by Shelbi Voss
Two weeks after opening campus, university officials reached out to students, faculty and staff, notifying them of new guidelines to be followed over the coming weeks. The new guidelines were enacted in an effort to eliminate risk of spreading covid-19 and to remove any irresponsible individuals from the campus as soon as possible.
Students have been advised to limit in-person interactions to only essential activities. Chancellor robert jones noted that bi-weekly covid-19 tests, grocery shopping, attending classes, religious activities, and seeking medical attention are all considered essential. Any students caught in social gatherings or other unapproved activities are at risk for immediate suspension and could face a fine of up to $750 per champaign-urbana’s emergency order.
Numerous positive cases were traced back to communities outside of champaign-urbana. With the upcoming three-day weekend, students have been advised not to travel for fear of returning to campus infected from outside areas. A recent jump in positive cases lead university officials to find ways to make the testing program more efficient. If the increase would not have been caught, the university would have been forced to eliminate in-person instruction for the remainder of the term.
On friday a second email was sent in reference to the continuation of on-campus operations. In hopes of developing a faster paced testing process, the university asked students to rethink their weekly covid-19 testing schedules. Many students have taken advantage of the monday-thursday and tuesday-friday testing plans, but as more people have returned to campus, the test result time has increased from a matter of hours to up to three days.
Although they are still expected to test every four days, students who opt for the weekend testing schedule could help eliminate congestion of testing during the week, allowing for results to come in faster.
University president tim killeen emphasized the efforts being made by jones, asking students, faculty and staff to take the precautions seriously. In an email he stated, “the world is watching the university of illinois system right now, wondering if we are capable of managing this virus. We are, with everyone’s commitment and involvement.”