Facebook Pixel Fall 2020 Campus Operational Norms | Western Kentucky University Skip to main content

Campus Operational Norms for Fall 2020

A comprehensive training program will be developed to provide the campus communities with essential knowledge to safely maneuver WKU campuses while maximizing social distancing practices.


Operational Norms 

The following normative behaviors, actions and strategies apply across WKU’s campuses. To request assistance achieving these norms or to report violations, please contact the WKU Emergency Management Group at 270-745-2019 or wkuemgm@wku.edu. 



Social distancing

The definition of Social Distancing regarding COVID-19 is a minimum distance of six feet in all directions. If you cannot always maintain that distance, you are required to wear a mask covering the nose and mouth.

Face masks 

Appropriate face masks include a cloth face covering or appropriate paper mask that covers both the nose and mouth. These coverings are required:

  • At all times when in public areas or shared spaces within buildings, including hallways and classrooms
  • Outdoors when near others where social distancing of at least six feet cannot be maintained 
  • When in a vehicle with other persons, including cars, vans and buses

There are situations where a face mask is not required or cannot be worn due to the type of activity or factors related to the environment. Examples include:

  • While eating or drinking
  • While in your residence hall room or alone inside a university office 
  • In environments where hazards exist that create a greater risk by wearing a mask (engineering bays, biology research & instructional labs, etc.)
  • Performing physical exertion, such as manual labor, running and athletics training
  • Outdoors with more than six feet continuous separation between all people or there is only brief contact such as passing a person on the sidewalk
  • Other physical limitations or conditions that preclude an individual from wearing a face mask 

In all cases where a mask cannot be worn and social distancing cannot be maintained, alternative methods must be utilized to limit potential transmission of COVID-19. Specific guidance for the personal protective actions noted in this section will be included in a formal procedure document - WKU EHS-20-002 Personal Protective Measure for COVID-19.

Health checks

All employees are required to undergo daily temperature and health checks prior to reporting to campus. Specific guidance will be provided by supervisors once training begins. Any employees or students who feel unwell should stay home and contact their supervisors and/or healthcare providers.

Reconfiguration of areas to limit capacity and maintain social distancing

In all areas across university properties, and for university-led activities conducted off-campus, provisions shall be made to limit the number of persons in a given area to comply with a six-foot separation between persons. The following provides guidance on some common situations but should not be viewed as all-inclusive:

  • Relocate or isolate chairs, benches, couches or other seating, both inside buildings, outdoors and on vehicles transporting students, to limit available seats  
  • Temporarily close potential gathering spaces, excluding entrance lobbies or other building access points, to discourage people from congregating. If the area is part of the travel path to an exit, approval must be obtained from the University Fire Marshal prior to installation of any barriers 
  • Reconfigure classrooms, laboratories and other teaching/learning spaces to promote social distancing 
  • Reduce occupancy of dining, retail and event spaces to correspond to current state guidelines 

Installation of separation barriers

In situations where face-to-face interaction is required to conduct business transactions, food service, or other university functions, install barriers or physical control measures to reduce the risk of exposure from direct droplet exchange. To request a barrier, departments should complete a Project Request Form.

Modification of pedestrian traffic patterns

Environmental Health & Safety will conduct a survey of all pedestrian traffic pathways by June 30, 2020, to identify and assess areas where pedestrians cannot maintain social distancing. Where appropriate, physical barriers or other controls, such as transition to one-way traffic patterns or closures, to limit potential exposures will be deployed.

Cleaning and disinfection by area type

Operational requirements dictate minimum prescribed measures for cleaning and disinfecting areas to reduce the potential for spreading COVID-19. A university-wide cleaning and disinfecting plan for fall 2020 will be developed to address specific area types, recommended procedures, and responsibilities by June 30, 2020. The following provides the recommended actions for common categories of spaces.

  • Private Offices and Other Individually Assigned Workspaces: Cleaning and disinfection of private offices and individually assigned workspaces will be the responsibility of the employee assigned to the space. Cleaning and disinfecting supplies will be available in the various departments to aid in completing basic cleaning and disinfection of surfaces. 
  • Public Operational Spaces: In all buildings serviced by the Department of Facilities Management, staff will clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces in common areas, including primary entrances, hallways, primary restrooms, etc., twice daily.
  • Residence Halls: Housing and Residence Life (HRL), in conjunction with the Department of Facilities Management, will develop and communicate an operational plan for the cleaning and disinfection of all common areas of Residence Halls and HRL Apartments.
  • Retail Operations: Retail operations, such as the WKU Store, Athletic Ticket Office, and WKU Farm Commodities, will develop a plan to assure cleaning and disinfection of equipment, supplies, and if applicable, merchandise. These plans must be in place prior to resumption of public access retail operations.
  • Other Areas not Specified: Operational areas not specified in this document that have regular occupancy will follow the guidance for Public Operational Spaces. Specific questions or concerns about cleaning and disinfection procedures and practices should be directed to the Department of Environmental Health and Safety.

Other preventive and protective measures

Additional measures will be introduced prior to the restart of operations in accordance with regulatory requirements and other identified health and safety practices, including: 

  • Placement of hand sanitizer stations at primary entrances to all university buildings
  • Promotion of frequent handwashing
  • Reduction of passenger loads on transit buses
  • Implementation of administrative controls, such as the use of technological solutions to process business and academic transactions or deliver remote customer service to eliminate the need for face-to-face interactions or the direct handling of paperwork, increased use of remote meeting and conference systems to reduce face-to-face gatherings, and reasonable accommodations for vulnerable populations
    • Individuals with an underlying health condition or who are otherwise members of populations that may be particularly vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19 may request an accommodation by contacting their department head or the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity: https://www.wku.edu/eoo/ada/adaservices.php.

Testing for both active cases of COVID-19, as well as antibody tests for persons who may have contracted and recovered from the virus, are becoming more readily available and showing increased levels of reliability. WKU will work with local healthcare providers, Barren River District Health Department, Emergency Management, city and county governments and the Governor’s Office to develop access to appropriate testing. As testing programs are approved and specific implementation plans developed, they will be communicated to the WKU communities. 


Healthy at Work Officers

WKU has designated Healthy at Work Officers (HWO) as prescribed by the Governor’s Office. These individuals have a wealth of experience and will provide strong technical expertise and leadership in overseeing the university’s tactical response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The officers are:

  •    Laura Tomlin, Assistant Director EH&S: Lead HWO Program Coordinator
  •    Brandon Higgins, Manager Worker Comp & Safety: Employees, Regional Campuses
  •    Michael Gaddie, Associate AD/Sports Medicine: Athletics Staff and Student Athletes

The Healthy at Work Officers will coordinate to implement strategies and tactical plans to support the campus response to COVID-19.   


Designated COVID-19 Response Team

In addition to the designated Healthy at Work Officers, additional personnel will support the campus communities related to operational requirements around COVID-19. These include:

  •     David Oliver, Director EH&S/EM: Emergency Management and EOC Operations
  •     Melna Wilson, Coordinator EH&S/EM: Campus Case Response Coordinator                  
  •     John Sunnygard, Associate Provost Global Learning International Affairs: International Operations Interface
  •     Ken Branch, Director Facilities Management: Facilities Readiness and Operations 

Additional roles and resources will be included as governmental requirements and situational changes dictate.



Reporting Mechanisms/Procedures

Effective response to a communicable disease requires early reporting, rapid assessment and implementation of quarantine measures as directed by qualified health officials. WKU has implemented a dedicated reporting and support system to facilitate this process. The contact telephone number, 270-745-2019, is answered by designated, qualified staff on a 24-hour basis.          

A standardized reporting process assures that appropriate information is requested and gathered. All data gathered will be confidential per the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).


Case Management/Contact Tracing 

WKU is engaged with the Barren River District Health Department, Graves-Gilbert Clinic and other health partners to develop appropriate protocols for case management and contact tracing. All contacts received by the university that indicate a potential exposure to COVID-19 will be immediately referred to the applicable public health agencies for direction or assumption of case management. Immediate actions to isolate individuals will be implemented. WKU has designated on-campus isolation areas for persons residing in Housing and Residence Life (HRL) residence halls or apartments. Those residing off campus will be referred to public health. 

Formal case management plans and operating procedures are under development in consultation with the appropriate health officials. These plans will detail the case management process, roles and responsibilities, contact tracing, medical support and quarantine for on-campus residents, communication protocols, and case specific cleaning and disinfection (target completion date June 30, 2020).      

As prescribed by the Kentucky Healthy at Work requirements, WKU will develop and implement a Contact Tracing Program with guidance from the Barren River District Health Department. The program will be a critical component of the university’s COVID-19 case management plan as described in the previous section.   


University Events

Through the month of July, events and meetings holding 50 people or fewer may resume on or off campus provided the following conditions are met:

  • All events are approved and coordinated through the Office of Campus and Community Events or, in the case of athletic events, through Athletics
  • All attendees must meet the requirements outlined in “Required Actions of All Persons on Campus” 
  • Modifications to event plans, such as plated dinners vs buffets, will be followed to reduce COVID-19 transmission at events.  These plan modifications will be determined during the event review process

To request an on-campus event, please contact the WKU Office of Campus and Community Events at 270-745-2497 or special.events@wku.edu.  


The future return of medium- to large-scale events, and use of the WKU Conference or University spaces by outside organizations, remains to be determined.  The ability to host such events will be determined by several factors, including: 

  •       State regulations in effect at the time 
  •       Size of the event 
  •       Event Venue: indoor vs outdoor 
  •       Ability to maintain social distancing requirements 
  •       Level of community disease transmission 

The complete Environment, Operations and Physical Plan Restart Committee report is available here

Addendum to the Environment, Operations and Physical Plant Restart Committee report is available here.



Some of the links on this page may require additional software to view.

 Last Modified 7/6/20