The Office of the President informed Western Michigan University students and families of the university’s plan to extend social distance learning to the end of the semester and close residence halls.
Residence halls will be closing at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24. Checkout procedures will be designed to prioritize social distancing and students’ scheduling needs. The step is a precautionary measure as the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, continues to spread throughout the US.
Move out procedures will be conducted in two phases. Students still living in residence halls may begin checking out today through Sunday, March 22. For students who have already returned home, residence hall staff will communicate instructions for them to retrieve their belongings and check out between Sunday, March 22, and Tuesday, March 24, at 8 p.m.
International students, Seita Scholars and Foundation Scholars will be able to remain in a residence hall and receive dining services. Other students can appeal to stay in the dorns through the housing portal. Students must inform residence halls on whether they decide to move out or request to stay through a ‘check out intent’ form sent to residents.
During the move out process, students are limited to two helpers who are not displaying symptoms of COVID-19 and have not been exposed to the virus.
WMU Apartments and Spindler Hall will remain open. Students in off-campus communal living arrangements are encouraged to consider whether they can effectively practice social distancing and return home accordingly.
Commencement ceremonies planned for Saturday, April 25, will be postponed. Further details are expected to be communicated soon.
The full text of the email announcing the closures reads:
Dear students and families,
At this time, there remain no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Western Michigan University's campus or in our county. However, as a result of the continuing spread of the disease in the state of Michigan, we have decided to take the additional precautionary step of extending distance education through the end of the spring semester, which concludes Saturday, April 25. Final exams will be conducted during the week of April 20, also using distance means.
Residence halls will be closing at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 24. Staff will communicate this morning with residents about checkout procedures designed to balance social distancing with students' scheduling needs.
Move out will proceed in two phases. Students still living in residence halls may check out Friday, March 20, through Sunday, March 22. Those who have already returned home will receive instructions for retrieving their belongings and checking out from Sunday, March 22, through Tuesday, March 24, at 8 p.m., when residence halls will close for the semester.
WMU will provide financial consideration for those students affected by the early closing of the residence halls and dining. More details will be forthcoming in the coming days.
Students with extenuating circumstances, such as international students, Seita Scholars and Foundation Scholars, will be permitted to remain in a residence hall. Dining services will be available to them. For other students who would like to appeal to remain in their residence hall, a communication from Residence Life will include contact information.
Because they have an ability to practice social distancing, students in University apartments may remain if they so choose. Students in off-campus communal living arrangements, such as fraternities and sororities, are encouraged to consider whether they are able to effectively practice social distancing or if it is better to return to their permanent home.
“We understand and empathize that this is a loss for our graduating students, their families, and the Bronco community,” the email read. “we are committed to ensuring that you have an opportunity to celebrate.”
Those with further questions are encouraged to visit the University’s COVID-19 response website.