Western Oregon University Board of Trustees Hears COVID-19 Response Plan for Fall 2020

Western Oregon University entrance sign with flowers along the front. Trees and a brick building in the background

The Western Oregon University Board of Trustees approved the university’s Fall 2020 Safe Operation and Instruction Plan, a requirement from the governor’s office as part of Executive Order 20-28. The approved plan will now be submitted to the Higher Education Coordinating Commission.

The university’s strategy is built on the guidance the Oregon Health Authority provided in its June 12 document, Guidance for the Conduct of In-Person Instructional, Residential, and Research Activities at Oregon Colleges and Universities. In addition, an extensive, campus-wide committee has been meeting to plan the university’s COVID-19 response since May.

“Since the beginning of this crisis, Western Oregon University has been proactive in its planning to ensure a high-quality, student-focused education for its student body, even with online delivery,” said Board of Trustees Chair Betty Komp. “The safe operation plan we approved today is a culmination of the months-long efforts of many.  The board is confident  WOU students, staff and faculty will be safe and well cared for upon return to campus, and the university is prepared to pivot if circumstances dictate.”

The board also heard an update on the university’s budget situation, specifically as it pertains to program curtailment and the Western Oregon University Federation of Teachers collective bargaining agreement. In light of budget shortfalls, which existed before but were exacerbated by COVID-19, the university and faculty union leadership have been in discussions about potential cost savings in academic programs.

“Nurturing a comprehensive set of academic offerings is simply a best practice for public universities like Western,” said WOU President Rex Fuller. “We are working with the Provost and Faculty Senate to ensure our programs are responsive and aligned with the demands of our student population, the work force and the state of Oregon.”

Visit wou.edu/board for additional information about the Aug. 19 board meeting.

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