A Message from President Glassman: EIU's Return-to-Campus Plans
Dear Students, faculty and staff –
Eastern Illinois University has been hard at work planning for on-campus educational activities to resume this fall, relying on guidelines issued by the CDC, the Governor’s Office, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and the Illinois Board of Higher Education. That decision assumes Illinois will remain in Phase 4 of the State’s “Restore Illinois” plan, allowing universities to offer face-to-face learning provided they follow best-practice safety and health strategies issued by those entities.
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 taking necessary steps in protecting the safety and health 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 EIU’s health and safety measures.
Below is a summary of those measures:
- Students and employees will receive training on COVID-related safety measures.
- Appropriately worn face and mouth coverings will be mandatory across campus and in classrooms. Exceptions exist and include residence hall rooms, some employee offices, outside on the campus grounds in the evening and weekends in which social distancing of 6-feet or more can be maintained, and others. Details are forthcoming.
- The university will provide one cloth mask to all students. Students should consider bringing additional cloth masks to reduce the need for daily washing of their university-issued mask.
- Hand sanitizer and wipes will be available in common and high-traffic areas.
- High-touch surfaces such as door handles will be cleaned/disinfected regularly.
- Traditional flu shots will be strongly encouraged for all students and employees.
- A mixture of in-person and remote instruction will provide physical distancing to inhibit virus spread.
- Courses and classroom schedules will be adjusted to create physical distancing and safer traffic flow.
- Accommodations will be made where possible for vulnerable and at-risk groups, and for students unable to be on campus due to travel restrictions or other considerations.
- Hand sanitizer and wipes will be available in active classrooms via sanitation stations, and active classrooms will be cleaned/disinfected daily.
- Appropriately worn face and mouth coverings will be mandatory in all classrooms.
- Academic research will continue following appropriate safety and health guidelines.
University Housing and Dining
- EIU will offer all students living in residence halls single-room occupancy.
- Students living in residence halls will be required to wear appropriate face and mouth coverings at all times except when they are alone in their room.
- Outside visitors will not be allowed in residence halls.
- Quarantine areas will be created to accommodate students who test positive for COVID-19 or display symptoms who are not able to return home at that time.
- Dining Centers will provide meals for carryout with limited in-person dining and physical distancing.
- Common areas will be cleaned/disinfected regularly, and hand sanitizer will be available.
- Use of these common areas will follow State guidelines and physical distancing will be observed.
- The size of gatherings will be based on standards under the State reopening guidelines in force this fall and beyond.
- Use of auxiliary facilities like the Rec. Center will be limited to preserve personal safety.
- Most faculty and staff will continue a phased-in return to work that began in June and will be completed by mid-July.
- Vulnerable employees and those with family-related considerations may be eligible for work-from-home consideration.
- Work areas will be cleaned/disinfected regularly and hand sanitizer will be provided.
- Appropriately worn face and mouth coverings will be mandatory in publicly shared spaces.
- All employees will be told to stay home if they are not feeling well and will be sent home if they begin to exhibit symptoms.
Testing and notification
- COVID-19 testing will be available on-campus for all employees and students on specified dates in August. Although the testing is voluntary, it is highly encouraged that the entire university community be tested. Details are forthcoming.
- In coordination with its partner organizations and local public health entities, EIU and EIU’s Health and Counseling Services will assist in monitoring, tracking and tracing positive cases identified on campus as needed to notify individuals at risk for infection and mitigate spread.
- Local public health departments will be provided test results based on required local, state and federal regulations.
Part of our successful response is to remain flexible in our approach as information emerges or changes, and to respond accordingly. External authorities may force further modifications that could alter current plans. Further, our employees and our students must understand their collective obligation to keeping our Eastern and Charleston communities safe, and return ready to comply with EIU’s COVID-19 prevention guidelines.
Very soon, EIU will release a formal Campus Guidebook outlining our plans for a successful return to campus this fall. Please continue to check the EIU website and your Panther Mail accounts for the latest information, and I hope that you are all staying safe.
We’re preparing for a great year. I am very excited to seeing you on campus this August.