Update on COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7
March 2, 2021 1:02 PM

Dear faculty, staff and students,

The university has been working closely with the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District (CUPHD) to monitor local cases of a new COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) variant known as B.1.1.7. We know that this variant has already been detected among members of our university community.

We will continue to identify B.1.1.7 cases as they emerge. According to the CDC, this new variant, which was first detected in the U.K., is more infectious and will likely be the dominant variant of COVID-19 in the U.S. beginning this month.

With our rapid saliva test and frequent testing requirements, we have tools to maximize safety for our entire community, even with the emergence of this new variant. According to CUPHD, because the new variant is even more infectious, it will be vital that we all remain vigilant in our COVID-19 safety practices, including regular testing, practicing social distancing, wearing face coverings, frequent hand washing, etc. It is also more important than ever for individuals who test positive for COVID-19 to isolate immediately.

According to CUPHD, there is already evidence that COVID-19 vaccinations will help protect individuals from B.1.1.7,  but herd immunity with vaccinations will take time, and every effort is required to slow the spread of this and other variants. I strongly encourage you to be vaccinated when you receive a chance to do so. We are grateful to CUPHD for their vaccination leadership, and we will continue to share any vaccination opportunities for our faculty, staff and students.

We will continue to partner with CUPHD to update you on the emergence of B.1.1.7 and any change in guidance as we continue to learn more about this, and other, emerging variants.

Thank you for continuing to do your part to maximize the safety of our entire community.


Robert J. Jones

This mailing approved by:
Office of the Chancellor

sent to:
Academic Professionals, Civil Service, Faculty, Extra Help, Graduate Students, Undergraduate Students, Incoming Graduate Students & Incoming Undergraduate Students
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