Fall 2020

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Return to the Prairie

UIS is United In Safety for returning to on-campus learning this fall. Our comprehensive plan prioritizes the health and safety of students, faculty, staff, visitors and the community while preserving our mission and vision to provide a premier educational experience for all students.

United in Safety: Return to the Prairie

This is the roadmap for returning to campus in August, including learning, living, dining, student activities, and more, with input from the University of Illinois System, Illinois Board of Higher Education, Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan, and UIS stakeholders. Returning to campus is dependent on the state remaining in Phase 4 of Restore Illinois.

Promoting On-Campus Health and Safety

Upon Returning to the Prairie, the campus community will unite to create a safe environment through personal responsibility and enhanced facility precautions. This solidarity reflects our care, respect and compassion for everyone in the Prairie Stars family.

Fall Instruction

Course Delivery

In mid-June, the UI System announced the return of in-person educational activities at its universities. Our return to campus this fall will include safety precautions to promote healthy learning environments and may include a shift from fully in-person classes to other formats.

  • Course delivery may be fully remote, blended (on-campus and remote), or fully on campus.
  • How a course is delivered will be based on learning outcomes, skills, and competencies.
  • This decision will be made by faculty members in partnership with their department chair or dean.
  • Registered students will be notified of the delivery method for their classes the first week of August.
  • Fully online programs are also available for students who prefer not to return to campus.

Safety Measures

  • Face coverings are required in classrooms and all other shared indoor spaces, as well as outdoor spaces where a 6-foot distance cannot be maintained. All students and staff will be provided two reusable cloth face masks to use, or they may use their own.
  • Capacity and size of learning spaces is being evaluated to ensure appropriate physical distancing while attending on-campus classes.
  • Physical distancing and other safety guidelines will be in place throughout all university spaces, including removing or moving furniture in common areas.
  • Safety signage and hand sanitizer stations have been placed throughout campus.
  • Cleaning supplies will be available in many areas for public use, and daily cleaning and disinfecting practices are in place by our trained Facilities team.
  • Many high-traffic areas and buildings will be implementing special guidelines to further prioritize safety.

Our Steps Toward Safety

COVID-19 surprised the world and changed life at institutions of higher learning. UIS was no exception and began implementing best practices in mid-March to adjust to new ways for delivering on our promise of providing a premier educational experience. Faculty began teaching remotely and many implemented new, creative strategies in lieu of hands-on learning opportunities. Staff made adjustments to high-traffic public spaces to encourage social distancing. Our dedicated Facilities staff significantly enhanced cleaning procedures. These are but a few of the precautions that UIS instituted in the beginning and continues to implement as we look forward to welcoming staff, faculty and students back to campus.​


U of I Degree

The University of Illinois System is a world leader in research and discovery, and the largest educational institution in the state with more than 89,000 students, about 25,000 full-time equivalent faculty and staff, and universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. The U of I System awards more than 22,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees annually.


Say Yes to UIS

UIS is particularly well suited to promote a safe environment in a right-sized community, with historically small class sizes for a personalized experience.

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Our Experiences


Jen Brooks

UIS online student presents her research on the Illinois teacher shortage at the state capitol. “What makes it special is how student-centered UIS is,” she said. “I’ve been to other schools where it’s more ‘I’m the professor this is how we do it,’ but I do not get that here. It’s student-led, so you take control of your learning.” Read the full article and watch the video about Jen Brooks.



Shane Harris

Associate Professor of Ceramics Shane Harris talks about his experience and how he adapted to teaching his classes online. Read the full article UIS Ceramics, kneading to find a new way



Marie Watson

UIS Associate Director of Student Life Marie Watson stepped out of her comfort zone and into the social media spotlight. She has been a regular face on weekly Student Life Instagram Live chats. “As soon as we went to remote learning we had to think creatively. Student life is so tied into student success. It impacts how they live and what they experience.” Read the full article about Marie Watson; Stepping out of the box.


Kathy Novak

UIS Associate Professor of Communication Kathy Novak, Ph.D., was only a few weeks into her COM 407 Photojournalism and Photo Documentary Class when Illinois began to shelter in place and UIS students returned home to begin remote learning. The already-online class did not have to adjust for remote learning, but assignments had to be modified immediately. Read the full article Photography students shift focus to capture pandemic moments.



Hear From Us

Listen to a playlist of from our students, faculty and staff, and how they are preparing for the Fall semester.