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Local colleges release new COVID-19 protocols and plans

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SIU students enter Grinnell Hall for COVID-19 testing on during the Spring 2022 semester. Students at SIU and other area colleges will attend classes this fall with fewer COVID-related restrictions and requirements.

For the third consecutive fall, local higher education institutions are keeping a watchful eye on COVID-19 trends as they look to begin another semester of in-person classes.

At Southern Illinois University Carbondale, masks are recommended but not required in most campus buildings. However, face coverings will be mandatory in health care settings including the Student Health Center. The campus will no longer require weekly testing for most students, faculty and staff members who have not been fully vaccinated.

Testing will be available on Tuesday afternoons. Additionally, plans are to continue enhanced cleaning protocols.

In a message to the campus community, Chancellor Austin A. Lane said, “Vaccinations and treatments have put us in a much better place than we were two years ago, and I am pleased to report the vast majority of employees and students are fully vaccinated.”

John A. Logan College is also recommending masks for high-traffic areas of the campus, but reports that since the statewide COVID-19 vaccination and testing mandate has expired, students will no long have to provide proof of vaccination or undergo weekly testing if they are unvaccinated.

On-campus testing has been discontinued and the college is requesting those who do test positive to inform the Office of Student Affairs so that excused absences can be processed.

Jonathon Walters, spokesman for Rend Lake College said that testing will not be required for students, faculty or staff members and the college is collecting proof of vaccinations and asks students or employees who test positive for COVID-19 to observe all recommend quarantine guidance and self-report to the college.

Southeastern Illinois College reports no change to its COVID-19 requirements or protocols for the upcoming semester.

Shawnee Community College will continue to make masks available for students, but will not require them, according to guidelines distributed by the college late last week. Additionally, temperature checkpoints will remain at entrances to the main building at the Ullin campus.

College President Tim Taylor said Shawnee will, like the other area campuses, continue to monitor COVID-19 levels and work within recommendations of the Illinois Department of Public Health.

“We will remain vigilant and responsive to the advice of public health professionals. However, we look forward to planning new and exciting activities at Shawnee Community College that will benefit our students and the people in the communities we serve,” Taylor said.

Lifehacker reports that as global warming changes the climate, people around the world must contend with rising temperatures.

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