WKU Extends Spring Break, Will Transition Away from Face-to-Face Classes, as Least Temporarily

Mar 11, 2020

Western Kentucky University President Timothy Caboni announced changes in instruction and the spring break schedule in response to the coronavirus.
Credit Rhonda J. Miller

Western Kentucky University announced changes Wednesday in response to the coronavirus.

Spring break has been extended a week and faculty will develop new ways to deliver instruction without being in the classroom.

The first change announced by President Timothy Caboni is that spring break will run until March 22, instead of ending on Sunday, March 15.

However, residence halls will open on March 15, as planned. 

President Caboni said closing residence halls isn’t an option. 


“There are students who need a place to live so they can work and continue their education. There are young people who need to access our dining facilities so they can eat," said Caboni. "There are some students where this a safe place for them but other places might not be."He said the school is encouraging students who have good internet access at home to stay there and continue their courses online. 

The extended spring break provides time for the faculty to transition from the classroom to online instruction.

Caboni said faculty will revise courses to platforms like video conferencing on Zoom, assignments on the educational platform Blackboard, or other forms of virtual or digital assignments.

He said the university tentatively hopes to return to regular face-to-face classes on April 6, but that could change depending on any necessary response to the coronavirus.

Caboni said the changes may be difficult, but are necessary to promote "social distancing" as a way of mitigating exposure to COVID-19.

He said no cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed on or near the WKU campus.

Caboni said when faculty and students return from spring break they’ll be asked  to fill out a voluntary travel form. Documenting travel locations has been important around the globe to notify people who might have been exposed to the coronavirus.

Other policies WKU is putting into effect include:

  • All in-person, non-athletic events with more than 50 attendees between March 16-April 5 will be cancelled, postponed, or done solely through digital means. Decisions on athletic events will be made in consultation with the NCAA and Conference USA.
  • WKU is suspending all but “mission-critical, University-funded travel, both international and domestic.” All travel must be authorized by divisional leaders.
  • All WKU supervisors “should provide maximum flexibility to their employees to work remotely to promote social distancing. Tasks that can performed from home should be. At the same time, our campuses must remain open and functioning. It’s important that we work together to address this unprecedented situation. Employees should work with their supervisors and within their units to ensure daily operations of the University continue.”

Original post:

Western Kentucky University is extending its spring break by a week in a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In-person classes will be also be transitioning to other delivery methods through early April.

Students will remain out of class through March 22. While WKU is encouraging students to remain at home, residence halls will still reopen as planned on March 15 for those wanting to return to campus.

Beginning March 23, courses normally taught in regular classroom settings will transition to “an alternate delivery format through Sunday, April 5”, according to the plan posted on the university’s website.

“More information will be forthcoming from Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Cheryl Stevens,” the plan says. “Continuity of instruction is critical to who we are as an institution, and we are actively working to maintain continuity while preserving quality of instruction. Please know that all students who plan to graduate in May will still be able to do so.”

Other policies WKU is putting into effect include:

  • All in-person, non-athletic events with more than 50 attendees between March 16-April 5 will be cancelled, postponed, or done solely through digital means. Decisions on athletic events will be made in consultation with the NCAA and Conference USA.
  • WKU is suspending all but “mission-critical, University-funded travel, both international and domestic.” All travel must be authorized by divisional leaders.
  • All WKU supervisors “should provide maximum flexibility to their employees to work remotely to promote social distancing. Tasks that can performed from home should be. At the same time, our campuses must remain open and functioning. It’s important that we work together to address this unprecedented situation. Employees should work with their supervisors and within their units to ensure daily operations of the University continue.”