WKU Announces Big Red Restart Plan: Solicits Feedback From WKU Community
- Author: Timothy C. Caboni
- Author: Thursday, May 28th, 2020
Dear Faculty and Staff:
Since mid-April, dozens of individuals from across the university have engaged in planning efforts to restart WKU this fall in a manner that allows us to regain as much normalcy as possible while continuing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. I appreciate the work of these committees to think differently about how we accomplish our mission with the realization that we will, for weeks, months or even longer, learn how to provide the WKU Experience during a worldwide pandemic.
Fall 2020 Big Red Restart
I am pleased to share today the first draft of the Big Red Restart plan with the broader WKU community in order to collect feedback from our many constituency groups. The strategies and processes outlined in the document ensure that we provide maximum protection to all members of our WKU Family, including students, faculty, staff, and the communities in which we live. We ask that you review the plan in its entirety and provide feedback by 8:00 am, Monday, June 1, using the Big Red Restart feedback form. Your feedback provides an important sounding board to the intentional and thoughtful work done by our four committees and ensures our path forward during this unusual time is supported by our most valuable stakeholders.
In addition to our plans to return to in-person operations this fall, the Restart WKU Committees also outlined contingency plans to be activated if the public health situation requires. You can view each of the full committee reports at wku.edu/restart.
Faculty and Staff Transitioning Back to Campus
While we ready our campuses for the return of students this fall, we also need to begin safely transitioning staff and faculty back to our university offices. Beginning June 1, some individuals (not already working on campus as operationally-essential employees) will begin returning to campus as guided by their divisional leaders. However, offices should remain closed to the public, and staff should adhere to the operational norms outlined in the Big Red Restart plan.
On July 1, select offices will begin opening to the public for limited operations. Divisional leaders and deans will work with offices to ensure minimal staffing on campus with remaining staff working remotely where possible. Department heads will gradually increase staffing levels on campus while making every effort to accommodate requests from faculty and staff who are at an increased risk of the effects of COVID-19.
Before employees return to campus, department leaders should provide divisional leaders (and subsequently the COVID-19 response team) with departmental/office plans for meeting Kentucky’s Healthy at Work minimum requirements. The form and checklist are available here: Summer 2020 Departmental Restart Plan.
Tuition and Fees
As we continue to plan for our students to return to the Hill this fall, the WKU Board of Regents yesterday approved three items that support our students, their families and our communities. They are:
- Tuition: Year-over-year tuition costs will be held flat at WKU.
- Online course fee: For AY 2020-21, the distance learning surcharge fee—$150 per credit hour for full-time students engaged in an online course— will be waived.
- Educator graduate student discount: The Kentucky Educator Graduate Tuition discount rate will be lowered from $415 per credit hour to $350, making it the third lowest among peer institutions. The special tuition is available to all Kentucky residents who hold a current Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board educator certificate.
We remain committed to providing access and opportunity to those in our region and beyond. We know that the COVID-19 pandemic affected negatively the financial situation of many of our students and their families, and these bold decisions, especially in such an uncertain economic environment, reaffirm our commitment to transforming lives and elevating our communities.
As we continue this summer to plan for fall 2020 and beyond, know that we remain focused not just on the short term, but just as important, on the long-term health and success of our institution and our WKU Family. Thank you for being a part of this important work.
Timothy C. Caboni