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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
Urgent Update for March 12, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

The response to Wednesday’s announcement to extend Spring Break and move to two weeks of non-face-to-face instruction has been affirming. Our community is taking the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) seriously, and I appreciate your continued support during this unprecedented situation.

I want to inform you of some important decisions we’ve made today and to add clarity about what will be happening during the additional week of Spring Break, March 15-22:

Self-Quarantine: Today, the
CDC declared most of Europe as Level 3, requiring all travelers coming to the U.S. to self-quarantine for 14 days. If you have traveled to or from these countries within the past 14 days, we need you to follow the CDC guidelines and self-quarantine at your permanent home. We ask that those self-quarantining complete this form so that we are aware of your absences and can provide you with support.

University-Sponsored International and Domestic Travel: 
Effective today, March 12, all university-sponsored domestic and international travel for faculty, staff and students is prohibited through May 9. Those who believe that they have essential business reasons to travel can request waivers through the Office of the Provost. Please be aware that the issuance of waivers will be rare.

Classes:
All students should expect to keep up with their coursework during the extended Spring Break.

For students currently enrolled in online courses, including 16-week and 8-week online courses that start in the second half of the semester, we are asking our faculty and instructors to communicate to their students about what is expected in terms of student participation and coursework for the week of March 16-22.

Study abroad:
 Effective March 12, NIU has cancelled all international Study Abroad programs for the remainder of the semester through August. This includes all Faculty-Directed, Cosponsored and Internship programs offered for NIU Study Abroad credit. The university is in contact with students and faculty who are currently abroad, and will offer assistance to address academic and financial issues that might arise from this decision.

Events:
Under the direction of the DeKalb County Health Department, NIU has now cancelled all events with more than 25 attendees through at least April 6. Given the unpredictability of this situation, scheduling events for April 7 and shortly thereafter might be impractical. We acknowledge the impact that the cancellation of events has on participants, spectators and more, but we must prioritize public health at this time. 

Again, this is a very dynamic situation – one that requires us all to seek reputable sources for information, practice smart hygiene and social distancing, and as always, show one another kindness and patience.

We will continue to provide updates on important developments at NIU.

Lisa C. Freeman
President

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