University Policies

COVID-19 Health and Safety Policy

Last Updated: 7/24/2020

I. Purpose

Educated by the latest science, public health guidance and ideas from our campus community, Western Illinois University is implementing a flexible, in-person experience designed to keep our community safe, ensure access and quality for our students, faculty, and staff, and move our campus community forward. The measures described in this policy are critical in protecting both the campus as a whole and individuals at higher risk from COVID-19.

A key requirement for reducing the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission involves significantly reducing the number of close 'people-to-people' and 'people-to-infected-surface' encounters. These reductions are achieved through measures described in this policy including: social distancing and campus density reductions; the use of appropriate personal protective equipment and aggressive cleaning protocols; and personal hygiene discipline.

II. Policy

Expectations for Supervisors, Department Chairs and University Administrators

To protect the campus, it is critical to continue to minimize the number of people coming to campus where and when applicable. Depending on roles and personal circumstances, some employees can continue to work remotely for an extended period of time with permission from their supervisor. Departmental decisions to return employees to campus will be dictated by the Department Chairs and/or Department heads of each unit. University Administration, or their designees, are responsible for the development of a risk mitigation plan for departments working on campus. Critical services employees will continue their work schedules in consultation with their supervisors.

When deciding whether an employee should return to work on campus, supervisors, department chairs, and university administrators should use the following criteria:

  • Essential duties must be done on campus or can be done significantly better on campus.
  • Duties support the health and welfare of students.
  • Duties support the academic or programmatic needs of students and/or the on campus student experience.
  • Duties support mission critical work including primarily faculty and staff who support on campus research or in person instruction. This includes staff who must be physically present on campus to support teaching and learning, information technology and building and campus maintenance.
Expectations for Faculty, Staff, Students, and Visitors

All members of the university community, including visitors to campus, are responsible for the following social distancing and safety measures:

  • If an individual is sick, they should stay home and not report to campus or leave their residence hall room with the exception to seek medical attention.
  • Wearing a cloth face covering (over nose and mouth) on all University property, both indoors and outdoors. (See University Face Covering Policy)
  • Maintain social distancing (at least 6 feet apart) when possible.
  • Adhere to all campus signage and/or decals that are related to COVID-19 guidance.
  • Follow the capacity limits related to classrooms, elevators, and other spaces on campus.
  • Practice continual hand hygiene by washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water isn't available use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Clean your workstation, desk, or other high touch surfaces (light switches, door handles, etc.) frequently.
  • Follow the proper entrance/exit locations in each campus facility.
  • Limit and refrain to the best of your abilities transferring of items, such as files, books, loose documents, etc.
  • Limit non-essential travel (See University Travel Policy)
  • Ensure public gatherings follow the University implemented capacity limits and when hosting a gathering, ensure that social distancing protections including reducing density, in-take procedures, face coverings, and hand hygiene protocols are being followed.

Before beginning the academic year, all faculty, staff, and students must complete health and safety online training, which includes a review of the Protect the 'Necks Pledge.

Until further notice, all faculty, staff, and students are required to complete a temperature check and log into campus each day at the designated screening location(s) before entering their campus destination. As the University enters into the Return to Work Plan Stage III: Unify, this protocol may be adjusted as needed.

All faculty, staff, and students will be responsible for following any additional safety guidelines or protocols outlined by the WIU Administration to ensure integrity, safety, and compliance for the campus community.

Employees or students who are sick must stay home. Employees must call their supervisor or department chair to inform them of their absence. Students should email their faculty members with a copy to the Student Development and Success Center (SDSC) at


Supervisors and department chairs are responsible for enforcing this policy in consultation with Human Resources as appropriate. The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities will enforce this policy for students and hold them accountable to adhering to all campus risk mitigation plans.

Changes in Policy:

Due to the fluidity of the COVID-19 pandemic, all procedures and process outlined in this policy are subject to change with notification.