Plans for the Remainder of the Semester
Nov. 16, 2020
As you are aware, COVID cases are on the rise – and, with the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, the opportunities for virus transmission are also increasing. Recently, the Illinois Department of Public Health issued a stay-at-home advisory asking Illinois residents to voluntarily participate only in essential activities such as going to work or school. With guidance from the DeKalb County Health Department, we are going to take several additional measures to help protect the health of our community and to deliver the critical support our students need to be successful in these final weeks of the semester.
Beginning Wednesday, all employees who are able to work from home are asked to do so for the remainder of the calendar year. As always, our supervisors are asked to be thoughtful, patient and flexible in leading their teams during this challenging time. Employees should think about what will work best considering their personal or family circumstances, and contact their supervisors to discuss and reach agreements on work schedules that support the needs of the departments and the circumstances of the employees.
Changes in Course Delivery
The majority of NIU classes that don’t need to be face-to-face are already being delivered online. At this time, wherever possible, we want to transition those remaining undergraduate and graduate classes and class activities to online delivery beginning Monday, Nov. 30, through the remainder of the semester. The provost’s office is asking faculty to work with their department chairs to request exceptions in cases where face-to-face activities are necessary to meet student learning outcomes. The chairs will provide that information to the deans, who are communicating with the provost. Faculty are asked to update their students of any changes to their course modality and/or finals via Blackboard by Friday, Nov. 20.
Wherever possible, student-employees who can work remotely should be permitted to do so. Students with jobs that require them to be on campus are allowed to continue to work on campus. Student-employees will be paid for their hours worked in accordance with FLSA guidelines.
As previously communicated, students, faculty and staff who have been required to participate in surveillance testing will not have to test during the week of Nov. 23. Surveillance resting will resume Monday, Nov. 30, through Tuesday, Dec. 8.
Our residence halls and dining facilities will remain open for our students as scheduled. We also intend to keep the Northwestern Medicine Student Health Center at NIU, Holmes Student Center, Founders Memorial Library and the Recreation Center open as they provide important, in-person services for our students. For any other student-serving areas, please make certain your websites are up to date with contact information and availability so that students know how they are able to connect. Simultaneously, the university will be working this week to update our Campus Operations page for any changes to availability of services and resources.
Self-reporting COVID-19 Infections or Exposure
It’s critical to the health of our community that you let the university know if you have COVID-19, have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or if you are experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19. If you meet any of those criteria from now until the end of the semester, please complete the NIU Self-Reporting Checklist immediately so we can support you and take the necessary precautions to help reduce transmission of the virus.
This has been an immensely difficult year. Our employees have dealt with great obstacles and uncertainties, but you have risen to the occasion and made all Huskies proud. I remain deeply grateful for how you’ve embraced change and for the unwavering commitment you continue to demonstrate when it comes to protecting our pack. Please continue to take of yourselves and others.
Lisa C. Freeman