BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Some students at Western Kentucky University are staying on campus for the holidays.
Due to COVID-19, many students will stay on campus for Thanksgiving to keep themselves and their families safe. The university will keep all dorms open during the Thanksgiving break and plans to keep three residence halls open during Christmas break.
WKU has given instruction this semester with a hybrid schedule, offering both in-person and online courses. They plan to continue with full online instruction after Thanksgiving break, but Director of Media Relations, Bob Skipper, says international and domestic students have the option to stay on campus.
“When students signed up for housing, they informed our housing and residence life office that they needed someplace to stay over the break, and so they were assigned to those halls,” Skipper said.
But, some students' situations have changed since the beginning of the year. Cases across the country continue to rise, and according to the Kentucky Department of Public Health, 166,139 people have tested positive for COVID-19, as of Nov. 25.
The university plans to continue with its hybrid model when classes resume in January. Skipper says those coming back from states with a high number of cases may be asked to quarantine before rejoining with other students and faculty.
“If they are coming from an area where there is a high incidence of COVID, then we will ask them to kind of quarantine and kind of stay away from other people for a couple of weeks before they, or whatever the CDC guidelines are at that time, until they come back to campus,” Skipper said.
The Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) committee of independent advisors will meet about a vaccine Dec. 10 with the U.S. hoping to ship millions of vaccines within 24 hours of FDA authorization. Skipper says the return to a traditional schedule will depend on the availability of a vaccine.
“We have a lot of hope that the vaccines will get approved and prove effective and once they’re widely distributed and people are able to take advantage then we can look a lot more closely about moving to a more traditional format," Skipper said.