Updated Guidance for Phase 5 of Restore Illinois
June 11, 2021
Today the State of Illinois entered into Phase 5 of its Restore Illinois plan after a consistent decline in COVID-19 cases. All sectors of the economy are now fully open and can resume at regular capacities including retail, dining, large events and venues.
This progress has been made possible because of the wide-spread availability and acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccine. Each of the nation’s three approved vaccines have gone through rigorous testing both for safety and effectiveness and have met the high standards of the Food and Drug Administration. Further, evolving science shows that vaccine effectiveness not only protects against COVID-19 but also mitigates its severity and limits the transmission of the virus. I continue to strongly encourage all members of our community to commit to your health and get vaccinated. Information about the vaccines and where to get them is available via the Center for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) and at vaccines.gov.
In this new phase and with guidance from the CDC and public health officials, the university is updating the following guidelines effective immediately:
Classrooms for Summer Courses
Regardless of vaccination status, faculty, instructors and students will continue to wear face masks and maintain physical distancing while they are in the classroom this summer. We will share later this summer on how we will proceed in classrooms for Fall 2021.
Fully Vaccinated Individuals*
Fully vaccinated employees and students are not required to wear masks or practice physical distancing indoors or outdoors but may do so if they prefer. Limited exceptions to this include healthcare settings such as our Northwestern Medicine Student Health Center, public transportation and in-person courses scheduled for the summer where masks continue to be required. Those who are fully vaccinated are welcome to voluntarily participate in NIU’s surveillance testing program if they like, but are not required to do so.
Employees and students who are NOT fully vaccinated are required to wear a mask at all times indoors unless alone in their private work or living space. Compliance is important and expected for the health of these individuals. Employees working in areas where surveillance testing is required and students with in-person summer courses who are not fully vaccinated must participate in NIU’s surveillance testing program. Non-compliance with masks and testing could result in disciplinary measures for employees and students. This includes, but is not limited to, being placed on unpaid administrative leave or students being removed from a residence hall or classes.
Dining, Events & Conferences
NIU’s indoor dining locations, as well as indoor and outdoor events, are now able to operate without capacity limitations. Attendees who are not vaccinated will be required to wear a mask when maintaining 6-feet of physical distance is not possible. Outdoor gatherings on NIU property will continue to require university permission. Student organizations that wish to host an event should use the event-registration process in HuskieLink.
Preparing for Fall 2021
Entering this phase is another important milestone in our goal to return to normalcy in August when we welcome new and returning students who are longing for a traditional university experience. This is also a period of adjustment where comfort levels will vary as restrictions are lifted. We need to continue to demonstrate respect and compassion for all as each of us navigates these changes. Huskies should not make assumptions, question, judge or discriminate against others regarding masks or vaccination status.
Supervisors will continue to work throughout June and July to foster flexibility and determine who is needed on campus and at what frequency moving forward to fully support student success and execute our mission.
We will keep you updated on changes and wish you the best all throughout the summer.
Lisa C. Freeman
*The term “fully vaccinated” is defined as someone who is now past the two (2) weeks following their second injection (Pfizer or Moderna) or single injection (Johnson & Johnson).