Gatherings Guidance by Campus Operating Levels

APPLIES TO: ON-CAMPUS ACTIVITIES NOT COVERED BY AN APPROVED DEPARTMENT RE-OPENING PLAN

This guidance is intended to provide direction in coordinating gatherings of multiple individuals while WWU is under Modified Operating Levels 3-4, as defined and outlined on the Western Safe Start website. All campus gatherings are subject to the limitations and requirements outlined in the matrix below, and in the detailed guidance which follows. (Please note that this guidance applies specifically to activities on the Bellingham campus and university-sponsored activities in Whatcom County; activities at any WWU satellite campus should follow the guidelines of the host institution.)

Summary

As of 04/14/21, WWU is operating at Safe Start Western Level 3, which allows for resuming some on-campus gatherings – including functional meetings, work groups, formal activities/events, and informal social gatherings – so long as the limitations and requirements described below are met. Note: All employees attending any gathering not covered by an approved Department Re-Opening Plan are required to submit an On-Site Approval form prior to arriving on campus.

 

Guidance Matrix

 

Level 0 - Not Operational

NO GATHERINGS PERMITTED UNDER SUSPENDED OPERATIONS

Level 1

Activity Limits Requirements
  • All gatherings remote
  • No in-person gatherings allowed
  • All gatherings required to be remote

Level 2

Activity Limits Requirements
  • Most gatherings remote
  • Very small indoor gatherings permitted with requirements met
  • Gatherings should be conducted outdoors if possible

 

  • Limit of 5 individuals per gathering (excludes academic gatherings detailed in approved department plans)
  • No campus visitors allowed (approved clients, contractors, and outdoor public visitors only)
  • Facial coverings, social distancing required
  • Completed on-site approval form required
  • Supervisor approval and monitoring required
  • Symptom attestation required

Level 3 - Current Level

Activity Limits Requirements
  • Remote or outdoor gatherings encouraged
  • Functional meetings/work groups and sanctioned activities/events allowed on campus within limits
  • Small student/employee social gatherings allowed on campus within limits

 

  • Functional meetings/work groups and sanctioned activities/events: Limited to 25% space occupancy, or max 200 people (whichever is less, for both indoor and outdoor spaces)
  • Social gatherings: Limited to 5 people from 2 households total indoors; 15 people from 2 households total outdoors
  • Campus visitors allowed for approved activities, events, meetings, services
  • Note: Athletics events limited by additional guidance and current policy

 

  • Facial coverings and social distancing required for all gathering types (regardless of size)
  • Symptom attestation verification required for all functional/sanctioned gatherings (regardless of size)
  • Designated Gathering Coordinator and completed Gathering Safety Plan required for all functional/sanctioned gatherings of more than 5 individuals
  • These limits and requirements also apply to off-campus gatherings sponsored by university employees

Level 4

Activity Limits Requirements
  • Increased gatherings on campus
  • Functional meetings/work groups and sanctioned activities/events allowed on campus within limits
  • Small student/employee social gatherings allowed on campus within limits

 

  • Functional meetings/work groups and sanctioned activities/events: Limited to 50% space occupancy, or max 400 people (whichever is less, for both indoor and outdoor spaces)
  • Social gatherings: Limited to 10 people indoors; 50 people outdoors
  • Campus visitors allowed for approved activities, events, meetings, services
  • Note: Athletics events limited by additional guidance and current policy

 

  • Facial coverings and social distancing required for all gathering types (regardless of size)
  • Symptom attestation verification required for all functional/sanctioned gatherings (regardless of size)
  • Designated Gathering Coordinator and completed Gathering Safety Plan required for all functional/sanctioned gatherings of more than 5 individuals
  • These limits and requirements also apply to off-campus gatherings sponsored by university employees

Level 5 - Fully Operational

Activity Limits Requirements
  • Gatherings running as normal; full restoration of pre-pandemic offerings
  • Gatherings running as normal; no longer restricted by limitations
  • Gatherings running as normal; no additional requirements

Detailed Guidance

Planning Requirements

In planning for any gathering of multiple individuals, be sure your group can meet any limitations/requirements which may apply. Depending on the current Modified Operating Level, these include:

  • Gathering size/space occupancy limits (apply to all gatherings in Levels 2-4)
    • Gathering size limits apply to all non-academic, university-sanctioned activities not covered by an approved Department Re-opening Plan
  • Facial coverings and social distancing (required for all gatherings in Levels 2-4)
    • Participants are expected to provide their own facial coverings; for those unable, Gathering Coordinators are strongly encouraged to have disposable facial coverings on hand
    • Gathering Coordinators must ensure all attendees maintain physical distance of at least six feet while entering, inside, outside and leaving a gathering/event (without exception)
  • Designated “Gathering Coordinator” with supervisory approval (required for most gatherings in Levels 2-4)
    • Functional/sanctioned gatherings must have a designated faculty/staff “Gathering Coordinator” as required (review levels matrix)
      • Gathering Coordinator must submit a completed Safety Plan to their functional supervisor to receive approval; supervisors should ensure that each Safety Plan will meet all relevant requirements (any questions or concerns should be addressed with the appropriate Covid-19 Site Supervisor)
      • Supervisors are responsible for saving (for documentation purposes) all Gathering Safety Plans approved for their department/functional area – IMS reserves the right to request/review the Safety Plan for any approved gathering at any time
  • Gathering Coordinators should seek approval 3-4 weeks in advance for any planned gathering which may require services. University services which may be required for gatherings [custodial, maintenance, safety, etc.] are in high demand under modified operations.

Note: Please be aware that your plans may be impacted if the Modified Operating Level for the university changes, which may occur at any time as a result of virus activity, environmental factors, etc.

Gathering Procedures

  • Any employee planning to attend a sanctioned gathering on campus should submit a completed On-Site Approval Form at least one day in advance (required in Levels 2-3, to be decided for Level 4)
    • “Sanctioned” gatherings include all gatherings organized by university clubs, departments, functional areas, and program offices; and only exclude informal social gatherings
    • Please note that if an employee is already approved to work on-site on the same day as a planned gathering, it is not necessary to submit an additional On-Site Approval Form for the purpose of attending a gathering
  • All employees, students, and visitors are required to complete Symptom Attestation before coming to campus for any gathering (required for all functional/sanctioned gatherings in Levels 2-3, to be decided for Level 4)
    • By using the approved Symptom Attestation Form
    • Prior to the start of any gathering, supervisors should verify attestations for any direct employees scheduled to attend
  • At the start of any gathering, the Gathering Coordinator (or supervisor) should confirm compliance with limitations and requirements
    • The Gathering Coordinator should confirm safety requirements are in place (facial coverings, group size limits, social distancing, etc.)
    • In addition to supervisors verifying attestations for employees, the Gathering Coordinator should also confirm attestations for students (by visually verifying attestation badges in the student health portal)
    • It is strongly recommended that the Gathering Coordinator confirm attendance of any students using the WIN platform

Additional Considerations

  • Physical Safety Considerations
    • Contact the building management staff of the space you are utilizing to discuss proper ventilation and cleaning of the space before, during, and after the event – you will be charged for the costs associated with the cleaning of the space
    • Consistent with the applicable phase of re-opening, capacity restrictions and seating and/or gathering spaces will be modified to accommodate for capacity restrictions and proper physical distancing within the venue
    • Post appropriate physical distancing signage leading to and at the entrance of an event/gathering
    • Reduce the number of entrance/check-in and exit/check-out points at your event/gathering - in most cases, including outdoors, there should be one entrance and one exit, but please be aware of accessibility requirements related to the space
    • Use floor tape, rope, or other barrier means to ensure attendees remain at least six feet apart while waiting to enter or entering an event/gathering
    • Ensure a hand sanitizer station is readily accessible at the event/gathering space
    • Make provisions to prevent close contact between individual when transferring items, equipment, or materials (e.g. one-at-a time access at designated drop-off/pick-up points) - no currency or other paper materials should be directly handed between individuals
    • WWU Dining Services should be contacted to understand current guidelines regarding serving food at an event/gathering (discouraged during Modified Operating Levels 2 and 3)
    • Individuals should follow the protocol established and agreed upon with building management on how to exit the space safely after an event is over
  • Addressing Vulnerable Populations: There are numerous populations who are more susceptible of becoming infected and at high-risk of becoming severely ill and dying from COVID-19. In order for our response to the ongoing pandemic to be as equitable as possible, it is essential that Gathering Coordinators are aware of the differential risks and impacts that the virus has on the many communities and demographics that comprise our full campus community. As we plan events and programming, it’s critical that Western follow current CDC guidelines to ensure the safety and security of our entire community. Gathering Coordinators should carefully consider the following:
    • Considering how event dates intersect with faith-based observances
    • Utilizing events/gatherings to quickly communicate the risk or lack of risk associated with programs, people, and places (offering assurance of safety and equitable treatment)
    • Maintaining privacy and confidentiality measures for those concerned about being targets or who are actively being targeted
    • Ensuring advertising for events/activities/programs does not reinforce harmful stereotypes or send unintentional messaging about certain groups or behaviors
    • Training employees to speak out against negative behaviors or statements about groups of people and the exclusion of people who pose no risk from participating in regular activities 
    • Minimally, event organizers must be able to appropriately refer participants to support and/or resources to report bias, targeting
    • Actively engage in discussing topics of privilege and oppression (i.e. racism, xenophobia, food insecurity) with event organizers so that they can anticipate reactions, create more inclusive frameworks and support those who may be impacted

Key Resources

Additional Resources

Questions

Email Covid19Planning@wwu.edu                 Last Updated: 04/16/21