all individuals are able to appropriately physical distance. Zoom and other remote-meeting technologies are still encouraged when possible.

Reception Desks and Transaction Counters

Reception areas inside office suites should be equipped with signage requesting visitors to remain six feet away. In most locations where there is a reception or transaction location there is a plastic shield is installed for additional safety. Transaction counters, especially in dining centers, campus bookstore, residence halls, etc. will be fitted with temporary plastic shields to ensure proper safety as recommended.

Communal Spaces

Departments are expected to take steps to ensure compliance with University protocols, e.g., remove or rearrange chairs and tables and add visual markers in meeting rooms, employee break rooms and other common spaces to ensure physical distancing.

In addition to enhanced cleaning protocols implemented by Building Services, departments are also expected to wipe all high-touch surfaces, including tables, refrigerator handles, coffee machines, etc. on a regular and frequent basis.

Doors and Door Handles

In an effort to minimize frequently touched surfaces, building representative and area managers should review the interior doors within their department’s work areas to determine if any can be left open when the area is occupied. Fire-rated doors, typically those that are equipped with closers and open to a building’s corridor, should be kept closed.

Cleaning & Disinfecting Buildings

The Building Services team, in addition to their daily cleaning and sanitizing of spaces across campus, will increase their disinfecting of all frequently touched surfaces throughout campus to multiple times each day. Frequently touched surfaces include items such as door handles, handrails, restroom fixtures, elevator buttons, countertops, etc.  

As part of the University's cleaning and disinfecting plan, the Building Services team will also install hand sanitizing stations at centralized locations of all facilities and in high-traffic common areas throughout campus.

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.

Administrative Offices

Staff and faculty who are assigned individual offices do not need to wear face coverings while alone in the office.

Staff assigned to open workstations should assess the layout of these work areas and determine if reconfiguring furniture is needed to accomplish proper social distancing protocols. For workstations enclosed by wall panels less than 54” in height, determine if a six-foot minimum separation can be maintained with the occupant of adjacent workstations. If this cannot be achieved, it is recommended that staff be advised to work remotely or provide alternative workspaces such as an unused conference or meeting room.

The use of shared workstations should be avoided, including student workstations

Occupants of offices and workstations are encouraged to disinfect highly touched areas before starting work and after completing the workday.

Ventilation Systems

The University's buildings are equipped with a variety of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. WIU Mechanical Maintenance continues to replace filters within campus facilities that accommodate MERV13 filter ratings. In addition, Facilities Maintenance has an inventory of HEPA rated filters that according to space square footage will be placed in classroom settings where MERV13 filtration is not available. Instructors can request if a HEPA filter can be outfitted in their space by contacting submitting a work order through their respective building representative.

In all buildings, even those with the most state-of-the-art HVAC systems, the wearing of face coverings and maintaining physical distance from others are the most effective ways to prevent transmission.