U of I Addresses COVID-19 Pandemic with Action and Education

The University implements mandatory testing, training, quarantine protocols and a COVID Wellness Team as students and faculty prepare to return to campus

(Image courtesy of UI Public Affairs)
The University implements mandatory testing, training, quarantine protocols and a COVID Wellness Team as students and faculty prepare to return to campus

Fall plans for the University of Illinois began to shape up as the coronavirus pandemic continued into the waning days of summer.

Chancellor Robert J. Jones released critical information about the University’s evolving plans to facilitate the return of students, faculty and staff in the fall, stating, “We are a university that is privileged to be home to some of the world’s leading minds on COVID-19 safety, testing and procedures. If we all do our part, we believe we have the ability to achieve our missions.”

The University currently is implementing a plan that utilizes education and action. Jones noted that the University will require COVID-19 testing for faculty, staff or students who have a need to be on-campus for any reason or length of time. The testing will conform to a two-tier system. Mandatory twice-weekly testing will be required for those who participate in any extended or recurring on-campus activities. Faculty, staff or students who visit the campus only occasionally (for example, picking up items from dorms of offices) will be required to go to a testing center, get tested and have test results dated no more than four days prior to entering any university facility.

The University will coordinate closely with the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District to support their work to manage contact tracing for all COVID-19 cases in Champaign County that are related to our faculty, staff or students. Additionally, all faculty, staff or students who test positive for COVID-19 now are required to isolate per guidance by the CUPHD. Quarantine requirements apply to those who travel internationally or are placed into quarantine by public health based on exposure to someone who tested positive.

Face coverings and physical distancing remain the orders of the day throughout all University facilities unless students, faculty or staff are alone in a private space. Face coverings are also required for outside campus spaces where sufficient, six-foot distancing is not possible. The University’s Facilities & Services Team continues to maintain robust cleaning and sanitizing procedures. Sanitation stations across campus facilitate frequent hand washing and sanitizing.

Finally, faculty, staff and students—regardless of whether they are participating in on-campus activities or are 100 percent remote—are required to complete the Division of Research Safety COVID-19 online training.

A number of guides and tools have been developed to assist with U of I’s COVID-19 response, including a COVID-19 Classroom Management Guide, as well as a guide for employees, and the Safer in Illinois App that will display users’ building entry status.

The university will be encouraging (and, when necessary, enforcing) COVID-19 guidelines in a number of ways, including creating a new COVID Wellness team. This team will include student Wellness Ambassadors, a COVID Wellness Answer Center to answer questions and Wellness Support Associates who will check for compliance at the entrances of buildings and classrooms. This team will be in place by Monday, Aug. 24, the first day of instruction for the Fall 2020 semester.

Friday, Nov. 20 will be the last day of in-person instruction for the fall 2020 semester. After this day, fall 2020 instruction and final exams will utilize alternative delivery methods.