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Western Michigan University plans fall campus return amid coronavirus

Western Michigan University announced Thursday it intends to bring students back to its Kalamazoo campus for the fall semester.

What campus life will look like amid the pandemic is still unclear.

In a letter to staff and faculty Thursday, WMU President Edward Montgomery said that, “with regard to the fall semester, it is our full intention to welcome students back to campus and be fully operating, assuming government directives and public health constraints beyond our control allow us to do so.”

Several Michigan colleges and universities have announced this week that they plan to return to at least some face-to-face classes in September. Western’s announcement leaves Michigan State University, Wayne State University and the three University of Michigan campuses (Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint) as the last of the state’s 15 public universities to not announce their fall intentions.

Montgomery said in his letter that school officials are “working through multiple instructional scenarios and planning operational procedures that will make a safe fall on campus possible.”

The letter did not offer details about the enhanced health protocols for the 22,000-student campus. 

Several other public universities are planning for the likelihood that students, staff and faculty will wear face masks on campus, classes will be reconfigured to allow social distancing, and students and faculty who are uncomfortable with face-to-face classes will be able to teach or take courses online.

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