Wednesday, July 08, 2020

UIS releases “Return to the Prairie” plan detailing the safe return of students for fall classes

The University of Illinois Springfield released its 18-page “Return to the Prairie” plan on Wednesday, which includes detailed guidance on how students will safely return to campus for fall classes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

UIS will offer on-campus courses in the form of both on-ground and blended classes. Blended classes will combine face-to-face and remote instruction. All courses will be completed through remote instruction beginning Wednesday, Nov. 25. Additionally, UIS will continue to offer fully online courses.

Face coverings that cover the nose and mouth will be required on campus when a six-foot physical distance from others is not possible. Face coverings are required in all common areas, which includes classrooms.

“It is our best intention to unite us in public health and safety, and we are committed to providing a high-quality experience regardless of the circumstances in which we may find ourselves,” said UIS Interim Chancellor Karen Whitney. “Whether our Prairie Stars are learning via on-campus instruction or remotely, UIS is committed to and capable of providing a high-quality university experience to everyone who calls UIS home.”

Classrooms and laboratories, common, meeting and event spaces will be set up and organized to facilitate appropriate social distancing and will be cleaned and disinfected daily by building service workers.

Students will be allowed to live on campus in single and double occupancy residence halls, townhouses and apartments. Guests will not be allowed in residence halls, and the number of move-in days will be extended to limit congestion and follow social distancing guidelines.

Carry-out options will be encouraged at the UIS Student Union Food Studio with no self-service options available. Seating in dining areas will be arranged to encourage social distancing, and additional barriers will be placed between diners and staff members.

COVID-19 testing will be available to all students on campus through Campus Health Services. UIS is also exploring ways to participate in the SHIELD research initiative at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which would allow all UIS community members to participate in the less-invasive COVID-19 testing program.

The “Return to the Prairie” plan was created by two teams focused on academic planning, student affairs and community engagement. The teams were tasked with developing plans, policies and procedures for fall 2020 course delivery and accompanying student life programs to deliver a premier educational experience, while adhering to federal, state and local guidelines for health and safety on campus.

The full “Return to the Prairie” plan is available on the UIS website at The plan and website will be updated as COVID-19 conditions and situations change.

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