ISU shares health guidelines for the return to campus this fall


NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — Illinois State University leaders on Wednesday shared a progress report that details guidelines for the return to campus this fall amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report, titled “Redbirds Return,” said classes will be presented in-person, online, and a hybrid of the two. It goes through a five-phase reopening, similar to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan. Phase 4 of the governor’s plan allows universities to offer classes on campus again. The recommendations outlined in the Redbirds Return report assume that the region will be in Phase 4 prior to the start of the fall semester.

University housing and dining facilities will be open to serve students. Facilities such as the Bone Student Center, Milner Library, and the Student Fitness Center will be open to students and staff as well.

An on-campus COVID-19 antigen testing, antibody testing, and/or vaccination administration site will also be available. Students and staff may be required to participate in this testing. Employees will conduct temperature checks and screening where appropriate and when recommended in certain settings, like clinicals, dining operations, and athletics. The university will also ramp up the capacity to conduct contact tracing.

Guests in residence halls will be limited, and move-in days will be extended to limit congestion and to follow social distancing guidelines. Students will also be required to wear face coverings in common areas within residential communities.

On-campus students who do test positive for COVID-19 will be offered specific housing, dining, and support services while in quarantine.

In dining areas, seating will be arranged in accordance with public health guidelines. Barriers will be installed to reduce contact points between diners and staff. Carryout options will also be encouraged.

Employees will receive proper training on health and safety practices related to the coronavirus.

Activities with prolonged and close contact, like rehearsals and performances, will be limited unless approved for instruction. At these events, line queues will be maintained to provide appropriate distancing.

Facilities Management employees will continue to perform routine cleaning of designated buildings,
including high-traffic areas, on a regularly scheduled basis. The task of disinfecting these high-traffic areas, as well as high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, elevator buttons, and handrails, has been added to the regular cleaning process. New cleaning technology, such as electrostatic sprayers, are being added to the cleaning protocols.

Guidance has been reviewed from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the
Illinois Department of Public Health, the McLean County Health Department, the American
College Health Association, the Illinois Board of Higher Education, and more.

In March, ISU President Larry Dietz appointed 15 workgroups to examine research and planning duties about how the spring and summer semesters would unfold amid the coronavirus pandemic. Updates to the recommendations will be shared when appropriate.

For the full Redbirds Return report, click here.

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