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Return to Campus Guidelines

A Message From Dr. Glassman

Greetings to everyone in our EIU family.

Downloadable Guide
Table of Contents

As you are aware, Eastern Illinois University has announced its plans to return to face-to-face instruction this fall. This decision is based on medical and professional guidelines that have been developed by the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Governor’s Office, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), the State’s Restore Illinois plan, and the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), and assumes Illinois will remain in Phase 4 of the State’s Restore Illinois plan, which allows universities to offer face-to-face learning provided they follow best-practice safety and health strategies issued by those entities. The guidelines those agencies provide include numerous measures intended to reduce the possibilities of viral transmission and to safeguard the health and safety of our diverse campus community.

Above all, 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, a variety of internal teams have been working diligently to create a science-based approach to providing our students with the most comprehensive EIU experience possible while working to protect the health and safety of our campus community.

Until holistic prevention and treatment methods are in place, including a vaccine, our collective risk as a university and as a global society remains heightened. That’s why, as we enter into the fall, everyone (students, faculty, staff, and guests) will be responsible for complying with the health and safety measures outlined in this Campus Guidebook.

EIU strongly suggests all students take a COVID-19 test two weeks prior to coming to campus, and to also strongly consider quarantining as much as possible during the two weeks prior to coming to campus. By testing prior to arrival, any students who test positive for the live virus should follow CDC guidelines for treatment and care. EIU will take steps to ensure that the education process is interrupted as little as possible once the student is healthy and no longer harbors the active virus. Voluntary testing will also be available for students when they arrive at EIU. Additional details are available in this Guidebook.

Another part of our successful response will be to remain flexible in our approach as information emerges or changes, and to respond accordingly. External authorities may force further modifications that could alter the plans outlined in this Campus Guidebook. In that event, EIU will communicate those changes to you as soon as we are able in order to safeguard everyone’s health and wellness.

We understand and are pleased that so many of our students and their families have already shared conversations about returning to campus this fall, and what it means for them. The university encourages those conversations to continue, particularly the actions and steps each student will need to take to promote not only their health and well-being, but the health and well-being of our EIU campus and Charleston community.

Along those lines, I hope that you are all staying safe as EIU prepares for a return to face-to-face instruction throughout the 2020-21 academic year. I am very excited to see you all on campus this August, and I know each of you will do your part to support the well-being and safety of our entire EIU community.


David Glassman
President, Eastern Illinois University

Guiding Principles for Fall 2020

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.

As we enter the 2020-21 academic year, a number of guiding principles will 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, and the Illinois Board of Higher Education 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 will require everyone’s collective collaboration across campus. The policies outlined in this Campus Guidebook will assist us in achieving that goal. To protect our Panthers and have a successful fall semester, 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 will continue to monitor and operate under appropriate federal, state, local, and institutional guidelines, as well as those established or modified by the separate phases—including any transitions between those phases—described in the State’s Restore Illinois plan.

Restore Illinois Phases

For full Restore Illinois information, visit

Phase 1: Rapid Spread

  • Strict stay at home and social distancing guidelines are put in place, and only essential businesses remain open.
  • Every region has experienced this phase once already and could return to it if mitigation efforts are unsuccessful.

Phase 2: Flattening

  • Non-essential retail stores reopen for curb-side pickup and delivery.
  • Illinoisans are directed to wear a face covering when outside the home and can begin enjoying additional outdoor activities like golf, boating & fishing while practicing social distancing.

Phase 3: Recovery

  • Manufacturing, offices, retail, barbershops, and salons can reopen to the public with capacity and other limits and safety precautions.
  • Gatherings of 10 people or fewer are allowed.
  • Face coverings and social distancing are the norm.

Phase 4: Revitalization

  • Gatherings of 50 people or fewer are allowed, restaurants and bars reopen, travel resumes, childcare and schools reopen under guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health.
  • Face coverings and social distancing are the norm.

Phase 5: Illinois Restored

  • The economy fully reopens with safety precautions continuing.
  • Conventions, festivals and large events are permitted, and all businesses, schools and places of recreation can open with new safety guidance and procedures.

Guiding Practices, Safety Measures, & Expectations

Provide a Transformative, High Quality Academic Experience for Students

EIU’s Fall 2020 Academic Calendar will remain unmodified, with classes beginning on Monday, August 24, and concluding on the last day of final exams Friday, December 18. Student success remains a primary focus at EIU, and our outstanding faculty are ready to provide another year of 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 our 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 we welcome our students back to our residential communities, here are some ways EIU will further enhance student safety and reduce the potential spread of COVID-19:

  • Offering single-occupancy housing – meaning students will have their own individual rooms. This will be offered to all EIU students with Housing and Dining contracts during the 2020-21 academic year, at no additional cost. This strategic effort will help reduce building, floor, and bathroom density.
  • Establishing restrictions on building access by non-residents.
  • Managing move-in days/times to limit traffic and density of individuals on campus, and in each building—including stairwells and elevators.
  • Offering Housing and Dining and other Support Services to quarantined/isolated on-campus students, if they are unable to return home during this time.
  • 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 actively planning new and modified ways to engage our student body that will 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 will be provided with additional RSO Planning/Management guidelines for RSO events that include strategies on social distancing and other safe 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 is scheduled to reopen on Tuesday, August 18, 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 only times masks may be removed are when actively using cardio equipment or when participating in select Group Fitness classes. Group Fitness classes must observe social distancing guidelines and will operate on a by-reservation basis to ensure social distancing can be maintained.
  • 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 have and will be 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 will be expected to screen themselves daily for any combination of COVID-19 symptoms. If such symptoms occur, including fever, chills, persistent cough, respiratory distress, or the loss of the sense(s) 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 will be made available throughout campus.
  • When on campus, all individuals will be 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 if the State transitions EIU’s region to Phase 5 or back to Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan.
  • 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.

EIU will provide all students taking classes on campus with one washable, reusable cloth face mask. However, students are encouraged to bring an additional number of 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 local testing sites within their local communities 10 to 14 days before coming to campus, and to take additional precautions after testing to reduce the possibility of infection. Doing so will minimize the potential for enacting EIU isolation/quarantine protocols for students and employees following positive test results.

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 protocol for students or employees who may test positive.

EIU testing information and registration:

Employee Testing: Aug. 12-13
South Quad, 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.

New Student Testing: Aug. 19-20
South Quad, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Returning Student Testing: Aug. 26-27
South Quad, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

  • COVID-19 testing will continue to be available on campus or through our University partner, Sarah Bush Lincoln Medical System, throughout the semester for any students displaying any combination of symptoms of having acquired the COVID-19 virus.
  • Contact tracing will be implemented 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 at their permanent residence 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 who cannot return to their permanent residence.
  • 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 special accommodations or permissible alternatives to meeting the University’s EIU COVID-19 health and safety guidelines should contact EIU’s Student Disability Services and/or Human Resources departments.
  • Tracking Cases at EIU: The university’s COVID-19 online data dashboard details numbers regarding on-campus cases, and is updated weekly. The university has strategically partnered with the Coles County Health Department to accurately and responsibly track cases locally.
  • PLEASE NOTE: Student and employee cooperation with contact tracers is required. For the safety of the EIU community and to continue mitigating the spread of the COVID-19 virus, all students, faculty, and staff are expected to comply and cooperate with the requests of COVID-19 contact tracers in a timely manner. Contact tracers work alongside and under the guidance of Dr. Sheila Simons, EIU Professor in the Department of Public Health. Any faculty or staff members who fail to comply will be referred to Human Resources and the office of Employee and Labor Relations for possible disciplinary action. Students who fail to comply will be referred to the Office of Student Accountability and Support and may receive an interim suspension and/or campus ban.
  • If/When Individuals Test Positive:
    • Students: Students who test positive outside of EIU’s Medical Clinic or who are ordered to quarantine by representatives other than Coles County Health Department officials are urged to please complete the “EIU COVID-19 Isolation and Quarantine Reporting Form” found on the Medical Clinic’s website. When the Medical Clinic receives this reporting form, a staff member will contact the student to provide further assistance with details, such as notification of faculty.
    • Employees: Employees who test positive are required to report the test to their supervisor and to EIU Human Resources by emailing to determine appropriate action.

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:

  • Over the summer, employee training has taken place to help mitigate COVID-19 risks across campus. This training was specific to the unique functions and roles of EIU’s various units, departments, and program areas across campus, but generally included information on eliminating risks through properly wearing face masks, increased hand washing, and more routinely cleaning/disinfecting high-touch and high-traffic areas across campus.
  • EIU has developed an enhanced version of its COVID-19 website, which 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 at
  • 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. (Revised 7/30/2020)

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 Fall 2020 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 being back on campus this fall, 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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