SIU, John A. Logan, Rend Lake and Southeastern Illinois colleges have released new details about their novel coronavirus response plans.
Last week, SIU and each of Southern Illinois' community colleges, including Shawnee in Ullin, announced plans to extend their spring breaks until March 23, and move classes online and to other distance learning platforms.
Here's a look at additional updates announced over the weekend and on Monday:
Southern Illinois University
Citing the uncertainty around a timeline for COVID-19, SIU Carbondale will cancel most face-to-face classes for the rest of the semester, Interim Chancellor John Dunn said in a statement. Last week, the university announced plans to extend spring break a week and move most classes to online and other formats, but officials were not clear how long that would last. Dunn cleared that up in one of several Monday messages to the campus community.
Additionally, Dunn announced "key changes in operations" to support social distancing critical to minimizing the spread of COVID-19. Effective Tuesday until further notice, SIUC is allowing supervisors to change where and how employees work based upon the nature of their responsibilities.
Dunn said he has asked each of the vice chancellors to assess which functions can be completed off-site, with the goal of allowing as many employees as possible to work from home. For employees whose job duties necessitate they be on campus, Dunn said supervisors have been asked to identify ways to ensure appropriate social distancing. The university is also allowing supervisor-approved flexible schedules when possible.
Also starting Tuesday, employees who need to be away from work for COVID-19 related reasons such as illness, quarantine and child care are eligible for up to two paid work weeks off without having to dip into their personal benefit time, Dunn said. Employees may be asked to work from home to the degree they are able.
Further, the SIU Rec Center is closed as of 7 p.m. Monday. No reopen date has been determined at this time.
Dunn expressed gratitude for the university community's patience and resilience. "We are in uncharted waters," he said in a statement, "and I am very grateful that we are standing together as a community."
John A. Logan College
On Monday, John A. Logan College President Ron House said that, effective March 17, the college is suspending all Adult Education classes through March 30; closing the Logan Fitness Center until further notice; canceling all Community Education classes through the end of the spring semester; canceling all events at the college, regardless of anticipated participation numbers; and suspending all Workforce Development classes and training until further notice. The SIH walk-in clinic in the CHEC building remain open.
Rend Lake College
Rend Lake College announced in a statement issued Sunday that, beginning Tuesday, only essential personnel will work on campus. Regularly scheduled faculty and staff were expected to report to campus Monday for planning purposes as the college prepares to move classes online. But they were directed to contact their supervisors to determine whether they should continue reporting to campus or work remotely going forward.
This is being done in an effort to promote social distancing and similar measures announced by the Illinois governor Sunday afternoon, the college said in a news release. RLC President Terry Wilkerson thanked his staff for their "hard work, dedication and flexibility" and for the way they have "come together to deal with this situation."
Southeastern Illinois College
Likewise, Southeastern Illinois College said that faculty and staff were expected to work on-campus on Monday only, and remotely the rest of the week. Beginning Tuesday, only essential personnel carrying out vital functions will be allowed on campus, and only with the permission of a cabinet-level supervisor, President Jonah Rice said in a statement. “We knew this pandemic would be a fluid situation,” he said, announcing the modified schedule. “Change is inevitable.”
Rice thanked his planning staff as well as other employees, who he said have demonstrated “great camaraderie” in coming up with creative solutions to educate students in this trying time.
On Twitter: @MollyParkerSI
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