Fall Semester Update

Dear students, faculty and staff,

During the past 8 months, our community has shown incredible resilience as we have gone through different phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. I am very proud and very grateful for everything that you have done to keep our university moving forward safely under very challenging circumstances. The actions of our students, faculty and staff members have demonstrated, beyond words, our collective commitment to protect the health and safety of our UIC community while we continue to advance our academic and health care delivery missions.

Your willingness to adapt and comply with all COVID-19 prevention measures on campus – wearing a face covering, washing hands often, practicing physical distancing, and participating in health checks, saliva testing and contact tracing – has kept UIC’s COVID-19 positivity rates significantly lower than the corresponding rates in the general community. You have proven that we are all in this together and we care for each other.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 cases continue to rise significantly in our city, in our state and across the nation. Given our location and the continuous interactions with the community at large, we cannot completely mitigate these effects, as indicated by the most recent results of our surveillance testing. And while our contact tracing efforts clearly demonstrate that there is no transmission in our classrooms or our labs, out of an abundance of caution, we must now implement stricter measures to protect the health and safety of our community members and curb the spread of this disease. These measures are outlined in the list below and will go into effect by the end of this week and until the end of the fall semester.

Since the beginning of the fall, we have known that conditions may require us to adjust our operations, depending on the general public health circumstances and our own surveillance results. We have planned for this possibility, and now is the time to act. Together, we will get through the remaining academic semester successfully, as encouraging news from recent medical advances bring us closer to the time when we will meet again on campus.

Stay well and stay informed!

Michael D. Amiridis

Fall semester instruction and library operations
In-person instruction at all sites will be suspended by the end of this week and move to online platforms until the end of the fall semester. Limited exceptions will be granted for courses that can only be delivered in person at this stage of the semester. Such exceptions must be requested by the college deans to the Provost or Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and justified in detail. Questions about individual classes should be directed to the instructor of record or department head for additional guidance. Current online classes will continue in the same mode through the end of the fall semester, and the December commencement ceremonies also will be held virtually.

The libraries will remain open through Wed., Nov. 25, with the reservation system remaining in effect and will reassess operations after the Thanksgiving break.

Student housing and campus life
Student housing will remain open for students who, for various reasons, need to remain in the residence halls. Recreation centers, student centers, and campus dining facilities will remain open for as long as public health and state guidelines allow and any adjustments to operating hours will be posted online.

All athletic activities will be suspended for the remainder of the semester, with the exception of the men’s and women’s basketball teams, which remain scheduled to begin their seasons on Nov. 25, following NCAA guidelines.

UI Health and clinical operations
UI Health and clinical operations will continue to deliver health care to our community with visitor restrictions in place. UI Health will issue separate guidelines as needed.

COVID-19 work arrangements
Employees will continue to have flexibility in their work arrangements to the maximum extent possible to reduce density in the work environment. Supervisors should allow employees to continue to work remotely when operationally feasible.

Research operations
Research activities will continue to operate according to government and public health guidance, while additional steps should be taken, where possible, to further reduce density in laboratories and facilities.

On-campus COVID-19 saliva testing
UIC will continue to offer free on-campus COVID-19 saliva testing as an important tool to protect the campus community. Mandatory testing will remain in effect for designated groups. Appointments may be scheduled online in advance and walk-in testing is also available on a first-come, first-served basis. For additional information about who should/should not be tested, scheduling a saliva test, campus testing locations, and contact tracing information, visit the UIC Saliva Testing webpage.

Health and safety reminders
Individuals who remain on campus should never interact without wearing face coverings, should not eat together during breaks and must always maintain social distancing.

Any faculty, staff or student experiencing COVID-19 symptoms — whether or not they believe they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 — should not come to campus and should contact a health care provider within 48 hours. In addition, if you experience emergency symptoms (shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness, lips or face turning blue) you should seek emergency care immediately. If you come to class or work and begin experiencing any possible symptoms of illness, you should go home and inform your health care provider.

  • Students who are feeling ill or who may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 should call Student Health Services at 312-996-2901 for guidance, and contact their CampusCare provider or their primary care provider.
  • Faculty and staff who are feeling ill or who may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 should contact University Health Services (UHS) at 312-996-7420 or complete the online form, inform their supervisor and contact their personal health care provider. More information for employees is available on the UIC Human Resources COVID-19 website.
  • The Chicago Department of Public Health also provides guidance and information on COVID-19 testing sites throughout the city.
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