*** Campus Resources and Updated FAQs *** (Updated 11/16/20)
UPDATE: On November 16, 2020, EIU announced that as a preventive measure heading into the holidays, classes would move to an all-online format following the Thanksgiving holiday. That announcement is available in full here.
To answer some of the main questions, we’ve prepared some summary FAQs, below.
What does the transition to online-only learning after the Thanksgiving holiday mean for me?
EIU’s decision to transition to online-only learning is out of an abundance of caution and to help EIU do its part to reduce the rising levels of Covid-19 transmission throughout the State. While the mode of instruction will change during this short period of time, the University’s Residence Halls and Apartments, Dining Centers, Booth Library, the Union, and all student support offices will remain open under CDC, IDPH and EIU guidelines. As such, no refunds will be given for tuition, fees, housing or dining. On-campus student employment will also remain available. This transition to online-only learning impacts the remainder of the fall semester only.
- I AM NOT choosing not to come back to campus after the Thanksgiving Break. What should I do?
Students who do not choose to return to campus after Thanksgiving break will be required to mail their textbooks back to campus by Friday, December 18 to avoid late charges. This is necessary for EIU to redistribute the books on time for the start of the spring semester.
- We strongly encourage students to insure their packages when mailing textbooks back to us. EIU’s Textbook Rental Service address is:
Eastern Illinois University
Textbook Rental Service
975 Edgar Drive
Charleston, IL 61920
- I AM choosing to come back to campus after the Thanksgiving Break. What should I do?
Students who do choose to return to campus after the Thanksgiving holiday break and plan to live in their residence hall rooms for the remainder of the Fall semester should let the University Housing Office know that they are planning to do so by using this link: go.eiu.edu/HousingSurvey.
As a precautionary measure, ALL STUDENTS should plan to take any materials home with them during the Thanksgiving holiday that they would need to complete the Fall 2020 semester remotely. This includes personal computers, laptops, books, and any necessary notes, personal items, or important medications. More information on EIU's Housing and Dining COVID protocols is available at https://www.eiu.edu/housing/covid.php.
How will this transition affect my grades?
To respond to any disruptions caused by the transition from face-to-face to remote learning, undergraduate students may petition the Registrar to change grade type in self-selected courses. An email was sent to students November 16 detailing that process, and is also available in full here.
What should I do to stay healthy and safe until I return to EIU?
Whether students choose to stay at home for the last two weeks of classes and finals week, or choose to come back to campus after Thanksgiving for the remainder of the semester, EIU strongly encourages all EIU students to strictly adhere to the IDPH and the CDC’s recommendations of limiting travel and gatherings during the holiday season as COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations across the State and throughout the nation surge. Science continues to tell us that wearing masks, social distancing, and avoiding crowds and other gatherings (especially indoors) remain the three most critical steps to avoid becoming infected.
What impact will this decision have on the Spring 2021 semester?
All students will be back on campus for the spring semester. Classes will begin as regularly scheduled on Monday, January 11. The traditional Spring Break Week has been canceled and substituted with five non-instructional personal wellness days. These five days will be scheduled approximately every three weeks over the course of the semester and no required academic activity will occur. These dates will be shared with the campus community as soon as possible to facilitate academic planning for the spring semester.
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As Eastern Illinois University prepares for the Fall 2020 semester, please take note of the following resources:
Updated Fall 2020 FAQs
Following the release of the Fall 2020 guidebook, EIU's firstname.lastname@example.org address has been fielding supplementary questions from students and their families. Those questions are available below, and will be added to as new questions are answered. For an archived list of spring 2020 FAQ's, click here.
- Are students able to leave campus?
Students are able to leave campus, but are strongly encouraged to follow EIU’s on-campus facemask policy and to continue appropriate social distancing practices when off campus. The Panther Shuttle also will be in service. Face masking and social distancing policies apply to the Panther Shuttle as it is an official University vehicle.
- Will basketball courts and tennis courts be open?
Tennis courts are open and can be utilized by students following appropriate social distance protocols. Because basketball is a high-contact sport, the outdoor hoops on EIU’s campus courts have been taken down.
- Can EIU guarantee I will not get the COVID-19 virus on campus or in Charleston?
Just as the University can offer no guarantees on not acquiring other infections or ailments (seasonal influenza or the common cold, for example) EIU can offer no guaranteed protection against any student, employee, or guest acquiring the virus either on campus or in our Charleston community. However, EIU is closely following the guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID-19 provided by the Governor’s Restore Illinois Plan, the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and other guiding agencies. Despite any organization’s best efforts, there is always a risk of viral exposure during a pandemic when considering the element of human connection. Anyone who leaves the confines of their home can be exposed to others who may carry the virus, even asymptomatically. That’s why EIU continues to strongly emphasize personal protective measures to safeguard the health and safety of every individual on campus and in our Charleston community. We all have a responsibility to each other to reduce chances of exposure by 1)always correctly wearing our face masks in public, 2)observing the 6-foot social distancing guidelines, 3)avoiding large groups, and 4)avoiding individuals who are not wearing face masks. These guidelines also are detailed in our Return-to-Campus Guidebook.
- What is EIU's masking policy?
Face coverings are required to be worn by all students, staff, faculty, and visitors when on the university campus, its parking lots and inside all of its buildings. EIU's full masking policy, including its few exceptions, is available here.
- CDC Update (8/13/20): The CDC has updated its mask guidelines to discourage the use of vented masks in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Please review the CDC update here.
- How can I keep my mask(s) clean and ready for daily use? Won't additional laundry add costs?
Masks can be properly sanitized quickly and efficiently in a sink, using soap from the available dispenser. That approach can help curtail any added expenses. Also, laundry will be free on campus, so costs should not be a concern. For those who would like additional inexpensive masks, they will be available for sale at a variety of places on campus. (See question below.) While extra masks are encouraged for all students, they are not required.
- Where can I purchase masks on campus?
EIU branded face masks are available for purchase at the MLK Jr. Union Bookstore and online here.
Basic cloth masks ($2) and disposable face masks ($.75) are available at: Human Services Building Pharmacy, Thomas Convenience Store, MLK Union Bookstore, MLK Union Panther Pantry, Student Recreation Center.
- The Guidebook mentions 'disciplinary action' for masking noncompliance. What is that disciplinary action?
Students unwilling to adhere to EIU’s masking policy will not be granted access to shared academic spaces, such as classrooms, labs, studios, or other buildings or offices on campus. Students who repeatedly violate the EIU masking policy will be sent to the Office of Student Accountability and face disciplinary action.Students are also expected to observe all other safety guidelines put in place on campus, including social distancing, not hosting off-campus students in their on-campus housing, disinfecting their personal areas in classroom environments, participating in contact tracing upon request, appropriately isolating/quarantining when directed to do so, and any other COVID-related directives by a University official. Students who fail to observe any COVID safety guideline will be subject to disciplinary action which may include, but is not limited to, required educational meetings with staff, formal reprimands, and fines, up to University Disciplinary Probation. Repeated violations, behaviors that disrupt the learning environment, or more severe violations of our community standards may result in more severe sanctioning, including termination of the student’s housing contract, up to and including separation from the institution.
- If a student has a note from a physician, will they be exempt from wearing a face mask?
Any student who believes there should be accommodation will need to talk with Disability Services and provide their documentation to discuss options.
- Can I eat or drink anything in my non-virtual physical classroom?
To enhance campus safety, there is currently no eating allowed in physical classes. As a general rule, having a drink in class is permissible, provided that students use a straw (slid under their masks so that the face mask remains on, fully covering mouth and nose) while drinking. However, be aware that individual faculty members may have more specific guidelines or policies in place for their own respective classrooms, so please check with individual professor(s) first about such an accommodation.
STUDENTS: Academics (General)
- Will EIU offer any opportunity for an entirely virtual Fall 2020 semester?
Remote learning is available in some areas but not universal. Essentially, the availability of online programming specific to a curriculum would largely depend on the academic program and possibly even by credit status in the program itself. Students should reach out to their advisor to see what options exist. For those who have the option, students can attend online and cancel their contracts with housing/dining prior to move in.
The University will continue to follow CDC/State/IBHE guidelines that apply to EIU’s respective Restore Illinois region. If any change in operations are required by those guiding agencies, EIU will certainly comply.
- How do I know which format my classes will be in?
Log in to PAWS and review your course schedule. Most of that information should be available there or will be finalized prior to classes starting. If no designation is supplied, reach out to your department office for clarification on any specific classes. There may still be some spaces/formats being decided.
- If EIU must move to an all-online format, will there be tuition discounts?
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 that 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.
- If one person tests positive in a class, does the whole class have to quarantine?
If you are not contacted by a contact tracer, you may continue to participate in in-person classes.
Anyone who tests positive will need to isolate but can participate in online courses if they are able. Additionally, students can work with faculty to facilitate some accommodations in hybrid and face-to-face to support continued learning/classroom engagement throughout any isolation/quarantine. Strategies used by individual faculty may vary.
- Will practicum/clinical opportunities still be available, and will they be remote or in person?
Practicums will be allowed as permissible by State guidelines. However, each agency offering practicums may also issue their own requirements and regulations, which likely would be above and beyond any of EIU’s established guidelines for safeguarding health and wellness. For that reason, and because academic disciplines are so diverse, students may wish to contact their program coordinator to learn more about the specifics of the program and any separate partner-agency guidelines.
- How will Textbook Rental work?
There will be signs and prompts at Textbook Rental Services to help with student flow. As per University policy, masks will be mandatory, and appropriate social distancing will be enforced.
- Are parents allowed to be present for Move-In day?
Students should plan to bring no more than 2 immediate family members with them to assist in moving in. All persons coming to campus should be in good health. For more information on move-in, please visit EIU Housing's move-in page.
- Where should I park during Move-In day?
When you arrive on campus, park in the nearest available lot. Once you check in and get your building and room keys, you can move your vehicle to the appropriate unloading zone for your building.
- Are there any specific plans yet on what the restrictions for visitors would look like this Fall?
Outside guests will not be permitted in any University Housing living area. An outside guest is any individual who is not currently living in University Housing (Residence Halls, Greek Court, University Court, or University Apartments). This includes both daytime visitors and overnight guests. The only exception is for the two people who are allowed to help you when you move in – they must wear masks. If this policy changes, EIU Housing will communicate it with residents.
- If public health agencies require students to leave campus at any point in the 2020-2021 academic year, would there be discounts applied to our Housing & Dining accounts?
No decisions have been made yet on modifications to housing costs should such a scenario unfold. Were that situation to occur, there would almost certainly be information available to students and families prior to or immediately following such a change addressing this question.
- What will campus dining look like, and are there to-go options available?
Detailed information on what campus dining will look like is available in the Guidebook. To-go options will be provided for students who wish to eat in their rooms or elsewhere.
- Will there be additional cleaning taking place in shared restrooms and shower areas?
Cleaning and sanitation practices will occur more frequently for all communal and public spaces on campus.
- Are there options for canceling my current housing contract and resuming in the spring?
We believe it important to make sure our students and families have the opportunity to make an informed decision for their housing options. Therefore, EIU Housing and Dining has extended the cancellation date for housing and meal plan contracts, with no financial penalty, to Tuesday, August 25, the second full day of classes. Students can contact University Housing and Dining Services with questions at (217) 581-5111, or send an email from their EIU email account to email@example.com to ask questions or cancel their contract. Click here to read more.
Temporary Flexible Work Schedule Policy Update (8/17/20)
Eastern Illinois University is committed to helping employees face the demands of child care issues promulgated by COVID-19 and K-12 re-opening/learning plans. All Eastern Illinois University employees experiencing child care concerns (for their children age 13 or younger and any older children with documentation such as an IEP indicating that they may not be left alone, and enrolled in school), will be considered for alternative work scheduling on a case-by-case basis in situations where creative work schedules can be shown to accomplish both work objectives and personal goals. This policy has a sunset clause of December 31, 2020.
Additional guidelines for establishing appropriate flexible schedules will soon be available on EIU's COVID website.
STUDENTS & EMPLOYEES: Testing, Monitoring & Reporting Guidance
- Is EIU mandating COVID-19 testing at any certain time?
In partnership with the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Coles County Public Health Department, EIU will host COVID-19 surveillance testing and a flu shot clinic from 9 am to 4 p.m. this Wednesday, October 14). Please visit the COVID Testing and Flu Shot Clinic page for additional information.
Testing will also be available throughout the year through EIU’s partner Sarah Bush Lincoln Medical System, but may have associated costs.
- 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.
- 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 (https://www.eiu.edu/health/COVID19reporting.php). 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 firstname.lastname@example.org to determine appropriate action.
- If Students Believe They May Have Been Exposed to COVID-19: Students who have neither tested positive nor been directed to quarantine, but who are concerned they may have been exposed to COVID-19, are strongly encouraged to call EIU’s Medical Clinic at (217) 581-3013. The Medical Clinic is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. If it is after hours, students should immediately separate themselves from others and call the Medical Clinic when it re-opens. While students await instruction from the Medical Clinic, those who have an active meal plan and live in a University residence may utilize "Panther Pick-Up" to designate another student to pick up meals for them at a Dining Center and leave the meals outside their door (https://www.eiu.edu/dining/meal_pick_up.php).
- Tracking Cases at EIU
The University's COVID-19 online 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.