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WKU Unveils Plan to Reopen Campus in the Age of COVID-19

Lisa Autry

Western Kentucky University is revealing some details about what the fall semester will look like under the coronavirus pandemic. 

The school has released Big Red Restart, a draft plan to resume campus operations and in-person classroom instruction.  Speaking to reporters Thursday afternoon, WKU President Timothy Caboni said COVID-19 is forcing the university to be more nimble.

“This August will not look like anything like last August," stated Caboni. "We all are learning to live beside this virus. It’s not going away until we have a vaccine and that means for us to be able to continue our lives with some sense of normalcy, we’re going to have to do many things differently.”

The first day of the fall semester will be August 24.  One major difference in the calendar will be the elimination of fall break.  Those days will instead be moved to Thanksgiving break with the last day of in-person classes on November 20.

After the week-long break, one final week of classes will take place in the form of special projects and online instruction.  There also won’t be a graduation ceremony in December.  Instead, those graduates will be recognized at the May commencement. 

President Caboni says by ending the fall semester early, the campus can hopefully avoid a potential second wave of COVID-19. 

Under the restart proposal, masks will be required of everyone, along with COVID-19 testing on campus, and contract tracing. WKU is taking other measures to encourage social distancing such as investing in technology to make the vast majority of its classrooms capable of offering instruction online.

All sports and social activities will take place in the fall, but with some likely modifications.

The campus community is encouraged to review the restart plan online and provide feedback by June 1.

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