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Fall 2020 Reopening

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Updated as of August 1, 2020

As has been well reported, COVID-19, the virus responsible for the current global pandemic, is a highly contagious and potentially dangerous virus. Current research suggests that the virus primarily spreads through respiratory droplets released when people talk, cough, or sneeze; however, the full extent of how the virus transmits is unknown.
Community spread of COVID-19 is occurring nationally, including in Chicago, meaning the virus is spreading through the community in a way that cannot be attributed to travel to a specific location or exposure to a person known to be infected.  In addition, many people who contract the virus may be asymptomatic and unknowingly spreading the virus.  Currently, there is no vaccine currently available for the virus or known treatment for all of the adverse effects attributed to COVID-19.  

Since March 2020, Illinois has taken concrete action to slow the spread of COVID-19. For example, Executive Orders were issued banning large gatherings as early as March 13, closing K-12 schools as of March 17, and requiring residents to shelter in place beginning on March 21 through much of the summer.  Illinois and Chicago have also developed comprehensive, multi-phased reopening plans. Although subject to change, Illinois and Chicago have moved into Phase 4, which states that no gatherings should exceed 50 people or 25 percent of the space's occupancy capacity, whichever is less, so long as public health guidance is followed, including, but not limited to, social distancing protocols and the wearing of face coverings.

Given our present understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic, and subject to what the state and city allow, Illinois Tech is planning to resume in-person instruction for the fall 2020 semester. Further, Illinois Tech is also planning to provide online instruction delivery, which would be accessible and available to students who return to campus as well as those who, regardless of the reason, do not physically return to the campus in the fall. Online instruction may be required for all or part of certain classes, such as large introductory courses. Our residential housing and dining operations will also be operating as allowed by public health rules. 

The university will continue to take steps aimed at minimizing risks associated with and the transmission of COVID-19 to our students, faculty, and staff; however, in this pandemic, it is everyone’s responsibility to undertake such steps. We all need to take actions and modify our behaviors to protect not only ourselves but also our peers, faculty, and staff. We also need to keep in mind that this is a highly fluid situation, and new circumstances may require changes.

As outlined below, we are developing plans to make changes to campus operations with the goal of minimizing the risk and spread of COVID-19 while maintaining as robust a learning environment as possible. Despite these efforts Illinois Tech, it is impossible to eliminate the risk of positive cases or an outbreak on our campuses.  Illinois Tech cannot guarantee that people present on our campuses will not be exposed to and become infected with COVID-19.  The risk of exposure and possible infection is real and present in any community environment where large numbers of people are regularly interacting, including college campuses. Thus, by engaging in the Illinois Tech’s on-campus community, we are all making the voluntarily decision to assume the risks related to exposure to COVID-19.

However, working together we aim to minimize these risks. For example, because more than 500 students remained in on-campus housing during the spring 2020 semester, we have had experience with safety, cleaning, and distancing measures that appeared to have been effective in reducing the impact of COVID-19 to the campus community.  

Understanding that this is an evolving situation, our intent is regularly to update and/or to communicate with students, faculty, staff, alumni, partners, and Bronzeville neighbors. We will communicate updates via our website, email, and/or various social media accounts used by the university. As noted above, we need everyone to work with us and to assume responsibility for promptly and diligently acting on these updates and to have their actions and behaviors comply with public health guidance.  

In addition, despite the challenges we may face, we are making plans to focus on educational innovation and the prioritization of experiential learning so that our students can be engaged in fall 2020. However, at this time, we cannot definitively state what this will include. These decisions will need to be made based on the then-available public health guidance and the current state of the COVID-19 outbreak. We currently believe, based on available information and guidance, that the actions below may provide a basis to maintain our commitment to our founding academic mission in the midst of the pandemic. Please remember, although these actions reflect our current expectations, they are subject to change.

COVID-19 Website

Resources For Research

University Plan for Reopening from COVID-19 (myIIT login required)

CDC Guidelines

Hand Washing graphic

All individuals should practice good hand-washing techniques more frequently than normal, including washing with soap and water or using hand sanitizer upon entrance to buildings and just before leaving, before and after eating, after direct contact with commonly used items/spaces, after handling any face mask, and after any contact with mouth/nose/eyes.

Mask/Face Covering Graphic

Until we reach Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois Plan, and consistent with CDC guidance, the university will require people older than 2 years of age who are medically able to tolerate wearing a face covering to wear a face covering on university property where other social distancing measures, such as six-foot separation, are difficult to maintain.

Stay 6 feet apart graphic

As our city and state continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, we must do our part to help slow the spread of the coronavirus throughout Chicago. It is our responsibility as a community of concerned and conscientious individuals to take the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-recommended social distancing practices seriously.

Public Health Protocols

Members of the Illinois Tech community are expected to follow essential public health protocols while on the university’s campuses. We're all in this together.

Watch Now
Illinois Tech Campus Signage on easel example

Posters/Directional Signs

Graphics and signage will be used across campuses to reinforce public health protocols and signal traffic patterns to facilitate social distancing.

COVID-19 website on a laptop computer screen

COVID-19 Website

This website contains up-to-date information regarding university plans and policies as well as important information regarding COVID-19 from government authorities.

Visit COVID-19 Website

Illinois Tech’s commitment to its academic mission remains the same. Illinois Tech will continue to provide distinctive and relevant education and research in an environment of scientific, technological, and professional knowledge creation and innovation.

It is our responsibility as a community of concerned and conscientious individuals to take the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-recommended social distancing and hygiene practices seriously. Based on what we know about this disease, these measures are among the most important actions we can take as individuals to help slow its spread, flatten the curve, and protect the health and safety of those at risk.

Our administration continues to work with public health officials regarding policies and procedures that are aimed at protecting the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff.