COVID-19 update: you are leading the way
November 13, 2020 10:02 AM

Dear students, faculty and staff:

We are heading into the final weeks of a semester like none of us has ever experienced, one in which we have been tested in ways we could not have foreseen.

I write now with heartfelt gratitude for all the hard work you have done. You have faced this global crisis with innovation, adaptability and persistence.

And together, we have accomplished so much, building a bridge this fall toward the future we all want.

The saliva-based testing regimens and adherence to safety protocols have allowed tens of thousands of you to return to our three universities, to meet in our classrooms and labs, in person, taking part in the transformative experience that is a University of Illinois education.

As you walk across our campuses, you also see that face coverings and proper social distancing are widely in evidence.

Our rates of positive tests and numbers of cases have remained low. While state rates are now in double digits, our seven-day rate of positive tests stands at about 2.3 percent at the University of Illinois Chicago, 1.8 percent at the University of Illinois Springfield and still just 0.5 percent at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Those numbers tell us our universities are among the safest places in the state, a model for how this can work.

Our protocols are also able to quickly identify and address potential problems. Our testing provided just such a signal this week at UIC and UIS, prompting a shift to virtual learning, albeit only briefly in Springfield, and for the remainder of the semester in Chicago, due to the sharp growth of cases in the city.

Throughout the fall, we have relied on a multidisciplinary approach to solve the myriad problems created by the pandemic. This has allowed us to address the medical demands while considering factors such as human behavior and risk-taking, and to explore the broad economic and social impacts of the virus.

Our universities have also found ways to nurture student life beyond the classroom: outdoor movie nights, virtual exercise classes and concerts.

Our approach to all of this has and will continue to evolve, just as our understanding of the virus constantly grows and changes.

We are again at an important juncture. With hope on the horizon in the form of our pioneering trials for vaccines and therapeutics to use against the coronavirus, we do not want to lose ground now.

Most immediately, we need everyone to follow the guidance coming from each of your universities – travel only if you must, continue to follow the testing program that remains foundational to your safety, cover your face and maintain social distance, work away from your campus if you can so that those who must be there can do so with less risk.

This is how we stay on that bridge we’ve built, pointed toward better times ahead.



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Office of the President

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