President's Message: COVID-19 Update
- Author: Wednesday, March 11th, 2020
More: For the latest updates and messages, visit WKU's COVID-19 information page.
As the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly evolves, WKU continues to monitor aggressively the situation as it unfolds. We have for weeks been holding extensive internal discussions and developing a wide range of contingency plans to make preparations that best protect our WKU Community and also the broader communities in which we live. It is now necessary to activate a portion of those plans. Although no cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed on or immediately surrounding our campuses, the measures we announce today concerning changes in course delivery, events, travel, and telecommuting demonstrate our commitment to and care for our WKU Family and beyond. Additionally, we want everyone in our broader communities to think about how they practice social distancing and take other precautions to create the best opportunity to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 throughout our communities and health systems.
Spring Break and Course Delivery
Spring Break for WKU students is being extended through Sunday, March 22. Students are encouraged to remain at home, but residence halls will still open as planned this Sunday, March 15, at noon for those students who need to return to campus. Extending the break allows our faculty time to prepare for a change in delivery of instruction.
Beginning Monday, March 23, WKU will transition face-to-face classroom delivery to an alternate delivery format through Sunday, April 5. More information will be forthcoming from Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Cheryl Stevens. Continuity of instruction is critical to who we are as an institution, and we are actively working to maintain continuity while preserving quality of instruction. Please know that all students who plan to graduate in May will still be able to do so.
We understand specific questions will arise about campus housing and dining facilities. The Division of Enrollment and Student Experience will share more details on these arrangements.
WKU is proud to host thousands of visitors from our region and beyond for numerous events throughout the year. However, as we continue to think about the most prudent steps to limit COVID-19 exposure for our students, faculty, staff, and communities, we have elected to implement a new policy for on-campus events. Therefore, if you are planning any in-person, non-athletic event with more than 50 attendees between Monday, March 16, and Sunday, April 5, on any of our campuses, you must postpone, cancel, or virtualize the event. Decisions on athletic events will be made in consultation with the NCAA and Conference USA.
Although this may cause inconveniences and disappointment among event participants, we believe it is in the best interest of our campus communities. Please take the appropriate steps now to communicate with all those affected by this change to allow both event participants and organizers an adequate amount of time to shift plans.
Effective Monday, March 16, WKU is suspending all but mission-critical, University-funded travel, both international and domestic. Travel must be authorized by divisional leaders. If you have questions, please talk to your immediate supervisor for guidance.
Faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to complete the Voluntary Travel Disclosure Form to provide emergency management officials with as much information as possible about recent travel.
Effective immediately, all supervisors should provide maximum flexibility to their employees to work remotely to promote social distancing. Tasks that can performed from home should be. At the same time, our campuses must remain open and functioning. It’s important that we work together to address this unprecedented situation. Employees should work with their supervisors and within their units to ensure daily operations of the University continue.
The WKU COVID-19 Taskforce will continue meeting daily, monitoring the health crisis as it evolves. We will share updates and any further alterations to campus operations. Expect more detailed communication from divisional leaders with further guidance.
Additionally, we created wku.edu/covid19 to serve as a repository of important information related to our response to the pandemic. Please take some time to familiarize yourself with the site and check back often to stay best informed.
Additional questions may be addressed using the contacts below:
- Housing and Dining: 270-745-3143
- Classes, Instruction and Academic Affairs: 270-745-2296
Thank you for all you do to support one another as a family. And for all those expending significant time and effort to ensure our institution leads in mitigating the spread of the virus, I deeply appreciate your leadership, your engagement, and your dedication.
Timothy C. Caboni