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WKU to Host Students Back On Campus This Fall


The president of Western Kentucky University says the school will host students back on campus this fall.

The university suspended in-person classes and sent most students home from on-campus housing midway through the current spring semester as part of its COVID-19 response plan.

Speaking with the school's staff senate this week, WKU President Timothy Caboni said, while the school does plan to resume in-person instruction, any return to the hill will take place based on meeting benchmarks from the federal and state government, as well as the Centers for Disease Control.

"We can't go get our hair cut yet, it's not time for universities to be throwing the doors open and coming back," Caboni said, "And so, as much as I know folks want to know today, you're not going to know today. I don't know today. We're going to watch it as it unfolds, and I think that is smart."

Caboni said social distancing will still factor into class sizes and locations where they're held. He added that creative solutions like substituting lecture halls with on-campus sporting venues like Diddle Arena are on the table.

While answering quetions from staff senate, Caboni also touched upon the budget issues posed by public pension contribution rates and the coronavirus pandemic response.

Caboni said he hopes current budget issues are a short-term problem.

"We're not going to cut our way out of this, we've got to grow our way out of this," Caboni said.

The university president noted, prior to the coronavirus crisis, this had been a promising year for the school's budgetary situation.

"It s the year, when on freshman recruitment, we're turning that corner," Caboni said.  "When was the last time we were up 200 students in the freshman class? A long time."

He told staff senate his adminstration is doing everything in its power to prevent the need for layoffs, noting WKU has not had to announce employee furloughs this semester like other schools in the state, including the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville, have done.

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