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Weekly Update, October 22

This week’s update includes information about all classes moving online after Fall Break, clarification about required and strongly encouraged COVID-19 testing, testing locations, COVID-19 and the upcoming election, and the Election Day holiday.

Visit the University’s Coronavirus website for the most up-to-date information and guidance. Questions can be emailed to coronavirus@ilstu.edu.

Classes and Finals – Online after Fall Break
The University will move to online instruction after Fall Break beginning Monday, November 30. While face-to-face and hybrid instruction will end at noon on Saturday, November 21, instruction will continue online through the end of the semester. This means the last week of regular classroom instruction and final examinations will all be delivered online. Clinical and experiential activities will be addressed on a program-by-program basis.

Students are encouraged to limit their activities to those that are essential, such as attending face-to-face and hybrid courses, working, testing, attending doctor appointments, etc., in the weeks leading up to Fall Break. Doing so will help to protect your health as well as the health of friends and family during the Fall Break period.

Students will have the option of returning to campus following Fall Break or remaining at their permanent residence. Illinois State services will operate normally through the end of the semester. Residence halls and dining centers will remain open, as will the Student Fitness Center, the Bone Student Center, Student Health Services, academic support units, and other offices that provide university services to students, faculty, and staff, and facilitate university operations.

Students who choose to return to Bloomington-Normal after Fall Break, are strongly encouraged to get tested at one of the two on-campus testing sites in order to limit the risk of spreading COVID-19 to others.

The decision to move all courses online after Fall Break was made in an effort to provide students who can stay home with the opportunity to do so and to de-densify campus immediately following Fall Break and the Thanksgiving holiday—when many students, faculty, and staff visit with friends and family as well as travel. Such activities increase exposure to risks associated with the spread of COVID-19 and coincide with the beginning of flu season.

Testing Clarification
Students who are randomly selected by the University to participate in “required” or “strongly encouraged” COVID-19 testing are not required to quarantine during the time leading up to being tested or while awaiting results. Students can attend face-to-face and hybrid courses and continue working at their on-campus job during this time while following all COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. However, any student who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should get tested at Student Health Services and self-isolate until results are received.

The goal of COVID-19 screening is to provide information necessary to control outbreaks and inform public health action. The number of coronavirus cases continues to increase in McLean County and Illinois. Participating in the University’s testing program will help Illinois State University maintain a healthy and safe environment and limit the spread of COVID-19 on campus and within the community.

Results typically take 2-4 days and Student Health Services will send a secure message and post test results to the Secure Patient Health Portal as soon as they are available. Additional information about testing can be found on the Student Health Services website.

Testing Locations
Asymptomatic COVID-19 testing for students will continue at the temporary building in the parking lot between Watterson Towers and Stevenson Hall and the fire station at 602 N. Adelaide St., Normal. Both locations are open from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Only students being tested should enter a testing center.

Students experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms or who believe that they were exposed to a person with COVID-19 should contact Student Health Services at (309) 438-7676 for direction regarding quarantine and/or to schedule an initial screening and make an appointment to be tested.

Testing is available for students, faculty, and staff at the Interstate Center testing site. Students testing at this site should share positive test results with Student Health Services by uploading them to the Secure Patient Health Portal. Sharing test results will ensure students have proper documentation for classes, housing, and/or employment.

COVID-19 and the Upcoming Election
Civic engagement, one of Illinois State University’s core values, includes voting. The Redbird Voter Guide is the best election resource for our campus community and includes information on voter registration and voting, candidates running for office, and post-election guides.

Early voting is available for anyone in McLean County (except Bloomington voters) at the Bone Student Center and Watterson Towers, October 26-30. Early voting for Bloomington residents is available at Grossinger Motors Arena or Eastland Mall through November 2. During this timeframe, individuals can register and vote at the same time. Proper identification is required for same-day registration.

In addition, Illinois offers same-day, in-person voter registration on Election Day. When voting on Election Day, please also note that your polling place might have changed due to the pandemic. To save yourself time, determine your polling place before heading to the polls.

As Election Day approaches, please keep in mind ways to protect yourself and others as you cast your ballot in the upcoming election. The CDC offers recommendations for voters; these recommendations include taking advantage of early voting or voting alternatives where available in order to minimize crowds on Election Day and limit the number of people you come in contact with at the polls.

Election Day Holiday
As a reminder, Election Day, November 3, 2020, has been designated by the State as a one-time holiday and will be observed as such on campus. No face-to-face, online, or hybrid courses will be held; however, essential on-campus services such as, but not limited to, residence halls, both dining centers, and retail dining in the Bone Student Center, will remain available for students. COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic students will be available at the two on-campus testing sites on November 3. Unless otherwise indicated, all University departments will be closed and staff assigned to those departments, whether working on-campus or remotely, will be off work in observance of the holiday. Employees who are required to work to maintain essential services on this day will be compensated in accordance with University policies.

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