Fall 2020 Reopening
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Updated as of August 14, 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.
University Plan for Reopening from COVID-19 (myIIT login required)
Illinois Tech COVID-19 Contact Information
Message from President Cramb and Provost Kilpatrick
August 13, 2020
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.
- Faculty and staff starting after the week of September 8 are expected to submit their documentation no fewer than five days prior to 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.
For more information regarding COVID-19, please visit chicago.gov/2019-nCoV or cdc.gov/coronavirus, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 312.746.4835.
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
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.
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.
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
Graphics and signage will be used across campuses to reinforce public health protocols and signal traffic patterns to facilitate social distancing.
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.