This critical first week back together
August 28, 2020 9:32 AM

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

Congratulations on your efforts this week. I hope you enter this weekend with a sense of pride that is tempered by the honest recognition that we cannot celebrate or let up now.

Thank you for wearing your face coverings, for practicing social distancing, for getting your COVID-19 tests and for responding quickly if you learned of a positive test or were contacted by our public health officials.

Thank you for showing patience and kindness as you waited to get tested or to enter your building or classroom as we continue to learn and adjust.

And thank you to the staff of our testing sites and analytical laboratory who are now processing as many as 2.7% of all the COVID-19 tests in this country on a given day. You can find campus testing data here

As our models predicted, these first days saw our overall positivity rate remain well below that of the rest of the state even as positive tests were returned. This rapid testing, combined with the contact tracing efforts of the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, has let us quickly help those who tested positive or have possibly been exposed to the virus find quarantine space to limit the spread.

Our rapid, comprehensive and uniquely Illinois saliva-based test and data models can give us the chance to do what so many other institutions have decided they cannot.

But it is the choices you have made and the judgement you have displayed in these first critical days that are allowing us to stay together.

As the leader of one of the few major universities in the country offering some in-person instruction, I do not exaggerate when I tell you the world is watching us. And with each day, more eyes are on us and more people are asking “Can Illinois really do this?”

Make no mistake. They are not watching because they want to see us fail.

They are watching because with each day you are giving everyone a growing sense of hope. They are holding a collective breath, and they want us to succeed.

This week you have given them every reason to put their faith in the students, faculty and staff of Illinois.

Thank you. And please, do not let up now.


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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