Planning Student Activities, Clubs/Organizations & Campus Events During COVID-19

Last Updated: Aug. 17, 2020

The following guidelines are recommended for any type of student activity or campus event, regardless of who originates the planning.

There must be consistency across campus in planning and executing events and activities to avoid confusion and ensure enforcement and accountability.

These guidelines and policies will follow those of Winona State University, Stay Safe MN, the Minnesota Department of Health, and the CDC.

As the transmission of the virus changes and new guidelines are developed, this information will also be updated.

See these Campus Events Training PowerPoints for employees and students.

Based upon the work of Dr. William Miller from The Ohio State University, we considered the following as a guide for discussion.

  • Space: Will participants be able to physically distance from one another at your event?
  • Time: How long will the event take place? Exposure and risk increase with time.
  • People: How many people will be allowed to attend and what will be done to mitigate potential risks? Will participants need to enter/exit at specific times or in waves?
  • Place: Is the event inside, outside, or online? Inside venues increase risk of infection and decrease the number of people that can attend.

Space Requirements

The size of the venue influences the number of participants that can safely attend an event. 

It is important to have adequate space to enable physical distancing of 6 feet or more.

Since attendance at events is often fluid, event coordinators are required to provide and assign an event/door monitor to maintain an accurate count of attendees for the duration of the event.

Signage should be used across campus to accurately designate room capacities.


Event Assessment

In addition to the venue size, the event type may influence the likelihood of disease spread.

It is critical to ensure that the expected interaction is consistent with appropriate physical distancing. These questions provide a quick assessment to help determine the potential risk factors:

  1. Can you predict the behavior of the participants at the event?
  2. Will you be able to provide direction to your event participants?
  3. Will you be able to control participants, if need be, at your event?

Masks & Face Coverings

Employees, students, and visitors are required to wear masks/face coverings indoors and outdoors unless:

  • they are eating or drinking
  • they are alone in their residence hall room, office, or vehicle
  • an accommodation has been given

For sports clubs and intramurals, masks must always be worn whenever a participant is not in play.

The general guidance is "Mask On = Let the Fun Begin". Event organizers must have extra masks on hand, especially if the public is invited and they do not bring one.

Please always have a mask on your person. Masks and face coverings can help with preventing your germs from infecting others – especially in situations where you may spread the virus without symptoms.


Physical Distancing

Physical distancing is being implemented on campus through the following controls.

Employees and students are asked to maintain six feet of distance between colleagues and visitors. Be aware of and avoid crowded spaces including breakrooms, elevators and restrooms.

Following guidelines for Seated Entertainment and Meeting Venues, events and activities in spaces that “include, but are not limited to, both indoor and outdoor venues for entertainment, lecture-based seminars, and seated testing, involve those where admission and occupancy can be relatively controlled and remain predictable. Forward-seating venues involve those where attendees (“patrons”) remain seated and face forward while in attendance.”

Occupancy/participant capacities are limited to 25% capacity up to 250 people and 6 feet physical distancing must be maintained.

Venues or events indoors and outdoors involving round-seating, stadium seating, or involve the intermingling or congregation of attendees, are covered by the Recreational Entertainment Venues guidance.

Gatherings must not exceed 250 people and 6 feet physical distancing must be maintained. Some examples:
  • East Room, Kryzsko Commons limited to 135 capacity
  • Somsen Auditorium limited to 135 capacity
  • McCown Gym limited to 250 capacity

Registration & Participation Information

Event organizers must ensure there is some form of sign-in/registration process to capture who was at all events/activities for the purposes of contact tracing.

When possible, it should be done electronically. If events are loaded into WSU Connect, QR codes can be generated for event organizers to have students, employees, and guests scan or they can check out IPads with ID scanners from the Library (this would only work for WSU participants).

If events/activities are not loaded into WSU Connect, event organizers should generate alternate ways of capturing participant information and keep this information until it is requested for contact tracing by WSU Health Services or the Minnesota Department of Health.


Student Event & Activity Registration Form

Any event or activity planned by any student group (club/organization, residence hall, etc.) on both the Winona and Rochester campuses must go through a registration and approval process in order for it to occur.

Approval must be given by the club/organization advisor (or other responsible WSU employee) and a select group of other student life professionals.

This form is required for the following types of events and activities:

  • Competition or game
  • Conference, workshop, or other educational opportunity
  • Fundraiser
  • Meeting
  • Practice
  • Retreat or membership development
  • Service learning or community service
  • Special event: speaker, lecture, performer, etc.
  • Special event: dinner or banquet, celebration, cultural event, etc.
  • Special event: major campus event (i.e., Kryzsko After Dark, Relay for Life, etc.)
  • Social gathering or activity
  • Other: Please list

Facility reservations cannot be made in EMS until the registration form has received final approval. This could take up to 2 weeks.

This form is required for events/activities that will be held virtually (as there may be an in-person component), on campus (indoors and outdoors) or off campus.

Part of the registration form must include a COVID-19 plan to keep the participants safe.

As a part of the planning process, event organizers must be able to respond to the Considerations for All Event/Activity Planners.

If you are unsure or answer no to any of the event assessment or other questions posed, you should plan to hold your event/activity/meeting outdoors or virtually. These assessment questions provide a quick assessment to help determine the potential risk factors and if you can run a safe event/activity.

Student-planned events/activities including meetings must complete the Student Event and Activity Registration Form to be given approval to hold the event.

Determine whether additional support is needed to maintain physical distancing and mask requirements. Kryzsko Commons Student Union will have staff working to check-in and provide support, but other academic buildings/spaces will not have additional support.

For approved large-scale traditional events and activities that will serve 100 or more anywhere on campus, a WSU employee (trained student employee or a faculty/staff employee) must be present to ensure compliance with event guidelines and policies.

Determine how participants will be notified of expectations such as symptom screening, physical distancing, and mask requirements, especially if the public is invited.

Consider earlier start times or check-in times to allow for sign in/registration and to alleviate congestion.

If performers, speakers, or special guests are invited, they must be informed of all campus guidelines and requirements as well.

These guidelines are for all indoor events, activities, and meetings. Please see the section on Intramurals and Sports Clubs for additional details for those activities.

Occupancy/participant capacities are limited to 25% capacity up to 250 people (6 feet physical distancing must be maintained).

WSU Facilities and Kryzsko Commons Student Union have already determined room/venue capacities which are outlined in the EMS reservation system and they must be strictly adhered to.


Expectations & Requirements for Event Participants & Organizers

Review the Pre-Planning Considerations section.

Entrances and exits should be clearly designated and monitored by event staff/organizers.

Furniture will not be moved from its original set-up location by event attendees, staff, or organizers to maintain proper physical distancing that has been determined by WSU Facilities or Kryzsko Commons Student Union staff.

Masks will be required by all event participants for the duration of the event. Event organizers must have extra masks on hand, especially if someone did not bring one along. The general requirement is "Mask On = Let the Fun Begin". 

Event organizers must ensure there is a sign-in/registration process to capture who was at all events/activities for the purposes of contact tracing. See page 2 for details.


Venue Set-Up

Event organizers should check the room set-up before starting to ensure adequate space between participants.

Separate entrances/exits should be used when possible.

Events with materials to be handed out should be placed on tables for participants to grab or plexiglass shields should be set on tables as a barrier between event participants and staff (i.e. check-in tables).

For events occurring in Kryzsko Commons Student Union, event organizers needing whiteboard markers, erasers, etc. can check them out through the Student Union Resource Desk.

In Kryzsko Commons Student Union, appropriate signage will be provided for events/activities. Otherwise, sample sign templates will be available online for event organizers to download and post in other locations around campus.


Monitoring & Sanctions

The event organizer/staff are responsible for enforcing all physical distancing guidelines and mask requirements.

Participants should be verbally reminded of the requirements (masks, physical distancing, etc.) when they enter the event or when the event starts.

A student-planned event or event organizer who does not follow the required physical distancing and mask requirements may face sanctions from the Conduct Office or WSU Student Senate.

WSU Student Senate sanction may include restriction on future funding requests, infractions of the club/organization, etc.


Follow-Up

Spaces within Kryzsko Commons Student Union will be sanitized twice per day by building GMWs.

Other campus spaces should be sanitized by event organizers after the conclusion of the event and once per day by WSU Facilities. 

Event organizers should remind attendees that if they become ill within 7 days, they must inform the event organizer and WSU Health Services.


Virtual Event Options

TLT is compiling a list of resources and venue options for planning virtual events as well as hybrid events where some people are gathered, and some people are participating virtually.

Depending on the type of event, some events and locations may require an outside company to produce the event. These services would incur additional charges that the event organizers must cover.

If TLT can provide the services for WSU events with the equipment and personnel they already have, no charges would be incurred. If services are needed for an event planned by an outside entity/3rd party, service fees will be charged by TLT.

All questions about available services, options, and features should be directed to TLT@winona.edu at least 1 week prior to the event.

There will be livestream capabilities from these large venues on campus:

  • East Room
  • Somsen Auditorium
  • Stark 103
  • SLC 120

Public Participation

If event organizers anticipate that members of the public will be virtually participating in events, they will need to plan for some form of registration or admission.

Zoom can accommodate up to 500 people in a webinar format.

Event organizers should work with TLT for assistance and to accommodate larger virtual audiences beyond 500 people.


Events Planned by an Outside Entity

Suspended until further notice.

These guidelines are for all outdoor events, activities, and meetings. Please see the section on Intramurals and Sports Clubs for additional details for those activities.

Gatherings must not exceed 250 people and must maintain 6 feet physical distancing.


Planning Expectations & Considerations

Review the Pre-Planning Considerations section. A 36 square feet physical distancing model must be available.

Be sure to provide accommodations for attendees who may have accessibility needs (e.g., a wheelchair that needs to navigate through the grass).

Consider if virtual participation is possible for those who are unable to attend in person.

Additional staffing should be accounted for when planning outdoor events to ensure enforcement and compliance of policies, crowd control, and communication. Event organizers should consider a ratio of 1 staff for every 10 participants when feasible.

If the event/activity will be spread out or it is anticipated that there will be a larger crowd, event organizers should arrange for a PA system for communication.

Masks will be required by all event participants for the duration of the event. Event organizers must have extra masks on hand. The general requirement is "Mask On = Let the Fun Begin".

Event organizers must ensure there is a sign-in/registration process to capture who was at all events/activities for the purposes of contact tracing.

Deliberate campus communication about large scale/traditional events happening outside is expected so people do not create walking traffic jams, go into areas where events/activities are occurring unexpectedly, etc. Be sure to think and plan for traffic flow in and around your event.


Venue Set-Up

When possible, create separate entrance and exit areas utilizing line queuing equipment such as crowd control stanchions or fencing.

Approved large scale/traditional outdoor events and activities (serving more than 100 people) should include:

  • fencing or crowd control stanchions for line queuing
  • a clear entrance and exit
  • require physical distancing of tables and participants
  • sanitation stations
  • the ability to control the flow of foot traffic

If used, tables and chairs must be set up at least 36 square feet from each other.

Consider using outdoor chalk to mark participation Xs and physical distancing limits.

Practice sanitize-in and sanitize-out for all tables, equipment and gathering areas.

Events/activities with materials to be handed out should be placed on tables for participants to grab to keep it as contactless as possible.

Sample sign templates will be available online for event organizers to download and post around the event area.


Participant Expectations for Employees, Students & Guests

  • Masks are required to be worn the entire time of the event/activity
  • Sanitize hands before entering the event and upon exiting the event
  • Participants will maintain physical distance from each other
  • Entrance and exit routes will be observed, if applicable
  • All participants must register/sign in to ensure we know who the participants are for contact tracing purposes

Monitoring, Interventions & Sanctions

The event organizer/staff are responsible for enforcing all physical distancing guidelines and mask requirements.

If event organizers have difficulty with a participant’s compliance of physical distancing measures, they must remind the group of expectations. If behavior continues, consider excusing everyone from the space and terminate the event. The objective is to keep people safe.

Participants should be verbally reminded of the requirements (masks, physical distancing, etc.) when they enter the event or when the event starts.

A student-planned event or event organizer who does not follow the required physical distancing and mask requirements may face sanctions from the Conduct Office or WSU Student Senate.

WSU Student Senate sanction may include restriction on future funding requests, infractions of the club/organization, etc.


Tents on Campus

Four tents will go up on campus for use by faculty, departments, and recognized student organizations between Monday, August 24 and Friday, October 15.

They will be located South of the Gazebo, between PAC and Kryzsko Commons, East of the Library and between Kryzsko Commons and Sheehan Hall.

Check EMS for capacities, set up options and to reserve when they become available.

These guidelines will be in place for any events and activities with food until we can return to normal operations (prior to the COVID-19 pandemic). Consultation was done with Chartwells in developing these guidelines.


Requirements

Masks will be required at all events and activities serving food unless actively eating or drinking. Physical distance of 6 feet must be maintained while a participant’s mask is off to eat or drink.

The area for food must follow physical distancing and COVID precautions including maintaining 6ft of distance, a controlled flow of queues, and appropriately cleaned surfaces.

Two types of food service are permitted at approved events with a COVID safety plan in place:

  • Commercially prepared and pre-packaged food. This would include any food items in individual serving sizes which are bagged, boxed, wrapped, or sealed.
  • Served or plated food through a professionally licensed caterer. Licensed caterers (including Chartwells) must use trained servers and take necessary COVID precautions while serving food. 

All catering and food service in Kryzsko Commons Student Union and Lourdes Hall must go through Chartwells. Learn about the contactless catering process (PDF) with Chartwells.


Restrictions Until Further Notice

No self-service buffet style food service will be allowed (ex. pizza parties).

All potlucks are suspended for any student, staff, or campus gatherings.

All food sales (i.e. bake sales, fundraisers) are only permitted to sell commercially prepared and pre-packaged items. No items made at home or in a non-commercial kitchen will be permitted.

Access to Chartwell’s kitchen will be strictly limited to Chartwells staff only. Student clubs or staff will not be allowed access to Chartwell’s kitchen for food preparation.

These guidelines are for events and activities typically planned by clubs/organizations. Please see the section on Intramurals and Sports Clubs for additional details for those activities.

All student-planned events and activities on campus and off campus must be approved through the Student Event and Activity Registration Form on WarriorSpace.


On-Campus Events & Activities

Events and activities taking place on campus must follow guidelines outlined under the Considerations for All Event & Activity Organizers.

Whenever possible, virtual access to all events and activities should be provided to allow participation by students who are not comfortable attending in-person or who have a compromised immune system.

All recruitment events should take place on campus.


Off-Campus Events -- Including Travel

All clubs/organizations and student groups approved to hold events and activities off campus are expected to abide by the COVID-19 safety policies and procedures provided by the venue they are using.

These guidelines must be shared the Student Event and Activity Registration Form.

If the event or activity is outside the City of Winona and travel is approved on the Student Event and Activity Registration Form and the Student Travel Request Form, the event organizer must research the COVID safety policies of the location they are traveling to (i.e., required mask policy, restrictions, etc.).

All travel must follow the guidelines and restrictions set by WSU and Minnesota State.

Currently, all out-of-state travel is suspended indefinitely except for La Crosse, WI, and Fargo, ND. All approved in-state travel must have an approved COVID safety plan including proper sanitary precautions.

Charter bus trips planned by clubs/organizations to events such as sporting events, theatre/music performances, museums, etc. are not permitted until further notice.


Food & Item Sales & Fundraisers

All sales and fundraisers must be approved via the Student Event and Activity Registration Form.

All food sales (i.e. bake sales, fundraisers) are only permitted to sell commercially prepared and pre-packaged items. No items made at home or in a non-commercial kitchen will be permitted.

Food, item sales and fundraisers done via tabling on campus (indoors or outdoors) can be conducted, but students working at the table must wear a mask and maintain physical distance from each other and people stopping by.

Fundraising items to be handed out should be placed on the table for participants to grab to keep it as contactless as possible. Proper sanitary precautions must be taken including having hand sanitizer available.

Selling pre-packaged items and virtual fundraisers (i.e., crowdsourcing, kickstarters, etc.) are highly preferred.


Tableing Guidelines

If clubs/organization reserve tables in the Lower Hyphen of Kryzsko Commons Student Union or the courtyard, they must follow these guidelines.

Lower Hyphen

Only 1 person per table. Plexiglass shields may be put up around the table to protect everyone involved.

The person running the table must always stay behind the table (and plexiglass if provided) to maintain physical distancing.

Gazebo or Courtyard

Two people are allowed per table as the tables provided are 6 feet long.

These two people must sit/stand along the short edges of the table and must be 3 feet from the back edge of the table to maintain proper physical distancing from people stopping by.


Service Learning or Community Service

All clubs/organizations hoping to volunteer should coordinate their efforts through Kendra Weber, Director of Student & Community Engagement, to plan and execute volunteer efforts.

Clubs/organizations will need to file a Student Event and Activity Registration Form and gain approval before volunteering.

In working with agencies, all protective measures imposed by both WSU and the partner agency must be followed while volunteering. Students should be ready to wear a mask and/or face shield, use hand sanitizer, sanitize flat surfaces and commonly handled materials, and minimum physical distance of 6ft.

These general guidelines for performance-based events and activities (i.e., music, choir, theatre, etc.) are for departmental and student events and activities and have been developed using CDC, MDH, and OHE policies.

Input was also provided by the WSU Music Department and the THAD Department.


General Guidelines

Projected voices and forced breath present an increased risk for communicable spread. Common guidance suggests staying at least 12 feet apart while participating in singing, playing forced air instruments, and projecting your voice during other performances such as theatre and/or dance.

Group singing or chanting should be reconsidered due to the inherent danger of viral super-spreading involved in these activities.

Reduce contact between individuals as much as possible. The more physical contact that occurs between people, the greater risk there is in spreading illness.

Group sharing of materials is strongly discouraged.


Guidelines for Indoor Events & Activities

For typical ensemble groups larger than 10, subgroup assignments should be made for gathering. These subgroups should be kept intact, and intermixing should be minimal.

Guest artists and performing groups should be reconsidered.

Moving indoor events outside is strongly preferred when possible.


Guidelines for Outdoor Events & Activities

For typical ensemble groups larger than 25, subgroups assignments should be made for gathering.

These subgroups should be kept intact, and intermixing should be minimal.

A large-scale traditional event is one that would typically serve at least 100 participants.

Approved large-scale traditional events must follow guidelines for indoor and outdoor events.


Planning & Safety Consideration

The viability of holding a safe large-scale traditional event in person should be assessed prior to significant planning of said event using guidelines outlined under the Considerations for All Event & Activity Organizers.

If an event organizer cannot respond yes to all these questions with a clear plan, they should plan to hold their event/activity virtually when feasible.

  1. Can you predict the behavior of the participants at the event?
  2. Will you be able to provide direction to your event participants?
  3. Will you be able to control participants, if need be, at your event?

Depending on the nature of a large-scale traditional event, a separate COVID safety plan may need to be developed for consideration for approval.


Alternate Ideas for Large-Scale Traditional Events

Several employees are willing to help brainstorm alternatives of how you could hold your event if you are struggling with the restrictions of limited face-to-face contact:

Details for Intramurals and Sports Clubs are still being finalized.