Western Michigan University students to return to campus for fall semester

Western Michigan University will allow students back on campus for the fall 2020 semester. (WWMT/File)

Western Michigan University students will return to campus for the fall 2020 semester, according to a statement from Edward Montgomery, the university's president.

Montgomery said students would return Wednesday, Sept. 2, would work through fall without the usual October break, and would finish in-person classes around Friday, Nov. 20. The final weeks of classes and final exams were expected to be held remotely, with the semester ending Saturday, Dec. 19.

"Forgoing fall break and ending in-person instruction early eliminates the public health risk associated with employees and students potentially bringing the novel coronavirus to campus after traveling to disparate communities," Montgomery said.

Additionally, Montgomery said classes that enroll more than 70 people would not be allowed to take place in-person, and would instead incorporate a number of teaching methods, including in-person, hybrid, asynchronous online, fully synchronous online and partially synchronous online. More information will be available closer to the start of fall semester.

Montgomery emphasized safety for students, saying class sizes would generally be restricted to 16 students per faculty member. He also said the following safety measures should be observed at all times:

  • Masks: Students, faculty and staff wear them indoors if you are not alone.
  • Testing and monitoring: Monitor your health, and get tested immediately at the earliest symptoms. Stay home if you are sick. Sindecuse Health Center has rapid-result COVID-19 testing, which offers results on the same day or next day.
  • Hygiene: Wash hands frequently and correctly; clean workspaces and high-touch surfaces thoroughly and frequently.
  • Social distancing: Try to maintain 6 feet of distance all the time.

Montgomery said student housing and dining spaces would promote safety and restrict the size of gatherings. Indoor spaces would be cleaned with more intense sanitization procedures.

"Thank you for your patience as we have painstakingly developed our plans and made these decisions," he said. "Individuals across our campus have been working diligently to ensure that every effort is focused on protecting your well-being while providing you with an outstanding educational experience."

Montgomery said a virtual town hall would be held Wednesday, July 1 at 3 p.m. on the school's website. School leaders were expected to share more information about the fall semester.

Return to campus: