Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
As we prepare to welcome students to campus beginning August 17, we want to provide several important updates on the beginning of fall semester instruction, non-essential staff schedules, and COVID-19 testing requirements, among others.
Fall Semester to Begin with Online-Only Classes for First Two Weeks
In order to begin fall semester in a measured and evidenced-based manner, all courses will be offered only online until at least September 8. This will allow the university to better manage the return of students to our housing and to monitor and test our community before a full return to our campus locations.
Return Delay for Non-Student-Facing and Non-Campus-Operation Employees
All staff members who do not assist with on-campus student activities and daily university operation will continue to work from home until at least September 8. Staff supervisors will alert those staff who will remain working remotely to this change.
COVID-19 Testing Requirements for the University Community
Though we understand these changes may be unexpected, we believe they are the most prudent course to start the new academic year. In connection with these changes, students, faculty, and staff who are or will be on campus will be expected to be tested for COVID-19 and to submit documentation of their test results. Testing the entire on-campus community will allow the university to evaluate the initial prevalence of COVID-19 as well as serve as a benchmark for subsequent surveillance testing.
As a result of this decision, all members of the university community who will be on our campuses are required to be tested for COVID-19 and to submit documentation of results. The following testing deadlines apply:
- All students who are living in the residence halls are expected to be tested by August 24.
- All students who are not living in the residence halls but who intend to be on campus or to take in-person classes, once they resume, are expected to be tested by September 4.
- All essential staff currently working on campus are expected to be tested by August 24.
- All faculty and non-essential staff who are returning to campus the week of September 8 are expected to be tested by September 4.
- All faculty and non-essential staff who are returning to campus after the week of September 8 are expected to be tested within five days of their start date.
Matrix Medical will be performing tests for students, faculty, and staff next week, and an email with instructions for how to reserve a testing time and submit the needed documentation will be sent later today. The Matrix Medical test is free of charge for students, faculty, and staff. Students, faculty, and staff are also free to secure a COVID-19 test at a facility of their choosing.
Students receiving their test from Matrix Medical will have results automatically uploaded to Med+Proctor; all other students should submit their test results via www.medproctor.com. Faculty and staff who are tested by Matrix Medical will have results automatically sent to HR; all other faculty and staff should submit their test results to Viktoria Rill in Human Resources at email@example.com.
Public Health Protocols
Of course, testing alone cannot reduce the spread of COVID-19. The only way to do that is by each of us acting in a way that helps protect our fellow community members. We cannot emphasize enough how important it is that all members of our university community follow public health protocols. We know that all students, faculty, and staff will live up to this call.
Remember, we are all in this together. Public health protocols that help limit the spread of COVID-19 include:
- Wearing a face covering, which should cover both your nose and mouth
- Washing your hands frequently for a minimum of 20 seconds using soap and water
- Staying six feet away from others, which includes walking on the right side of the hallway (known as social distancing)
- Monitoring your health, which includes staying at home and seeking medical attention if you feel ill
Residence Halls and Other Facilities Access
The university has taken precautions by reducing occupancy rates for our campus housing. We currently have lower density due to measures such as reducing the number of occupants in each room and reducing the number of residents per floor. Although students who live in our residence halls are not being asked to quarantine—unless they are doing so pursuant to the City of Chicago’s travel restrictions or because they have tested positive for COVID-19 or are exhibiting symptoms of or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19—we want campus residents to not congregate in large groups, to avoid leaving campus for non-essential travel, and to follow public health protocols. Additionally, non-residential guests will not be allowed in the residence halls unless assisting with move-in.
Subject to occupancy limitations imposed by public health authorities, students will have access to campus facilities that will be open. These include:
- Paul V. Galvin Library
- Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship
- The McCormick Tribune Campus Center
- Hermann Hall
- All food service locations
As always, we encourage you to visit our coronavirus (COVID-19) website: www.iit.edu/COVID-19. This website contains up-to-date information and communications regarding university plans and policies, as well as important information from government authorities regarding COVID-19. You are also welcome to call 312.567.5810 between 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. CST for university-related information regarding COVID-19.
The beginning of a new academic year is always an exciting time. Though we may be experiencing unprecedented circumstances, we are confident that by working together and following these guidelines we can make this a positive year for our students and our entire university community.
Alan W. Cramb
Illinois Institute of Technology
Illinois Institute of Technology