Western Strong: Ensuring Campus Safety

COVID-19 Updates and Resources

Application for an Emergency Grant through Federal HEERF Program

Western Colorado University understands the ongoing COVID pandemic has caused financial hardship for many students and their families.  The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) authorizes Western to distribute emergency grants to eligible students with exceptional need that cover any cost of attendance component or emergency costs that arise due to COVID.  Please note that only US citizens are eligible for funding through the HEERF program.

For the most comprehensive information about coronavirus in Gunnsion County, which includes cases from the Western campus, please visit the Gunnison County COVID website.

Contact us with any questions about Western Strong—Ensuring Campus Safety preparedness for Fall 2020.

Six Feet Away. Closer Than Ever.

Fall 2020 at Western will look different in lots of ways. We’ll be masked up, social distancing and ever-vigilant in pursuing and ensuring safe behavior and personal responsibility. We’ll be minding signs and arrows around campus, and seeing our faculty in new ways—through Plexiglas, face shields, or sometimes Zoom. We’ll be flexible and adapt quickly to change, as we must be in this new era. And we may defer a few Western Fall mainstays such as football, large events, residence hall parties, and homecoming.

But in ways that matter most, we’re returning to the same Western we’ve been building since 1911. The outstanding teaching, and the beyond-classroom experiences in which we learn from the spectacular environment we’ve inherited. The small class sizes, approachable faculty, and dozens of clubs and activities. The spectacular, wide-open spaces lit by 300 days of sunshine (a few of which, yes, may get a bit nippy).

We’ve spent the summer poring over every aspect of Western’s operations and making substantive investments to maximize safety and reduce risk. We’re all in this together. And together, we all play a part in keeping Western Strong.

What Students and Families Need to Know

Well… there’s a lot of valuable information students and families will want to have on their radars this schoolyear. Much of it is organized on our Your Questions—Answered page—which we’ll be updating through the Fall, or in documents such as our Western Strong Operations Plan.

But they boil down to five things:

  • Campus and community health are top priorities: Though not every action we’ve taken to prepare for Fall has been convenient or expedient, we will view decisions through a lens of preserving health and welfare.
  • Personal responsibility and safety are non-negotiable: No one individual can eradicate a public health concern, It takes each of us, adhering to our Statement of Personal Responsibility and always taking these core steps:
    • Wear face coverings in common spaces
    • Keep 6 feet of social distance
    • Stay home if symptomatic
    • Report your health daily in our WesternSafe app
  • We’ll be in lockstep with health dictates: Our close and expanding partnership with Gunnison Valley Health and Gunnison County Health & Human Services ensures we’re aware and responsive to local viral conditions and potential risk
  • We’re ready to change course, if needed: As we learned in March, public health conditions can shift suddenly with little warning. Our faculty are preparing courses in HyFlex fashion to help them nimbly move online if needed, and housing, dining and student life preparations all account for various scenarios

We’ll be very attentive to individual concerns: In this stressful time, physical and mental health, morale and connectivity can be challenged. Whether though Western’s Counseling Center or increased personal attention to issues that affect student success, we hope to build an inclusive and welcoming community, an oasis amid a disjointed landscape.

What you’ll find in these pages

Your Questions—Answered: Our clearinghouse for important questions you might have on health and operational fronts related to COVID-19 preparedness. Updated multiple times monthly.

Executive Communications on COVID-19: Some of our most important updates since March are included in memos from President Greg Salsbury and Vice President of Enrollment and Student Success Abel Chavez. Friday mornings, we now send and publish Western Strong-themed updates to the Western community.

Statement of Personal Responsibility: We require students to adhere to the principles of this statement, to maximize safe behavior throughout our community.

Campus Protocols and Expectations for Students: These policies have been developed to set clear expectations for behavior on campus in general, and as related to specialized functions such as residence life, dining, classroom settings, athletics/recreation and more

Western Strong Operations Plan: This document articulates at a high level how Western structures its preparatory efforts for Fall 2020 return to campus.

Together, we remain Western Strong.