Coronavirus Campus Updates

COVID-19 FAQs and Reminders – Deadline Today

Aug. 5, 2022

Students and Families:

We continue to navigate our implementation plans for this fall related to COVID-19. We appreciate your many thoughtful questions and have added the following information to our FAQs. We have just a few reminders below:

  • Please submit your COVID-19 vaccine and booster information through Banner Self Service or your exemption request via email (healthservices@iwu.edu) by Friday, August 5 (today!)  We have clarified a few questions about COVID-19 medical exemptions here.  
  • All students should pre-register for baseline testing prior to your arrival on-campus. (This is an update. We hoped that last year’s testing information would carry over, but believe a re-registration will be more efficient.)
  • Dates, times and location for baseline testing are listed here as well as many FAQs about arrival times, quarantine, off-campus students, and those who’ve tested positive in the last 90 days. 

We will continue to update the FAQs over the next few weeks. Please send questions to healthservices@IWU.edu.

Be well!

Karla Carney-Hall


Fall 22 COVID Update

July 28, 2022

Students and families:

The countdown to the Fall semester is upon us. Classes start in under a month! In many ways it feels like the COVID-19 pandemic has transitioned to the endemic phase, and yet, we are all still wrestling with high transmission of the current variant. At IWU, we  continue to monitor and make decisions we feel are best for our distinctive residential student population.  

Up-to-date vaccinations/Booster Required:  A reminder that all students are required to submit their booster information or an exemption request by August 5 (one week away - this is an extended deadline). All students should upload your up-to-date vaccination results using Banner Self-Service no later than August 5 (regardless of whether you have submitted this material in the past). There is a link called “Vaccination Documentation” under the student menu in Banner Self-Service. If you are requesting an exemption for the first time for either the vaccine or the booster, please complete and submit this form no later than August 5. Requesting an exemption is a simple process and likely to be confirmed if paperwork is submitted accurately and completely.

Baseline testing:  All students (on-campus and off-campus) will also need to participate in on-campus baseline testing for COVID-19 within 24 hours of participating in any campus experience. Testing dates will be August 11, 16, 18, 21, 24, 26, 27, and 29; times to be provided by August 5. All returning students should already have accounts with Test Directly, but new and transfer students may need to pre-register here and find instruction here. Your insurance will be billed for this testing. Students will not quarantine pending test results, but we recommend that all students mask until able to test and results are known. As a precaution, we highly recommend that you take a rapid antigen test prior to returning to campus for your own peace of mind that you are COVID-19 negative prior to your travel. This does not replace campus-based baseline testing.

Positive COVID-19 Isolation and Contact Quarantine:  We are following CDC guidelines for COVID-19 positive isolation and contact tracing quarantine. If you test positive for COVID-19, you must isolate off-campus for 5 days, test and then (if asymptomatic) wear a KN-95 mask for five additional days while in-person. All Titans exposed to COVID-19 are expected to test after 5 days to verify non-illness. For unvaccinated or non-boosted students exposed to COVID-19, you  will isolate off-campus for 5 days, test, and then, if negative, mask for a remaining 5 days. We encourage all students and families to have a plan for off-campus isolation or quarantine. For students unable to go home, hotel or other off-campus arrangements are your responsibility.  Financial support may be available based on financial need through the Titan Student Emergency Fund.  

Masks Optional (unless part of health protocol):  After much deliberation, we are hopeful that the requirement to be up-to-date on vaccinations (including the booster) and baseline testing will further help mitigate campus risk. As a result, masks will be optional in all campus spaces. The CDC is recommending masking indoors in high transmission areas, which is the current status in McLean County. We fully support masking and hope that all Titans will respect those who choose to wear a mask. With individual meetings and in health care settings (Arnold Health Services), masks may be expected or requested (or virtual meeting might be a possibility).  With few exceptions, most classes will be in-person with masks optional. Virtual options due to isolation/quarantine are at the discretion of the faculty member.      

Thank you for your continued efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 for our entire IWU and Bloomington community. We look forward to seeing you in a few weeks.

Karla Carney-Hall
Dean of Students  


COVID-19 Booster Required

June 29, 2022

Students and families:

As we approach the 4th of July weekend, we remain grateful for your commitment to public health throughout this COVID-19 pandemic. McLean County recently moved from a high to medium level of transmission and we continue to monitor community transmission closely. The CDC and community medical experts highly recommend the booster for COVID as the best way to reduce serious illness from COVID-19, since COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness declines over time, and boosters provide additional protection. Furthermore, recent studies show that the booster reduces many of the serious long-term physical effects of COVID.  

With our understanding of the science, medical expertise and the ever-evolving public health needs of residential campuses, being up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccinations (including the booster) will be required for all students this fall, by August 1. All students must have the full vaccination including one booster or an approved medical or religious exemption. Returning students who were approved for medical or religious exemption for the primary vaccine series do not need to request an exemption for the booster. Students who completed their primary series but who chose not to complete the booster must submit a request for medical or religious exemption (see below for required documentation). 

How do I get up-to-date and share my results?  COVID-19 boosters are widely available at many pharmacies or primary care offices. Please consult your primary care provider about which booster is best for you. All students should upload your up-to-date vaccination results using Banner Self-Service no later than August 1 (regardless of whether you have submitted this material in the past). There is a link called “Vaccination Documentation” under the student menu in Banner Self-Service.  

How do I request an exemption?   We understand that the booster for COVID-19 is a medical choice that is guided by your personal health circumstances. If you have already been approved for an exemption, that exemption will be extended to the booster. You don’t need to do anything.  If you are requesting an exemption for the first time for either the vaccine or the booster, please complete and submit this form no later than August 1. Requesting an exemption is a simple process and likely to be confirmed if paperwork is submitted accurately and completely.

Summer staffing and questions:  Arnold Health Services will be minimally staffed in July (approximately 4 hours/week). If you have questions about either the booster or exemptions, please contact our office via email (healthservices@iwu.edu). If you contact our office in July, you will receive a response in early August. Please be patient and assured that we will respond.  

We appreciate your ongoing commitment to our campus health and well-being. Please watch for additional communication about baseline testing and surveillance testing later this summer. Have a wonderful summer!

 

Karla Carney-Hall, Dean of Students

Vickie Folse, Executive Director of Health and Counseling

 


May Term COVID Protocols

May 3, 2022

May Term students:

We hope you are looking forward to May Term. Our on-campus COVID-19 cases remain low, largely due to our mitigation measures including vaccination, masking and distancing. Transmission in our McLean County region is considered medium. Our current policies will remain in place for May Term.  

As a reminder:

  • Masks are required in class.
  • Masks are recommended in all other spaces where physical distancing is not possible.
  • Event organizers may require masks.
  • On campus testing continues every Wednesday 11:30-12:30 in the northeast corner of the Shirk indoor track; please notify Arnold Health Services if you are symptomatic or have known exposure.  

We appreciate your continued vigilance and support of the healthy campus norms that we’ve developed over the last few years. Have a great May Term.

Sincerely,

Karla Carney-Hall
Vickie Folse


Changes to Campus Mask Policy

March 24, 2022

Titan Community:

Thanks for your diligence and persistence with COVID-19 mitigation efforts this week. We value the additional time to further assess our campus health following Spring Break. Cases remain mild and manageable for our campus community. Specifically, we currently have six active cases, including only one case identified out of 96 post-Spring Break on-campus surveillance tests.

We will move to a predominantly mask-optional campus policy with the following expectations effective Friday, March 25:

  • Masks continue to be required in all mandatory class activities (e.g., classrooms; labs).
  • Masks are required in any health spaces (e.g., Arnold Health Services and Counseling and Consultation Services).
  • Masks are recommended in indoor group activities larger than 50 participants.
  • Unless otherwise noted above, masks are optional in residence halls, apartments, and fraternity houses, meeting areas, hallways, offices, The Ames Library, dining services, Shirk Center and outdoors.  
  • Mask requests by individuals in small groups must be honored by all members of the group. For example, if you are in a small group or 1:1 environment and request masking, the other party must comply. This gives you control of small meetings or gatherings in your personal space. If you choose not to wear a mask when asked in a small group, you must leave the meeting and/or request a virtual option. Some meetings may not be possible virtually. Refusal to mask upon request in a small group may be considered a violation of the Titan Pledge.
  • Event sponsors may choose a more restrictive group masking policy and will publish mask expectations in advance.
  • We reserve the right to return to a full mask requirement or adjust mask expectations at any time, based on community spread concerns.  

We want all Titans to be respected in their health protocols. Should you decide to wear a mask in otherwise optional spaces, we support you!

 

Karla Carney-Hall

Vickie Folse


COVID Expectations for Returning from Spring Break

March 17, 2022

Titan Community:

As you plan to return to campus next week, please note the following updates:

  • COVID-19 testing:   Monday and Wednesday, March 21 and 23, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., at the Shirk Center. Please sign up here to participate. We recommend testing for any Titans who may have been exposed to the virus (which includes those who have attended any large group gatherings over break).  
  • Increase in cases:  Unfortunately, we saw a spike in COVID cases on March 9-11 with 20 new cases identified on campus in three days. We believe these are linked to large group gatherings where masking was not consistent. 
  • Post-Spring Break concerns:  We anticipate that we will see an increase in cases following Spring Break. Please monitor symptoms, test, mask and maintain social distance to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Although the severity of illness has been manageable for most members of our campus community, the academic disruption in the last part of the semester is difficult for students and faculty.   
  • Potential changes to mitigation strategies:  We will monitor our post-Spring Break illness and then make decisions about mask mitigations by March 25. In the meantime, continue wearing masks and distancing in all indoor spaces.  

As we mark the second anniversary of the COVID pandemic, we want to lift up the shared efforts of our campus community, and acknowledge that masking, physical distancing, vaccines, and other mitigations have worked to keep our residential campus community safe. We further understand we all want to return to a degree of normalcy, and want to assure we complete the semester without a return to previous restrictions.

See you next week!

Karla Carney-Hall

Vickie Folse


Mask Protocols and COVID Vaccine Clinic

Feb. 23, 2022

Students, faculty and staff,

As the state of Illinois plans to lift its mask mandate on Feb. 28, we have been evaluating our protocols. We will be monitoring COVID-19 transmission rates during the coming weeks to see if they remain stable following changes in Illinois policy and our own Spring Break.

We intend to maintain our current protocols for the near-term. Local, state and national health organizations continue to indicate that the most effective prevention / mitigation strategies for COVID-19 are vaccination, effective mask-wearing and social distancing. Based on the results we've been able to achieve by following our current protocols – and regional trends seen in the past when mitigations are eased – we will continue a cautious approach.

We will make a determination about possible easing of mask requirements, and in what campus environments, based on surveillance testing results following Spring Break (March 12-20) and based on county COVID numbers. On-campus surveillance testing (both opt-in and required as appropriate) will be offered Monday, March 21 and Wednesday, March 23, from 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

In advance of Spring Break, we will hold an on-campus COVID-19 vaccine clinic on Tuesday, March 1, from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. at the Shirk Center. All doses, including booster shots, will be available of the Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. See an information graphic and medical FAQ flyer, and register here for a time slot.

Karla Carney-Hall

Vickie Folse


Campus Mask Protocols

Feb. 10, 2022

Faculty, staff and students,

Governor Pritzker has announced that if COVID trends continue to improve, the indoor mask mandate in Illinois will be lifted for many public settings by Feb. 28. Mandates will remain in force, however, for schools and congregate residential environments. At Illinois Wesleyan, we will maintain our current masking protocols.

As a reminder, all students, faculty and staff are required to wear a mask over your nose and mouth indoors when around others, regardless of vaccination status. It is essential that the mask you wear is properly fitted (no side gaps; secure across your nose; no need for frequent adjustments). 

Also in support of our community health, we will host a COVID booster clinic on Tuesday, March 1, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Shirk Center. This clinic will be open to IWU students, faculty, staff and their dependents.

Thank you for continuing to protect the health of yourself and others.

Karla Carney-Hall

Vickie Folse


 

Updated COVID-19 Isolation and Quarantine Protocols

Students and families:

We have continued to monitor The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American College Health Association, and Illinois Department of Public Health guidance about residential settings. We are pleased that our current COVID-19 positive active cases are below 20. Based on our campus COVID numbers and our collective commitment to be safe, we have decided to update our protocols for isolation and quarantine, effective Monday, Feb. 7, 2022.

COVID-19 Positive Isolation:  Five/Assess/Mask 

Students who test positive for COVID-19 will:

  • Isolate off-campus for five days, starting immediately after test results are known.  Day 1 is the first full day following a positive test result. 
  • On Day 5, students will connect with Arnold Health Services during regular business hours or an arranged day time on the weekends for an assessment of 1) symptoms (including improvement and absence of fever) and 2) commitment to strictly adhere to masking for an additional 5 days. It is not automatic that students will be cleared on Day 6. Students may be expected to test on Day 6, depending on Arnold Health Services (AHS) assessment. Students must be cleared by AHS before arranging transportation back to campus or returning to campus.  
  • If cleared by Arnold Health Services, students may return to in-person activities as early as Day 6, only if committed to vigilant, proper use of a mask in all settings to prevent any potential spread. High quality masks (e.g., N95; KN95) may be provided as needed.  

Close Contact Quarantine

Students who are identified as a close contact of a COVID-19 individual:

  • Unvaccinated students, regardless of symptoms, must quarantine for a minimum of 5 days. A negative non-rapid PCR test must be collected no sooner than Day 5 of quarantine to be released before Day 10. AHS will help determine if quarantining in place is possible and will direct students on the timing and best location for testing.
  • Fully vaccinated and asymptomatic students are exempt from quarantine; AHS recommends (but does not require) testing 5 days after known exposure.
  • Students who are asymptomatic and COVID-19 positive in the last 90 days are exempt from quarantine.
  • Students who become symptomatic, regardless of vaccine status, will be required to test 5 days after known exposure.

For students currently isolating or quarantining, please consult with Arnold Health Services about the potential to revise your clearance date.  Again, all students must be cleared by AHS before returning to in-person activities.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Be well!

Karla C. Carney-Hall
Vickie Folse

 

COVID-19 Update: Classes, Baseline Testing, Masks, Event Protocols

Jan. 15, 2022

Students and families,

As you know, COVID continues to be a challenge. Our active COVID-19 case count is projected to be around 30 students as we resume classes next week. Over the last week, we have averaged 5 new cases per day (including baseline and surveillance testing), and we currently have 64 active student cases (many involving students who have not yet returned to campus). We continue to monitor cases on campus and in our community. The Bloomington-Normal area currently has high rates of transmission and infection.

The following information updates our current response strategies:

  • Opportunity for virtual instruction extended through Friday, January 21. Some instructors have elected to offer virtual or hybrid instruction these first two weeks of the semester. We are optimistic that our diminishing caseload will soon support a return to fully in-person learning, but this short-term flexibility is now extended through January 21, enabling faculty to better accommodate absences and prioritize health.
  • Returning to campus/submitting baseline testing: If you have not yet been on campus, have not submitted baseline results, or have been COVID positive in the last 90 days, please communicate your status–including required documentation–to Arnold Health Services before Monday, January 17 (healthservices@iwu.edu).
  • Isolation/quarantine period: Although the CDC has moved to a 5-day isolation/5-day strict mask period as their new standard for isolation and quarantine for the general public, this guidance has not been extended to Institutions of Higher Education, including congregate settings like our residential campus. Thus, no changes to our 10-day policy have been made to date.
  • Masks: Like all things COVID, mask guidance is ever-changing and highly publicized right now. We want to ensure that the university masking expectation is consistent, sustainable and responsible for our community. All students, faculty and staff are required to wear a mask over your nose and mouth indoors when around others. It is essential that the mask you wear is properly fitted (no side gaps; secure across your nose; no need for frequent adjustments). At this time, our current mask guidance remains unchanged and we are not requiring you to wear a specific type of mask (e.g., K95; KN95; surgical). Consistent with CDC guidelines, we recommend you wear the most protective mask you can that fits well and that you can wear consistently. Discuss any questions about mask type with Arnold Health Services or your healthcare provider.
  • Campus events: We have received questions about in-person events on campus. In-person events are permitted, with appropriate masks and distancing. At the moment, we discourage large social gatherings, especially those that involve food. But, we encourage small social gatherings to help maintain a strong social community.

We appreciate your commitment to all mitigation measures, to protect both yourself and others. We are in this together!

Karla Carney Hall

Vickie Folse


COVID-19 Update

Jan. 7, 2022

To: Titan Community

Welcome to the new semester! We will continue to call on everyone's resilience, patience and vigilance as our COVID response enters its third year. Baseline testing of students returning to campus has so far identified 100 positive student cases, and university employees have reported 8 cases. As you know, the purpose of baseline testing is early identification and isolation, so we are pleased that we have been successful in identifying cases early. Frankly, we anticipated high numbers because of the increased transmission of the Omicron variant during late December nationally; however, we know that your desire and our commitment to the educational experience is supported by in-person learning.

Fortunately, symptoms have typically been mild for those who are vaccinated, but these numbers underscore the importance of our mitigation measures to identify cases and reduce spread. Please continue to wear masks, stay home if you’re ill, monitor and test if you have symptoms, avoid large gatherings and get your booster shot if you’re eligible.

Anyone testing positive must isolate off-campus. If you are already on-campus or participating in campus activities and have not submitted your non-rapid PCR results to healthservices@iwu.edu please do so no later than Sunday, January 9. For students delaying your return to campus, please submit your results no later than Sunday, January 16 (the day before in-person classes resume). AHS remains available as a resource. As you know, you must have a negative non-rapid PCR test to attend in-person campus activities, including classes, rehearsals, and athletic practices. Failure to communicate with AHS in a timely manner may result in a Titan Pledge violation (a fine of $50 and restrictions of activities, with the possibility of further fines as the semester progresses).

We are also aware that the CDC has updated its guidance for quarantine and isolation periods specific to K-12 environments. We await further guidance specific to institutions of higher education. Our 10 day isolation and quarantine window with no repeat testing has not changed. However, we continue to monitor guidance from local, state, and national agencies, our needs as a residential campus, and the science regarding infection. We will update our guidance as we determine it is appropriate.

Thanks again for your commitment to a healthy campus. Have a great semester.

Karla Carney-Hall

Vickie Folse


COVID-19 Update, Expectations and Clarifications

Faculty and Staff,

Welcome back from what we hope was a restful break! For your information, we've provided recent updates to students and families (on Jan. 3 and on Dec. 30) and we're updating this FAQ with questions regarding protocols for students’ return.

While federal guidelines regarding duration of isolation and quarantine for the general public have been shortened, our communication with local and CDC authorities indicates this does not extend to institutions of higher education and congregate settings (including densely populated residential communities). Therefore, for faculty, staff and students:

  • Our University isolation policies are unchanged: 10 days from the date of a positive test, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Our quarantine policies are unchanged:
    • exempt from quarantine if asymptomatic and fully vaccinated
    • exempt from quarantine if asymptomatic and positive for COVID in the past 90 days
    • quarantine 10 days from known exposure if not fully vaccinated
    • test if symptoms develop, and consult with Arnold Health Services (students) or your health care provider (faculty and staff)

Thank you all in advance for extending grace to each other and to students as we navigate our return to campus. Our intention is to balance flexibility and concern for the student experience with vigilance for community health.

We will continue to evaluate and provide updates as we learn more. We will also resume updating the dashboard weekly.

Karla Carney-Hall

Vickie Folse


COVID-19 Update: Plans for Return to Campus

Jan. 3, 2022

Students and families:

We hope you’ve enjoyed a restful winter break and are looking forward to the start of the semester. We listened when you told us you wanted an in-person experience, and have been doing everything in our power to bring everyone back safely! We are aware that some of you are experiencing challenges regarding the required baseline testing for this spring. We recognize these challenges have been compounded by the holiday weekend and the demand for testing and are doing our best to be both flexible and vigilant with campus health.

Please note the following:

  • Please exhaust all non-rapid PCR testing options in your home community before returning to campus. If your travel plans are flexible, we recommend that you wait for a negative result before returning to campus because our goal is to minimize the magnitude of campus spread. Remember, at-home tests and other rapid tests will not be accepted. Submit your results by emailing healthservices@iwu.edu.
  • If you have exhausted all options, please contact Arnold Health Services, healthservices@iwu.edu who will help you identify options in your community or in the Bloomington-Normal community. If no other options are identified, limited on-campus testing may be available only after consultation with AHS.
  • Students who have not received a negative test result, but are on-campus, are expected to minimize extended contact with others until receiving a negative result, including not attending in-person classes and group gatherings, and getting your meals to-go rather than eating maskless in a dining facility.

Please review these FAQs if you have additional questions.

We look forward to another great semester together!

Be well!

Karla Carney-Hall

Vickie Folse


COVID Protocols for January 2022 Return

Dec. 30, 2021

Students, families, faculty and staff,

We have continued to monitor the Omicron variant and evolving COVID-19 health guidance, and are providing this reminder and update about our protocols for your return in January:

  • Baseline Testing Required for All Students: We are requiring all students, regardless of vaccination status, to obtain a non-rapid PCR test no more than 72 hours before resuming activities on campus.
    • Students are urged to explore non-rapid PCR testing resources in their area that will meet the testing window and allow results to be available for a healthy return to campus. We encourage you to schedule testing appointments in advance.
    • Submit your baseline testing results to healthservices@iwu.edu within 24 hours of your arrival. Assure your name, testing date, and results are visible on the attachment you provide.
    • A positive COVID test will delay your return to campus activities until your 10-day isolation period has ended. The CDC has updated its guidance to shorten isolation and quarantine periods for the general public, but this guidance has not been extended to higher education and other congregate environments.
    • Students whose results are delayed will participate in surveillance testing on Wednesday, January 5, 2022, and cannot attend in-person activities (e.g., class) until negative results are obtained (estimate 24 hours). Please plan accordingly, and communicate with your professors.
  • Booster Vaccines Are Encouraged for all students, faculty and staff who are eligible. We will require the booster, and will communicate the timeline and mechanism to collect this documentation at a later date.

  • Faculty May Opt to Begin the Semester with Remote Classes. If their pedagogy allows for virtual learning, faculty have the option to begin the semester remotely for the first two weeks. Students should present to your assigned classroom, unless your faculty member contacts you with alternate arrangements. With no evidence of classroom transmission at IWU, we are not recommending a fully remote start at this time.

We will resume weekly surveillance testing on Jan. 5. Surveillance is required for students who were approved for medical or religious exemption and for in-season athletes. AHS may direct a symptomatic student or one who has had known exposure to use the on-campus testing option. Ample testing options exist in the Bloomington-Normal community.

We look forward to welcoming you back in January. Please refer to the Titan Pledge as you make decisions that could expose you to the virus between now and when the semester begins.

 

Karla Carney-Hall, Dean of Students

Vickie Folse, Executive Director of Health and Counseling

Mark Brodl, Provost

Becky Roesner, Associate Provost


COVID-19 Update - Omicron

Dec. 17, 2021

Students and families:

We hope you are having a wonderful winter break! As we monitor the Omicron variant and critical guidance about health, there are two things we ask of all students, in order to be proactive about returning to campus healthy:

  1. Get your booster: If you are eligible for a booster shot, please get your booster prior to your return to campus (and ideally before you gather with family and friends for the holiday). Boosters are widely available and are helpful in mitigating the effects of the Omicron variant.
  2. Test before returning to campus: In order to avoid an early spring outbreak of COVID-19, we are asking ALL students to complete a non-rapid PCR COVID-19 test prior to returning to campus (regardless of symptoms). In our most recent communication, we stated that unvaccinated students must test and present with documentation; that has not changed. What has changed is the request that all students test, regardless of vaccination status, and notify Arnold Health Services if they test positive. At this time, we are not asking that you present your negative test results to AHS if you are fully vaccinated; however, please be prepared to submit your documentation upon request. A positive COVID test will delay your return to campus until your 10-day isolation period has ended. We know you are eager to get back to classes, but for the safety of our community and for your own health, please test before returning to campus. Together, we want to minimize the spike we have experienced at the start of previous semesters, especially important with the infectiousness of Omicron and increased travel and gatherings this year.

As you are making plans to be back at IWU, please remember that large crowds are problematic for the spread of COVID-19. Please help us prevent an outbreak by wearing masks, avoiding crowds, and testing any time you are symptomatic.

Have a wonderful holiday!

Be well!

Karla Carney-Hall, Dean of Students

Vickie Folse, Executive Director of Health and Counseling

 


COVID-19 Protocols for January

Dec. 1, 2021

Students and families:

While your focus is likely on finishing the semester strong, we also want to make you aware of our COVID-19 plans to send you home healthy and for your return to campus in January. We continue to monitor transmission, including the new Omicron variant, and will adjust campus protocols as needed.

  • Last on-campus testing clinic: Our last on-campus COVID testing clinic for the fall semester is Wednesday, December 8. Opt-in testing will be available if you want to test before leaving campus. Please keep in mind that housing closes on Friday, December 10 and we are not providing housing for isolation or quarantine. Please complete this form to register for testing.
  • Required spring baseline testing for unvaccinated students: For any students who received an exemption for the COVID-19 vaccination, you are required to get a non-rapid PCR test within 72 hours before your participation in any campus-based activity (e.g., athletics, work, class). You must present an image of the negative results to Arnold Health Services via healthservices@iwu.edu within 24 hours of arrival or the first business day after your arrival. For the majority of students, you will arrive on January 4 and negative results must be presented by 4:00 p.m. on January 5.
  • Required symptomatic student testing (not officially diagnosed as something else): If you’ve had any symptoms (regardless of vaccination status), you are expected to get a non-rapid PCR test within 72 hours before your participation in any campus-based activity (e.g., athletics, work, class). COVID-19 symptoms for vaccinated people with breakthrough infections have been mild (e.g., cough, low grade fever, mild congestion, fatigue). You must present an image of the negative results to Arnold Health Services via healthservices@iwu.edu within 24 hours of arrival or the first business day after your arrival. For the majority of students, you will arrive on January 4 and negative results must be presented by 4:00 p.m. on January 5.
  • Recommended testing for vaccinated students before arrival: Given the likelihood of travel and group gatherings over the holidays, we recommend (but are not requiring) asymptomatic vaccinated students to test prior to arrival on campus in January. Our goal is to avoid an outbreak similar to the fall semester in which both vaccinated and unvaccinated students tested positive.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19 during holiday break: Please work with your primary care provider and local health department. Notify Arnold Health Services, including sending documentation of positive test results to healthservices@iwu.edu . If your isolation period delays your ability to return to campus, you should notify the Dean of Students office and your professors. If you are staying on-campus over the break, please notify Campus Safety and arrange alternative housing.
  • Unvaccinated students over winter break who are accessing campus (e.g., residences, Shirk, work): Please continue to test weekly using community resources (e.g., Heartland Community College, Interstate Center). Our last day of campus-based testing is Wednesday, December 8. Test results should be provided to Arnold Health Services at healthservices@iwu.edu on December 15, December 22 and January 4.

We hope you have a strong finish to the fall semester, a wonderful winter break and return to campus healthy for the spring semester! Thank you for your commitment to campus health!

Be well!
Dean Karla Carney-Hall
Dr. Vickie Folse

 


COVID-19 Update – Residence Hall Visitors; Flu Shot Clinic

Sept. 24, 2021

Students:

We continue to monitor the status of COVID-19 on our campus and in our community. For the third week in a row, we have zero new cases from surveillance testing, currently have zero positive cases within the student body, and are 95% vaccinated (or almost fully vaccinated). Congratulations on this accomplishment for our community!

Residence hall visitors: As a result, we will allow full visitation within the residence halls, fraternity houses, and apartments by IWU students and family members. Daytime non-IWU visitors may visit campus residential rooms and common areas and remain masked as required in indoor spaces. We are still restricting non-IWU overnight guests.

Flu clinic - October 4-5: We are hosting our annual Flu Shot clinic on Monday-Tuesday, October 4-5, 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. in the Hansen Student Center. Please bring your insurance information for billing purposes. A minimum of 14 days is recommended between vaccines, so please check the date of your last COVID-19 vaccination.

Titan Pledge: Please remember that the Titan Pledge provides the expectations regarding COVID-19 protocols including consequences as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct. Please do not relax your commitment to these protocols – mask wearing, testing, symptom checking, distancing. They are clearly working to keep our community safe.

Have a wonderful weekend!
Be well!
Dean Karla


Evaluating our COVID -19 Response

Sept. 21, 2021

Faculty and staff colleagues:

We continue to see success with our COVID -19 mitigation strategies with a second consecutive week with zero new cases identified through surveillance testing. As of today, we have zero active COVID -19 cases among the student body. We cannot thank you enough for the many ways that you are supporting public health and well-being.

The COVID -19 Response Team continues to meet regularly and plan for the next steps in COVID response. We have revised the charge for this group to reflect our ongoing work. Please forward any questions or concerns to these team members for response or referral to the appropriate work group or leadership area.

This team also continues to monitor current conditions, to plan for the spring semester, and to evaluate our response to date. We have asked the various working groups and departments to evaluate their pandemic response strategies so we can capture our successes, challenges and lessons learned from the last 18 months. The COVID -19 Response Team will review those reports and craft an executive summary for review by the Emergency Response Team and ultimately to be distributed to the campus community in the spring semester.

Many of you have been intimately involved with COVID -19 response activities and have already provided feedback throughout this journey. If you have not already shared your feedback, please reach out to any of the members of the COVID -19 Response Team, work group chairs, or department chairs (listed below).

As with most crisis management experiences, the evaluation process is a critical step for learning for the future. Thanks again for all you do to support the student experience.

Be well!
Karla (on behalf of the COVID -19 Response Team)

 

COVID -19 Response Team

Karla Carney-Hall/convener

Mark Brodl

LeAnn Hughes

Becky Roesner

Vickie Folse

Mark Liffiton

Chris Sweet

Mike Wagner

Kyle Griffith

 

Work group leadership

Instructional Work Group - Becky Roesner

Health Expectations - Vickie Folse

Residential Experience - Kyle Griffith

Event Management - Kevin Carey

Educational Outreach/Marketing - LeAnn Hughes

Facilities Adjustments - Michelle Wu

 

Other key departments

Human Resources - Cindy Lotz

Information Technology - Leon Lewis

Communications - Ann Aubry

Campus Dining - Tripper Phipps


COVID-19 Update

Sept. 9, 2021

Students and families:

Good news! Our surveillance testing yesterday of 182 returned ZERO new COVID cases. As of today, we have only 24 active positive cases, isolating off-campus, with a total of 8 student close contacts in quarantine. We also have additional students quarantining with non-COVID illnesses. Overall, we are pleased with the collective efforts of all students, faculty and staff to effectively reduce the spread of illness on campus. Thanks so much for your commitment these past two weeks and your recognition that we need you to continue these everyday mitigation efforts like masking and distancing.

Classes: Classes will resume in their normal delivery mode as soon as possible and no later than September 20. If necessary, faculty may take next week to return to their original delivery mode. Please consult your professors for further instruction about course delivery. We appreciate your flexibility and patience as we make this transition.

Other mitigation, modified and extended two weeks (September 24): The following measures exist for the next two weeks:

  • Reduced density in campus dining, required distancing in student activities and encouraged outdoor activities.
  • Restriction of non-IWU guests from visiting the residence halls, apartments, and fraternity houses; however, IWU guests may visit in individual student rooms with no more than one guest per resident when everyone is masked.
  • Wear masks in any indoor setting and in any outdoor setting where distance is not possible.
  • Please continue to notify Arnold Health Services of any symptoms or positive COVID tests.
  • For those of you required to test weekly, please continue to do so. For those of you who would like to test regularly, opt-in testing is also available.
  • Please remember that the Titan Pledge provides the expectations regarding COVID-19 protocols including consequences as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct.

Vaccine Status: If your vaccine status has changed since you originally completed the COVID survey, please update your information here and upload a copy of your vaccine card. Please contact Arnold Health Services if you are considering applying for an exemption.

COVID Vaccine Clinic - September 14: The final opportunity for an on-campus Pfizer and J & J clinic is Tuesday, September 14 from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. in Hansen Center Court. Students can receive a first or second dose of Pfizer or a single dose of J & J ahead of the October 1 vaccine mandate deadline. If you wish to receive your first Pfizer dose – with a second Pfizer dose to be administered at a non-IWU clinic – or a single J & J dose, register here. Students who participated in the August 24 on-campus clinic do not need to re-register for their second dose.

Family Weekend - October 1-3: Although we are grateful for this downturn in our COVID positive cases, we remain cautious about potential outbreaks from Labor Day travel as well as from exposure to individuals who travel to our residentially dense campus. For that reason, we are hosting virtual family weekend events with information forthcoming by September 15. If you have already made unchangeable plans to visit campus, there will be activities geared toward students that you may attend. Masks are required for all campus guests, indoors and outdoors in crowds.

Flu Shot Clinic - October 4-5: We remain concerned about the intersection between COVID and influenza. Please plan to participate in the campus flu shot clinic on October 4 & 5, 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., in Hansen Center Court. We scheduled this clinic to allow more than 14 days between vaccines. Please bring your insurance card for billing.

A special thanks to the many many students who are already doing these critical things for the well-being of our entire community. Please do not relax your commitment, for your safety, the safety of others and for the preservation of the campus life we all cherish.

Be well!

Karla Carney-Hall

Vickie Folse


[IWU Faculty] Update on Instructional Modes

Sept. 9, 2021

Dear Colleagues-

It has been two weeks since we sent our last memo about the option to switch to online, hybrid, or HyFlex modes of instruction to address an uptick we were experiencing in Covid-related student absences. Since then, we can report some good news:

  • With full FDA vaccine authorization and the IWU vaccine mandate, more students are now fully vaccinated or in the process of becoming vaccinated. Our next on-campus vaccination clinic will be held September 14th and provide both first and second doses.

  • The results from this past Wednesday’s surveillance testing were very encouraging -- out of 182 students tested no one came back with a positive test result.

So beginning September 20, 2021, we expect all classes to return to the instructional mode that was in place at the start of this academic year. For those of you who feel you are able to return to that instructional mode earlier, we strongly encourage you to do so. If, however, you feel the conditions under which you are operating warrant an extension of an alternative instructional mode beyond September 20 (e.g. a cluster of absences), you may make an appeal to Academic Affairs (send a brief rationale via email to bmilcik@iwu.edu). It will be reviewed by Mark Brodl, Vickie Folse, and Becky Roesner.

As has been the case throughout the pandemic, we frequently receive questions about how to navigate students' absences. Members of the Instructional Workgroup discussed this topic over the summer, and found it helpful to make clear distinction between the arrangements faculty routinely make with students for short term absences vs. the formal ADA accommodations students are granted through Accessibility Services if they had a chronic health concern.

Absences for COVID-related isolation and quarantine are short-term absences that require appropriate arrangements. If you are teaching in-person, you are not obligated to provide students with an online learning environment during their absence. But, it is the university's expectation that students will communicate promptly with their instructors about their absence and that instructors will provide students with timely guidance and materials for keeping up with the course. Those materials could be assignments, notes, slides etc. In the event that you would like to stream or record your class sessions for absent students, this can be accomplished in our classrooms using the university's Zoom license and classroom cameras that have been installed for that purpose. If you would like assistance navigating this technology or your teaching space does not have a camera, please submit an ITS support ticket. The university has some additional equipment and stands ready to install it where needed.

-Mark and Becky


COVID Update and Campus FAQ

Sept. 7, 2021

Colleagues:

We recognize that, as a result of the continually evolving COVID situation (for example, the Governor’s extension of the deadline for vaccination to September 19), questions about current policies continue to arise. We provide here responses to frequently asked questions, including those raised by Staff Council and in last week’s General Faculty meeting.

On a positive note: we had only 8 new cases from last week’s surveillance (of more than 200 individuals) and only 3 COVID positive notifications over the weekend. After clearing cases, we now have 32 total active cases in our Titan community, isolating off-campus. We remain cautiously optimistic that we can turn this trend, but tomorrow’s surveillance testing will be instructive.

Later today or tomorrow, faculty will receive a personal communication specifying which of your fall courses do or don't have a fully vaccinated population. Please note that all classes must continue to practice masking and 3-foot social distancing regardless of vaccination status. But, knowledge of the class's vaccination status can help inform choices about class activities. This information is being shared on a need to know basis for the purpose of promoting health and safety and no individual medical information is being shared. Please use the information with discretion and do not ask students to disclose their status.

What should I do if a student refuses to wear a mask in class or in my office? Remind the student of the campus and statewide mandate for wearing masks indoors. Offer them a mask, if they don’t have one (some departments have purchased a small supply for this reason - please feel free to do so). If you are teaching or meeting in a hyflex environment, invite them to join virtually instead of in-person. Be clear that students must be masked if they attend in-person. If they simply refuse, explain they must leave and send them to the Dean of Students office for an immediate intervention. If they refuse to leave after being provided with several choices, you may move outside until other interventions can occur, move online, or contact Campus Safety for involvement. We do not want you to place yourself or the other students at increased risk. After you’ve addressed the situation, please send an email to the Dean of Students office reporting the incident for individual follow-up.

Are certain types of masks required? All students, faculty and staff should follow the CDC guidelines regarding masks that provide adequate protection from viral transmission and must wear masks properly. We have been asked recently about mesh masks (e.g., the UnMask) which do not provide adequate protection.

Are masks required outside? Titans are expected to wear masks in any group setting or crowd, including outdoors. Regardless of vaccine status, crowds hold a significant risk, particularly when vaccine status of others is unknown. We strongly encourage masking in any group activity outdoors (including most classes taught outside). If you have any questions about appropriate class adjustments based on pedagogical needs, please contact Becky Roesner, Associate Provost.

Are student activities and events permitted? At this time, all IWU-sponsored, non-class events can occur as long as 6 foot distancing and masking are honored. Events and meetings that can be effectively managed virtually are encouraged to do so. Sorority and fraternity recruitment will occur this week with modifications that include small groups, virtual and outdoor activities and a clear expectation of masking. If you have questions about appropriate non-class adjustments for events, please contact Kevin Carey, Associate Dean of Students.

Will additional testing days be added on campus? We selected the PCR test (recommended by the CDC) as the gold standard for weekly testing in contrast to the rapid tests which are sometimes administered more frequently but with more false negatives. With the strength of our partnership with Reditus, we successfully tested 14% of our student body last week and expect that number to increase this week. Opt-in testing for all Titans (students, faculty and staff) is available weekly. Testing is widely available in our community. Students without symptoms may use Connect Transit for free with their ID to many locations throughout our community. If we identify outbreaks in particular affinity groups, AHS will assess and make recommendations regarding testing out of an abundance of caution. To date, AHS has supported this assessment with three affinity groups. We will not be expanding our on-campus testing at this time because testing resources are easily available in our community. We will continually monitor transmission and expand on-campus testing if availability of testing in the community becomes problematic.

How are students held accountable for Titan Pledge violations? We appreciate that all of us are all working together to address violations of the Titan Pledge. We’ve heard examples of faculty and staff providing gentle reminders and affirming social norms and community expectations. Students who violate the Titan pledge meet with either Dean of Students Office staff or Residence Life staff who are responsible for responding to student conduct code violations. The most common violations are related to masking, reporting illness, breaking quarantine, or failing to provide information that has been requested. To date, we have met with 10 students and organizations regarding violations. Sanctions include warnings, educational expectations, probation (individual and group social probation) or suspension. We will not be posting disciplinary events on our dashboard; instead, we will communicate trends in updates such as this memo. As is the case with other serious situations, the university (through the Dean of Students office or Campus Safety) may call on the assistance of the Bloomington Police Department if needed.

Do we have adequate resources to provide timely notification? We acknowledge that this initial outbreak of COVID-19 overwhelmed our system of notification for many reasons (some human, some database updates/tracking updates). We will ordinarily notify faculty and appropriate staff within 24 hours of our office receiving notice from health services during the week or no later than noon on Monday if we receive weekend notification. Please recognize that students may notify you before we do -- they get their personal health information first (as it should be) and will likely get to you faster than we can. We continuously monitor the adequacy of our COVID related human resources and the appropriateness of delegation based on specialized skills, and are prepared to make adjustments as needed; however, we believe we have appropriate resources at this time. We appreciate your patience.

What if I receive a notice from a student about the need to isolate/quarantine, but have not received a notice from the Dean of Students office after the 24 hour window has passed? There are several potential reasons including: the student is self-diagnosing, erring on the side of caution on their own accord and has delayed in contacting AHS, is working with a healthcare provider not associated with IWU and has delayed in contacting AHS, or is communicating unverifiable health data as a reason to not attend class. You should first ask whether the student received official notification from AHS that they should isolate/quarantine. If the student replies that they have been placed in isolation/quarantine by AHS, please email the Dean of Students office so we can check our database. If the student has not been working with AHS, please remind them that the Titan Pledge requires reporting COVID concerns to AHS and make your expectations about class attendance clear.

Will employees be billed for testing under IWU Blue Cross/Blue Shield? Employee testing on campus is provided at no cost to the employee at this time.

Thank you for all that you are doing to support our campus and Bloomington-Normal community regarding public health.

Be well!

Mark Brodl, Provost

Karla Carney-Hall, Vice President for Student Affairs

Vickie Folse, Executive Director of Health and Counseling/Director of School of Nursing


COVID-19 Update for Families

Aug. 30, 2021

Parents and Families,

We have recently had an increase in COVID-19 transmission at Illinois Wesleyan. Currently we have 65 active cases on campus, as well as others in quarantine as unvaccinated or symptomatic close contacts. So far symptoms have remained mild and recovery is speedy, especially among vaccinated students. We take the health and safety of our campus community seriously.

In order to address this, we intend to remain both attentive to the scientific evidence and flexible in meeting instructional needs. Challenges may arise in conducting some classes, particularly discussion-based classes where the exchange among students is an important component of the learning experience.

  • In an effort to stem transmission, for the next two weeks we are asking faculty to increase the amount of classroom social distancing to the greatest extent possible.
  • In some classrooms, the room size doesn't allow for greater distancing, and in such cases faculty may temporarily switch instructional mode to hybrid or hyflex (a mix of in-person and online that is asynchronous or synchronous, respectively) or online.

It is not our intention to continue in these modes. In two weeks' time, we will reassess the situation.

While the pandemic has certainly posed challenges, it has also given us opportunities to innovate our teaching. Determined to make the best of a difficult circumstance, our dedicated and creative instructors have flipped classes, encouraged small group work where students can exhibit their best thinking, and allowed greater flexibility about how and when academic work gets done.

We're confident that the data-informed response that enabled us to navigate the pandemic successfully thus far will again serve our community well as we meet the challenges of the coming year. For the latest updates on our COVID response, see our website.

Provost Mark Brodl

President S. Georgia Nugent


COVID-19 Update

Aug. 30, 2021

Students, faculty and staff,

With additional cases confirmed during the weekend, we now have 65 COVID cases identified this semester among students. Most cases are confirmed as the delta variant, which carries a much higher transmission rate than the previous strains of the coronavirus. However, we are also seeing vaccines work as expected: symptoms are less severe and shorter in duration for breakthrough cases among vaccinated students. We are not seeing instances of asymptomatic spread among vaccinated students; instead, upon interview, COVID positive students were dismissing symptoms as colds, allergies, and fatigue due to other factors. All of us, vaccinated and unvaccinated, must remain vigilant and adhere to the Titan Pledge.

Students should report any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 to Arnold Health Services (healthservices@iwu.edu). AHS is directing symptomatic students to test for COVID and urging close contacts regardless of vaccine status to test as well. Please do not dismiss mild symptoms you might normally associate with seasonal allergies or other minor ailments.

We are committed to doing everything in our power to preserve in-person delivery on our residential campus while maintaining the health and safety of our campus community. In response to the spread of COVID-19 on campus and in the local community, we have enacted the following measures for the coming two weeks:

  • Classes: Faculty and students should increase distancing in classrooms if they're able to do so. For the next two weeks, faculty may change the mode of their class (to online, hybrid, or hyflex) to suppress spread of the virus or navigate absences. It is not our intention to continue in these modes. In two weeks' time, we will reassess the situation.
  • Get tested: We are increasing the capacity for our on-campus surveillance testing this Wednesday, Sept. 1, previously planned for all unvaccinated/partially vaccinated students or in-season student athletes. We also encourage any student, staff or faculty members (including those who are fully vaccinated) who have concerns about their virus exposure or who have even the mildest of physical symptoms to be tested. Register here (registration deadline extended to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 31).
  • Get vaccinated: With full FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine (followed now by a state mandate), we have enacted a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for students, and we are complying with the state vaccine mandate for employees. Walk-in vaccine appointments are widely available across our local community: Find locations here.
  • Guest restrictions: Non-IWU guests are restricted from residence halls.
  • Distance and masks: For campus locations and events open to the public, 6 feet of distance and masks are required.
  • Non-essential travel: We discourage any non-essential travel. If you must travel off campus, please be diligent in following protocols to protect your health and the health of others.
  • Small group gatherings: Distancing, mask compliance, and outdoor activities are key strategies for any group gathering. Please keep groups small and wear masks properly. If RSO meetings can be held virtually or outside, we highly recommend doing so.

We will continue to re-evaluate our protocols based on the spread of COVID-19 and public guidelines, and will provide ongoing updates.


COVID Cases on Campus; New Illinois Mandates

Aug. 26, 2021

To: Students and Families

From: President S. Georgia Nugent, Provost Mark Brodl, Dean of Students Karla Carney-Hall and Executive Director of Counseling and Health Services Vickie Folse

Our protocols for the start of the school year required that all unvaccinated students provide a negative COVID test result before being permitted on campus. Since then, between surveillance testing and health services illness assessment, we have now identified 31 positive cases of COVID-19 among students. (Through the surveillance testing of 116 unvaccinated students, 18 positives were identified, and an additional 13 positives were identified following self-reported symptoms.) These students and their close contacts who are unvaccinated will be quarantined for 10 days.

The majority of our positive cases (62%) are among unvaccinated individuals and symptoms are more severe for the unvaccinated. However, vaccinated individuals may still contract the virus and should continue to take precautions.

Additionally, in response to the increasing spread of COVID and related hospitalizations, this morning Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the return of an indoor mask mandate in Illinois, effective Monday, Aug. 30. He also issued a vaccine mandate for all education employees and students (kindergarten through higher ed). We will comply with this mandate, which we have already enacted for students.

The current rate of COVID infection is significant and necessitates an immediate change in our protocols. To mitigate the spread of the virus on campus, we will:

  • Comply with the indoor mask mandate. We ask everyone to wear masks covering your nose and mouth while in public areas indoors. Masks also must be worn outdoors when distancing is not possible, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Initiate weekly surveillance testing for all unvaccinated students (previously planned biweekly).
  • Renew opt-in surveillance testing. Please register using this form by Monday, August 31. We encourage anyone who travels over Labor Day weekend to be tested.
  • Require 6 feet of distance for any non-classroom activity, both indoors and outside.
  • Reduce capacity in the dining area and encourage to-go meals.
  • Restrict non-IWU guests in residence halls and limit room guests to occupants only. Students may gather in common areas with masks and distancing.
  • Reinforce the Titan Pledge, which is a mandate for all students.

For the next two weeks, while we seek to slow the current pace of spread, faculty and employees who work in environments where 6-foot distancing is not possible may opt to move to online or hyflex classes (faculty), or work with their supervisor (staff) for accommodations such as working from home.

After two weeks, we will re-evaluate the above measures based on the number of COVID cases on campus and evolving public guidelines.

All Titans are asked to monitor for even mild symptoms (fever, fatigue, cough, etc.) and contact Arnold Health Services (healthservices@iwu.edu) for guidance.

We appreciate your efforts to continue protecting the health of our community.


COVID Update; Vaccine Requirement

Aug. 23, 2021

Students and families:

Welcome back! We’ve had a very successful Turning Titan week and are excited for this first day of classes. We appreciate your commitment to a safe return to campus including over 82% vaccinated students and rising, strong commitment to masking indoors and recognition of the value of distancing in crowded areas. Please see a few additional COVID updates below.

  1. Vaccine requirement: With today’s FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine, we are enacting our vaccine requirement and students will have 45 days (approximately October 1) to be fully vaccinated or be approved for an exemption. Your vaccine need not be from Pfizer to meet the requirement; we will accept all FDA and WHO authorized vaccines. Students may apply for an exemption by contacting Arnold Health Services, healthservices@iwu.edu. Please note that, consistent with other required vaccinations, Illinois Wesleyan does not allow exemptions based on personal or philosophical reasons.
  2. Pending vaccination: Students should update their vaccination status using this form. Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated students will continue surveillance testing until fully vaccinated (2 weeks after the final dose). After the 45 day period has passed, unvaccinated students will test weekly for the remainder of the semester and will need to get fully vaccinated before registering for the Spring semester. Further mitigation strategies may be implemented if our community health warrants additional interventions.
  3. Vaccine clinic: We are hosting a vaccine clinic (Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson) tomorrow, August 24, from 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. in the Hansen Student Center, Center Court. Pre-register here. We encourage all unvaccinated students to take advantage of this opportunity.
  4. Clearance to attend class: Unfortunately, we have 123 students who are not cleared to attend classes because they have not completed the vaccine status form or have not submitted their negative non-rapid PCR test. All students have been notified by email that they must complete these steps and are advised to do so immediately. You may obtain a non-rapid PCR test at several area locations. Students have reported testing at the Interstate Center has provided the fastest results. You can pre-register at testdirectly.com/McLean.
  5. Dashboard case and vaccination reporting: With pre-arrival PCR testing and last week’s surveillance testing, we have 4 positive COVID-19 cases (3 who did not report to campus due to pre-arrival testing). Weekly reporting of cases will be updated on Fridays on the website. This area will include residential areas that have not met the 75% vaccination rate for social event hosting. To date, only one house has not met that criterion.
  6. Illness reporting: If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, headache, muscle aches, cough, etc.), please stay at home/your residence and notify Arnold Health Services via email (healthservices@iwu.edu) and wait for further instructions.

Students, if your parent(s) or guardian didn't receive this message but you'd like them to be included in future notifications like this, follow these instructions to add them.

Thanks in advance for all that you are doing to keep yourself and our community safe. If you have questions, please contact dstudent@iwu.edu or healthservices@iwu.edu.

 

Be well!

Dean Karla

Dr. Folse


COVID Protocols for Fall

Aug. 6, 2021

Faculty and staff:

From: Mark Brodl, Becky Roesner and Vickie Folse

 

As we monitor news surrounding the Delta variant and evolving guidance from local, state, and national authorities, we continue to make data-informed decisions to protect our campus community. This fall we will maintain consistent protocols that have supported our success: vaccination, testing for the unvaccinated or symptomatic, masking, and distancing at a minimum of three feet in classrooms and other public environments.

Some points of clarification:

  • All but 190 students so far have reported their vaccination status. No student will be allowed to return to campus for the fall semester until they have responded to the survey reporting their status and submitting documentation. Of 1,513 students responding to date, 251 are unvaccinated; to date, 83% of students who have completed the survey have provided evidence of their completed vaccine series or submitted proof of their first vaccine and the scheduled date of their second vaccine.

  • Students are required to provide documentation of their vaccines. Upon arrival to campus, those who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated must provide either proof of a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival, proof of having COVID within the past 90 days, or documentation they've completed a COVID test with a pending result; in the latter case they will be required to quarantine until documentation of a negative test result is obtained.

  • Surveillance tests will be required a minimum of every other week for unvaccinated students.

  • We are determining the number of unvaccinated students who are student athletes, who will be mandated by the NCAA to participate in weekly surveillance testing. These numbers will allow us to determine how many non student-athletes should be tested each week to monitor the overall health of the student body.

  • We are requiring COVID vaccine documentation for students due to their residential environment; this is consistent with the documentation of all immunization records we require of all enrolled students. We asked all employees for self-reported COVID vaccine status since we do not currently require health records from employees. To date, 396 employees (of 450 employees who received the survey directly) responded to our survey, and 375 of those reported being vaccinated. This represents a 95% vaccination rate of those who responded.

  • When vaccines receive FDA approval, anticipated for Pfizer this September, we will require vaccination for student enrollment the following semester. This is consistent with our practice regarding other mandated vaccines. Religious and medical exemptions will be possible, and we will communicate those details after FDA approval occurs. As with existing immunization requirements, students may work with Arnold Health Services regarding exemption requests.

  • After the add/drop deadline for classes this fall, we expect to be able to provide faculty with information on whether or not an entire class roster is vaccinated. Individual student medical information will not be disclosed.
    • Whether or not a class is fully vaccinated will not change mitigation protocols regarding distancing and masking. Faculty may wish to take overall vaccination status into account when considering class activities.
  • To provide the learning environment our students expect, we are committed to in-person learning this fall, with appropriate distancing, masking, vaccination and testing protocols. Faculty with unique pedagogical circumstances may contact Associate Provost Becky Roesner to consider possible student-centered solutions. An Academic Affairs committee will review requests.
    • Faculty who would like a consultation about their classroom setup related to safety or pedagogical concerns may also contact Dr. Roesner.

We all regret that the pandemic persists, but we are confident that continuing to make data-informed decisions, as we have done up to this point, will enable us to maintain a safe environment for our campus community.


Fall 2021 Update

Aug. 2, 2021

Students and families:

We're looking forward to welcoming you back for the fall semester and returning to a more traditional campus experience. We continue to monitor the progression of the Delta variant and the evolving guidance from the CDC and local, state, and national governmental agencies about masking, testing, and groups. We remain committed to a public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic; now that there is an abundance of vaccine available and accessible across the United States, we are shifting to personal responsibility for accommodations and will treat COVID similarly to other communicable illnesses. We anticipate that guidance will continue to evolve regarding key transmission mitigation strategies and we will provide regular updates.

The Titan Pledge is our collective commitment as a community to personal and public health. New students will be asked to sign this pledge and returners should refresh these expectations.

Campus vaccination status: We know that vaccination is likely the only solution to this pandemic and appreciate your commitment to public health.

  • Currently, 83% of students and 95% of faculty/staff are vaccinated or plan to be by the start of the fall semester. If you haven’t completed the survey to report your vaccination status, please do so immediately.
  • When the vaccine is approved for general use, IWU will require the vaccine for Spring enrollment. Current information suggests that FDA approval may occur in September. If you are still considering whether to pursue vaccination, we highly recommend that you vaccinate before coming to campus.
  • In the event you do not have access to a CDC or WHO authorized vaccine (e.g., international students) or have been delayed in getting your vaccine, we will provide an on-campus Pfizer vaccine clinic on Tuesday, August 24.

Masking - Still Required: Given current CDC and McLean County Health Department guidance, masks must be worn at all times in public areas indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

  • Mask-wearing is a positive commitment of care for our entire community, whether you’ve been vaccinated or not.
  • Masks are not required for vaccinated individuals attending any outdoor activity, unless distancing is not possible.
  • Since the vaccination rate in McLean County is around 50% and positivity rates are rising, masking is still advised when interacting outside our campus community with individuals whose vaccine status is unknown (e.g., grocery store).

Testing: For those who choose to remain unvaccinated, ongoing testing is required.

  • Arrival/Unvaccinated: To ensure that students are not positive for COVID-19 upon arrival to campus, unvaccinated students must present a baseline negative PCR test result obtained within 72 hours of arrival. Students who arrive without a negative test result must get a test within 24 hours of arrival and quarantine until the negative test returns. Failure to test will result in restriction from campus housing and all campus facilities. Vaccinated students do not need to participate in baseline testing.
  • Surveillance/Unvaccinated: Unvaccinated students must participate in ongoing surveillance testing, at their own expense. Details about on-campus surveillance testing will be communicated after classes begin. Vaccinated students do not need to participate in surveillance testing.
  • Expense: Unvaccinated students requiring testing (if exposed to a COVID positive person or if symptomatic), or vaccinated students who develop COVID-like symptoms, requiring testing, will do so at their expense. Students will be directed to testing facilities (including Walgreens on Main Street across from campus) who will bill their health insurance.
  • Athletics: Surveillance testing protocols for student-athletes are being finalized using NCAA and CCIW guidelines.

Health monitoring and responding to illness:

  • Health monitoring: Students are expected to continue monitoring their health for symptoms consistent with COVID-19. If you are experiencing any symptoms, you must contact Arnold Health Services, so that we can monitor and do all we can to prevent the spread of illness. Do not self-diagnose or congregate with others (e.g., class, activities, work, athletic practice) until cleared by AHS.
  • Positive for COVID-19: COVID-19 positive students will need to make personal arrangements for isolation off-campus. We encourage students to go home, if possible. We will have a list of available hotels offering a special IWU rate for students for your choosing and at your expense (hotel, transportation and meals). The University will not be providing these arrangements this year. Students with financial hardship may apply to the Titan Student Emergency Fund for COVID-19 illness expenses.
  • Exposure/Unvaccinated: If exposed to someone who is positive for COVID-19 or if symptomatic, unvaccinated students will need to quarantine for 10 days. Unvaccinated students will be encouraged to test approximately 5 days post exposure. An unvaccinated student who is symptomatic with pending testing results may be required to quarantine off-campus.
  • Exposure/Vaccinated: Vaccinated students exposed to someone who is positive for COVID-19 or symptomatic are encouraged to test and will quarantine only if symptoms exist.
  • Quarantine and isolation housing will not be provided this fall, due to widespread availability of the vaccine and limited unoccupied housing.
  • Class absences: Beginning this fall, class absences related to COVID-19 will be treated similarly to other health absences in accordance with faculty policies provided in their syllabi. Faculty will provide reasonable, customary arrangements for students to keep up with course material during short-term absences. Because our focus this fall will be on an engaging return to in-person instruction, remote attendance of in-person courses should not be expected. As in previous years, make-up work is negotiated between the student and faculty member at the faculty member’s discretion.

Events and activity hosting:

  • Residential communities may sponsor building social events only if over 75% of residents are vaccinated. An up-to-date list of campus residences or chapter houses that can host events will be communicated by August 16.

Dashboard:

  • We will resume weekly dashboard reporting on August 23, 2021.

 

If you have any questions about our plans for returning this fall, please contact the Dean of Students office, 309-556-3111 or dstudent@iwu.edu. Thanks in advance for your cooperation and commitment to public health.

 

Be well!

Dr. Karla C. Carney-Hall, Vice President for Student Affairs

Dr. Vickie Folse, Executive Director of Health and Counseling Services


COVID Update - Masks

July 29, 2021

Students, faculty and staff,

In accordance with the recently released CDC and McLean County Health Department guidelines, Illinois Wesleyan will now require masks to be worn at all times in public areas indoors on campus, regardless of vaccination status.

We expect to communicate a full update about campus protocols for the fall semester on Monday, Aug. 2.


Your COVID vaccine status & health history

July 1, 2021

Dear Students,

We encourage all faculty, staff, and students to vaccinate for the health of our entire community. The vaccine is widely available; appointments can be located through www.vaccines.gov.

Arnold Health Services is collecting COVID vaccine status and COVID health history from all students. Your response to this form is needed by July 9. Students who do not provide the required information will have a Health Hold assigned which can interfere with their ability to attend classes, live in residential settings, and participate in campus activities.

If you are unvaccinated, you will need to participate in baseline testing and quarantine pending a negative test, ongoing surveillance testing, and quarantine following known exposure.

Student documentation of vaccine status will be necessary in order to make additional decisions about housing and classroom policies. Given our residential student community, we will evaluate further relaxing masking and distancing requirements once we exceed a minimum of a 70% vaccination rate among students. We anticipate Athletics will require an 85% vaccination rate per NCAA guidelines for relaxing mitigation strategies with travel and other activities. The percentage of vaccinated students will also help us plan for the need for on-campus vaccine clinics.

We look forward to welcoming you to campus soon. Please contact Arnold Health Services at healthservices@iwu.edu with questions.

 

Dr. Vickie Folse and Dean Karla Carney Hall


COVID-19 Update

June 25, 2021

Faculty and staff,

Almost 70% of employees have completed the anonymous survey about vaccination status. Good news! Nearly 96% of those responding said they are fully vaccinated. (If you haven't already, please submit your response.)

We encourage all faculty and staff to vaccinate for the health of our entire community.

Next week, we expect to begin a process to collect verifiable vaccine data from students. Student documentation will be necessary in order to make decisions regarding baseline testing, isolation and quarantine requirements, and housing and classroom policies. Given our residential student community, we will evaluate further relaxing masking and distancing requirements once we exceed a minimum of a 70% vaccination rate among students. We anticipate Athletics will require an 85% vaccination rate per NCAA guidelines for relaxing mitigation strategies with travel and other activities.

On campus this summer we will maintain current masking guidelines, as announced on June 11.

  • Masks are not required for fully vaccinated individuals when outdoors in uncrowded areas.
  • Small groups (fewer than 12) of affiliated individuals (such as co-workers) who are vaccinated may choose by mutual consent to unmask in non-public areas.
  • In indoor settings with larger, unaffiliated groups and areas that interact with the public regularly, masks are still required.

Guidance by the Illinois Board of Higher Education and the U.S. Department of Education regarding mitigation protocols for classroom and residential campus environments differs from CDC guidance for general public settings.

In some cases, events among external groups who are not on campus for a sustained period of time may employ the more general CDC guidelines.

As more data is gathered, we expect to provide another update by the end of July.

President Nugent


COVID-19 Announcement and Survey

June 11, 2021

Faculty and staff,

As you are aware, Illinois is entering Phase 5 of Restore Illinois today, June 11. While some precautions are relaxed, CDC and state guidelines provide for special considerations in “congregate settings” such as a residential environment, or at the discretion of the business or institution. The CDC also offers further direction for Institutes of Higher Education that differentiates between schools where all faculty, staff, and students are vaccinated and those schools where vaccine status is mixed. At present, we do not have reliable information about the vaccination status of the campus community.

We are beginning now to collect vaccination data from our student body.

We also ask that employees respond to this anonymous survey to indicate your vaccination status as well as whether you have had COVID-19 confirmed with testing. This information will enable us to plan with confidence for appropriate mitigation strategies for our campus population.

While we gather this information, we are modifying mask requirements in the following ways, effective today:

  • Masks will be optional in uncrowded outdoor settings for fully vaccinated individuals.
  • In small private indoor settings on campus, if colleagues are fully vaccinated or have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 90 days, and all are in agreement, masks will be optional for those individuals. Please be respectful of each others' comfort levels.
  • Masks are still required in all indoor settings for unaffiliated groups of 12 or more and where non-employee members of the public may enter.

To allow the necessary number of weeks to reach fully vaccinated status before students return in August, we continue to urge all employees and students to get vaccinated soon if they have not already done so.

We ask IWU community members to continue to take precautions as we gather the data necessary to ensure science-based decision-making. Based on what we learn and evolving trends as the region re-opens, we expect to re-evaluate and provide another update no later than June 25.

President Nugent


Summer Resident 2021 COVID Information

May 27, 2021

Summer residential students:

We hope you are looking forward to a relaxing and productive summer. As our campus and local community begin to adapt to new public health guidelines, it’s important that we all continue to stay on the same page about health expectations and responsiveness. Please see the information below about this summer.

Do I still need to wear a mask and distance? Yes! Because we do not know the vaccination status of folks on-campus, we will continue to require masks and distancing in all indoor settings, including classes and meetings. Although we can be a bit more flexible outdoors when fully vaccinated, we expect masks also to be worn when people are crowded together or 6 feet distancing is not possible. The campus-wide vaccination status will be a determining factor for our fall plans. If you have not already been vaccinated, please make plans to get a vaccine this summer.

Will there be summer baseline or surveillance testing? No. We recommend that all students get the COVID-19 vaccine.

What should I do if I experience symptoms for COVID-19? If you experience symptoms of COVID-19, you should isolate from others and contact your primary care provider regarding testing and treatment. If you test positive, please notify the Dean of Students Office, 309-556-3111 or dstudent@iwu.edu between 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. during the week or Campus Safety, 309-556-1111 after hours and weekends. Arnold Health Services does not provide services in the summer, but may be available for consultation after a positive test. Once symptoms have passed, we highly recommend that you get the COVID-19 vaccine to avoid future concerns.

What happens if I test positive for COVID-19? If you test positive, you will need to notify the Dean of Students office and go home to isolate for 10 days. Health Services staff will contact you by phone for consultation. If home is not an option (due to distance) and if you are living on-campus, then you will be housed temporarily at Adams Hall for the length of your isolation period. Meal service is not available in the summer, so you will need to tend to your meal needs. Please let us know if you need assistance.

What happens if I am a close contact? If you are a vaccinated close contact, you simply need to monitor symptoms, but do not need to quarantine. If you are unvaccinated, you will quarantine in your room for the required 14 days and test at day 5. Because we do not offer a summer meal plan, you will be responsible for your own meal needs. Testing options will be coordinated with your primary care provider and include the Interstate Center or any lab at testdirectly.com. We highly recommend the COVID-19 vaccine so you can avoid quarantine in the future.

Where can I get the vaccine? The vaccine is widely available; appointments can be located through www.vaccines.gov .

Thank you for your continued vigilance and adaptability as the summer progresses. We wish you the best as you take advantage of the summer opportunities on campus to do well and do good in our Bloomington-Normal community!

Sincerely,

Office of Residential Life


COVID-19 Campus Update

May 18, 2021

 

Faculty, Staff and Students,

As you know, COVID-19 guidelines are shifting at the federal, state and local levels. In cases where these recommendations differ, we intend to follow state and local guidelines, based on metrics in our region.

  • The CDC has relaxed federal guidelines for fully vaccinated people to wear masks in certain settings, but masks are still recommended for congregate housing communities such as residential colleges. The CDC also clarified that masks and physical distancing are still recommended in schools. The State of Illinois lifted its executive order requiring masks for fully vaccinated individuals, but empowers businesses like Illinois Wesleyan to prioritize health and safety concerns.
    • Currently, we will continue to require masks to be worn by everyone on campus, in public areas indoors and outdoors when gathered near others (when closer than 6 feet apart).
    • As guidance continues to evolve, we will evaluate our plans for mask requirements and physical distancing for in-person summer classes and for the fall.
  • The State of Illinois and McLean County have moved to Phase 4B, increasing the size of indoor and outdoor event capacities. Group limits are 250 or 60% of the venue capacity, as long as 6 feet distancing is maintained. Effective immediately, we will increase our capacity while maintaining masking and physical distancing. For example, Young Main Lounge can now hold 90 participants.
  • We have asked employees who are currently working remotely for COVID-related reasons to be prepared to return to work when the area moves to Phase 5, which the state of Illinois anticipates as early as June 11. Medical accommodations will continue to be available on a case-by-case basis; employees with accommodation requests should contact Human Resources. We will continue to communicate with McLean County Health Department and monitor this status for our region to determine when this change can occur safely at Illinois Wesleyan.
  • We highly encourage all students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated. We do not intend to require COVID-19 vaccinations while they are authorized for emergency use only.
  • In the fall, we anticipate that students who are fully vaccinated will not be required to participate in baseline or surveillance testing, nor to quarantine after exposure unless they are symptomatic. This is consistent with the way that we modified testing and quarantine policies for students who provided documentation of positive COVID status in the previous 90 days. We are developing the plan for collecting documentation of vaccination completion.

We appreciate all that you have done this past year to prioritize the health of others by complying with the Titan Pledge . As we move forward, becoming vaccinated will help protect our community and increase our opportunity for a return to near-normal.

 

Karla Carney-Hall

Vickie Folse

 


COVID-19 Update for May Term

May 3, 2021

May Term students, faculty and staff:

Congratulations on a very successful spring semester! Our COVID-19 numbers remained consistently low due to your vigilance and commitment to the Titan Pledge and public health protocols. As we move into May Term, we continue to monitor the evolving Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Illinois Department of Public Health guidance. Our Illinois region remains in Phase 4 and will continue to follow those guidelines.

Because we do not yet know the percentage of campus residents and employees who have been vaccinated and because COVID-19 cases continue to rise world-wide – including increasing variants identified in Illinois – we will continue with existing protocols for May. We will not be relaxing policies based on vaccination status. Residential students must still be mindful of the ease of spread, and there is much to be learned about emerging variants. We do anticipate making some changes to our protocols for the fall semester, so watch for summer correspondence. For example, when emergency authorized use is replaced with FDA approval, we may mandate the vaccine.

Below is a summary of expectations during May Term:

  • Masking and social distancing are still required for all members of our community, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Baseline and surveillance testing for students: We will continue to do both baseline and surveillance testing during May Term. Participation is required for all students notified of the need to test, regardless of vaccination status. Off-campus residents must participate in testing as well.
  • Arnold Health Services will continue to manage isolation and quarantine status as well as testing post-exposure and will be responsible for clearing students. Symptomatic students must communicate directly with AHS.
  • Event capacities remain at 50 participants (indoors), regardless of vaccination status.
  • COVID-19 reporting dashboard: Because we have fewer students on campus during May, which should correspond with even fewer COVID-19 positive cases, we are reducing our dashboard reporting to a weekly report. Updates will be made on Fridays that include the surveillance testing update. If we experience a spike of positive cases (more than five cases in any single day or in total for the week), we will return to daily reporting.
  • We urge all students, faculty and staff to get the vaccine at your earliest convenience. For those of you who participated in the campus Pfizer vaccine clinic in April, please remember your second dose on May 11, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Please continue to exercise thoughtful and responsible public health practices for you and those around you. We cannot assume that all members of our community have been vaccinated. We remain hopeful that widespread vaccination will help us end this pandemic and return to the vibrant Titan community that we cherish.

Be well and best wishes on a productive May Term!

Karla Carney-Hall

Vickie Folse


On-Campus Pfizer Vaccine Clinic

April 15, 2021

Students, Faculty and Staff,

In cooperation with the McLean County Health Department, we will host a Pfizer vaccine clinic available for all students, faculty and staff. The clinic will be on Tuesday, April 20 (first dose) and Tuesday, May 11 (second dose) from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. in Shirk Center. Students, faculty and staff who previously registered for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine clinic will have an opportunity to register first and have received email instructions. New registrants can sign up at https://events.juvare.com/IL-IDPH/7udpl/. Students who register will need to either be on campus, live locally, or commute to campus on May 11 for the second dose.

We encourage everyone to get vaccinated and are pleased to offer this opportunity to our campus community.

Be well,
Dean Karla
Dr. Folse


Vaccine Clinic Postponed

April 13, 2021

Titan Community:

With the recent recommendation by the CDC and FDA to pause use of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, we are postponing today’s vaccination clinic until further notice. We will continue to work with McLean County Health Department and hope to provide an on-campus vaccine clinic in the near future. At a time when we are seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases among young people and an increase in severity, we know that vaccination and a commitment to the Titan Pledge is critical to overcoming the pandemic. It remains our goal to maximize campus health and well-being.

We encourage members of our community to continue with their vaccination plans with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccinations. All Titans are encouraged to seek opportunities for vaccination based on vaccine availability.

Learn more about MCHD and statewide vaccination sites, as well as review a listing of all vaccination sites in Illinois, which includes local pharmacies.

Be well!

Dean Karla
Dr. Folse


Vaccine Appointments Available at Tomorrow's On-Campus Clinic

April 12, 2021

Students, faculty and staff,

Appointments remain available at tomorrow's on-campus vaccination clinic. We have received permission from the McLean County Health Department to provide the vaccine to all students, faculty and staff, to ensure that all doses are used.

The one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine will be offered on Tuesday, April 13, from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. in Shirk Center, Performance Gymnasium. Register here for available spaces.

All members of our campus community are encouraged to seek  vaccination, and we hope this campus-based clinic makes this convenient for you.

Be well!

Karla Carney-Hall
Vickie Folse


Vaccine Clinic and Expanded Eligibility

April 8, 2021

IWU Community:

The Illinois Department of Public Health has prioritized college-aged students in various regions throughout the state including Region 2, where Illinois Wesleyan is located. As COVID-19 cases increase throughout the state and the nation, particularly in young adults, IDPH and higher education officials are working to provide increased access to the COVID vaccine for college students. In support of this effort, the McLean County Health Department (MCHD) expanded eligibility to any individual 16 and older, and has provided a limited number of vaccines for our students.

In partnership with the MCHD, we are providing an on-campus vaccination clinic for invited students only. We have limited supply (400) of the one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine and are prioritizing students staying on campus through May for this vaccine clinic. Eligible students have received an email from the Dean of Students office with registration information. On Sunday, any remaining vaccination times will be made available to all students. We have asked the MCHD for more vaccines, but urge everyone to get vaccinated whenever and wherever possible.

All members of our campus community are encouraged to seek opportunities for vaccination based on vaccine availability. In addition to the upcoming student clinic held on campus,  you can learn more about  MCHD and statewide vaccination sites, as well as review a listing of all vaccination sites in Illinois, which includes local pharmacies.

In McLean County, we are seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases and encourage everyone to remain vigilant with public health measures and get vaccinated.


Be well!

Dean Karla

Dr. Folse

 


Update on Planning for Fall 2021

March 22, 2021

Students and families,
cc: Faculty and staff

With increasing optimism around vaccination rates and vaccine availability, we are pleased to announce our intention to return to a vibrant in-person experience for the fall semester. A few important updates regarding our fall plans:

Classes: We intend to resume nearly all in-person classes this fall. Although varying modes of delivery are currently indicated in the schedule for the fall semester, please know that those may change. Students should plan to study on campus. Students in need of medical accommodations should work through disability services for any class adjustments. Please be assured that the university will not relax distancing or other COVID measures ahead of public health guidance.

Housing: We will return to our standard double occupancy housing model. We will also resume our normal residency requirement, requiring students to live in University-approved housing (residence halls or Greek chapter houses). Through higher education research, we know that on-campus living improves student engagement academically and interpersonally, fosters academic success, and builds community. Students may seek housing exceptions, such as medical accommodations, through our established processes.

Vaccines: We highly encourage all students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated when they become eligible. We do not intend to require the COVID-19 vaccination while it is designated for emergency use.

If public health circumstances do not improve as anticipated by August, we will adjust accordingly. Please continue to do your part in taking all precautions to protect yourself and others. We're grateful for the patience and flexibility of everyone in the Titan community as we work toward a return to something like normalcy.

Be well,

Mark Brodl, Provost

Karla Carney-Hall, Dean of Students


COVID-19 Anniversary

March 17, 2021

To the campus community,

One year ago this week, we closed campus offices, employees began working from home if possible, students were asked not to return from Spring Break and faculty spent one week preparing to pivot to online modes of instruction.

It's been a year seemingly without rest, and each of you – faculty, staff and students – have worked incredibly hard to see us through together. You have demonstrated flexibility and good will. And we have reason to be grateful: To date none of our positive COVID cases have originated in either a classroom or office environment at the University.

But we should also take a moment at this unhappy anniversary to acknowledge the losses of the past year. So much life, health and opportunity have been lost – affecting us personally, our loved ones, our shared communities. The pandemic has also glaringly exposed racial disparities in our health care and economic systems which are long overdue for a reckoning.

The severing of our usual modes of connecting have taken a psychological toll on everyone. We have each tapped unknown depths of resilience.

And while the end of this pandemic is optimistically in sight, we also know a glimpse of the finish line is not the time to quit. None of us knew how long this marathon would last when we started, but we must keep our Titan commitment going for a strong finish.

Throughout this amazing, challenging year, the Illinois Wesleyan community has proven itself, over and over, to be adaptable, creative, and resilient. I look forward to the occasion when we can honor each other, together, in person!

President Nugent


Extension of Spring 2021 Withdrawal Date For Individual Courses

March 9, 2021

TO: Students, Faculty and Staff

FROM: Mark Brodl, Provost

Looking at local, national, and global news about the pandemic, we recognize that our students have continued to experience COVID-related stresses and disruption as we wait for vaccinations and brighter days ahead. In the past two semesters, grade relief policies have been extended to students. This semester, there will not be a grade relief policy, however the date that students can withdraw from an individual course(s) has been extended.

For the spring of 2021, students can withdraw from a course up until 11:59 pm CST on Reading Day (April 22, 2021). NOTE: If a course grade of F is assigned during the term as a penalty for academic dishonesty, the student can not withdraw.

  • The grade for a withdrawn course(s) on the transcript will be Withdraw (W).
  • A grade of W does not apply to the GPA calculation.
  • A grade of Withdraw (W) means that the course will not count toward any requirements nor count as a prerequisite.

Withdrawing from a course(s) may not be available or advisable for courses that students need for professional accreditation, pre-professional preparation, or degree completion. Students are strongly encouraged to meet with their academic advisor before withdrawing from a course.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

Q: How does withdrawing from a class affect a student’s financial aid or scholarship?

A: Please contact the Financial Aid Office (309-556-3096).

Q: How does a student withdraw from a course(s)?

A: Students can withdraw from a course(s) on their MyIWU account. Here is an instructional video: https://vimeo.com/468979208

Q: How does a student obtain their PIN if they have lost it?

A: Students should contact their academic advisor or may email registrar@iwu.edu from their IWU email address to obtain their PIN since they are already registered for the semester.


COVID-19 Update: Raising Group Gathering Numbers

March 1, 2021

Students, faculty and staff:

Thank you for your commitment to mask-wearing and physically distancing throughout campus. Your efforts have led to extraordinarily low numbers of positive cases on campus. Because of these efforts and their corresponding success, we are raising the group gathering numbers to 50 participants when mask-wearing and physical distancing is possible, effective March 1 (today).

Although this is an expansion of group sizes, we must all remain committed to public health strategies we know are effective. As the weather improves and outdoor activities are renewed, please be mindful that you must still wear masks and distance in any group environment (inside and outside) of any size. Titans caring for Titans through the Titan Pledge remains critical. Thank you for working with us to hold our community accountable for its safety.

We will continue to monitor our campus COVID-19 environment, the availability of the vaccine, and plan for the fall semester. Thanks again for all you’re doing to support public health.

Be well!
Karla Carney-Hall
Vickie Folse


COVID-19 Planning Update

Feb. 17, 2021

Students, families, faculty and staff:

In just one month, we’ve seen a successful return to campus including incredible engagement opportunities. We’ve had a dynamic Posse Plus Retreat, Martin Luther King Jr. recognition and Founders' Day, reading groups around inclusion and health, and ongoing series like 3D and ReligiosiTEA. Athletics has successfully returned to practice and competition. And, our COVID-19 cases have remained low. In the face of frigid temperatures and COVID-19, we respond with community and connection. Your hard work and dedication is paying off!

In addition to celebrating our successes, we wanted to provide a few informational updates around COVID-19 planning:

  • COVID-19 Variants: Many of you have expressed concerns about the more aggressive variants. Our testing partner, Reditus, is testing for the new strains, and, fortunately, we have not seen any new variants on campus. Please remember that we can control the trajectory of this virus through standard precautions – wear a mask over your nose and mouth at all times, maintain 6 feet of physical distance, and wash your hands frequently. Stay home (and contact Arnold Health Services - 309-556-3107, healthservices@iwu.edu) if you’re symptomatic.
  • Vaccine and Titan Pledge: All aspects of the Titan Pledge remain, regardless of your vaccination status. Vaccinated members of our campus community must still wear masks, distance and adhere to all Titan Pledge expectations, including quarantining after exposure and surveillance testing. We will continue to monitor the science-based recommendations.
  • Early Eligibility for the Vaccine: We continue to advocate for essential workers and higher education inclusion in early phases of vaccine distribution. We have identified Titans who will be eligible as soon as availability allows (over age 65; spring student teaching in K-12). For your convenience, we will email eligible Titans when the limited supply of the vaccine becomes available for campus distribution.
  • General Vaccine Availability: It is most realistic to assume that the vaccine will be widely available before the end of summer. We highly encourage all students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated, but will not require the vaccine while it is still only designated for emergency use. Please follow here for more IWU information about the vaccine.
  • Commencement: We are currently planning for an in-person commencement that is in compliance with state requirements for a safe gathering. Seniors and families will receive more information soon. Also, watch for updates at www.iwu.edu/commencement.
  • Fall '21 Classes: Our plans now call for fall classes to continue to be delivered in the same four instructional modes currently being offered. Class capacities will remain limited to allow for physical distancing.
  • Fall '21 Housing: Fall housing decisions have not been finalized; however, it is highly likely that we will return to a double occupancy model. We are reviewing our needs for isolation and quarantine housing as well as medical singles. Students should begin planning for roommate selection since we will return to double rooms for the majority of students.
  • Surveillance Testing Insurance Billing: Surveillance testing has been essential for our efforts to identify asymptomatic individuals on campus. We have contracted with Reditus Labs who will bill private insurance and will accept what insurance pays. Reditus will not bill you for more than what your insurance coverage pays (which has been averaging $100). Your provider might send you an Explanation of Benefits for informational purposes, but please know it is not a bill. Please direct your billing questions to Reditus and co-pay or coverage questions to your insurance provider.

Thanks again for your vigilance regarding campus health and well-being. The COVID dashboard is still updated on weekdays and optional testing spots are still available.

Stay warm and be well!

Karla Carney-Hall


COVID-19 Update, Event Capacities

Feb. 2, 2021

Students, faculty and staff:

Over the last two weeks, McLean County has moved rapidly to Phase IV in the Restore Illinois Plan. Although Phase IV allows for increased event capacities of up to 50 people, we have elected not to increase IWU student group event sizes at this time (both on and off-campus). Group events must be below 25, and we highly recommend keeping groups smaller as possible. We will continue to monitor campus and community cases in order to determine if easing restrictions is appropriate for our residential community. The campus COVID cases are updated here.

To maintain our campus health, we must continue to consistently wear masks, maintain physical distance and monitor for symptoms. We are hearing that some students have relaxed mask wearing, which is likely to lead to higher cases on campus. All Titans must wear masks at all times in public areas both indoors and outside, even if you’ve had the vaccine or COVID-19 in the past.

Student cooperation with Illinois Wesleyan's surveillance testing program is required as a component of our Titan Pledge and an important strategy in keeping our community healthy, safe, and together on campus. Please know that, based on our contractual agreement, our partner Reditus Labs will continue to bill private insurance, and will accept what insurance pays. Please direct your billing questions to Reditus and co-pay or coverage questions to your insurance provider. Arnold Health Services remains a resource for general insurance questions, and will work to address your questions or concerns about testing. Signup for opt-in surveillance testing is also available here.

As always, thanks for committing to the health and safety of our entire Titan community.

 

Be well!

Karla Carney-Hall

Vickie Folse


Issues with Rapid COVID Testing for Athletic Competition Eligibility

Jan. 28, 2021

Students, faculty and staff,

The Illinois Department of Public Health and McLean County Health Department have confirmed today that COVID-19 testing results obtained Monday at an off-campus testing site, which included 7 positive results for IWU student athletes, were found to be indeterminate.

The tests were not conducted by our customary testing provider, but by a lab that conducts SARS CoV 2 rapid antigen testing, which we utilized for rapid turnaround required for athletic competition eligibility. Our local health officials recommended that we continue to rely on negative PCR test results, which all affected individuals obtained from our customary provider within 24 hours of the original tests.

These 7 individuals have been released from isolation and their 14 close contacts have been released from quarantine, which will allow clearance to return to all campus activities. Our campus COVID dashboard will be updated to reflect this correction in our total positive cases.

We will continue to partner with our customary provider and are evaluating our testing options for time-sensitive competition surveillance going forward.

As a reminder to our entire campus community, opt-in on-campus PCR testing is available throughout the semester for students, faculty and staff.

Vickie Folse


COVID-19 Update: Tier 1

Jan. 19, 2021

Students, Faculty and Staff,

McLean County has now entered Tier 1 mitigation measures. Tier 1 mitigations allow group gatherings under 25 participants which supports greater flexibility for student organizations and activities. On campus, we anticipate implementing these new measures on Friday, January 22, 8:00 a.m., assuming this week’s surveillance testing results remain low. Masks and physical distance are still required for all in-person activities, with groups of any size or location. Activities that can be conducted virtually should still be considered.

Student organization leaders and advisors are encouraged to attend a workshop session on Wednesday, Jan. 27, at noon on event planning in the COVID era. Links will be provided via email from Student Involvement. Web resources are also available.

Please continue to exercise caution and community-mindedness as new COVID-19 strains are proving particularly aggressive. Thanks for all that you are doing for campus and community health!

Be well!

Karla Carney-Hall
Vickie Folse


Clarification on COVID-19 Protocols

Jan. 14, 2021

Students, Faculty and Staff,

Thank you for upholding the Titan Pledge as we rejoin each other on campus.

If you've received the COVID vaccine or have been previously infected with COVID-19 and are currently immune, requirements for wearing a mask do not change. Masks and physical distancing precautions remain necessary to protect each other until vaccinations are widespread. Masks are expected to be worn if you are not in your own office/home area, and we continue to ask individuals to maintain physical distancing of at least six feet.Thanks also to students for completing baseline testing and isolation prior to resuming in-person activities. So far, we're received 1,309 test results with 10 positive cases (a 0.76% positivity rate).

Results continue to be posted on our COVID Dashboard, which will be updated daily, Monday-Fridays. There you will also find sign-up forms for optional COVID testing, to be offered weekly on Wednesdays starting Jan. 20. Surveillance testing results for the week will be posted on the Dashboard each Friday.

Thanks for all you do to keep our community healthy and well.

COVID Contingency Planning Committee


Reminder: Baseline Testing Required by 3 p.m. Today

Jan. 12, 2021

Students,

Just a quick reminder that ALL students (regardless of living on-campus or off-campus) must participate in baseline testing no later than today (Tuesday) at 3:00 p.m. in order to attend in-person classes. Even if all of your classes are virtual, you must participate in baseline testing if you are living, working, or engaging in any on-campus activity. Testing will occur in Hansen today until 3:00 p.m.

If you don't test on campus by 3:00 p.m. today, you must arrange your own testing at the Interstate Center before attending any in-person activity or class.

Be well!
Dean Karla


COVID-19 Reminders as You Return

Jan. 11, 2021

Students,

Welcome back! It is so great to have life back on campus and to begin this spring semester. For those of you who were unable to attend the webinar last week, a couple of quick COVID-19 reminders about what we need from you to keep the campus healthy this spring:

Simple Commitments Matter

  • Baseline testing: We have results for 649 baseline tests from last week (athletes), Saturday’s tests and most of Sunday's with only 2 positive cases. Results are taking a bit longer than anticipated, but we expect it will still be less than 48 hours. For those of you who elected Sodexo-provided meals, we will continue to provide pick-up meals until results are received. Residence Life will provide information about that process when quarantine extends beyond 24 hours.
  • Symptom screening and notification: Please contact Arnold Health Services if you experience COVID-19 symptoms so we can determine if quarantine is appropriate. If you experience symptoms on the weekends/evenings, please contact Campus Safety who will help connect you with appropriate resources.
  • Masks at all times and distancing: Any time you are around others (inside or outside), continue to wear a mask and maintain physical distancing of at least six feet.
  • Limit travel/Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend: With a three-day Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend approaching, please do not travel and/or limit your exposure to others if you must. It’s a great opportunity to participate in campus and community activities celebrating Dr. King.
  • No group gatherings in-person larger than 10 (other than class and DIII Athletics): We are hopeful that regional restrictions will ease soon, but for now, no non-academic or non-DIII sanctioned athletic events over 10 people.
  • Testing: Surveillance testing and opt-in testing will begin January 20 for non-athletes. Surveillance testing participation is required.
  • Grade relief: You received a notice about Fall semester grade relief opportunities.Deadline to petition for grade relief is Jan. 22. Please talk with your academic advisor if you have questions.
  • COVID-19 Information updates: A reminder that we will maintain the COVID-19 dashboard, Monday-Friday, so you can have up-to-date status information. Surveillance testing results for the week will be posted on Friday. All campus messages, including revised isolation and quarantine policies, can be found on the web.

We appreciate your commitment to the Titan Pledge and are looking forward to another great semester!

Be well,

Dean Karla


COVID Updates for January Return

Jan. 1, 2021

Students and families,

(cc: faculty and staff)

Happy New Year! If you’re like me, I am hoping that 2021 will look very different from 2020! Although there is cautious optimism about a widely distributed vaccine, we will start this spring term with health needs that mirror this fall. A special thanks to all of you for your commitment to returning and sustaining a healthy campus – you are critical to our collective success.

Updates:

Titan Pledge Recommitment and Accountability: We have made a few additions to the Titan Pledge as we return this spring and will require all students to sign this pledge when you are tested upon return.

  • Symptom screening and notifications: In order for us to contain the spread of illness on-campus, we must all be vigilant about monitoring symptoms (e.g., cough, fever, fatigue, difficulty breathing, congestion, headaches, loss of taste/smell), staying home when ill and notifying Arnold Health Services of any positive tests or symptoms. Although we appreciate self-monitoring and responsible response, independent diagnosis does not help us monitor community spread and places the campus community at risk.
  • Gatherings: As you may recall, large social gatherings at the start of the fall semester led to an outbreak that threatened campus health. I know you are excited to see your friends after this long break, but we simply cannot have a repeat of the gatherings that occurred in the fall. Party hosts and attendees may face a ban from all campus activities (including in-person classes and athletics) or a suspension from the University (which would include the ability to attend classes, even those online). As the semester progressed, we saw increases in spread through small groups where masks were not worn and physical distancing was not maintained. Please wear masks at all times and maintain at least 6 feet of physical distancing. Please commit to the actions that support a healthy campus and community.

Spring Health Protocol Changes: Revised campus policies for isolation and quarantine are below:

Updated Positive COVID-19 Isolation Policy for 2021: For all students who test positive for COVID-19, approval to return to campus and campus activities (except Athletics) will be provided by Arnold Health Services (AHS). Approval requirements include completing a 10-day isolation period beginning on the day of the positive test and displaying an improvement in symptoms including the absence of a fever without the use of fever reducing medication (if applicable). All symptomatic students are encouraged (but not required) to complete a cardiac screen with their primary care provider after being cleared by AHS. After 20 days of isolation in the absence of symptom improvement, an infectious disease consult will be secured by AHS to allow clearance. For student-athletes, in addition to these requirements, Athletics will discuss the need for a cardiac screen and may require a negative test for select in-season sports in which consistent mask wearing and physical distancing is not possible before issuing an Athletics clearance. Combining a standard isolation time of a minimum of 10 days regardless of symptom onset exceeds the CDC recommendations and has been adopted to safeguard the health of the Illinois Wesleyan campus community.

Updated Contact Quarantine Policy for 2021:

If you are identified as a “close contact” of an individual who tested positive for COVID-19, you will be instructed by Arnold Health Services (AHS) to quarantine for 14 days, whether you later test negative or not. A close contact is defined as anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before the person began feeling sick until the time the person was isolated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that all close contacts test for COVID. AHS can assist students to determine the best timing for testing (generally 5 days post exposure). If students have transportation, they can pre-register at testdirectly.com, test at the Interstate Center, and forward their results to AHS. If students do not have access to transportation, they can test on campus at Shirk Center during surveillance testing hours if arranged by AHS. To clarify, a student cannot test out of isolation or quarantine and alternate instructions by a state or government agency (e.g., health department, CDC) or primary care provider do not change the IWU policy for Arnold Health Services clearance. Requiring 14 days of quarantine for all close contacts exceeds the CDC recommendations and has been adopted to safeguard the health of the Illinois Wesleyan campus community.

Event Management Protocols: Prior to the end of the fall semester, per state mandates, the maximum number of individuals allowed to gather in an outdoor space was 10. For the beginning of the spring semester we will allow a 10-person maximum at university-sponsored events and non-class related activities with mask wearing and physical distancing. For RSO leaders, please attend the Wednesday, January 27 virtual training at 12 p.m. We want to help leaders provide vibrant in-person and online activities, as possible.

A few reminders below:

  • Spring Information Webinar: In our commitment to transparency, we want to again sponsor an informational webinar for students and families about lessons learned from the fall semester and adjustments made for spring. Please plan to participate on January 6 at 7:00 p.m. (CT). To access this meeting, use the link here. Passcode: 680405.

  • Pre-return recommendations: Please consider “pre-return” quarantines that limit interactions with others outside immediate families, when possible. Reminder: if you are feeling ill at all, please do not return to campus. Starting January 4, contact Arnold Health Services to discuss your symptoms and plans for return.

  • Baseline testing: Baseline testing will occur at the Hansen Student Center for all students regardless of where you live. If you live on campus, you will receive your keys after you’ve completed your test. If you have not already signed up for a check-in/testing date, please do so via Signup Genius. If you have a meal plan, you will also need to designate whether you want quarantine box meals. Check in at the Hansen Student Center. All students, regardless of where they live, must quarantine until contacted that their baseline testing results are negative.

  • Prior positive COVID results: Please submit by email any initial positive test results since October 5, 2020 to Arnold Health Services, if they are not already on file with AHS. With appropriate documentation or previous communication with AHS about a positive test, you do not need to participate in baseline testing if you tested positive in the past 90 days prior to the start of campus spring 2021 baseline testing. Students eligible to opt out of testing will receive an email confirmation before their return to campus.

  • Vaccine: The COVID-19 vaccine does not allow you to opt out of baseline testing, surveillance testing, or quarantine. Although the vaccine is promising, it is not a guarantee that you will not get COVID-19. Think of it like the flu shot - you may still get the flu.

Thanks so much for giving this lengthy memo your attention. We appreciate all that you are doing to support campus health, mental health and well-being. We bring hope and optimism into 2021 and look forward to seeing you soon!

 

Be well!

Dean Karla

Dr. Folse


Spring Semester COVID-19 Update

Dec. 18, 2020

Students and families:

We hope the last month has been a wonderful mix of relaxation, festive holiday spirit, and productivity. Like many of you, we are hopeful about the impact of the vaccine in managing COVID-19 in all of our communities. We continue to monitor the status of COVID-19 cases in McLean County, Illinois, the U.S. and the world, watching carefully for Illinois guidance as we consider any changes for the spring semester. Although the University will be closed from December 24-January 3, our leadership team is meeting over the break to review emerging information as needed. Today, we are still planning to return to in-person classes on January 13 with renewed commitments to health and well-being.

  • Spring Information Webinar, January 6, 7:00 p.m. (CT) - Click here to add to your Google calendar: In our commitment to transparency, please join us for an informational webinar for students and families about lessons learned from the fall semester and adjustments made for spring. We look forward to seeing you on January 6. To access this meeting, use the link here. Passcode: 680405. We will send a reminder on January 6 with phone log-in information.
  • Pre-return recommendations: We encourage all members of our campus community to consider “pre-return” quarantines that limit interactions with others outside our immediate families, when possible. Limiting exposure to others prior to your return will ensure a healthy campus on January 9-12 (and hopefully limit positive cases discovered in baseline testing). Additionally, if you are feeling ill at all, please do not return to campus until you’ve consulted with Arnold Health Services. Starting January 4, contact Arnold Health Services to discuss your symptoms and plans.
  • Baseline testing: All students who will be in-person at IWU for any activity this Spring will need to participate in campus baseline PCR testing (regardless of where you live or if all your classes are online). All students must select their arrival time block on Sign-up Genius. If you have tested positive for COVID-19 since October 9 and have your diagnosis documented with Arnold Health Services, you do not need to participate in baseline testing. If you have a positive test result that has not yet been shared with Arnold Health Services, please email documentation of the results to Arnold Health Services (healthservices@iwu.edu).
    • Baseline quarantine meals: Students will need to quarantine pending a negative test upon return (hopefully less than 36 hours). However, based on the speed of test results and feedback received from students about box meals, our process for meals during baseline quarantine has changed. If you would like to opt-in for meals during quarantine, please indicate that on your Sign-up Genius selection. A follow-up email will be sent in January to students with instructions for where to pick up their meals if they chose that option, and the check-in location at Hansen Student Center will also confirm this information as you pick up your key.
  • Spring health protocol changes: Currently, there are many changes to health protocol guidance being proposed by the CDC. We are reviewing these changes with a clear eye to understanding the science related to highly dense residential populations. We will share changes to our protocols during the January 6 webinar. We are also monitoring the availability of the vaccine to the general public and will be making recommendations as this guidance evolves. Given the “emergency use” status of the vaccine, we will highly recommend (but not require) the vaccine as it becomes available.
  • Spring start: As mentioned above, our plan today is to stay the course with classes resuming on January 13. If the Governor announces restrictions on in-person education, we will update you as soon as any new decisions are made.

Be well and have a happy and healthy holiday season!

Dean Karla

PS: We know that sometimes symptoms can be confusing -- is it a cold? Flu? COVID-19? Allergies? This is a great resource you and your family might find helpful during holiday break.

Symptoms

Grade Relief Policy for Fall 2020 Semester

Dec. 8, 2020

Policy and FAQ

COVID-19 Update and Spring Return

Nov. 13, 2020

Students and families:

With just one week left of the semester, we continue to focus on your academic success and our commitment to campus health and safety. While we know that we have not yet officially closed out our time together for Fall 2020, we thank you for your diligence and resilience as we have worked through this semester together.

Verified class absences due to COVID-19: Faculty are notified by the Dean of Students office of all verified illnesses or contacts due to COVID-19. However, we are receiving reports of students missing class or assignments with a COVID-19 explanation unverified by student affairs. Our ability to track the level of illness on-campus is absolutely critical to a healthy campus response. You must notify Arnold Health Services if you are ill or believe you’ve been exposed, especially if you anticipate missing class or participating remotely. We must also ensure integrity in classroom experience with verified absences.

Staff reduction in offices: To help mitigate the rapidly spreading COVID-19, the Illinois Department of Public Health issued new recommendations this week encouraging employees to work from home, when possible. Colleges and universities are not recommended for closing, but caution is still warranted. To support public health, Illinois Wesleyan will begin reducing staff presence on campus next week. All student service offices will remain open with on-site staffing to support your experience and all staff will still be available virtually. Because remaining class sessions are limited and we have been vigilant about masks and distancing, in-person classes and finals may continue as planned at the faculty member’s discretion.

In these next few weeks, please remember to observe the updated guidance from the State of Illinois related to COVID-19 for our region as well as explore how you can keep yourself and others safe and healthy as you return home. Please follow updated guidance for your home community over holiday break. We anticipate most of our health and safety policies from the fall will continue in the spring, and will update you as changes occur.

Mandatory Spring Return application: As a reminder, ALL STUDENTS must complete the Spring Return 2021 application found in your MyHousing page. That application will be available until Monday, November 16, and it will help inform some of the decisions that are still being made for the campus.

Spring baseline testing: We will repeat our baseline testing in January for ALL students who are engaged in any on-campus activity (e.g., class, meetings, recreation, activities, residential living). The only students who do not need to participate in baseline testing are those living at home with a fully virtual spring schedule and no plans to participate in on-campus activities, or those who have already provided written documentation to Arnold Health Services of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis between October 10, 2020 and January 10, 2021. Campus-based testing will occur beginning Sunday, January 10 through Tuesday, January 12 and will require quarantine until results are known. Fortunately, our partner, Reditus Laboratories, has been able to deliver results within 24-36 hours. Any student assigned to the Marriott Hotel in Uptown Normal for the Spring 2021 term will arrive on Tuesday, January 12. Students living in non-University housing will need to sign up for a testing time on one of these 3 days (Jan. 10, 11 or 12) or test as part of approved early arrival activities. More details will be provided at a later date.

Spring move in: Around November 20, SignUpGenius links will be provided for times to return to campus in January. Times will be available for Sunday, January 10, through Tuesday, January 12. Roommates should attempt to return on the same day. Unless you are approved, in writing, by the Office of Residential Life or the Office of Student Involvement to return to campus early, do not plan on returning before Sunday, January 10. Questions? Contact Residential Life (orl@iwu.edu) or Student Involvement (getinvolved@iwu.edu).

Final date for fall opt-in testing: November 18 is the last day for campus-based COVID-19 testing. Sign up here (deadline Tuesday at noon) if you would like to participate in testing before going home. Arnold Health Services continues to work with students on the best place to complete quarantine and isolation after housing closes on November 20.

We know this semester has been difficult considering the amount of unknowns and changes from our normal fall experience. Thank you for your hard work prioritizing the safety of yourself and our community. Wishing you success on your final projects and exams!

Be well!

Dean Karla


Campus Mitigation Strategies for COVID-19

Nov. 6, 2020

As COVID-19 cases increase on campus, around McLean County, Illinois and the United States, we continue to review our campus mitigation strategies. Our community health is the highest priority and will take all of us to safeguard a strong finish to the fall semester. We are in a critical time for working aggressively to control spread.

For the remainder of the semester, we highly recommend the following:

  • Do not go to class, work or engage with others if you have COVID-19 symptoms. A growing concern is students who are symptomatic disregarding the implications of their symptoms in favor of attending class and continuing to do other activities. If you have symptoms, please consult with Arnold Health Services immediately (309-556-3107). If it’s the evening or the weekend, please contact Campus Safety (309-556-1111) and they will have a health professional contact you. With your health vigilance, we can avoid moving all classes to virtual instruction and all activities to remote participation.

  • Choose dining to-go: Given the beautiful weather and the potential spread with any mask-less activity, we highly recommend that you grab food to go and dine outside. The State of Illinois has implemented indoor dining restrictions for our region, but education is exempt for now. However, if we continue to see cases rise on campus, we will move to to-go only dining.

  • Choose virtual gatherings with friends: As part of our contact tracing, we understand that most of our current spread is through small group gatherings (under 10) which is in compliance with the Titan Pledge. However, we strongly encourage students to more carefully limit your exposure to others for the next two weeks. We recognize that social connection is important to your mental health and academic success, and hope that you will choose virtual connections during this period of increased cases. Through your careful commitments, we hope to avoid further residential restrictions which would include a residents-only approach to residence halls, fraternity houses and apartments.

Between COVID-19, racial injustice, and election uncertainty, we know this semester has been extremely challenging. We recognize you are exhausted and overwhelmed at times. We appreciate all that you are doing for public health and our Titan community.

Be well,

Georgia Nugent
Karla Carney-Hall
Vickie Folse
Mark Brodl


COVID-19 Update

Nov. 4, 2020

Students, faculty and staff:

As we all await election results, please continue to be kind to one another and be patient as the results unfold. During these uncertain times, our day-to-day COVID-19 practices remain clear.

With less than two weeks of classes left to go, Titans – let's bring this semester home! Now is the time to reaffirm our health precautions, not ease up. We've begun to see an increase in on-campus cases: our 7-day average is now over 2 cases per day for the first time since Sept. 10.

Please note:

  • State Restrictions: Effective this week, Illinois Region 2, which includes McLean County, is under increased restrictions. Indoor service is no longer permitted at restaurants and bars. Events are restricted to 25 or fewer people.

  • Campus event size restrictions: Although educational institutions are not included in these new state restrictions, Illinois Wesleyan will enact similar event restrictions, effective this Thursday, for non-class activities such as meetings and campus events. All in-person classes may still meet at this time. We will continue to monitor whether additional changes are needed, including potential changes to dining and residence hall guest policies.

    While Region 2 is facing restrictions because its rolling, seven-day positivity rate exceeded 8% for three straight days, McLean County's rolling positivity rate remains below this threshold (5.1% as of Monday).

  • Halloween weekend concerns: If you participated in large gatherings or patronized establishments in which mask wearing was inconsistent during Halloween weekend, Arnold Health Services recommends you test at the Interstate Center approximately 5 days after potential exposure.

  • Optional testing prior to going home: If students want to test for COVID-19 before heading home, we recommend signing up for the Nov. 11 optional testing on campus. Results will be returned on Nov. 12, and then you should be very careful about potential exposure before leaving campus. If able, students who test positive any time November 11 or later will go home for the remainder of the semester, through January. Be aware that a positive diagnosis may limit your public transportation options.

    Testing on campus will also be available on Nov. 18, but on-campus and quarantine housing will not be available after Nov. 20. Students who test positive on November 18 will need to work with their families and health services to create a plan for travel and housing.

    Students may also choose to test at other McLean County sites.

  • Required forms: All students must complete the Spring 2021 Student Return application in MyHousing by Monday, November 16 (whether you currently live on or off campus). This will inform the University how you will be taking classes next semester and whether you will be living on campus, allowing us to plan for spring course delivery and housing needs.

We deserve to be proud of how we've responded to very challenging health conditions this semester. Let's all do our part to finish strong and healthy!

Karla


 

COVID-19 Reminders

Oct. 23, 2020

Students and families,

(CC: Faculty and Staff)

We're nearly to the home stretch of our fall semester (under 30 days left)! While the COVID-19 numbers across the state and the country are increasing, we recently completed our longest stretch with zero new positive cases (from 10/9-10/18) and now have a 7-day average of 0.57 new cases per day. At this time, we have under 5 active positive cases among students and zero known cases from classroom-based transmission! Although these numbers are outstanding, it's important that we all remain vigilant as the weather gets colder and activities move inside. Several Illinois communities are facing state-mandated restrictions and some Midwest universities are experiencing campus-wide quarantines. Please help ensure our community can continue a positive campus-based experience.

Especially as we move into colder weather …

  • Remember that screening for symptoms is increasingly critical as we move into the cold/flu season. And the combination of viruses heightens the health risk for vulnerable individuals, whose immune systems may be depleted by the flu and therefore more threatened by COVID-19. If you missed the IWU flu shot clinic, we hope you’ll consider getting a flu shot when you’re home over the break or locally at a drug store or local healthcare provider.
  • Maintain indoor physical distance too. While you’re studying, please maintain distancing. If you're in a campus space where capacity has been reduced, please don't override these safeguards by moving furniture.
  • Wear your mask over your nose and mouth.
  • As end-of-the-semester stress increases, please remember to respond respectfully to requests by RAs, student leaders, faculty, and staff to maintain the Titan Pledge.

Halloween cautions: As we approach Halloween, I especially urge you not to let holiday fun override your commitment to the Titan Pledge. I continue to hear rumors about parties (mostly at neighboring institutions) that are problematic (no distancing, no masks, no attempt at good health practices). Because finals are early, a Halloween-based COVID-19 transmission could be disruptive to your final exams.

I also urge good judgement related to Halloween and your concern for others, beyond physical health. Consider my recent message that challenged all of us to bring the same attention we give to COVID-19 to our concerns around racial injustice. Remember to think about the respectfulness of possible costumes, and refrain from choices that perpetuate stereotypes or trivialize another person's culture. Do not culturally appropriate this Halloween. Get creative, not offensive.

Housing: There are two applications related to ongoing COVID-19 planning currently active in MyHousing.

  • The Winter Break Check Out or Request to Stay application must be completed by November 1 and serves two functions for all residential students: notification of departure date when you will return your key, and any request to stay later than Nov. 20.
  • The Spring 2021 Student Return application must be completed by November 16. Similar to the application you submitted this summer, this one will inform the campus of your plans for how you will be taking classes next semester and whether you will be on campus.
  • If you currently live in a single and would like a roommate for next semester, or you would like to have a different roommate for next semester, please contact the Office of Residential Life directly at orl@iwu.edu.

As ever, recognize that this year has been a strain on everyone's mental health, and allow extra doses of compassion for others and yourself. (Hint: Counseling and Consultation Services is still available for support: 309-556-3052) Thanks again for your commitment to maintaining a healthy IWU.

Be well!

Karla


 

Ongoing and Spring Semester Plans

Oct. 5, 2020

Students and families:

Thank you for all of your amazing work to keep campus healthy this fall. We are proud of the ways that our campus has responded to the initial wave of positive COVID-19 cases. Our numbers are certainly headed in the right direction and we are feeling confident about completing the fall semester! Please stay committed, especially as activities move inside due to the weather change!

In our recent survey of returning students about response to COVID-19, many of you asked for additional communication about our ongoing and Spring semester plans. A bulleted update is provided below:

  • Flu Shot: Last chance for an on-campus flu shot. Wednesday, October 7, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Henning. Please bring your insurance card.
  • Opt-in Testing: Optional surveillance testing is available every week. For this week, please use this form to register.
  • Break Housing: Limited Winter Break housing may be provided for students with critical needs. Additional housing fees may apply. The Office of Residential Life will provide additional break housing information and a request form no later than October 12, with a deadline for applying on November 1. Failure to submit the form by November 1 may result in a late request fee.
  • Spring Calendar: Classes will start a week later than usual (Jan. 13) and Spring Break has been eliminated due to travel concerns. We listened to your concerns and are not returning to Saturday classes as we did this fall. See the revised spring calendar.
  • Academic Delivery: Classes will continue to be delivered in four modes: in-person, hybrid, hyflex, and online. Delivery modes will be available when registration begins on Nov. 4.
  • Spring Housing: We will continue to use the Marriott for housing in the spring. You will return to your same housing for the spring semester unless you request a change through the Office of Residential Life or if spaces become available on campus for those living at the Marriott. Although students living in the Marriott will need to move out over the Winter Break, students living on campus will be permitted to leave belongings in the halls. Unlike other years, students will be required to return their room keys as part of the break check-out process.
  • Spring COVID-19 Testing: We will again conduct baseline testing at the start of the spring semester. We are still determining whether we will use the PCR nasal swab testing or the PCR saliva test, which will determine when students can return based on the timing of results. We anticipate having a decision about testing by November 1. Surveillance testing also will continue.
  • Move-in Date for Spring - TBD: Once a decision is made about the testing method, we will notify you of dates for spring return. The earliest that non-student athletes will return is January 9, but dates have not been finalized. Winter sport athlete return dates will be determined shortly. If you need a confirmed return date for your travel plans, please contact the Office of Residential Life or the Office of Student Involvement (fraternity housing).

Thanks again for all that you are doing for your own health and the health of others.

Be well!
Dean Karla

PS - Look for a fun “thank you” treat this week in dining locations on Thursday.


 

Flu Shot Clinic and COVID-19 Update

Sept. 11, 2020

Students, faculty and staff,

Thanks for all that you are doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on campus and in our community. Our surveillance testing identified only 1 positive case (from 108 tests), which supports early identification and our ongoing efforts to contain this fast-spreading illness. If you are selected for surveillance testing, your participation is required. We have increased the number of available voluntary registration spots for students, faculty and staff who wish to “opt in” for testing. Please register using this link.

Flu shot clinic: In preparation for the coming flu season, IWU has partnered with Walgreens to make the flu vaccine conveniently available on campus. It's especially important for everyone to get flu shots this year to reduce strains on our campus community – already burdened with the pandemic – as well as the unknown risks of simultaneously contracting both influenza and COVID-19. Let's avoid a "twindemic"!

Please call the 1-800 number on the back of your health insurance card prior to the clinic day to check coverage for this service to be provided through Walgreens.

Tuesday, Sept. 15 and Thursday, Sept. 17

Hansen Student Center

10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Open to all IWU faculty, staff and students. Remember to wear your mask, stay 6 feet apart, bring a picture ID and your insurance card. Direct questions to Arnold Health Services at 309-556-3107 or healthservices@iwu.edu

Residence Hall restrictions extend through the semester: Please remember that non-IWU guests are prohibited in our campus residence halls, apartments, fraternity houses, and Traveling Titans housing at the Uptown Marriott, and this policy is now extended through November 20. Unfortunately, based on our community spread (both campus and McLean County), it is not wise to lift non-IWU guest restrictions for our campus housing at this time.

Off-campus travel: Coming off a holiday weekend (although many were in class) and the NELK Boys gathering near ISU, several have asked questions about the Titan Pledge component that suggests we should “limit leaving the Titan community”. Limiting non-essential travel home and off campus assists in limiting the spread of illness. Although it’s difficult to create guidance appropriately restricting travel given family emergencies and other personal circumstances, we do encourage you to use a high standard for determining if travel is necessary.

Additional info: Some additional COVID-related updates and reminders:

Thanks again for your sustained commitment to your health and the health of others. We know that these commitments are not always easy and appreciate your resilience!

Karla Carney-Hall


 

COVID-19 Surveillance Testing Protocol

Sept. 4, 2020

Students and families:

We are committed to COVID-19 testing in order to ensure early identification, notification, and isolation of students participating in any campus activity. We’ve completed our baseline testing, which resulted in early isolation of 10 students who were asymptomatic, but who tested positive for COVID-19 immediately upon arrival to campus. This early identification was essential to limit the spread of illness as we returned to campus. We will now shift our focus to surveillance testing which will allow us to monitor the spread of the virus among our campus community throughout the semester.

Weekly surveillance testing will begin next week with approximately 100 strategically sampled students on Wednesday, September 9. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) requires surveillance testing for student-athletes in mid- to high-contact sports. In addition to student-athletes, we will also intentionally sample communities where other high-contact activities exist (for example, theatre). For non-athletes, we will select based on residence (both on and off-campus) to gather a snapshot of activity across campus.

A few details about testing:

  • Who: Students selected for participation will be notified by email of required participation on Tuesday prior to the next day testing. Students will be notified either by the Dean of Students office or by Athletics.
  • What: PCR nasal swab (same test as the baseline testing)
  • When: Every Wednesday, 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
  • Where: Shirk Center, activity court (signage will be posted)
  • What do I need to bring: Please bring your student ID and your insurance card. As with baseline testing, personal insurance will be billed for surveillance testing.

New FAQs have been added to the website.

If you have questions, please contact Mindy McCluskey at 556-3196.

We appreciate the many precautions that you, as students, are taking to keep yourself and others healthy. Surveillance testing is another critical component of our campus health strategy. Although I know you will be busy with classes this Labor Day weekend, I would encourage you to continue your vigilance about limiting group gatherings and physical distancing. Thanks in advance for your commitment to good health practices.

Be well!

Dean Karla


 

Spring 2021 Academic Calendar

Sept. 2, 2020

Dear students, faculty and staff,

In consultation with the COVID planning groups and the Calendar Committee, Academic Affairs has recommended and President Nugent's Cabinet has approved a revised Spring 2021 Academic Calendar.

Recognizing that COVID-19 will still be with us in the spring, classes will resume on Wednesday, January 13, 2021 (one week later than originally planned) to facilitate travel, move-in, and initial testing. The university will forego spring break to reduce the spread of disease. We will continue to have mixed modes of course delivery and 15-minute exchange periods for the spring of 2021. We will not have Saturday classes :-).

Decisions about the nature of commencement will be made later in the year when the trajectory of the pandemic is better understood.

Please stay well and know that we are all in this together.

The Academic Affairs Team


 

COVID-19 Update and Dashboard

Sept. 1, 2020

Students, families, faculty and staff,

We have launched a COVID-19 dashboard where we will update numbers of new COVID-19 cases identified daily, among students who have followed campus protocols by reporting their testing status through Arnold Health Services. (Please note that yesterday's total accounts for testing throughout the weekend, for a three-day average of under 6 new cases a day.) This dashboard can be found, along with other campus updates and FAQs, on the University's COVID-19 response website. We will continue to provide important updates to the campus community, but we don't intend to send repeated broadcast emails with new case tallies. You are encouraged to monitor the dashboard for updates.

We are committed to COVID-19 testing in order to ensure early identification, notification, and isolation of students participating in any campus activity. To monitor the spread of the virus among our campus community throughout the semester, we plan to begin weekly surveillance testing next Wednesday, Sept. 9. Details will be provided soon.

As we evaluate our ability to remain in-person this semester and interim measures that may be needed to reduce COVID-19 spread, we will continuously monitor new campus cases and other key factors, including:

  • Regional infection rate
  • Decreasing hospital capacity
  • # of quarantining students
  • % of isolation space filled
  • # of unrelated cases
  • Shortage of cleaning supplies/personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Testing concerns
  • Contact tracing concerns (including both human resources and participation by students/integrity)
  • Faculty/staff infection and ability to maintain service delivery

Students are reminded that all large group gatherings carry significant public health risk and are restricted by the Titan Pledge, especially because physical distancing is not possible and is not likely enforced. Discipline for students failing to adhere to campus and public health expectations may include a ban from campus (with no course accommodation) and the possibility of suspension for the semester.

Our commitment to a successful, in-person fall semester hinges on everyone's cooperation to protect the health of our neighbors. Let's all take care of ourselves and each other.

Be well,

Karla Carney-Hall


 

Update: COVID-19 Cases Among Students

Aug. 24, 2020

As we begin the second week of the fall semester, we write to provide an update regarding confirmed COVID-19 cases among Illinois Wesleyan students.

Over the past three days (Friday through Sunday), we confirmed 11 additional positive cases among students who initially tested negative upon arrival to campus this fall. All 11 students who tested positive live in non-University owned housing. We determined that all 11 new cases are connected to the outbreak announced last week, stemming from off-campus social gatherings in the week before classes began, where the consistent use of masks and physical distancing did not occur. The outbreak now consists of 30 students who tested positive for COVID-19.

COVID-19 Cases Among Illinois Wesleyan Students

  • Total positive cases confirmed during universal baseline testing: 10
  • Total positive cases confirmed through community spread: 30 (28 living in non-University owned housing, 2 living in University-owned housing)
  • Total positive cases during the fall semester (baseline + community spread): 40
  • 2.4% of IWU’s student population has tested positive for COVID-19

Many test-positive students have reported COVID-19 symptoms, while some are asymptomatic. All students who tested positive are either returning home, staying in off-campus housing to isolate, or are isolating off campus in university-provided quarantine space, consistent with the University’s COVID-19 protocol.

We continue to monitor not only the health of our campus community, but also the health of the greater Bloomington-Normal / McLean County community. The McLean County Health Department has announced a recent surge in positive COVID-19 cases, including a single-day record of 99 new cases in the county confirmed today (Monday). Of those 99 cases, 90 involve people who are age 18, 19 or in their 20s.

We hope this early outbreak serves as a reality check for all of us that this virus spreads quickly and easily. Unfortunately, we continue to investigate reports of students failing to adhere to campus and public health expectations and we will hold individuals and groups accountable. Any increase in college-age COVID-19 cases jeopardizes our county’s positivity rate and our privilege of staying open as a residential campus. To the many students who have been adhering to our expectations, shaping cultural norms, demonstrating flexibility and leading in unprecedented uncertainty –– thank you and please continue to make great choices.

It is imperative that we take responsibility as a campus community to limit the spread of COVID-19. This includes: Wearing a mask over both your nose and mouth; maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from others; frequently washing your hands with soap and water; performing daily self-screening for symptoms; avoiding gatherings in which mask wearing and physical distancing are not required; and avoiding large gatherings.

Information regarding individuals who test positive for COVID-19 is regulated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guidelines which provide for the confidentiality of such test results.


Be Smart This Weekend

August 21, 2020

Students,

As we head into another weekend, I want to reiterate the importance of making good decisions in your activities and promoting community health (physical and mental health). All large group activities/parties are risky; even small gatherings without adherence to public health measures can place you and others at risk. Any additional outbreaks will escalate our campus and community risk. You are a critical partner in our ability to remain in-person for the fall semester.

University Actions: In response to recent increases in student COVID-19 cases, a variety of intermediate steps are already being taken to reduce the risks of spreading the virus in our community, including:

  • All high-contact athletic activities have been suspended until August 30.
  • Additional physical distancing measures are being reinforced in the dining commons. Masks are required in all food service areas. Group dining is not permitted; do not move chairs to sit with friends. If protocols are not followed, we may be forced to close the dining area and offer only to-go meals.
  • Thursday’s Nursing clinicals were canceled as a precautionary measure as the scope of this preventable outbreak was being assessed.
  • Individual students are being held accountable for party hosting and disregarding public practices outlined in the Titan Pledge.

Additionally, the city of Bloomington has informed local establishments that their liquor licenses may be revoked if they do not observe State of Illinois requirements for operation, including use of face coverings when people are not eating or drinking, and limiting gatherings to fewer than 50 people or 50% occupancy, whichever is less. Mayor Tari Renner stressed the importance of following these guidelines in preventing the community from moving backward and triggering another shutdown.

Care for our Community: Many members of our campus community are fearful for their health and the health of family. The CDC notes that systemic health inequities have contributed to increased risk and disproportionate impact of COVID-19 for people of color. Additionally, please also be aware that you have peers and faculty who appear healthy but might have underlying health conditions that put them at greater risk of lifelong or life-threatening consequences if they contract COVID-19. Please be mindful of the ways your choices impact others and may reflect privilege.

Support Resources: I appreciate that this first week has been filled with emotions -- excitement to be back and see friends, anxiety about new classes and expectations, frustration about the public health behavior of others and fear about COVID-19. These stressors are real and can be overwhelming. I encourage you to continue to connect with supports: Arnold Health Services, Counseling and Consultation Services, advisors, family and friends. If you need help, please always feel free to contact the Dean of Students office.

Health Resources: Please continue to access the health FAQs if you are unsure whether you should be testing or quarantining. All “early” notifications are being managed by Arnold Health Services; official contact tracing is being provided by McLean County Health Department.

We understand that you love being with your friends, but please contribute positively to our ability to remain together – even if we're not as physically close together as we might prefer.

 

Have a great weekend. Be smart and be well.

 

Dean Karla


Update: COVID-19 Cases Among Students

August 20, 2020

Vickie Folse, Interim Executive Director of Health and Counseling

 

This is an update to the message you received Wednesday regarding a COVID-19 outbreak among a group of Illinois Wesleyan University students.

At this time, we have confirmed nine additional positive cases among students who initially tested negative upon arrival to campus this fall. We determined that all nine new cases are connected to the 10 cases announced Wednesday for which we identified spread of the virus through off-campus social gatherings where the consistent use of masks and physical distancing did not occur, a violation of University protocols. Additionally, today, one student who had not yet presented to campus received a positive baseline test result and has no connection to the outbreak.

This brings the total outbreak to 19 students who were involved in several of the same off-campus social events Thursday, Friday, and Saturday before classes began. Additional students who were either present at those social gatherings or who were in close contact with individuals who have since tested positive are awaiting test results, so the outbreak number could continue to increase. Identified potential contact individuals have been instructed by Arnold Health Services (AHS) to pre-quarantine as a precaution and in an effort to contain this outbreak.

COVID-19 Cases Among Illinois Wesleyan Students

  • Total positive cases confirmed during universal baseline testing: 10
  • Total positive cases confirmed through community spread: 19
    (17 living in non-University owned housing, 2 living in University-owned housing)
  • Total positive cases (baseline + community spread): 29
  • Student Positivity Rate (from approximately 1,500 tests, both baseline and risk-group assessment tests completed by Reditus Laboratories): 1.93%

Of the nine additional individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 related to this outbreak, seven reside in non-University owned housing, and two reside in University owned housing. Some test-positive students have reported COVID-19 symptoms, while many are asymptomatic.

All students who tested positive are either returning home, staying in off-campus housing to isolate, or are isolating off campus in university-provided quarantine space, consistent with the University’s COVID-19 protocol.

See a reminder of relevant protocols

Illinois Wesleyan Physical Plant workers are following enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols and will conduct additional deep cleaning and disinfecting of on-campus spaces occupied by students who receive positive test results.

This outbreak continues to demonstrate the necessity for all members of the Illinois Wesleyan community to adhere to the Titan Pledge, which requires: Wearing a mask over both your nose and mouth; maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from others; frequently washing your hands with soap and water; performing daily self-screening for symptoms; avoiding gatherings in which mask wearing and physical distancing are not required; and avoiding large gatherings.

Moving forward, ongoing surveillance testing will be conducted on campus throughout the fall semester. Each week, 5-10% of the entire student body will be retested to monitor the potential emergence of positive COVID-19 cases on campus.

Information regarding individuals who test positive for COVID-19 is regulated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guidelines which provide for the confidentiality of such test results.


COVID-19 Cases Among Students

August 19, 2020

To: Students, Families, Faculty and Staff

From: Karla Carney-Hall, Dean of Students

Vickie Folse, Interim Executive Director of Health and Counseling

 

We are actively monitoring and responding to a COVID-19 outbreak among a group of Illinois Wesleyan University students, all residing in non-University housing. At this time, 10 individuals have tested positive after initially testing negative upon arrival this fall. Some test-positive students have reported COVID-19 symptoms, while many are asymptomatic.

All students who tested positive are either returning home, staying in off-campus housing to isolate, or are isolating off campus in university-provided quarantine space, consistent with the University’s COVID-19 protocol. We have identified, through the early identification and notification process, that the spread of the virus resulting in this outbreak occurred as a consequence of off-campus social gatherings where the consistent use of masks and physical distancing did not occur, a violation of University protocols.

Protocols

Contact tracing is being conducted by the McLean County Health Department (MCHD), while Arnold Health Service assisted with limited early identification and notification of potential “close contacts.” The University has instructed all potential close contacts to begin quarantine and monitor for symptoms while awaiting MCHD to notify close contacts of the need to quarantine for 14 days.

Students who believe they meet the criteria for being a “close contact” (direct contact more than 15 minutes, closer than 6 feet with a known or presumed positive case) may elect to begin quarantine in anticipation of further instructions. Students who have interacted with an identified “close contact” (making them a secondary contact) do not meet the criteria of a “close contact” requiring quarantine.

For students who test positive for COVID-19, approval to return to campus will be provided by Arnold Health Service. Required criteria include completing the isolation period and displaying an improvement in symptoms (if applicable). Students must also provide a negative PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test result or, in some cases, primary care provider approval in the absence of a negative test – exceeding CDC recommendations to safeguard the health of the Illinois Wesleyan campus community.

This outbreak demonstrates the necessity for all members of the Illinois Wesleyan community to adhere to the Titan Pledge, which requires: Wearing a mask over both your nose and mouth; maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from others; frequently washing your hands with soap and water; performing daily self-screening for symptoms; avoiding gatherings in which mask wearing and physical distancing are not required; and avoiding large gatherings.

 

Universal Testing Update

In preparation for the fall semester that began this week, all Illinois Wesleyan students were required to undergo COVID-19 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing upon arrival to campus and to isolate until they received a negative test result.

Of the nearly 1,450 baseline tests administered to students over the past two weeks, a total of nine unrelated students – seven on-campus residents and two off-campus residents – tested positive for COVID-19 immediately upon arrival to campus, for a positivity rate of less than 1% (0.62%). By comparison, McLean County’s 7-day rolling positivity rate was 2.1% as of Tuesday, and the statewide 7-day rolling positivity rate was 4.3%. They were each notified and either returned home or to their off-campus residence to continue isolating.

Please note, this universal baseline testing tally includes the four initial positive test results announced to campus last Thursday, at approximately the halfway point of our testing protocol. Combined with those who have tested positive after arriving on campus, the student positivity rate is 1.3%.

Our decision to adopt a universal testing protocol for students – which goes above and beyond CDC recommendations for safely returning to campus – was made in an effort to quickly identify and isolate positive cases (including asymptomatic individuals).

Ongoing surveillance testing will also be conducted on campus throughout the fall semester. Each week, 5-10% of the entire student body will be retested to monitor the potential emergence of positive COVID-19 cases on campus.

Illinois Wesleyan Physical Plant workers are following enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols and will conduct additional deep cleaning and disinfecting of on-campus spaces occupied by students who receive positive test results.

Information regarding individuals who test positive for COVID-19 is regulated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guidelines which provide for the confidentiality of such test results.


Accountability for Social Gatherings

August 18, 2020

Every day for at least the last month, I’ve been asked how long we think we will be able to continue having classes this fall. The question is so pervasive that I suspect my neighbors have a pool going where they’re betting on the “move to virtual” date and are using any intel to inform their bet. Are we going to make it to Thanksgiving? Did you see that UNC-Chapel Hill closed after only one week of classes? My answer has consistently been that it depends on your willingness, as students, to commit to public health guidelines and make social sacrifices.

Right after folks ask how long we think we’ll be open, they ask, “How will you hold students accountable for the Titan Pledge?” For those of you who think you are invincible and that this virus is “no big deal”, please be aware that students who tested negative on arrival have now tested positive, which suggests that students have contracted COVID-19 since returning to IWU. Community spread is real and can result in devastating consequences. In addition to health implications, please also know that the following possibilities exist for this fall:

  • Restriction to Online Courses only and/or University Suspension: Students who disregard health expectations (party hosts and attendees) may be required to participate in online class schedules only and may also be restricted from being on campus for any activities (including athletics). If a class is not taught online, you will be required to drop the course which could affect your financial aid and progress toward graduation. Students may also be suspended from the University for repeatedly endangering health and safety.
  • Athletic restrictions: Athletics has already demonstrated quality leadership by delaying the start of practices for fall sports due to risky health behaviors exhibited this past week. It is possible that all practices could be eliminated and winter sports could be canceled or postponed. Individually, you may face game or team suspensions for poor choices.
  • Loss of recognition: Student organizations may lose university recognition and/or recruitment activities may be delayed. We cannot bring new students into unhealthy organizations.
  • Facilities restrictions: Facilities may be restricted to individuals or groups. For example, we may limit residence halls to only students who live there (not just non-IWU guests), and we are likely to extend our “No Visitation Policy” beyond September 14. We may close facilities like the Shirk Center or Ames Library to limit the spread of illness.
  • Service changes: Dining halls may be shut down except for to-go meals, to prevent the spread of illness.
  • Return to virtual instruction: Last, but not least, we can return to remote instruction across the University like we did in the spring semester.

None of these are desirable options, but they are the actions that may be required if we do not change course. For those of you who failed to follow guidelines, now is the time to take responsibility and make changes in your behavior. It is not too late to make the changes that are required for us to have a successful in-person semester. You know what these things are:

  • Do not gather in large groups -- no parties, no bars, no large groups. Don’t host them and don’t go to them. Small groups (less than 10) are possible, but still have risk -- plan for outside, with masks and distancing.
  • Maintain 6 feet distance -- all the time.
  • Wear a mask properly -- all the time when around others.

I want to thank the many of you who have been adhering to all these expectations, shaping cultural norms, demonstrating flexibility and leading in unprecedented uncertainty. I also want to thank every faculty member, staff member, and student leader who has spent any time trying to plan for this pandemic. I recognize that you are also angry about the multiple off-campus parties with too many people to count -- no masks, no distance, no commitment to limit community-based transmission, even (or especially) among your friends.

Ultimately, our community health and fall semester is largely dependent on your healthy choices.

By the way, I need your help to win a bet … in that imagined pool … I’m betting on you -- November 20! (Less than 100 days! This is temporary! You can do this!)

Dean Karla


Campus COVID-19 Protocols

August 17, 2020

To: Students and Families

From: Karla Carney-Hall, Dean of Students

Vickie Folse, Interim Executive Director of Health and Counseling

 

As we begin a fall semester unlike any other, we take this opportunity to clarify the protocols in place for students who test positive for COVID-19 as well as students who are identified as close contacts.

For Those Who Test Positive

Students who test positive for COVID-19 are asked to leave campus and return home to isolate. After completing the recommended isolation period, students will work with Arnold Health Service for approval to return to campus. Approval to return to campus will be based on: displaying an improvement in symptoms (if applicable); demonstrating a negative PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test result; or primary care provider approval in the absence of a negative test – exceeding CDC recommendations to safeguard the health of the Illinois Wesleyan campus community. If returning home for isolation isn’t possible, a quarantine space and appropriate support will be provided to students living in university-provided housing. Faculty are prepared to support students who are isolating and unable to attend class, either with virtual instruction/materials, extensions, or other appropriate accommodations.

Contact Tracing

The McLean County Health Department (MCHD) is conducting all Illinois Wesleyan contact tracing. Arnold Health Service is assisting with limited early identification and notification of potential contacts; additionally, students should anticipate official instructions from MCHD. Students who believe they meet the criteria for being a “close contact” (direct contact more than 15 minutes, closer than 6 feet with a known or presumed positive case) may elect to begin isolation in anticipation of further instructions.

Students who have interacted with an identified “close contact” (making them a secondary contact) do not meet the criteria of a “close contact” requiring quarantine. Close contact with someone who has tested positive is the primary criteria. Self-assessment is difficult and we recommend that you consult with Arnold Health Service (309-556-3107) or a health care provider before making independent decisions about your own health and isolation status.

If you are identified by MCHD as a “close contact,” you will be instructed to quarantine for 14 days. Testing is not recommended during the quarantine period. MCHD has been clear that you cannot “test out” of isolation or quarantine expectations.

Shared Expectations

Our ongoing commitment to campus health requires us to continue to make good personal choices, including: Wearing a mask over both your nose and mouth; maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from others; frequently washing your hands with soap and water; and performing daily self-screening for symptoms. All are asked to commit to the Titan Pledge to keep themselves and each other in good health.

Moving forward, students who become ill and/or are displaying any symptoms should plan to stay at home or in their rooms and contact Arnold Health Service (309-556-3107) for further direction. Additionally, our Counseling and Consultation Services staff are prepared to assist students during this time of uncertainty (309-556-3052).


Universal COVID-19 Testing Update

August 13, 2020

To: Students, Parents, Faculty and Staff

From: Karla Carney-Hall, Dean of Students

Vickie Folse, Interim Executive Director of Health/Counseling

To assess our campus community health and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, Illinois Wesleyan adopted a universal testing protocol for students – which goes above and beyond CDC recommendations for safely returning to campus – so that positive cases (including asymptomatic individuals) could be identified and isolated early. This protocol requires all Illinois Wesleyan students to undergo COVID-19 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing upon arrival to campus and to isolate until they receive a negative test result.

Of the 709 tests administered to students thus far, a total of four unrelated students – three on-campus residents and one off-campus resident – have tested positive for COVID-19 immediately upon arrival to campus, for a positivity rate of less than 1% (0.56% percent). By comparison, McLean County’s 7-day rolling positivity rate was 1.8% as of Tuesday, and the statewide 7-day rolling positivity rate was 4.1%. The students who received a positive test result have been notified and are returning home to continue isolating.

The McLean County Health Department has also been notified and is working in conjunction with Arnold Health Service to identify any close contacts of the individuals who tested positive for COVID-19. Illinois Wesleyan Physical Plant workers are following enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols and will conduct additional deep cleaning and disinfecting of on-campus spaces occupied by students who received positive test results.

Information regarding individuals who test positive for COVID-19 is regulated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guidelines which provide for the confidentiality of such test results.

Thus far, all test results have been obtained by Illinois Wesleyan from Reditus Laboratories within 24-48 hours. The University expects to test approximately 750 more students upon their arrival to campus in the coming days. Additionally, ongoing surveillance testing will be conducted throughout the semester. Each week, 5-10% of the entire student body will be retested to monitor the potential emergence of positive COVID-19 cases on campus.

Students who test positive will be asked to leave campus and return home to isolate. Students should work with Arnold Health Service to provide evidence of a negative test result or clearance by a physician before returning to campus, again exceeding CDC recommendations to safeguard the health of the IWU campus community. If returning home isn’t possible, a quarantine space and appropriate support will be provided to students living in university-provided housing.

The level of risk in our campus environment depends on individuals following the University's health protocols, which have been identified as the best mitigation strategies for preventing spread of the virus. Most importantly, everyone should wear masks over both their nose and mouth while in shared spaces; maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others; and perform daily self-screening for symptoms. All are asked to commit to the Titan Pledge to keep themselves and each other in good health.

As the fall semester begins this Monday, Aug. 17 with a mix of in-person, online and hybrid courses, faculty are prepared to support students who are isolating and unable to attend class, either with virtual instruction/materials, extensions, or other appropriate accommodations. Moving forward, students who become ill and/or are displaying any symptoms should plan to stay at home or in their rooms, and contact Arnold Health Services (309-556-3107) for further direction. Additionally, our Counseling and Consultation Services staff are prepared to assist students during this time of uncertainty (309-556-3052).

We find ourselves at a pivotal point in history as our communities, states, countries, and world face an unprecedented pandemic, and we all play a critical role in reducing the spread of COVID-19 and in protecting the health and safety of our campus community and the greater Bloomington-Normal area.


Expectations Surrounding COVID-19 on Campus

August 7, 2020

Students,

What to expect on campus this fall As we near the beginning of the academic year, we are excited to welcome you to campus, whether it be virtually or in person. By now you’ve received a lot of communications about our planning and how we will operate within the challenges of COVID-19. Below are a few quick reminders about your arrival.

  • It’s statistically probable that upon students’ arrivals to campus, once tested, we will see some positive cases for COVID-19. While this outcome could naturally create some concern, we want to ensure our community that we will follow the protocols we have in place and work with the local health department, as well as make changes to our plans should they become necessary.
  • A student who tests positive for COVID-19 will be asked to return home to isolate until cleared by Arnold Health Services to return to campus. If returning home isn’t possible, a quarantine space and appropriate support will be provided to students living in university-provided housing. For off-campus students (sororities and apartments/houses), students will need to quarantine at their home or chapter-provided housing.
  • We will be working closely with McLean County Health Department to identify all close contacts of individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 to contact trace, test, and isolate.
  • Illinois Wesleyan Physical Plant workers are conducting deep cleaning and disinfecting of all on-campus community spaces, especially those occupied by students who receive positive test results.
  • As the fall semester begins, IWU faculty are prepared to support students who are isolating and unable to attend class, either with virtual instruction/materials, extensions, or other appropriate accommodations.
  • Anyone who becomes ill and/or is displaying any symptoms should plan to stay at home or in their rooms, and contact Arnold Health Services (309-556-3107) for further direction.
  • Our Counseling and Consultation Services staff are prepared to assist students during this time of uncertainty (309-556-3052).

While the University does not plan to notify campus with each occurrence of a COVID-19 case, the Emergency Response Team in conjunction with the McLean County Health Department will determine when it may become necessary to distribute a campus-wide message. We will maintain regular communication with the campus community regarding the prevalence of COVID-19 through email and website updates.

The coming weeks will bring new challenges and opportunities. While IWU staff and faculty have worked diligently to make an on-campus experience possible, we will undoubtedly encounter unanticipated obstacles. To the extent we can extend patience and understanding toward each other, we will make the journey easier. And remember, all members of the campus community play a critical role in reducing the spread of COVID-19: see this video.

We look forward to beginning that journey with you soon.

Dean Karla Carney-Hall


Fall 2020 Class Schedule and Registration Update

July 31, 2020

TO: Students

FROM: Mark Brodl, Provost

We have been working diligently to prepare for your return this fall! We appreciate your patience as we have updated the class schedule, and recognize that the uncertainty while waiting was likely stressful for you.

Fall 2020 Class Schedule

The class schedule in Banner Registration will reopen on August 1, 2020 for you to view the instructional methods of each of your classes. Here are video instructions on how to to check your schedule, and how to look up the instructional method for your classes.

As a reminder, the instructional method will vary by class, and not all classes will be offered in each instructional method. The instructional methods are indicated as follows:

  • P = In-person: The class will meet in-person during all of the scheduled hours.
  • O = Online: The class will be carried out entirely online using either synchronous pedagogy or a blend of synchronous and asynchronous pedagogy.
  • H = Hybrid: The class will implement a mixture of in-person and online activities. Students will need to participate in some in-person activities to complete the class..
  • F = HyFlex: The class is designed so that students can fully participate either in-person or remotely and switch modes as needed (with proper advance notification to the professor).

In addition, there are still some instructional methods that are being updated. Please check your schedule frequently to monitor for changes.

NOTE: When you view your class schedule, the (P) that is listed after the instructor’s name is NOT the instructional method of the class.

Time Conflicts and Schedule Review

Due to the updates to the class schedule, you may now have time conflicts between/among your classes. In order to see your schedule or make any changes, you will have to correct the time conflicts before making any other changes to your registration. To correct a time conflict, you will have to withdraw from a class and add one that does not conflict with others in your schedule.

That said, it is important for you to review your schedule to ensure that there are no time conflicts and that your schedule for the fall still meets your needs.

Schedule Changes

As you are reviewing the updated instructional method of your classes, and are determining if you want/need to make any changes to your registration, please be mindful of the following:

  • You will likely have at least one online class, maybe more.
  • If you are not going to take all online classes, please try to balance the instructional methods of classes that you elect to take so that our incoming students may also be afforded that same opportunity.

Once Banner Registration has reopened you will be able to log into your Banner account and make changes to your class schedule. Please do your best to make changes before Friday, 8/7/2020, as incoming transfer students will be registering on that date, and the first-year students will register on 8/13/2020. You may make changes after these dates, but your options will be reduced once the others have registered.

PIN

Your Fall 2020 PIN will be required to make any changes to your registration. If you no longer have your PIN, but are registered for fall classes, you may email registrar@iwu.edu from your IWU email address to request your PIN. If you do not have your PIN and are not registered for fall classes, you must request your PIN from your advisor.

Is a return to fully virtual instruction a possibility?

We have fully planned for a fall semester on campus in Bloomington, IL. Yet as with everything about this pandemic, the only thing that seems to be certain is uncertainty. We know many of you are concerned about a potential return to fully virtual instruction. Although we cannot predict whether this will occur, we have been planning for this possibility. If we must return to all virtual instruction, we will implement a “pivot week” that allows students to return home and faculty to make class adjustments. No classes will be held that week. In order to maintain the required number of instructional days, we must then extend the semester by one week following Thanksgiving for final exams. While not desirable, we wanted to communicate early with you about the possibility. Please note that your choices to consistently wear masks and maintain physical distance are absolutely critical to our full completion of the semester.

Whom do I contact if I have questions about my classes or need advising?

Please contact:

  1. Your advisor(s) if you have questions about how to complete certain requirements.
  2. The program/department chair of the class or major/minor requirement about which you have a question.
  3. The professor of the class if you would like to know more about the instructional method.
  4. The Office of Academic Advising for general advising and scheduling questions.

Important Fall 2020 Registration Dates

Friday, August 21 - Last day to add or drop a full semester and 1st 7 week class

Wednesday, September 2 - Last day to withdraw from a 1st 7 week class

Monday, October 5 - Last day to add or drop a 2nd 7 week class

Monday, October 5 - Last day to withdraw from a full semester class

Monday, October 19 - Last day to withdraw from a 2nd 7 week class

FAQs Available on the Website

 

Please remember that the COVID-19 website is available with comprehensive information about fall. After reviewing that website, if you still have additional questions, please email covid19response@iwu.edu .


Fall Semester Update - PCR Testing and Move-In

July 27, 2020

Students and families:

We continue to gear up for the fall semester and are looking forward to your return to campus. It’s hard to believe that classes will begin three weeks from today! We appreciate your patience as we continue to finalize the implementation details related to COVID-19 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing, arrivals/move-in, housing assignments/re-assignments, and class delivery. You will receive several updates this week about all of these items. Please see the information below about testing and move-in. Additional information will be forthcoming this week: we anticipate sending housing assignments on Wednesday and an academic update on Friday.

Testing background/rationale: We are working diligently to assess our campus community health and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, including by asymptomatic individuals. The PCR test screens for potential illness at one point in time. We acknowledge that there is no perfect solution to identify all people who may be ill or become ill, but the PCR test provides the best opportunity for early identification of asymptomatic individuals. We are aware that a period of isolation to await test results upon arrival is inconvenient; however, we believe it is an important step for student health and for increasing our chances of completing the fall semester.

PCR testing protocol: All residential students will receive a PCR COVID-19 test upon arrival. For students living off-campus, you must also be tested no later than August 15 (or two days prior to your first on-campus obligation like student employment, leadership experience, etc.), and remain off-campus until receiving a negative test result. This test is the less-invasive nasal swab and will be administered by Arnold Health Services staff, Athletics staff, School of Nursing faculty and staff, or campus healthcare partners, depending on your arrival date. All students must isolate until receiving a negative test result (approximately two days). In most cases, virtual activities will be provided during your two-day isolation period. For residential students, packaged meals from Sodexo will be provided in your residence hall, fraternity house, or hotel. Once a negative result is received, students may navigate campus with masks and in accordance with physical distancing guidelines. To expedite the testing process, all students will complete insurance billing information (private insurance or student health insurance) prior to the date of testing, using a link that will be sent with dates of on-campus testing dates.

Additional “hotspot” screening and international travel: For students traveling from U.S. “hotspots” (defined as 10% or greater 7-day average statewide positivity rate) or from other countries, additional testing will occur. Additional testing is recommended for students who live in counties in which the positivity rate is above 10% even if the state average is lower. Students arriving from a domestic “hot spot” have 2 options: 1) complete the first of two PCR tests a maximum of five days prior to your arrival on campus (and present a negative test result upon arrival) and then complete the second test on Day 1 of campus arrival or 2) complete the first test on Day 1 of arrival and again on Day 5 of arrival. For students who have access to testing in their home state, the first option requires fewer days of isolation upon arrival to campus, provides some assurance to others (e.g., a roommate) who has not traveled from a “hotspot”, and eliminates a student returning to their permanent residence soon after arriving on campus if results are positive. International travelers must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival to the U.S., in accordance with CDC guidance. In the event the State of Illinois requires quarantine for individuals traveling from “hotspots”, the state policy will supersede the University’s plan for students traveling from “hotspots” to isolate while awaiting test results.

Move-in date: Your move-in date is dependent on two factors: what brings you to campus (IMPACT, Turning Titan, athletics, student employment, upperclass move-in, etc.) and the status of COVID-19 where you live currently, outlined above. For most students, move-in dates are as follows:

  • International students: information from Robyn Walter
  • IMPACT Orientation participants: August 8 (information from ODI)
  • First-Year Students attending Turning Titan: August 11 (information from Residence Life/Orientation)
  • Upperclass Students: August 13 or 14, based on the time you selected through SignUp Genius (information from Residence Life/Student Involvement)
  • Early arrival student employees: First day of reporting will be communicated by your employer. You will need to arrive two days prior to your first scheduled shift to accommodate testing (Information from your supervisor).
  • Out-of-state students: Students traveling from more than 450 miles are permitted to arrive a day early. Please notify the Office of Residence Life (residence halls, apartments), Office of Student Involvement (fraternity men), or your housing corporation (sororities and music groups) of your needs for an early arrival.

Move-in Day experience: We understand that this is an unusual move-in experience, especially for first-year students. We will do our best to encourage virtual engagement and community building as you acclimate to IWU. For new students, please review the Turning Titan schedule for a sense of your activities.

For move-in itself, we will be orchestrating a contactless move-in process. Students may bring a maximum of two helpers to assist with moving onto campus. More specific instructions about move-in, key collection, etc. will be provided in a separate email because it will look different for new and returning students due to scheduled move-in dates.

Isolation: The isolation period is intended to prevent the spread of asymptomatic illness by limiting in-person contact with others. Obviously, you will need to use restrooms (with capacity mindfulness) and access food distribution in our common areas. Beyond attending to essential activities, we recommend enjoying your room and getting set up for the fall independently. Please bring materials that allow you to connect with friends virtually and/or entertain at home.

We know there are many individualized questions about testing and move-in. Please be patient as we respond to your individual circumstances and needs. We’ve provided some additional FAQs below. For additional information, please contact:

Thanks again for your resilience in uncertain times. We look forward to seeing you soon.

 

Karla C. Carney-Hall, Vice President for Student Affairs

Victoria Folse, Interim Executive Director of Health and Counseling Services

Kyle Griffith, Director of Residence Life

Kevin Carey, Director of Student Involvement

 

FAQs Available on the Website:


 

Fall Sports

July 27, 2020

To: Students, Faculty and Staff
From: President Nugent

Please see below a news release from the CCIW regarding fall sports.

CCIW POSTPONES FALL SPORTS COMPETITION

NAPERVILLE, Ill. - With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to present challenges to the campuses and communities throughout the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin, the CCIW Council of Presidents, after thorough consideration of the new NCAA guidelines, announced the suspension of all fall intercollegiate sports. A decision on winter sports will be made in the coming weeks.

The CCIW will postpone all conference competition and championships for men’s and women’s cross country, football, women’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s tennis, and women’s volleyball. Additionally, the Conference Office will explore the feasibility of opportunities for these teams to compete during the spring while maintaining full conference competition in spring sports.

As a result of the decision, the CCIW will move league championships for women’s golf and women’s tennis to the spring. The conference office will work with coaches to design a regular season schedule and determine dates for CCIW Championship competition.

“This decision was a very difficult one, both for the CCIW conference and for Illinois Wesleyan,” President S. Georgia Nugent said. “We recognize how disappointing it will be for our student athletes not to have conference competition this fall. But we must put safety first, and the CCIW presidents, after many hours of deliberation, believe this is the right decision, in light of the heightened risk that travel and competition present.”

“I am confident that our coaches and trainers will be thoughtful and creative in developing ways for our student athletes to remain engaged, conditioned, and ready to compete when that is possible,” she added. “I especially want to thank our Director of Athletics, Mike Wagner, for his important contributions to planning, through his participation on the Fall Contingency Planning Committee and COVID Athletics Action Committee on campus, as well as representing Illinois Wesleyan on the Health and Safety Committee of CCIW.”

“We worked very hard all summer at both the conference and institutional level to develop several scenarios that would allow us to return safely to full athletic competition,” Athletic Director Mike Wagner shared. “However, one of the primary assumptions was that the spread of the virus and the number of active cases would be very low at the end of the summer months. Instead, a significant portion of the country is dealing with increases in both cases and hospitalizations. We will take this time to strengthen the mind and body, build leadership skills, hone individual skill development and enjoy team building exercises. We have an incredible staff and coaches who will do everything in their power to ensure our student-athletes will be able to enjoy unique and fulfilling experiences with their teammates in a way that will be safe and healthy for all involved.”

 

Despite the CCIW conference-wide decision, IWU is exploring different ways of providing its student-athletes with meaningful opportunities to engage with their teammates, coaches, and support staff. Collectively, our coaches are working hard to find ways to provide skill development, conditioning, and other athletically-related activities for all teams in their traditional or non-traditional seasons will be permitted in accordance with NCAA Division III rules and campus, state, and NCAA health directives.

If you have questions or concerns, please use this form.

Fall Sports Decision - FAQs


 

Join Us for a Webinar on Fall Semester Planning at IWU

July 10, 2020

Students and families,

You are invited to an informational webinar about plans for the fall semester at Illinois Wesleyan.

Monday, July 13
7 - 8:15 p.m.

Zoom:
Click here to join the meeting on Monday

We will share updates and answer questions about our preparations for the fall, including community health expectations for preventing the spread of COVID-19, cleaning protocols, the academic experience, housing and dining, campus life, and Illinois Wesleyan's personal support for students.

We continue to post all email communications on our Coronavirus Response website, where you can find recent updates on Fall Calendar Adjustments, Academic Planning, Housing and Dining, and Campus Life.

In the interest of everyone's time, please review the previous email updates and our Fall Planning FAQ prior to Monday's webinar — if you have additional questions, feel free to bring them to us at Monday's webinar or contact COVID19response@iwu.edu.

The webinar will be recorded and posted on the IWU website for those who are unable to attend live.

We look forward to connecting with you!

Dean Karla and the Fall Planning Work Groups

 


 

Fall Semester Update - Campus Life

July 8, 2020

Students and families:

We hope you had a healthy and safe holiday weekend. As our planning continues for the fall semester at Illinois Wesleyan, we want to update you on campus life initiatives this fall. We look forward to the energy that you bring back to campus and know that our community will be creative in maximizing our connections. I appreciate the work of the Event Management Work Group, chaired by Kevin Carey, in developing the recommendations related to campus events.

If you’ve been watching news about college communities that are re-opening, there’s been much media attention to college parties, bars and other gatherings contributing to the spread of COVID-19. We also know that the U.S. continues to see a surge in COVID-19 among college-aged people and daily highs continue to rise. Making sound personal choices about public health, both now and when you return, will be essential in supporting IWU's return to and continuance of in-person campus life this fall. We must all remain committed.

We need your help: Students, please respond to this short survey HERE to gauge your campus life interests/concerns.

Assumptions: Face coverings and 6 feet physical distancing will be required for all activities (both indoor and outdoor gatherings).Restore Illinois Phase 4 allows groups to gather up to 50 participants. Catering and events with food may feature individually packaged foods/boxes only. Students who are not feeling well should not attend any activities under any circumstances. Symptom screening and liability waivers may be required for some high-contact activities.

Campus events: Much like the academic delivery plan which includes in-person, virtual, and hybrid delivery, we anticipate that traditional campus life experiences will follow suit. In-person activities will have fewer than 50 participants and will meet in spaces sized appropriately for the group. Unfortunately, we will be unable to have all-campus or other large events. We encourage virtual and outdoor meetings and events when possible. CAB and Student Involvement have done an outstanding job demonstrating these flexible event options through a sampling of fall events: In-Person Grocery Bingo, Fall Fest Activities, Campus Feud, Escape Rooms and more!

Traditions that Change: Titan traditions will change, in both major and minor ways. The Titan Carnival will be replaced with a virtual Casino Night as well as some smaller group and in-person activities. The RSO Fair will be re-tooled to allow us to promote student organizations differently by utilizing virtual and in-person hybrid experiences. We will see our successful Career Fair take shape in a different form, yet maintain our institutional focus on creating opportunities for job placement. Fraternity and sorority new member recruitment (September 9-13) will be hosted as a hybrid of activities, with a combination of virtual and in-person recruitment events. Event series like 3D: Diversity, Dialogue and Dignity and ReligiosiTEA will be facilitated both in-person and virtually. Because of the risk of spreading COVID-19 through travel, parts of Family Weekend will be held virtually in support of parents, and social aspects will be scheduled for the future, when, hopefully, a vaccine is developed. The “Big Show” that traditionally occurs in the spring will be sponsored as multiple virtual concerts and events, specifically for IWU students, with artists, performers and celebrities!

Area-specific information: For more detailed information about specific areas of campus life, please visit the links below:

Convocations/Lectures/Panels

Theatre/Music Events

Athletic Events

Recreational Fitness/Intramurals

RSO events and meetings

Hosting events

Planning meetings

Tracking attendance at events

Additional FAQs

Events calendar: IWU Mobile App will continue to be your best source for campus events information. When reservations are made, planners will indicate whether the event is virtual, in-person with a location, or a hybrid.

COVID-19 Informational Webinar: Please mark your calendar for Monday, July 13, 7:00-8:15 p.m. for an informational webinar about our campus preparedness for COVID-19 this fall. Details will be sent no later than Monday with log-in information.

Campus life will be different, but in many ways, these changes will not deter us from our close-knit community. Our small groups, close friendships and personal connections are a hallmark of Illinois Wesleyan and still easily achievable with these guidelines.

Karla Carney-Hall, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students

 


 

Staff and Faculty - Return to Work Next Week

July 2, 2020

We hope you are looking forward to a holiday weekend and will take some time to disconnect from work for a few days. As a reminder, employees who are currently working remotely are expected to return to campus offices next Tuesday, July 7, unless approval of an alternative work arrangement has been communicated by Human Resources. We are looking forward to being on campus together, in healthy and appropriate ways.

Please be reminded of our recommended health protocols. Wearing masks, maintaining physical distance, frequent hand-washing, and daily self-screening for symptoms are critical components of our campus community health. Safeguarding the well-being of all members of our community will require a shared commitment.

Particularly as we head into the holiday weekend, please be mindful that our local community is affected by your health decisions while off campus. Although McLean County cases have remained low, we face a national resurgence of COVID-19 cases. As Dr. Fauci warned in The New York Times yesterday, the increases “put our entire country at risk." Our individual health-related decisions to control the spread of COVID-19 may impact our ability to have students return this fall. We encourage you to be good stewards of public health.

Shared Expectations

All are encouraged to have a proactive conversation with the colleagues and students you work with daily, to create shared expectations of one another. As part of our shared commitment to public health, we empower you to self-advocate for your needs, especially in support of established expectations to wear face coverings and maintain distances of 6 feet when possible. Respectful, but firm, reminders directly to students, colleagues and guests will help establish clear norms.

If you're uncomfortable confronting others, here is some possible language:

"Wearing a mask protects you and others."

"This is important to protect our high-risk colleagues, students and loved ones."

“Please step back. You’re too close.”

"Since you forgot your mask, please back up and leave a little extra distance."

“Let’s schedule a virtual meeting since you don’t have your mask with you.”

“Could you send me the Hangouts/Zoom invite for this meeting? I’d feel more comfortable joining virtually.”

Supplies

  • Masks: Facilities staff will have a limited supply of disposable masks if your office would like to have a few reserves for guests. It is the expectation that all employees provide their own mask, but we recognize that you may have emergency occasions to provide masks for an office guest. Please submit a SchoolDude request to receive a few emergency masks.
  • Cleaning products: It is our intent to supply a sanitizing kit for each office that includes disinfecting wipes. Hand sanitizer will be available at the entrances to each building. However, the supplies that have been ordered have not yet arrived. We appreciate your patience and understanding while we work with supply chain delays.

Reminders

  • All employees may use this form to request an alternative work arrangement for reasons related to COVID-19.
  • Employees are encouraged to seek testing for COVID-19, which is available at the Interstate Center in Bloomington, open daily from 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. (more information) Coverage for tests is provided by all IWU health insurance plans under Blue Cross Blue Shield.

We will continue to add to the Fall Return FAQ and compile resources for your reference, including signage you may download and print for your work areas.

Our guidelines will be updated according to state and public health recommendations as necessary. Thank you for your continued vigilance as we look forward to welcoming colleagues and students back to campus.


 

Fall Semester Update - Housing and Dining

June 30, 2020

To: Students and Families

From: Karla Carney-Hall, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students

 

We are looking forward, as a staff community, to being back on campus next week. We appreciate the tremendous work that our Housing/Arrivals work group, Health Expectations work group and the Facilities staff have done to develop these plans and protocols for a healthy return. We know that you too are looking forward to the fall semester together. The purpose of this update is to focus on our progress related to student housing and dining.

Background: A residential campus is very similar in density to other residential communities that have seen high incidence for COVID-19. The fastest growing age group for COVID-19 positive cases is our college-aged demographic; however, they are also the least likely to experience severe symptoms. For all of these reasons, we are taking appropriate precautions to prioritize student well-being in our dense residential community. We also realize that physical distancing of 6 feet per person challenges both the social and residential experience for students in the residence halls and the dining spaces.

We need your input: In the next week, you will receive by email a supplemental housing form regarding your needs and preferences for the fall semester housing. Please complete that quickly so we can effectively respond to housing assignment needs.

Housing Priorities: We are committed to the residential student experience. During the pandemic, we believe that single rooms provide the healthiest option for students, both to minimize risk and to allow isolation/recovery should a student be exposed to COVID-19. For some students, a roommate is an important source of support; because health guidelines allow roommates to be considered a “family unit”, we want to honor that relationship where we can. We have not yet finalized the reassignment process and many of the implementation details; your preferences in the supplemental housing form mentioned above and the following guidelines will help us further our decision-making for the fall semester:

  • Single rooms: All students living in on-campus housing will be offered single rooms.
  • Roommates: Students who prefer having a roommate may select one if both parties sign an "assumption of risk" waiver. Having a roommate is an option for all students (first-year students and returning students).
  • Hotels: In order to accommodate single rooms, we are contracting with quality local hotels to house students. Contract negotiations are in progress and hotel partners will be shared as finalized. Because hotel rooms are bigger and allow for 6 feet physical distancing, hotel rooms will be double occupancy. Hotel rooms will have single baths. Students will maintain a campus-based meal plan.
    • Transportation: Hotels with easy access to public transportation are being explored. Ideally, students with personal transportation would elect to live in hotel-style housing. A campus parking lot will be designated a “commuter lot” for convenient parking.
  • Cost: The standard double room rate will be charged to students assigned to a traditionally designated double room or hotel. Apartment and suite style pricing will remain the same.
  • First-year students: In order to support first-year students' successful college transition (academically and socially), first-year students will have priority for on-campus housing.
  • Health Expectations: As has already been shared, face coverings, frequent hand-washing, and physical distancing will be required across campus. Face coverings will not be required in your own room, but will be expected in common residential areas, including hallways and elevators.
  • Cleaning protocols: Our University custodians perform enhanced cleaning by cleaning and disinfecting high-traffic areas (restrooms, lobbies, lounges, breakrooms, hallways, etc.) as well as high-touch surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, door push plates, light switches, elevator buttons, handrails, and horizontal surfaces). Disinfectant cleaning products are utilized during enhanced cleaning procedures. The Physical Plant has upgraded equipment, such as electrostatic sprayers, and is using products proven to be effective against the human coronavirus to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of cleaning on campus. We have also begun testing and using Saturated Aqueous Ozone as a safer alternative disinfectant, which has been proven to kill the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19 in less than 1 minute.
  • Students who become ill: Students who test positive for COVID-19 will be expected to return to their home community, if reasonable to do so. For those living on campus who cannot return home, we will provide quarantine housing. Details are still being finalized. Students living off campus will quarantine in their apartments/houses.
  • Move-in day: We know that you are anxious to learn about the move-in process and timing. You may bring up to two people to assist you on move-in day inside the residence halls. Face coverings will be required for anyone assisting with move-in. We will be scheduling times/days for move-in in order to accommodate the need for distancing. Details are still being determined. Please wait to schedule your travel until you receive an update on this process.
  • Guests: Because we will be adjusting to a new environment this fall where reducing density is critical, non-IWU student guests will be restricted in the residence halls for the first four weeks (until September 14). Optimistically, we will then return to a normal visitation policy if health/safety allows. This decision will be made based on our collective ability to effectively follow health guidelines and minimize illness on campus.

Dining Priorities: We appreciate the leadership of the Dining Services (Sodexo) team in bringing their expertise to providing appropriate changes to our dining program, given the health protocols required under COVID-19. We are confident that we can provide a quality dining experience for students; and, like all things COVID-19 related, things will be different from your traditional dining experience. All of our dining spaces must honor the 6 feet physical distancing requirements and occupancy reductions. Self-serve, high-touch items are prohibited in food safety protocols for restaurants and dining facilities.

  • Meal plan flexibility: In order to accommodate space restrictions, meal exchange will be available at all dining locations at all times for the fall semester.
  • Dining service hours: We will also extend service hours for lunch, dinner, and to-go options to accommodate the need for reducing density in the dining facilities. Please refer to iwu.sodexomyway.com for updated location information.
  • Food service changes: Self-serve areas (salad bars, cereal stations, bread and soup stations, beverage stations, microwaves/toasters/waffle irons) have changed service delivery; staff will assist with and serve all food and beverage items. In order to comply with current public health regulations, some of these items will be pre-packaged in the dining centers; other food items /stations will be offered at limited times. To-Go containers will be an option across all locations. Service times may be slower as self service is eliminated.
  • Employee health: In support of employee health, plexiglass shields have been installed and masks and gloves will be required. Employee hand washing will occur every 30 minutes or as required per health regulations.
  • Student/guest health: Hand sanitizer will be available at every entrance. Masks will be required to enter dining centers.

SAVE THE DATE: We know you have many questions about our plans for this fall related to COVID-19. We will be hosting a Zoom webinar on Monday, July 13, 7:00 p.m.-8:15 p.m. to provide an overview of our plan and respond to questions that you have. More details will follow closer to the webinar.

Thank you for your patience as we continue to work through many details for a healthy fall semester at IWU! If you have questions, please contact the following resources:

We look forward to seeing you on campus this fall! Although things will be different, we are confident that our strong Titan community will continue to thrive!

Be well!


Fall Semester Update - Academic Planning

June 29, 2020

To: Students and families

From: Mark Brodl, Provost

Thank you for sharing your feedback about our safe return to campus in the fall. We know that you have many questions, especially about how health and safety measures will shape the delivery of classes.

As Illinois moves into Phase 4 of Restore Illinois, we are thrilled to share that many staff will be returning to campus on July 7. Although we’ve been available remotely, we are excited to bring life back to campus so that we will be prepared for your return in a month.

In this communication, we want to provide an update on our progress on the academic experience for this fall. Departments, schools, and our Fall Instruction work group have been working diligently on plans to provide high-quality education that acknowledges student's needs, health and safety considerations, and space limitations.

Assumptions: Given guidance from the CDC and State of Illinois, physical distancing and wearing masks will be a requirement across campus. And, the 6-feet physical distancing requirement means that classroom occupancies will be much smaller than usual. Courses may meet in atypical places or with students rotating between in-person and online attendance. Many faculty will use a new Zoom license to safely maintain active and engaged learning through discussion, group work, office hours, etc. Because of cleaning protocols and technology changes, we will need more time between classes; the transition has been extended from 10 to 15 minutes.

Course delivery: Course delivery will vary. When the revised course schedule is available in late July, individual courses will be designated as in-person (P), hybrid (H), online (O), or HyFlex (F).

  • An in-person (P) course will meet in-person during all of the scheduled hours.
  • A hybrid course (H) will implement a mixture of in-person and online activities. Students would need to participate in some in-person activities to complete the course (e.g. classroom, lab, performance, clinical, etc. activities).
  • An online course (O) will be carried out entirely online using either synchronous pedagogy or a blend of synchronous and asynchronous pedagogy.
  • A HyFlex (F) course will be designed so that students can fully participate either in-person or remotely and switch modes as needed. A student could take the course from any location, but would have opportunities to participate in-person if living in B/N.

Students who cannot come to campus owing to health concerns or travel restrictions will need to enroll in online (O) or HyFlex (F) courses for fall 2020.

Informed by public health guidance and surveys of the campus community, we have begun the complex process of designating each course as P, H, O, or F and identifying and configuring large spaces for in-person instruction. Thank you for your thoughtful responses to our student survey; it has helped us understand the range of students' instructional and medical needs. It is our hope that by the end of July, you will be able to revisit your fall schedule, see the mode of delivery of each course, and adjust your schedule if needed. If you anticipate needing to study completely online for fall 2020 owing to medical or travel constraints, we recommend letting your academic advisor and academic department chair or director know after July 20, when the course schedule information is available.

Support for teaching and learning:

Over the summer, we are expanding peer tutoring services through the new Center for Engaged Learning headquartered in The Ames Library; reconfiguring classrooms for socially distanced, in-person instruction; providing faculty opportunities to become certified online instructors; adopting a campus-wide Zoom license; and updating classroom and faculty technology for smoother online interactions. We have been inspired to hear how individual faculty and departments are responding creatively to the COVID challenges.

Questions: You likely have many questions, some that we’ve resolved and others we are still working on. We’ve tried to anticipate a few questions below that will link to an FAQ page that will be regularly updated.

What is the rationale for holiday/weekend classes?

What are the dates for holiday and weekend classes?

What will happen if I get sick and need to miss class?

What if I want a fully virtual schedule?

When will I be able to adjust my class schedule?

What are the dates for the fall semester?

Where can I purchase my textbooks?

Thank you for your patience as we continue to make plans for a healthy return to campus this fall. An update on fall semester housing will be sent later this week. Please continue to watch your email for updates and feel free to contact Covid19response@iwu.edu for other questions.

We appreciate your commitment to returning to campus under new norms and expectations. We're eager to see you in person!

 

 

Update For Employees – Return to Campus

June 22, 2020

To: Faculty and Staff

From: President Nugent and vice presidents

Illinois is anticipated to enter Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan on June 26. Phase 4 allows for higher education to reopen with safety guidance in place. We know that many are excited to return to campus, while some may have ongoing concerns about COVID-19. Please read the following guidance carefully, as you plan for your return.

Returning to Offices

On the surface, a return of all employees to campus is a return to normal; however, there are many protocols and practices that must be followed for the health of our community. We appreciate that the Titan community is committed to a healthy campus for all of our students, faculty and staff.

Employees who are currently working remotely are expected to return to campus offices on Tuesday, July 7, 2020, while those working reduced hours or on temporary layoff will be contacted by HR to outline their work schedule/return date. All employees may use this form to request an alternative work arrangement for reasons related to COVID-19. For those scheduled to return July 7, please complete the form by July 1.

For those who typically return August 1 or later (including faculty), please complete the form by July 22. Your request will be reviewed by Human Resources, your supervisor, and the respective Vice President. You will receive email confirmation from Human Resources if your request is approved.

Employees are encouraged to seek testing for COVID-19, which is available at the Interstate Center in Bloomington, open daily from 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. (more information) Coverage for tests is provided by all IWU health insurance plans under Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Health Protocols

Safeguarding the health and well-being of all members of our community will be a shared commitment. We cannot prevent all illness, but we can, individually and collectively, take affirmative steps to greatly reduce the risk of illness for ourselves and for others.

Individual Health Expectations:

  • Hand-washing: Wash hands frequently and use hand sanitizer when hand washing is not possible.
  • Face-coverings: Wear face coverings consistent with CDC guidelines when interacting with others or in common areas. Please think of face coverings as an article of clothing – essential to an appropriate workplace.
  • In some high-traffic reception areas, plexiglas shields will be erected, to replace or supplement masks for shielded employees.
  • Distancing: Maintain distances of 6 feet when possible.
  • Monitoring: Monitor symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 daily and report symptoms including temperatures of 100.4 or higher to supervisor.
    • Employees should not come to work if they are feeling ill or have any COVID-19 symptoms. Discuss COVID-19-like symptoms with your primary care provider to determine your best health response.
    • If you have been exposed to a known COVID-19 positive individual, consult with the McLean County Health Department and your primary care provider on recommended health measures, including the potential for testing and self-isolation. If testing is recommended, employees should not return to work until negative results are known. Use this form to report your need to self-isolate.
  • Travel: Employees who travel should follow CDC travel guidelines regarding isolation upon return.
  • Self-advocating: We will each have different personal needs and comfort levels with these health and safety measures; however, these expectations are in place for all members of our community. We empower you to self-advocate for your needs, especially in support of these established expectations. Respectful, but firm, reminders directly to students, colleagues and guests will help establish clear norms. This will require a community-wide commitment.

Environmental Health Expectations:

The value of being together in our shared physical space is the opportunity to deliver the core work of the university. Together, we communicate more effectively, are more responsive to constituent needs, brainstorm and problem solve collaboratively, and realize a shared understanding of our work priorities. Simply put, it is much easier to be on the same page and deliver for students.

  • Review your space: Each department needs to assess their current space to be compliant with best practice health guidance. Remove high-touch items like magazines, common pens, etc. Consider where student employees may be seated, to account for distancing requirements. If you have questions about safeguarding the office environment, please contact Human Resources, Physical Plant or a member of the Health Expectations work group to consult on best strategies.
  • Be available and healthy: Although we want to be back together to increase our effectiveness, our work connections will look different. Employees may choose to leave their doors closed while working with signage inviting people to knock and don a mask prior to entering. Meetings may be conducted outside or virtually, due to physical distancing requirements, group size or sustained contact concerns. Employees may explore whether in-person meetings should be relocated to larger offices/spaces or held virtually.
  • Be together and careful: COVID-19 guidance suggests that sustained contact with others and high-touch surfaces are problematic. Group gatherings in common spaces (break rooms) should be avoided and the use of common touch items (like coffee pots, toasters and microwaves) should be eliminated.

University Health Expectations: Cleaning Protocols

  • Enhanced cleaning: Physical Plant has implemented enhanced cleaning procedures to help ensure the health of the campus community. High-touch surfaces are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected using EPA-registered disinfectant products that are effective against human coronavirus.
  • Your role: Members of the campus community are encouraged to keep their personal workspace clean throughout the day, and to disinfect high-touch surfaces and objects (e.g., desk, chair, phone, keyboard, cabinet/file drawer handles), especially in shared spaces, to reduce the spread of germs on campus.
  • Cleaning supplies: Physical Plant Custodial Services should serve as the source for obtaining and distributing cleaning supplies. Custodial Services is in the process of developing a plan to support this initiative.

 

COVID-19 has caused many personal stressors. Please remember that our Employee Assistance Program is available to employees who are in need of assistance. For covered employees, Blue Cross Blue Shield continues to offer mental health services – both in-person and via telehealth with MDLive.

As Illinois and IWU “return to normal,” we have seen many different approaches to health and safety and people will relax the standards for disease prevention. As a dense residential campus, we must maintain our vigilance and commitment to these safety standards for everyone’s health. Please help us create campus norms that embrace these safety protocols. As staff and faculty, we must model these expectations for students.

If you have any questions, please contact Human Resources regarding employee needs or COVID19response@iwu.edu for COVID-specific information. We will continue to provide updates and adjust our guidelines as state and public health recommendations change. We look forward to being together again, with safety precautions, and appreciate your continued flexibility.


Important Fall Semester Update

June 15, 2020

 

To: Students, faculty and staff

From: Fall Contingency Planning Review Committee

While much across the world continues to be uncertain, we are making progress on our decision-making about the fall semester. Although we cannot prevent all illness, we can take measured steps to reduce risk. Our collective health will require personal commitment by all members of our community to adhere to health protocols. Thank you in advance for making this commitment.

Students, we need your perspective on the anticipated fall experience. Please take this brief survey. (Deadline: June 21). Faculty, a friendly reminder to complete the course survey you were sent last week from the Provost’s office.

Please read carefully these important updates about our planning for the fall semester at Illinois Wesleyan:

Calendar Adjustments

These adjustments are intended to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19 through travel away and back to campus. By ending the semester early, we also look to minimize the intersection of flu season and a possible second wave of COVID-19 outbreaks.

  • Early start: We will start classes one week early (Aug. 17)
  • Early finish: All classes and finals will be complete by Nov. 20, for an early start to our winter break
  • To enable this shortened schedule, additional calendar changes will include:
    • IMPACT (pre-orientation for Students of Color) and international student arrival and orientation are still being thoughtfully planned.
    • Classes will be held on Labor Day
    • Fall Break will be cancelled (classes will be held on Friday, Oct. 16)
    • Classes will be held on some Saturdays (up to 4 Saturdays). For students, faculty and staff with spiritual obligations on these Saturdays, please work with your faculty or supervisors regarding accommodation (see IWU’s Religious Accommodations statement here).
    • Turning Titan Orientation will begin on Tuesday, Aug. 11. For faculty, academic advising will occur on Aug. 12-13.
  • Move in: For all students, please do not make travel arrangements just yet . We are planning for a phased move-in based on health and social distancing needs.
  • Virtual instruction possibilities: We understand not every member of the Titan community has the same comfort level around COVID-19. Although much course instruction will be in-person or a combination of in-person/virtual, we anticipate that a fully virtual course schedule will be possible.

Health Protocols

Our campus community's adherence to health protocols will be essential to our successful, healthy return. Guidance is evolving regularly, but best practice will be consistently followed throughout campus. Based on our best information available today, please keep the following health expectations in mind as you plan your return to campus:

  • Testing: We are planning to conduct PCR nasal testing for all members of our campus community upon return to campus. Details are being finalized and will likely include a period of self-isolation between the test and results. For students, approval to move to campus will be dependent on the start date for approved activities (such as athletics or orientation) and the required isolation period. Again, please do not schedule travel until you have received further information.
    • More information about the employee protocol will be shared as we finalize plans to return to campus in Phase 4 of Restore Illinois.
  • Face coverings: Minimally, cloth face coverings will be required for all classes, activities and events. Please plan to bring several washable cloth masks, consistent with CDC recommendations, to campus with you.
  • Physical distancing of six feet will be required for all engagements (classes, residential, dining, etc.) Exceptions are still under review for activities like athletics, theatre, etc. Group activities must have fewer than 50 attendees.
  • Symptom checks: Daily self-monitoring for symptoms including temperature checks will be required. You will need to bring your own thermometer for temperature checking. Additionally, a no-touch infrared temperature scan may be required before entering buildings or activities.
  • Illness: Anyone who becomes ill and/or is displaying any symptoms should plan to stay at home or in their rooms, and contact Arnold Health Services for further direction. Students confirmed with COVID-19 are expected to return to their permanent residence for the duration of their illness and quarantine period, unless circumstances, such as distance or a vulnerable person at home, are prohibitive.
  • Limited campus quarantine space will be provided for students living in University-provided housing only.

On-Campus Housing

Decisions are still pending regarding campus housing and whether students will be housed in double or single rooms. We remain committed to providing housing for all students, but it may not be as originally assigned. In addition to CDC and American College Health Association guidance, we anticipate some guidance from the State of Illinois in the next few weeks that will allow us to finalize our decisions.

Students, please note:

  • The first round of student bills, including housing, is scheduled to be posted by Wednesday, June 17, but housing assignments are still under consideration. This first bill reflects a standard double room rate for most students. Bills will be updated in August to reflect accurate charges, based on final room assignments. If your housing changes due to COVID 19 reassignments, you will not be charged additional housing fees.

Special Thanks

We thank faculty and staff for their ongoing efforts to prepare for a safe and healthy return, and thank the entire community for their patience as we figure out how to adapt the college experience to evolving public health recommendations. We appreciate the work of the Instruction work group, Health and Safety Expectations work group, the Event Planning work group, and the Facilities assessment group in informing our decision-making. This guidance is based on the best information available today and will likely continue to evolve.

Questions

We recognize that you may have specific questions about implementation details not yet finalized. For example, we anticipate course delivery will be a hybrid of options (in-person, virtual and a combination due to physical space restrictions), but course-specific details are still in progress and may require some schedule adjustments. We will continue to update the campus community as decisions are made. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact COVID19response@iwu.edu.

Your health and safety, and the health of our communities, are our top priority. We wish you a healthy and safe summer!


COVID-19 Update for Titans and Titan Families

May 26, 2020

I hope this message finds you doing well and continuing to thrive in these unprecedented times. On campus, we continue to work diligently to evaluate our options for returning to campus in the fall semester and wanted to update you on our planning.

  • State Update: The State of Illinois will move to Phase 3 of Governor Pritzker's Restore Illinois plan guidance at the end of May. In Phase 3, non-essential businesses can open with appropriate public health guidelines, but higher education remains virtual. This is consistent with our current decisions about our new June summer term continuing with remote learning. (In the State’s current plan, higher education may resume in-person courses in Phase 4. Please refer to the Restore Illinois plan if you'd like more information.)
  • Campus Summer Operations: We are following State, CDC, and American College Health Association guidance that advises that employees who can telework should continue to do so. The University remains open (observing 4:00 hours) and working remotely. All offices that are typically operational in the summer can be reached by phone, email, and virtual appointments. Offices that reduce hours in the summer (Arnold Health Services, Counseling and Consultation Services, some academic departments, etc) may have a delay in response, but all messages will be returned.
  • Fall Planning: Our Fall Contingency Planning work group continues to aggressively review options for the fall semester. With appropriate medical and state guidance, decisions will be made based on the health and safety of our entire community, the quality of the student educational and co-curricular experience, and the financial health of the university.
  • Options Considered: While we intend to welcome our students to campus for face-to-face instruction in the fall, we also acknowledge that a number of factors may be beyond our control. Assuming that every scenario requires new public health commitments for all of us, four primary options are being explored: full return to campus; hybrid delivery (some residential, some virtual); academic calendar adjustments; and full virtual delivery.
  • Assumptions/Implementation: Based on current prevailing medical advice about public health measures, we are operating with some assumptions about our return to campus in the fall:
    • All students, faculty and staff will be expected to practice appropriate public health precautions including physical distancing (6 feet apart) and the use of cloth facial coverings when physical distancing is not possible. Dr. Vickie Folse, Director of the School of Nursing and Interim Director of Health and Counseling, is chairing the Health Expectations work group that is developing these guidelines, and others, for the fall.
    • Assuming we move to Restore Illinois Phase 4 by the fall semester, community gatherings must be in groups of less than 50 participants and physical distancing observed. Kevin Carey, Director of Student Involvement, is chairing the Event Management work group that is identifying opportunities for ongoing community building, both in-person and virtually.
    • Plans involving athletics will be guided by NCAA and CCIW decisions.
    • We continue to explore additional residential and academic adjustments, and will update the campus community as decisions are made.
  • Commencement: Given the state of Illinois restrictions, regretfully it has become clear that we will not be able to hold Commencement in person as planned on Aug. 2. We are working on alternative plans for a virtual celebration that we will communicate soon.
  • Timeline for fall decisions: We know that you are ready for certainty about the fall semester. As we make decisions (even incremental ones like campus health standards and event management guidelines), we will provide updates. As you know, information evolves daily and will inform our strategy for moving forward. Ultimately, we are still on track to make decisions by mid- to late July.

We hope you are doing well and finding meaningful and productive summer activities. We look forward to seeing you in the fall.

Karla Carney-Hall, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students


Update on COVID-19 Planning

May 8, 2020

Faculty and staff,

I'm writing to provide an update on the University's ongoing response and planning during the COVID-19 pandemic. As we all receive continually evolving – and even conflicting – information about the pandemic, it is natural to seek certainty. Recently, many universities have issued statements emphasizing that they “intend” to open in the normal way on campus for the fall semester. Of course, Illinois Wesleyan is no exception. We definitely “intend” to welcome our students to campus in the fall. But we also acknowledge that a number of factors may be beyond our control.

As we plan for a return to face-to-face instruction, we are working to incorporate precautions to protect the health and safety of students, faculty, staff, and our community. Federal agencies such as the Center for Disease Control offer guidelines for safe practices, and state governments have the authority to issue orders intended to protect citizens. But a residential university, where almost 2,000 young people live, work, dine, and socialize together, is a more complex environment than an office or a retail business. We recognize that we will need to make decisions guided by these governmental entities, but also adapted to the special circumstances and needs a campus environment presents.

It is particularly helpful that, on May 7, the American College Health Association (ACHA) issued “Considerations for Reopening Institutions of Higher Education in the COVID-19 Era.” This document provides clear, consistent, medically-informed advice from health-care professionals, covering all aspects of COVID-19 preparedness and protection, specific to the campus environment and its various activities. The ACHA advocates a realistic caution in this uncertain time:

“The single constant for each institution of higher education is that the road to recovery will be long. We can anticipate restrictions and limitations in activities will be in place for the next 12-18 months, if not longer.”

“Meticulous adherence to public health practices including hand hygiene, physical distancing, cough/sneeze etiquette, frequent disinfection of common and high traffic areas, symptom assessment, temperature checks, and face covering in public is the campus’ new normal.”

At Illinois Wesleyan, we are developing a multi-pronged approach, in line with the ACHA guidelines, to enhance our community’s capacity and resilience to manage COVID-19 challenges. To date, a COVID-19 planning team has been evaluating logistics, such as adjusted residential capacity, dining arrangements, and technological infrastructure. In addition, a Health/Safety Protocol Development Work Group, led by Director of the School of Nursing Vickie Folse, has been identified to make recommendations regarding health expectations for our return to campus. Enhanced protocols in place for sanitizing campus areas include increased disinfecting measures in high-touch and high-traffic spaces on campus; providing disinfecting wipe stations in learning spaces; and use of state-of-the-art technology to test the effectiveness of cleaning and disinfection efforts.

As we turn to issues more directly related to the academic program, faculty will address considerations for personal health and safety measures, such as social distancing in instructional spaces, creative (re-) design of experiential learning (e.g., theatre, laboratories, clinical experiences, field experiences), and the optimum mode of delivery to foster specific learning objectives. In every instance, the uppermost considerations will be the quality of the student experience and honoring our high standards for teaching and close connections among students and faculty.

The adaptability and resilience of our campus constituencies thus far bode well for our ability to continue to provide a distinctive Illinois Wesleyan experience, adjusting as needed to a changing environment. During the semester just completed, we found that:

  • Faculty pivoted to online instruction with a week's preparation.
  • Staff worked swiftly to adjust to remote work and continued supporting University operations.
  • Members in Student Affairs created a new environment for engagement opportunities for our students.
  • Students, with support from faculty and staff, were able to complete course objectives, pursue and defend honors research, and meet graduation requirements for internships and other experiential components, such as clinicals and student teaching, in virtual settings.

Of course, our plans necessarily remain subject to change, based on evolving guidelines and developments. Critical factors will include: progress on testing, health monitoring, treatments and strategies that mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, we are judiciously investigating possible alternative scenarios, such as a hybrid of residential/virtual environments; modifications to the academic calendar; and virtual alternatives, even as we actively plan for students’ return to campus in the fall (with appropriate adjustments for health and safety).

We are confident in our ability to face challenging times and find our way together, committed to the long-term well-being of our campus community. We will continue to monitor evolving developments in this public health crisis and announce any changes to our fall semester plans as soon as possible.

Georgia


 

Update for Students

April 21, 2020

As the final week of the semester comes to a close, we hope you are finding a rhythm with your virtual classes and preparing for successful finals. We know this semester has been challenging and appreciate your persistence as we all adapt to changing circumstances. We also wanted to provide you with a few updates about the University response to COVID-19.

    • Room and Board refunds: We expect to credit student accounts for the prorated amount of housing and dining charges by April 28, 2020. If the credits to your account result in an overpayment, a refund can be requested as described in our March 27 update. Seniors, who are scheduled to graduate in spring of 2020, do not need to request a refund. Refund checks will be disbursed starting May 6, 2020. If you have not signed up for direct deposit already, we encourage you to do so by completing this direct deposit form. Requests for refunds and direct deposit forms can be sent to busnoff@iwu.edu.
    • Federal CARES Act funds: We are receiving approximately $670,000 in federal funds that is to be used to assist students with this crisis. We anticipate that distribution guidance regarding these funds will be made clear to colleges and universities later this week. Once we’ve had time to carefully consider the guidance, we will send an update no later than May 10 with the information we can provide at that time. We want to distribute these funds in ways that benefit students with the greatest need. We appreciate your patience.
    • Titan Student Emergency Fund: As part of supporting your unanticipated financial concerns, we are launching the Titan Student Emergency Fund. This fund will allow us to provide small grants to students to address unanticipated expenses. We appreciate the generosity of our alumni, faculty/staff, parents and friends who have contributed donations to support the Titan community. Look for detailed information this week.
  • Senior recognition: On Thursday, we will announce the senior leadership award recipients via social media (4:00 p.m. on the IWU Facebook page). Please join us in celebrating all seniors and send your senior friends a note of appreciation for their leadership.
  • Move Out: A reminder that all students need to move out of campus residences by May 3. Please use SignupGenius to schedule your move out time and follow the guidelines in previous emails from the Office of Residence Life. If you cannot move out by May 3, please email COVID19response@iwu.edu to begin exploring options.
  • Fall contingency planning: Our hope, like yours, is that we will return to all the normal hustle and bustle of the fall semester. However, we want to be prepared for alternatives as this public health crisis continues to evolve. We are exploring calendar adjustments, hybrid delivery (mix of residential and remote), as well as virtual alternatives. Every university is exploring this essential question about fall return and each institution will make decisions based on their unique needs and opportunities. Decisions will be made when we have the best information available from public health experts and state and federal officials to guide us toward the best possible student experience. Because of the evolving nature of this pandemic, we are not likely to make a decision until late summer.

We will communicate regularly with all students throughout the summer. Please continue to check your IWU email regularly for updates. Good luck with your final exams.


Campus Schedule Updates Related to COVID-19

April 3, 2020

To Faculty and Staff

We hope all are staying safe and well during these unusual times! We have a few brief updates below regarding the University schedule and adjustments related to Coronavirus. We expect to send a COVID-19 financial update soon.

Commencement

Commencement will be held in-person on Sunday, August 2. A senior recognition event will also be held on Saturday, August 1. We recognize that departments may want to add traditional senior recognition events to this weekend, and we hope to minimize overlapping events. If you would like to schedule other traditional senior recognition events that weekend, please send your request to Julie Anderson at janders3@iwu.edu.

Honors Day Convocation

The traditional Honors Day Convocation scheduled for Wednesday, April 8 is canceled in its current format, but activities are being reimagined. Senior recognition will occur as a social media event. We also hope to provide a virtual venue to recognize Tim Rettich, this year’s Kemp Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence honoree, and the convocation booklet will be published online. Reminder: Faculty, please send your lists of student honorees to Sue Milligan at smilliga@iwu.edu by April 17.

Stay-at-Home Extension

Given Governor Pritzker’s extension of the stay-at-home order through April 30, we ask that everyone who is able to continue working from home.

Residence Hall Move-Out

The Office of Residential Life has reactivated the move-out process for students, beginning this weekend. The governor’s order provides some reasonable accommodation for students needing essential materials; we will extend move-out with a careful process for health and safety. We appreciate the work of the Office of Residence Life, Physical Plant, Campus Safety and Student Involvement as we slowly allow students to return to gather their belongings.

 


 

Campus Medical Update

April 1, 2020, 10:08 AM

Students, faculty and staff:

As you might imagine, we are beginning to receive reports from members of our University community who have either experienced symptoms or are awaiting results for COVID-19. Given the widespread nature of this virus, it is to be expected that all of us will know someone in our communities with the illness. Our hearts go out to anyone who is symptomatic and those supporting family members who are ill.

We will not send a campus notice every time we become aware of someone affected, but will inform as required by health authorities. In collaboration with the McLean County Health Department, we will support notification of any members of our community who may have been exposed on campus or on University-sponsored experiences within the last 14 days. You will be notified if you need to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms.

For all students, if you become ill and must miss class, please notify your professors and/or the Dean of Students office. All students may also consult with Arnold Health Services if you are experiencing symptoms. For students living on campus who become ill, please contact Arnold Health Services by phone (309-556-3107) for consultation and assessment. We need your assistance for the good of our campus community health.

Karla C. Carney-Hall, Dean of Students

Vickie Folse, Interim Executive Director of Health/Counseling


 

Campus Medical Update

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

 

Message to Campus from President Nugent

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.

President Nugent

Confirmed COVID-19 Case

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 covid19response@iwu.edu. The McLean County Health Department can be reached at: (309) 888-5450.

Please take care.

COVID-19 Semester Update

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.

We will continue to post the latest information at www.iwu.edu/covid19 and respond to questions via covid19response@iwu.edu.


From President Nugent on COVID-19

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.

Sincerely,
President S. Georgia Nugent


COVID-19 Update for Employees

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.


Update on COVID-19

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.


Spring Break Extended

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.

  • All domestic students must remain at their permanent home residence until further notice. Students, including our international students, can petition for an exception on their MyHousing page. Food service will be offered for students approved to be on campus. Sodexo is following best practices for enhanced food safety. There will be restrictions including limits on social gatherings, travel, non-IWU guests, etc.
  • All student events, including athletics, will be suspended through March 29. Other university-sponsored campus events with over 50 attendees will be prohibited. At this time, no decisions have been made about events after March 29, including Commencement.
  • Students may not return to campus without permission until March 29. Faculty will be providing materials for course instruction electronically as part of distance learning.
  • We're requiring all students studying abroad from Europe to return home. They are expected to self-quarantine at home for 14 days prior to a return to campus, no sooner than March 29. We are recommending that all other students studying abroad return home and self-quarantine as well.
  • Arnold Health Services will remain open.
  • Students abroad for athletic trips during Spring Break have returned to the U.S., and a Collegiate Choir tour of South Africa is being shortened so that students can return as quickly as possible.
  • All non-essential travel by employees will be restricted until further notice.
  • Decisions about May Term and summer travel will be made no later than April 15.

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 covid19response@iwu.edu, 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


Updates for International Travel

Coronavirus and Spring Break

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

Faculty/Staff Travel

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.

International Students

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

 


Coronavirus Response at Illinois Wesleyan University

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.

Sincerely,

Karla C. Carney-Hall, Dean of Students

Mark Brodl, Provost & Dean of Faculty


Coronavirus Update and Travel Plans

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.

 


Coronavirus Update

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:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use antibacterial hand solution when available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. If you are sick, stay home and avoid public contact.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces.
  • If you are traveling out of the US, research health advisories for your travel area. Review the ‘CDC Travelers’ Health website: (https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel) to learn how to stay healthy during your trip.
  • Monitor the CDC website for updated information.

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.

Sincerely,

Karla C. Carney-Hall, Dean of Students

Vickie Folse, Interim Executive Director of Health/Counseling


Coronavirus Information

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:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use antibacterial hand solution when soap and water wash is not an option.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home while you are sick and avoid public contact.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze and dispose of tissues responsibly.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  • Continue to monitor the CDC website for updated information and further recommendations regarding this outbreak.
  • Prior to Spring Break or any planned travel in or out of the U.S. within the next few months, take a few moments to research health issues associated with your destination prior to travel.
  • Review the ‘CDC Travelers’ Health website: (wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel) to learn how to stay healthy during your trip

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.

Sincerely,

Karla C. Carney-Hall, Dean of Students

Vickie Folse, Interim Executive Director of Health/Counseling