March 26, 2020, 8:53 AM
Students, faculty and staff:
Good morning! As you are following the spread of illness throughout the United States, we will provide periodic updates about the health status of our campus community. We are not aware of any positive COVID-19 cases for students, faculty or staff. We understand that two students living off-campus have been tested and are waiting results, but we have no known cases at this time. Students – please continue to notify Arnold Health Service if you are concerned about symptoms, undergo testing, or have questions about health during this time.
We have also been receiving a lot of questions about navigating this pandemic related to travel, transmission, and general best-practice medical advice. We’ve updated a medical FAQ for the campus community in an effort to centralize advice from the CDC to respond to our basic concerns.
Thank you to all students, faculty and staff for your genuine commitment to “flattening the curve” in the best interest of our community health. We appreciate the many adjustments you are making to your daily lives in support of our global community.
Vickie Folse, Interim Executive Director of Health/Counseling
March 23, 2020, 4:56 PM
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
This morning, we entered a new chapter in the history of Illinois Wesleyan. But it is not an entirely unique chapter. Our country has mobilized during national crises before, and this pandemic is no different. At Illinois Wesleyan, we have endured these difficult battles before, and we have come back from those experiences, have grown, and flourished. We will do that again.
I know that many are anxious about how we will manage distance learning. Already, with help from the great work of our IT and Ames library staff—as well as the assistance faculty are providing each other—faculty are managing this new environment well, as they try to offer the best opportunity for students’ learning. The Academic Affairs office, in addition to Ames and IT, will continue to be a resource as we go forward. Faculty and students should not hesitate to contact them. As well, Dean Carney-Hall has sent a great list of “tips” for students to transition successfully to remote learning.
What we value most is the close contact between faculty and students, and among students. So the new modes of delivery and interaction we are trying are unfamiliar to us. But relationship and care are possible online—as our (“digital native”) students know better than anyone. Our forebears carried out meaningful and even intimate relationships just through written correspondence. We can do this. What will be paramount, as we find our way in these new media, will be patience with and compassion for each other, as we navigate together how to learn in new and different ways.
March 20, 2020, 4:49 PM
To: The Illinois Wesleyan Community
From: President S. Georgia Nugent
This afternoon, the McLean County Health Department reported to the media that a person has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) with connections to Illinois Wesleyan.
To maintain confidentiality, MCHD was unable to provide additional information to us, but offered assurance that anyone who has had direct contact with this individual has been notified.
We have subsequently learned that the individual is not an Illinois Wesleyan student, faculty or staff member, and they have not visited our campus recently. This is the first known case of COVID-19 involving an individual with contacts in our campus community.
Because the majority of our students are no longer on campus, and most of our employees are now working remotely, we have significantly reduced the risk for transmission of COVID-19 on campus. However, it is imperative that all members of our University community continue to practice social distancing, monitor their health, and follow CDC guidance pertaining to COVID-19.
Students on campus who don't feel well should contact Arnold Health Services at (309) 556-3107 or an after-hours medical clinic (evenings and weekends). Students and employees who test positive for COVID-19 are encouraged to notify the University, to help us take every possible precaution to protect the health of the campus community.
The health and safety of our community is our top priority. The latest information regarding Illinois Wesleyan’s response to COVID-19 will continue to be assembled at www.iwu.edu/covid19, and we invite any questions or concerns you may have via firstname.lastname@example.org. The McLean County Health Department can be reached at: (309) 888-5450.
Please take care.
March 20, 2020, 10:47 AM
To the IWU community
From President S. Georgia Nugent
I am writing to the IWU community to convey a very difficult decision, but one that we believe is necessary. Our hope had been to resume on-campus classes on March 30. But, based on the latest recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, as well as the current spread of the coronavirus in Illinois, we now believe this is not feasible. We have determined that our best course of action will be to extend our plans for remote instruction until the end of the semester and for May Term, which will also be offered remotely.
Students, you will receive detailed information about moving out of residence halls in a separate email. Please follow all instructions so we can adhere to social distancing requirements.
As COVID-19 response timelines became clear, we were able to reach this decision earlier than originally expected and hope this also helps families who may need to adjust their planning for travel and other considerations. We recognize this decision will be a great disappointment for our students, who were looking forward to returning to campus and re-connecting with faculty and friends. I am particularly pained by what this means for our seniors and their expectations at this time.
Because current CDC guidelines advise that no events be held with 50 or more people through May 10, sadly we will not be able to hold Commencement in its traditional format. However, we are committed to finding alternatives to meaningfully celebrate our graduating seniors. We will be working with the senior committee to explore options and will communicate our plan to seniors and their families by April 1.
These are unprecedented times, and obviously not the experiences that any of us were anticipating. But our faculty and staff are hard at work in finding new and creative ways to stay connected with our students and to continue their education, although in new venues, with the same close attention that Illinois Wesleyan can distinctively deliver. Even during such a time, Illinois Wesleyan will continue to offer a level of interaction and mentoring that would not be possible at a larger institution and, together, we will surmount this challenge.
There remain many logistical issues to be addressed and questions to be resolved, both for students and for faculty and staff members. Across the university, we are working hard to determine solutions. We will be communicating as clearly as we can, as quickly as we can, and your patience, as we work through the many implications of this change, will be much appreciated.
Tuesday, March 17
To students and families
As all of us are grappling with new uncertainties amid the global pandemic, our feelings are especially strong – in appreciation and gratitude for our shared Titan community, and in disappointment for halted expectations around the culmination of the academic year. We deeply lament the abrupt ends of promising athletic seasons, study abroad experiences, fine arts productions, performances and exhibitions, and all that so many have been working toward.
The campus is quiet during this extended Spring Break, and will be even quieter as we ask many of our employees to work from home, doing our part to slow the virus' spread. A core team at The Ames Library is taking health precautions while preparing to resume classes with remote instruction next week. Transitioning to this new modality may require a spirit of patience, but our faculty are committed to working with you to ensure your success through this portion of the semester.
We also appreciate your patience as we navigate our courses of action amid sudden changes in the global and regional situation. We have tried to balance the need for conveying updates as quickly as possible, but also ensuring our decisions are sound and information is helpful and accurate. We ask for your continued understanding as the situation continues to evolve.
As you may be aware, recent national guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend scheduling no events for 50 or more people for the next 8 weeks — i.e., through the first week of May. (And, on Monday, President Trump suggested no groups larger than 10 should gather.) We are deeply saddened that this CDC timeframe includes our planned Commencement date. Yet we are committed to finding alternatives to meaningfully celebrate our graduating seniors. We are confident that the Class of 2020 is superbly equipped by their experiences at Illinois Wesleyan for the urgent challenges facing the world today.
We will continue to monitor news of the COVID-19 outbreak, including CDC, state and local health department recommendations. Our campus response team is monitoring developments as they unfold. Our website has a link on the home page to our latest campus updates, at iwu.edu/covid19. Check it often and check your IWU email; we’ll be communicating with you there as changes occur.
In unsettling times like these, it's helpful to reflect on who and what are important in your life. At Illinois Wesleyan, we're strengthened by all that we've endured in our long history, and by the continual infusions of hope borne by each new generation of Titans. Our IWU spirit of “I With U” will carry us through.
President S. Georgia Nugent
Monday, March 16, 5:49 PM
In response to recent developments and state-level recommendations addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, the University remains “open” for instruction (delivered remotely), but the physical campus will be closed for most non-essential operations and most external visitors, effective tomorrow, March 17. Faculty are making preparations this week for remote instruction of classes to begin next week.
Campus buildings will be locked with the exception of the Memorial Center, which will remain open for students who have been granted permission to stay on campus. (Hansen Student Center will be open on Tuesday, March 17, as the polling place for the Primary Election.)
All employees who are able to work remotely should do so, and not come to campus unless it is essential to perform their work. If necessary, employees will be permitted to return to campus briefly to bring home desktop computers and other equipment required to continue their work remotely.
Supervisors are expected to consult the University's Telecommuting Policy, which is expanded to include non-exempt staff during the current COVID-19 situation. Supervisors should complete the Telecommuting Request Form for each subordinate staff member in order to track equipment taken off campus and to manage employees' expected productivity. For workers whose duties aren't typically based online, assignments may be available to support the University’s transition to remote instruction or assist in other areas. There may also be opportunities for online professional development. Employees should consult their supervisors about these possibilities.
Employees are encouraged to use remote-work technologies such as Google Hangouts Meet to continue meetings and other collaborative efforts where necessary. Please continue to monitor your voicemail. Instructions for forwarding your office extension to your mobile or another phone are available here, and we've provided instructions for gaining remote and safe access to campus network resources.
Trade and custodial employees may still be assigned to work on site, observing social distancing guidelines, in order to perform deep cleaning and other maintenance work.
We have updated the FAQ online for employees on the www.iwu.edu/covid19 site. Please ask your direct supervisor if you have additional questions, and continue to check your IWU email for ongoing updates.
Impacts and responses to this global outbreak are unprecedented. We appreciate the resilience, dedication and creativity of our staff and faculty as we depend on each other in new ways, while staying productive, safe and well.
Sunday, March 15, 9:16 PM
To the IWU Campus Community from President Nugent
As I know you are all aware, the COVID-19 pandemic—and the responses to it—are evolving rapidly. This afternoon, Governor Pritzker announced the closing of bars and restaurants throughout Illinois beginning on Tuesday, March 17 and the closing of State offices. Cases of the virus in Central Illinois have been confirmed. In light of these and other developments at the national, state, and local levels, we are revising our response plans in the following ways:
— As announced on Friday, staff members should report to the campus as usual on Monday. However, the objective for the day is for staff to work together to develop work-from-home plans for as many people as possible, beginning on Tuesday. Moving to “work at home” is in line with the Governor’s and others’ guidelines.
We know there will be many complexities to this decision and that it will not be possible for everyone. Decisions will need to be made at the department, office, and individual level, between supervisors and staff members, and it isn’t possible to issue general policies at this time. Please be patient with one another, as we all try to cope effectively with the pandemic threat and enter into new ways of working (and living).
— Ames Library will be open for mission-critical activities, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Use of the library will be limited to faculty who need to use resources to move their instruction to an alternative mode and to a select group of staff for cleaning. Workshops in online teaching are scheduled, and faculty are urged to participate in these (social distancing will be observed). The schedule of workshops is available in the employee FAQ page. Ames Library will not be available for study or group meetings, other than the workshops.
— Beginning Tuesday, the Shirk Center will be closed to non-Shirk employees. The Shirk Center will not be available for athletic or recreational purposes. Students and others are encouraged to continue to remain physically active in other ways (walking, running, online exercise programs, etc.)
— The CDC issued guidelines today on “mass gatherings.” Their recommendation is that no events for 50 people or more be scheduled for the next 8 weeks— i.e., through May 3. This national recommendation presents a very great challenge to the planned Illinois Wesleyan calendar, and we will be working hard to understand how we can comply with the CDC guidance and at the same time honor our commitments to our university community.
I’m keenly aware that these measures present many challenges, and I regret the hardships that many or most of us will experience in these extraordinary times. And the reality is, there may well be more changes to come. I hope that each of us is able to draw on inner sources of strength, our support for one another, and our shared commitment to our students to guide us through these difficult days.
March 12, 2020
To: Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents
From: President S. Georgia Nugent
Illinois Wesleyan will extend Spring Break until Sunday, March 22. Classes will resume using distance learning methods from March 23 - 27. We will evaluate and determine by March 26 whether classes will return to campus on March 30. Campus offices will remain open during this time.
As we continue to assess the escalating impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we are committed to taking responsible action toward mitigating the potential spread of the virus, to proactively safeguard the health of our community and the resilience of our healthcare system.
This extended break is intended to allow our faculty time to develop alternative methods for delivering course instruction. As you know, we value our culture as a residential University and the importance of faculty-student interaction, and hope to return to in-person learning as soon as possible. If accessing courses electronically presents a hardship for you, please contact Scott Walter, University Librarian.
Our response team will continue to comprehensively assess developments as they unfold. We realize many questions remain, and will continue to send followup messages with more details, including information specific to employees. We also have established the email address email@example.com, where you can direct related questions. Information will continue to be assembled on the University website at www.iwu.edu/covid19.
While there are currently no known cases of COVID-19 on campus or in Central Illinois, please remember to follow recommendations to help protect yourself and others from disease, and make personal decisions to reduce opportunities for the transmission of this new virus in our communities.
|For Students Studying Abroad|
Friday, March 6 at 7:43 PM
Dear Colleagues -
The rapidly-evolving novel coronavirus/COVID-19 situation has demanded thoughtful and appropriate responses to the health challenges the virus presents. We are doing our very best to stay on top of this situation and to assess appropriate responses. We are working to balance concerns of students, families, faculty & staff, and official responders.
Students Returning from International Travel During Spring Break
As you have read in the IWU Update email sent at 2:28 pm on Thursday, March 5, 2020, we are requiring all students who plan travel to any areas designated by the CDC or the State Department as being under Level-3 or -4 travel warnings, OR who travel to areas that become Level-3 or -4, to voluntarily self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to campus. They have been asked to self-report their travel plans through a travel registry (see highlighted text below from the IWU Update email). This has important implications for teaching and learning:
Students using the travel registry who place themselves under self-quarantine will be granted university-sanctioned excused absences. These excused absences supersede any attendance policies for individual classes.
We ask you to work with students to keep pace with your course as normal classes resume following Spring Break.
Ames Library and the Thorpe Center will provide assistance to faculty interested in using distance learning technologies to reach students in self-quarantine.
We will work to share with you the names of any students under self-quarantine who may be in your class(es) or working under your supervision, and we will work hard to do so in as timely a manner as possible.
We recognize that this is highly unusual, and we very much appreciate your forbearance during these times as well as your focus on the needs of our students.
Personal Travel: In the interest of campus health, please report your international travel plans or travel to known high-risk areas of the U.S. on this form. If you are traveling over Spring Break to affected areas, please be aware of risk factors. Please consult with the CDC warning levels and the State Department Travel Warnings for any travel. If you travel to any areas designated advisory level 3 or 4 (U.S. State Department or CDC), you are expected to voluntarily self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to campus, per CDC recommendations. We will be working with faculty to determine alternative course delivery for students should a quarantine occur. – IWU Update email, March 5, 2020 at 2:28 pm
In addition, you may yourself be traveling in the coming months to an area/areas under CDC/State Department Level-3 and -4 travel warnings OR areas that become under Level-3 or -4 warning as well. In such circumstances you are asked to report your travel plans or completed travel to the office of the appropriate vice president/provost, and you are requested to self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to campus. This will clearly cause a disruption in normal instruction and work function during the self-quarantine period. We will work with you to enable workable accommodations.
If your travel is university related, it is important to bear in mind that any travel to a country or region under a Level-3 or -4 US State Department travel warning is not permitted under the IWU international travel policy. IWU will cover any non-refundable expenses should you need to cancel your trip. If you elect to travel to a country or region under a Level-3 or -4 U.S. State Department travel warning in violation of the university's international travel policy, your travel costs will not be reimbursed. For your reference, the IWU international travel policy can be found here.
While it is too soon to know either how severe or how long the coronavirus/COVID-19 health situation will be, it has been particularly stressful for our international students. It is possible that some of our international students may not be able to return home this summer. The university is working to provide housing for the summer. And if you or your department is in a position to hire a student summer worker, please bring the opportunity to the attention of any international students who might be seeking employment.
The start of Spring Break will bring additional uncertainties and potential hazards. We do not know what the course of the viral outbreak will be or whether it will even impact IWU and Central Illinois. We emphasize that the steps outlined here are being implemented to respond in a proactive manner to minimize potential health risks, and your cooperation is greatly appreciated.
Thank you and have a restful and healthy Spring Break!
Georgia, Matt, Mark, Karla, LeAnn, and Steve
Message to Parents —
Thursday, March 5, 2020 at 8:08 PM
Dear parents and families,
Illinois Wesleyan is carefully monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak as it unfolds, and we want to share with families the policies and plans that are in place. Our communications with the campus community about the virus can be viewed at www.iwu.edu/updates.
We are mindful of our students from highly impacted areas around the world, and extend our support and care as their home communities respond to the virus. We are in the process of identifying additional summer housing for our international students if the need arises.
To date there have been no confirmed or suspected cases in McLean County.
While our campus risk is still considered low, we are encouraging members of our campus community to take preventative precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). We're encouraging students with any respiratory illness to visit Arnold Health Services or other healthcare providers for assessment and evaluation.
As we head into Spring Break, campus community members are asked to report their travel plans and to monitor CDC warning levels and the State Department Travel Warnings for any travel. Those who travel to any areas designated advisory level 3 or 4 (U.S. State Department or CDC) are expected to voluntarily self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to campus. We will be working with faculty to determine alternative course delivery for students should a quarantine occur.
The University’s policy regarding international travel prohibits students, faculty and staff from University-sponsored travel in regions that are under U.S. Department of State Level 3 or Level 4 Advisories. In response to the latest travel advisories, all students studying in Italy are returning home and will complete the CDC-recommended quarantine. Planned May Term travel to Italy is suspended, and we are exploring ways to modify the proposed course.
We will make a determination no later than April 15 about other University-sponsored travel in May Term and summer. Regardless, at all times we encourage students and families to make personal decisions for their own safety.
The health and safety of our community is our top priority as we continue to monitor updates from state, federal and international health organizations.
Karla C. Carney-Hall, Dean of Students
Mark Brodl, Provost & Dean of Faculty
Thursday, March 5, 2020 at 2:28 PM
Students, faculty and staff:
As information continues to evolve about the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we want to make you aware of several things:
Personal Travel: In the interest of campus health, please report your international travel plans or travel to known high-risk areas of the U.S. on this form. If you are traveling over Spring Break to affected areas, please be aware of risk factors. Please consult with the CDC warning levels and the State Department Travel Warnings for any travel. If you travel to any areas designated advisory level 3 or 4 (U.S. State Department or CDC), you are expected to voluntarily self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to campus, per CDC recommendations. We will be working with faculty to determine alternative course delivery for students should a quarantine occur.
Health Support: If you return from Spring Break with any respiratory illness, students are encouraged to visit Arnold Health Services for assessment and evaluation. Faculty and staff experiencing symptoms are encouraged to visit their personal healthcare providers.
Arnold Health Services will have extended hours (from 7 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. with service available over lunch) on Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17. On campus, we will follow the CDC recommendations, which may include isolation (at home or local quarantine, if home is not an option).
If you have a compromised immune system, please contact your primary care provider and/or Arnold Health Service staff about any additional precautionary measures that may be appropriate for your health. Advance planning may be important to anticipating your needs.
Study Abroad: We continue to closely monitor this situation for all of our students, including students who are currently abroad. All students studying in Italy are returning to the U.S., to their home communities. The CDC guidelines for a 14-day quarantine will be enforced.
Decisions about May Term and summer travel will be made no later than April 15. If you have questions about your course and decisions you may make personally, please be in touch with your professor.
International Students: We understand that you may be making decisions about your summer plans in the next few weeks. Please talk with the International Office about options for the summer. We are in the process of identifying additional housing if the need arises.
Since this evolving situation may escalate or de-escalate in coming days, please check your IWU email frequently. For ongoing updates, our communications with the campus community about the virus are posted at www.iwu.edu/updates. The health and safety of students and our campus community is essential to our collective success.
Friday, Feb 28, 2020 at 3:03 PM
Students, faculty, and staff,
As we look forward to Spring Break which typically brings some travel, we want to remind you to stay healthy and take preventative precautions. Between flu season and ongoing concerns about the Coronavirus, we want to be mindful and vigilant about public health. We have many confirmed instances of flu on campus, but no cases of Coronavirus at IWU or in the Bloomington/Normal community. Our study abroad partners are monitoring the spread of Coronavirus in Italy and other areas of the world. If you are abroad now or scheduled to study abroad in May, summer or other international travel, you will receive a separate update from the International Office.
While we believe our campus risk remains low, we will continue to monitor this global health crisis. Please note the following preventative strategies:
We want to be mindful of our students from highly impacted areas around the world – our support and care go out to you as your home communities respond to the virus. We encourage all members of our campus community to be inclusive and respectful in supporting each other through this difficult global crisis.
The health and safety of our community is our top priority and we will continue to monitor updates from state, federal and international health organizations. Please contact Arnold Health Services with any questions or concerns.
Karla C. Carney-Hall, Dean of Students
Vickie Folse, Interim Executive Director of Health/Counseling
Monday, Feb 3, 2020 at 9:31 AM
Students, faculty and staff:
We have been following the developments of the spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus within China. The Coronavirus outbreak was declared a global health crisis and we are seeing the first cases in the U.S., including Chicago. U.S. health officials are monitoring this respiratory illness closely. Most U.S. cases have been people who have recently traveled to affected areas in China. At this time, we consider the risk to our campus community low; however, we always want to be conscious of any potential health concerns in our community.
The coronavirus is similar to other respiratory illnesses in preventative approaches. You can help prevent the spread of any illness with the following, common-sense strategies:
If you are ill with fever above 100.0, please go to Arnold Health Services for evaluation and treatment. Please do not attempt to wait out the fever (or tough it out). Medications are available to provide relief of symptoms. Needed medications can be ordered through a pharmacy of your choice.
Arnold Health Services
Lower Level – North Entrance Magill Hall
Hours: M-F 8AM -12 noon and 1PM - 4:30PM
Thanks for always making good decisions about your individual health so that our community health can be strong. Please don’t hesitate to contact Arnold Health Services if you have any questions.
Karla C. Carney-Hall, Dean of Students
Vickie Folse, Interim Executive Director of Health/Counseling