Our Northern Illinois University community has been purposeful, proactive and vigilant in our efforts to support the health and well-being of our fellow Huskies during COVID-19 and its many challenges. Even during this period of uncertainty, our legacy of caring for each other and helping our neighbors, along with our passion for teaching, learning and discovery, and our unwavering commitment to equity and inclusion, have sustained us and kept us moving forward.
This plan – “Protecting the Pack” – was created through collaboration, with input from across the university. It reflects our science- and values-informed approach for facing the challenge of returning to campus this fall, as well as our desire to foster student success and community, and to maintain scholarly activity and services during these exceptional times. “Protecting the Pack” also acknowledges the diverse needs of Huskies and provides options to accommodate those who return to campus and those who stay connected remotely.
Even with prudent precautions in place, we must be realistic about proceeding. COVID-19 infections are likely to occur on our and other university campuses despite extensive efforts to protect against virus spread. Because of that inevitable reality, all of us returning to campus must do our part to acknowledge and follow the advice, recommendations and protocols in place to better protect ourselves and others and to help prevent an individual infection from becoming an outbreak.
Reducing the spread of COVID-19 requires a nimble, aggressive approach. Public health guidance will continue to evolve, and our plan and actions will need to change accordingly. Huskies will need to remain responsible, flexible and informed. We also need to remember at all times that behind every mask is a fellow student or colleague deserving of compassion and respect.
By working together and supporting one another, we will get through this and come away stronger. I’m deeply appreciative for the tireless contributions of our faculty and staff throughout this unprecedented time, and look forward to welcoming all students to the new semester.
Lisa C. Freeman