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Return to Campus Guidelines - Spring 2021

A Message From Dr. Glassman

Greetings to all of our new EIU Panthers!

Downloadable Guide
Table of Contents

On behalf of everyone at Eastern Illinois University, allow me to offer our warmest welcome to you as the newest students of our University!

I hope your holidays were fulfilling, and I am ecstatic to once again see our campus hum with the energy and excitement of a new calendar year. As the newest students to our outstanding institution, know that the Spring 2021 semester promises to be productive and exciting as we work to create the most meaningful opportunities possible for your success and growth. I know Eastern’s faculty and staff join me in extending their best wishes as we support each of you on your individual academic journeys. We look forward to your positive contributions to our classrooms, our campus, and our surrounding communities.

As president, I could share endless details with you about what makes the EIU experience so wonderful. However, limited time and space compel me to be concise. For that reason, let me impart one simple but critical message:

At Eastern Illinois University, we are all in for you.

We are uniquely committed to creating lifelong personal connections that will support and guide you toward success at every point along the way—both as EIU students and as responsible global citizens. Please explore the many programs and resources EIU offers, and know you can always feel comfortable asking me or anyone else on campus your questions, share your concerns, or advance your ideas for making the Eastern Illinois University community an even better place to live and to learn.

As we await the widespread distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine – and with it, a carefully scheduled return to normalcy – our goal is to unite EIU’s reputation for academic excellence with its role as a thoughtful, responsible organization committed to public health and safety. As such, please find the following guidelines for on-campus health and wellness as we enter the Spring 2021 semester. All students, faculty, staff, and guests are responsible for complying with the health and safety measures outlined in this Campus Guidebook. Our science-based approach to ongoing COVID-19 mitigation is intended to provide our students with the most comprehensive EIU experience possible while working to safeguard the health and safety of our campus community.

I am very excited to see you all on campus this January, and I know each of you will do your part to support the well-being and safety of our entire EIU Family. I look forward to all we can accomplish this semester. Welcome to EIU!


David Glassman
President, Eastern Illinois University

Guiding Principles for 2020-21

Eastern Illinois University has a proud 125-year tradition as an outstanding public regional university celebrated for its academic excellence, student-centeredness, student success, vibrant campus life, and extraordinarily high satisfaction ratings from its students. During the COVID-19 pandemic, EIU has been strategic, thoughtful, and informed in its responses while remaining successful in living up to its mission, and we are proud of our EIU Family for their enduring commitment to those core values. Below is the Eastern Illinois University Mission Statement.

Eastern Illinois University Mission Statement

Eastern Illinois University is a public comprehensive university that offers superior, accessible undergraduate and graduate education. Students learn the methods and results of free and rigorous inquiry in the arts, humanities, sciences, and professions, guided by a faculty known for its excellence in teaching, research, creative activity, and service. The University community is committed to diversity and inclusion and fosters opportunities for student-faculty scholarship and applied learning experiences within a student-centered campus culture. Throughout their education, students refine their abilities to reason and to communicate clearly so as to become responsible citizens and leaders.

Throughout the 2020-21 academic year, a number of guiding principles complement our mission and continue to drive our highest priorities, which unequivocally include the health and safety of EIU’s students and employees.

EIU's Guiding Principles

  • EIU will provide its students with the highest-quality education using a variety of learning modes and formats that provide comprehensive, engaging, learner-focused experiences in every classroom, lab, studio, and online environment.
  • Faculty will deploy innovative, highly flexible and hybrid pedagogies, implementing synchronous online and traditional face-to-face learning experiences that focus on our students’ success.
  • Academic Advising will supply students with the skills and knowledge necessary to strive for and reach their academic and professional goals.
  • EIU will support its students’ success through enduring support activities and programming and associated student resource centers.
  • Students will continue to have access to outstanding community-based internships, practicums, clinicals, and student teaching experiences, as permissible by State guidelines.
  • EIU is committed to following the health and safety measures outlined by the federal CDC, the Governor’s Office, the Illinois Department of Public Health, the State’s Restore Illinois plan, the Illinois Board of Higher Education, and the Coles County Health Department to protect its campus communities and decrease opportunities for viral transmission.
  • EIU will be innovative in providing a robust series of activities and events for enriching the EIU experience for all of its students.

Supporting and sustaining the healthiest EIU experience possible requires everyone’s collective collaboration across campus. The policies outlined in this Campus Guidebook assist us in achieving that goal. To protect our Panthers and have a successful academic year, everyone must abide by these guidelines, the State’s plan, and EIU policies. Students and employees who do not adhere to EIU’s health and safety measures outlined in this guidebook may be subject to disciplinary action.

To meet our safety and wellness objectives throughout the academic year, EIU continues to monitor and operate under appropriate federal, state, local, and institutional guidelines.

Guiding Practices, Safety Measures, & Expectations

Spring 2021 Academic Calendar Modification

EIU’s Spring 2021 Academic Calendar has been modified to replace the traditional Spring Break week with five non-instructional personal wellness days (February 2, February 24, March 18, April 7, and April 22). The semester will conclude as originally scheduled with the last day of final exams on Friday, May 7.

Provide a Transformative, High Quality Academic Experience for Students

Student success remains a primary focus at EIU, and our outstanding faculty continue to provide exceptional instruction. Courses will vary between traditional face-to-face classes, online classes, and flexible hybrid learning experiences. Regardless of the teaching format, EIU faculty members remain student-centered and focused on student success, while implementing the best teaching methods of the teaching format being utilized.

  • To promote campus health and safety in our instruction, we have reduced class sizes in an effort to lessen the density of all classrooms. EIU will have no face-to-face classes with more than 50 students, and most classes will intentionally have much fewer than 50 students.
  • Some classes will be held in larger/open spaces on campus in order to sustain appropriate physical distance between students and faculty.
  • Students taking face-to-face classes are expected to wear a clean cloth or disposable face mask in all their classes to help protect the health and safety of everyone in attendance. More details on EIU’s face masking policy are available later on in this document.
  • All of our student support offices, including Career Services, Inclusion & Academic Engagement, and Booth Library’s new Center for Student Innovation, remain prepared to assist our students in any teaching format. Additionally, the Academic Success Center, which includes Academic Advising, Student Disability Services, Testing, and TRiO, are now located in a refreshed McAfee Hall at the heart of campus.

Provide an Exciting and Supportive On-Campus Student Life Experience

On-Campus Housing

Housing and Dining Services will provide the utmost support to individuals residing on campus, including engaging students safely in college life and providing services and resources for student success. As residents, both new and returning, move into their on-campus homes, Housing and Dining Services is committed to further enhancing student safety to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19 by doing the following:

  • Offering single-occupancy housing – meaning students will have their own individual rooms. This has been offered to all EIU students with Housing and Dining contracts during the 2020-21 academic year, at no additional cost. This strategic effort reduces building, floor, and bathroom density.
  • Establishing restrictions on building access by non-residents.
  • Offering Housing and Dining and other support services to quarantined/isolated on-campus students.
  • Cleaning and sanitizing bathrooms in residence halls* more frequently and providing additional sanitizing and disinfecting products in bathrooms for residents. (*Except private bathrooms in Greek Court and Stevenson Hall)
  • Requiring that students protect others and themselves for the safety of their community by wearing clean cloth or disposable face masks and observing social distancing guidelines in all common areas. For the full EIU Face Mask Policy, visit:

On-Campus Dining

Panther Dining will provide residential and retail dining, as well as catering services. Dining areas will accommodate social distancing requirements while providing students a quality dining experience. Dining plans may be modified throughout the semester to reflect updates to evolving COVID-19 requirements.

  • Dining areas will strategically lessen density by managing traffic flow (6-foot spacing), limiting self-serve buffets or stations, and reducing seating in accordance with State or University guidelines.
  • Modified service approaches and menus will provide students with additional carry-out options.
  • Barriers will provide for better flow into the serving area and help to reduce contact points between patrons and dining staff.
  • Enhanced focus on providing a safe environment will include supplementary cleaning and sanitation in all production and service spaces.
  • Meals will be provided to residential students who are quarantined/isolated as needed.
  • All dining facilities will provide meals per CDC, State, and local restaurant requirements.

Student Activities

Student event staff and student leaders are providing new and modified ways to engage our student body that provide a positive, supportive, and enjoyable EIU experience for all students.

  • Venues on campus, such as the MLK Union Bowling Alley and Student Recreation Center, will be open with applicable capacity limits and other protective measures in place.
  • Some activities and events will be transitioned to a virtual format or be held outdoors, when possible.
  • Registered Student Organizations are provided with additional RSO Planning/Management guidelines for RSO events that include strategies on social distancing and other safety protocols. Advanced registration and approval for RSO events will help groups plan for the health and safety of those attending.
  • Activities that are considered high risk due to sustained person-to-person contact may be provided virtually.
  • In-person programming will be modified to limit attendees to 50 or fewer people at one time at event gatherings and will be designed to allow for social distancing and masking.

Student Recreation Center (SRC) and Group Fitness Classes

  • The SRC will operate with reduced capacity in the center at any given time.
  • Employees will clean all touchpoints on stationary equipment frequently. Additional cleaning stations will be available for patrons, as usual, for cleaning equipment after each use.
  • Clean cloth or disposable face masks must be appropriately worn throughout the center, including while lifting weights or using weight machines. Additional face masks will be sold at the Campus Recreation Office.
  • The SRC will be reconfigured to maintain appropriate social distancing and to maximize patron health and safety.

Protect the Health and Well-Being of Our Campus Community

We thank you for understanding that protecting the health and well-being of our EIU Panther community is of utmost importance. For that reason, a number of primary prevention practices are instituted to limit the spread of COVID-19 at EIU. These practices include increased focus and promotion of handwashing, social distancing, and wearing of protective face masks alongside a variety of heightened health promotion and communication strategies. Additional public health practices regarding testing, contact tracing, and quarantining/isolating impacted individuals also have been developed. As additional information and guidance is received, practices will be modified accordingly and shared with our EIU communities.

General Safeguarding Practices at EIU Will Include the Following:

  • All individuals are expected to screen themselves daily for any combination of COVID-19 symptoms. If such symptoms occur, including fever, persistent dry cough, fatigue, shortness of breath/respiratory distress, or new loss of sense of smell or taste, individuals should not go to work, to class, or interact with others. Students presenting with any combination of these symptoms should contact the EIU Medical Clinic.
  • In addition to promoting handwashing and hand hygiene, increased supplies of soap, water, paper towels, and hand sanitizer are available throughout campus.
  • When on campus, all individuals are expected to maintain appropriate social distance. To assist with this expectation, marketing materials, signage, floor markings, and barriers have been deployed to provide reminders and visual cues to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet where possible.
  • When possible, meetings, events, programs, and services will be held virtually. When meeting in person, events will be held in large spaces that will accommodate up to the Restore Illinois Phase 4 maximum of 50 individuals while maintaining social distancing practices. Group size maximums may change in accordance with national, State, and local guidelines.
  • Conventional precautions will be taken to minimize interactions and exchanges (for example, releasing of one class completely before allowing another class to enter into a classroom).

Face Mask Policy:

  • All individuals will be expected to appropriately wear clean cloth or disposable face masks while on campus, both indoors and outdoors, including all buildings, grounds, parking lots, and EIU vehicles. This includes everyone on campus as they travel to, from, and between all classes and/or university buildings. EIU’s on-campus face masking policy includes few exceptions based on times and/or locations.
  • Clean cloth or disposable face masks must be worn in all classroom spaces and public buildings and spaces, including but not limited to all elevators, stairwells, restrooms, hallways, classrooms, labs, and studios*.* Students enrolled in specialized courses may be required to comply with discipline-specific guidelines in lab and/or studio environments.
  • Students without or who are not appropriately wearing their face masks will be prohibited from academic meeting and department office spaces, including all classrooms, meeting rooms, laboratories, and studios.
  • We expect every member of the Eastern Illinois University community—students and employees alike—to take personal ownership of their behaviors and to reflect on and understand their social obligation to protect the health and safety of themselves and others. Students who repeatedly violate the EIU masking policy will be sent to the Office of Student Accountability and face disciplinary action. Employees who do not adhere to EIU’s health and safety measures outlined in this guidebook may be subject to disciplinary action.
  • Appropriately wearing a face mask includes completely covering both the nose and mouth.
  • Cloth masks should be cleaned after each use. Guidelines for properly washing cloth masks are available at
  • Exceptions to the requirement of wearing face masks will include:
    • when students are in a private campus residence room.
    • when employees are in a private office or socially distanced communal office space.
    • when using appropriately spaced cardio machines in the Student Recreation Center.
    • when student-athletes have practice on their respective sport’s field or court.
    • when jogging on the Woodall Trail.

Students are encouraged to bring several washable, reusable cloth masks to ensure a ready supply of clean and laundered masks for their daily use.

COVID-19 Testing, Contact Tracing, & Positive Result Protocols

Students are highly encouraged to seek COVID-19 testing at testing sites within their local communities before coming to campus and to take additional precautions after testing to reduce the possibility of infection.

EIU has developed internal plans and will partner with outside agencies to offer COVID-19 testing to students and employees, as well as contact tracing services and procedural protocols for students or employees who may test positive.

EIU will partner with the Illinois Department of Public Health to offer COVID-19 testing on Tuesday, Jan. 12, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Drive-thru testing will be conducted outside the south entrance to the Fieldhouse attached to Lantz Building. Walk-up testing will be conducted on Court 5 of the Student Recreation Center.

For further information regarding this and other testing opportunities, please go to

  • COVID-19 testing will continue to be available on campus for students who present to the EIU Medical Clinic with any combination of COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Contact tracing is in place for all EIU students and employees who have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Those who test positive will be contacted by a professionally trained contact tracer affiliated with the Coles County Health Department who will assist in identifying all individuals who may have been exposed to the virus.
  • QUARANTINE AND ISOLATION: If individuals are required to quarantine or isolate, they will be expected to do so for up to 14 days or a period of time determined by the public health department. There are a limited number of quarantine and isolation spaces for students living in on-campus university housing.
  • Those testing positive for COVID-19 must seek medical consultation regardless of having symptoms or being asymptomatic. Students should report their diagnosis to EIU Health and Counseling Services, who will work with University Housing and Dining Services, the Coles County Health Department, and other entities to trace, screen, test, and isolate/quarantine individuals who may have come into contact with anyone testing positive for COVID-19. Staff and faculty should report their diagnosis to their supervisor and to Human Resources.
  • EIU Health and Counseling Services also will notify academic faculty of any resultant student absences caused by COVID-19 to accommodate the student’s academic needs and to protect the health and welfare of EIU faculty members. Students are always encouraged to work with their professors to stay current when unable to attend classes in person.
  • Students needing assistance and support to meet the University’s EIU COVID-19 health and safety guidelines should contact Student Disability Services. Employees needing such assistance and support should contact Human Resources.

Keeping the Campus Clean and Environmentally Safe

EIU’s established COVID-19 custodial plans will continue to evolve to maintain best-practice approaches to cleaning, disinfecting, and mitigating viral transmission. Those plans remain based on updated scientific and health information about COVID-19, allowing EIU to continually prioritize its virus mitigation strategies, produce effective service deliveries, and to sanitize/sterilize EIU’s physical environment to maximize the University’s operational safety.

  • EIU will follow protocols and use equipment (e.g. HEPA vacuums) as outlined by the IDPH and CDC for cleaning/disinfection. This includes routine cleaning of all areas and disinfecting of high-touch areas.
  • EIU will provide personal cleaning resources in classrooms for students to clean their area between each use (e.g., computers in computer labs, lab equipment, desks, etc.).
  • Shared restrooms and bathrooms are considered high-touch areas and will receive frequent cleaning and disinfecting, consistent with CDC and IDPH guidelines.

Timely Campus Communication

Timely communication remains an integral part of EIU’s COVID-19 response plan. To that end, students and employees should be aware of the following information:

  • EIU’s COVID-19 website contains links and resources for students, employees, and community members. Please remember to visit EIU’s COVID-19 website frequently for the most up-to-date information possible.
  • All-campus emails continue to be shared with increased frequency when new information emerges or when previous information becomes outdated. Students and employees should continue to check their EIU Panther Mail accounts with increased frequency for the latest information and updates.
  • EIU’s official Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts will continue to post the latest and most relevant COVID-19 information possible. Check EIU’s official social media accounts as often as possible.

Contingency Planning

EIU continues to actively update, prepare, and develop contingencies based on the results of ongoing monitoring and surveillance, including our on-campus and local healthcare capabilities, EIU’s quarantine and isolation capacities, and the broader COVID-19 situation in our Charleston and Coles County communities. EIU will also continue to monitor the larger East-Central Illinois Region, and apply any forthcoming Federal, State, County, or local guidelines as they continue to evolve.

Tuition and Fees

Due to recent public health circumstances, some or all Eastern Illinois University undergraduate and graduate instruction for all or part of the 2020-2021 academic year may be delivered by traditional in-person instruction, online instruction, and/or in a hybrid format (including both in-person and online components). The mode of instruction may be adjusted based on public health and safety considerations. Tuition, mandatory fees, and course-related charges have been set regardless of the mode of instruction and cover a variety of short- and long-term expenses which continue regardless of the instructional mode or access to campus facilities. Eastern Illinois University will continue to follow published withdrawal and refund policies concerning tuition and fees. Tuition and fees will not be refunded in the event instruction occurs remotely for any part of the 2020-2021 academic year.

Summary & Conclusion

Numerous measures have been implemented to provide an outstanding educational and EIU experience as we continue to navigate the current COVID-19 pandemic. The leaders of and in each of the university’s divisions have worked diligently to offer our students, staff, faculty, guests, and visitors the safest, healthiest environment we possibly can. Please know that supporting and sustaining the healthiest EIU experience will require everyone’s collective collaboration across campus.

We expect every member of the Eastern Illinois University community—students and employees alike—to take personal ownership of their behaviors and to reflect on and understand their social obligation to protect the health and safety of themselves and others. Students and employees who do not adhere to EIU’s health and safety measures outlined in this guidebook may be subject to disciplinary action.

Our ability to be present and provide face-to-face education and services depends on EVERYONE doing their part, including holding their peers accountable, to keep you - our Panthers, your campus, and your Charleston home - safe.

EIU continues to be a world-class institution because of the strong support we receive from our students, employees, alumni, and community partners. As we approach the Spring 2021 semester, we must recommit ourselves to one another in both unified spirit and collective action. Part of EIU’s mission is to assist its students in becoming responsible citizens and leaders. By following the guidelines set forth in this Campus Guidebook, we all can look forward to enjoying the EIU experience together and to accelerating our eventual return to a more conventional EIU atmosphere.

Thank you for observing these guidelines and for upholding Eastern Illinois University’s reputation as an exceptional institution committed to academic excellence, student success, and the safety of our campus communities.

Additional EIU COVID-19 Resources

Related Pages

Contact Information

Health & Counseling Services

Medical Clinic
Eastern Illinois University Human Services Building
600 Lincoln Avenue
Charleston, IL 61920
(217) 581-3013

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