Commencement

COVID-19 and Emergency Protocols for Spring 2021 Commencement

This Emergency Action Plan creates a system for the protection of life and property in the event of an emergency situation requiring the movement of people to a safe location.

COVID-19 Protocols:

With the COVID-19 pandemic there are concerns regarding mass gatherings at events. These protocols will be instituted to assist with COVID-19 precautions.

Face Coverings:
  • Face coverings are required for all graduates and guests.
  • The University will have face coverings available at ticket pick up and the name card station for those who do not have one.
  • Graduates are allowed to remove their face covering upon crossing the stage when having their photograph taken by university photographers. Face coverings must be back in place before returning to their seats.
Self-Check:
  • All individuals must complete a COVID-19 Self-Check before arriving on campus.
Social Distancing:
  • Guests may sit with their own family, but are required to stay 6 feet from other family units. Sanitizer stations will be located throughout the Hanson Field stadium.
  • Graduates will be seated 6 feet apart from one another.
  • As each commencement ceremony concludes, we ask that guests please remain seated until all graduates have exited Hanson Field.
  • Floor markers and way finding signs will be provided throughout Hanson Field stadium.
  • All graduates and guests must exit Hanson Field following the conclusion of their commencement ceremony.
Sanitizing & Disinfecting:
  • Sanitizer stations will be placed throughout the Hanson Field stadium area.
  • Thorough disinfecting will occur between ceremonies.
Education and Signage:
  • Various announcements and signage will be placed throughout the Hanson Field stadium to assist in COVID-19 education and safety.
Inclement Weather Plan:

Weather will be monitored through several different entities.  These include: The National Weather Service, Emergency Services Disaster Agency (ESDA), police dispatch, and computer webcast.

If a decision is made in advance, University Relations and Event Planners will notify guests and graduates by posting a notice on the front page of the Western Illinois University website.

If a decision is made on the day of the event or after the event has started, the Campus Inclement Weather Committee and Event Planners will determine weather conditions warrant a delay or cancellation. If the event is delayed, guests and graduates will be notified by public address to move to the designated facilities (for minor weather: vehicles, for major weather: Campus Recreation Center and University Union). If the event is cancelled, a public address message will be made asking everyone to leave the premises. Office of Public Safety Officers and event staff will assist in the evacuation of Hanson Field.

Designated Shelter Areas

If minor weather causes a delay of a ceremony, guests and graduates will be directed to their vehicles.  If severe weather (ex: tornado, hail, heavy winds, lightening, etc.) is in close proximity to Hanson Field, guests and graduates will be directed to the Campus Recreation Center or the University Union (based on their seating location inside stadium).

First-Aid Assistance:

Western Illinois Emergency Medical Services (WEMS) will be onsite to assist with medical emergencies. Individuals seeking medical assistance can find WEMS personnel stationed at the medical tent located just inside the north gate of Hanson Field.

Emergency Evacuation (non-weather):

The University has developed plans and protocols for a variety of non-weather related emergencies.  We ask that all guests and graduates review the exits and evacuation routes inside Hanson Field in the event of an emergency. Event staff and law enforcement will provide directions and further guidance respective to the emergency. All guests and graduates are expected to follow any and all directions provided to them in the event of an emergency.

Evacuation Routes & Exits:

Emergency Contact Information

  • Ambulance……………….………………………………………911
  • Fire Department …………………………………………………911
  • Police Department …………………..……………………….…..911
  • WIU Office of Public Safety …………………………………… (309) 298-1949