FAQs from August 6 Fall 2020 Briefing

Questions and Answers from the Aug. 6 Weekly Fall 2020 Briefing with Chancellor Whitney

Residence Life

Q. What will the occupancy be in Residence Life housing?
A. Similar to each year, we are providing double and single occupancy spaces for our residential students. Our plan was developed in consultation with the University of Illinois System, Illinois Department of Higher Education, and CDC guidance

Q. Will guests be allowed in Residence Life housing?
A. Outside guests will not be permitted in any on-campus living area. This includes both daytime and overnight guests. We are defining guests as individuals who do not reside in your residential community. In residence halls, your residential community is considered people who live in your assigned residence hall. In townhouses, your residential community is considered people who live in the townhouses. In apartments, your residential community is considered people who live in the apartments. If you are socializing with others in your residential community, all individuals must abide by physical distancing and face-covering guidelines.

Q. When should I wear a face covering in Residence Life facilities?
A. Face coverings are required inside all common areas of our buildings.

  • Residence Halls: Wear a face covering any time you are outside of your bedroom or bathroom, and/or if someone in your residential community is present in these spaces.
  • Apartments and Townhomes: Wear a face covering in all areas when someone from your residential community is present inside the space.

Q. Will residential common spaces be open?
A. We anticipate our large community spaces will be usable, with physical distancing and face coverings. We are not yet making reservations for these spaces. Floor lounges in the residence halls will be closed. We will be encouraging outdoor activities, meetings and events.

Q. How will Residence Life facilities be cleaned?
A. Our Residence Life facilities staff are deep cleaning all spaces for our residential students’ arrival. After move-in, residents are responsible for cleaning all areas of their assigned and shared assigned spaces; roommates should develop a schedule or system for cleaning shared spaces to protect each other. Our Residence Life facilities staff will continue to clean all public areas and disinfect high-touch areas of community spaces.

Q. Will there continue to be resident engagement and programming?
A. Yes. Our RAs and RDs will continue to engage their residents through remote, virtual and in-person strategies.

Q. What is the schedule for Move-In this year?
A. Move-In is Aug. 17-21. Move-in times will begin at 8 a.m. and run through 3:30 p.m. each day. Residents are signing up for individual check-in times.

Q. Can I bring helpers on my move-in day?
A. There won’t be large groups of volunteers to assist with carrying student belongings this year, but students are allowed to bring up to two friends or family members with them to help move in their belongings. All helpers must be 18 or older and must be free of any COVID-19 symptoms. We encourage residents and helpers to bring their own hand carts, too.

Q. Will I need to take a COVID-19 test before moving in?
A. Yes. Each on-campus resident will be required to provide a saliva sample for testing before getting keys to move into their space. Each on-campus resident will be required to comply with the weekly saliva testing protocol.

Q. Is there a special move-in process for international students?
A. Students who have traveled internationally within 14 days of arriving to campus will need to quarantine for 14 days once they arrive to campus. We have been working with our international students on their arrival times to coordinate their return so that they can be tested and quarantined, as needed. Other students who are or will have traveled internationally within 14 days of returning to campus should contact Res Life as well, to carefully plan their arrival time to also permit testing and quarantine.

Q. What is the process for residential contract cancellation?
A. The deadline was extended to Aug. 14 to submit a Contract Cancellation Request Form. If your cancellation request is received by Aug. 14, and then approved, there will be no charges. If your cancellation request is received after Aug. 14, all applicable charges as denoted on your Housing Contract will be applied. We will review each contract cancellation request on a case-by-case basis. All questions about contract cancellation requests should be sent to reslife@uis.edu.


Q. How will food service work this fall?
A. Things will look different as we strive to comply with federal, state and local guidelines to promote the safety of the university community. However, we will still be providing the largest variety of menu items and service hours possible while working within these guidelines. Examples of some of the changes:

  • Magnetic strip readers at registers so students can swipe their own cards
  • All meals will be served in to-go containers at no additional charge
  • No reusable cutlery, plates, cups, etc.
  • Limiting the number of people allowed in the Food Studio at any given time
  • Floor signs and directional arrows for social distancing
  • No self-serve or made-to-order items, but an increased selection of packaged items
  • Plastic guards installed at cash registers
  • Reduced hours to help limit exposure and allow more time for cleaning
  • New Hours: 7:30-9:30 a.m., 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 4:30-7 p.m.
  • Face coverings required for all employees and customers
  • Hand sanitizers placed at all entrances.
  • Limited/reduced seating to encourage distancing

Q. With a limited menu at the Food Studio, how will students meet their nutritional needs?
A. “Limited menu” does not necessarily mean limited choices! The Chef’s Table will have the same offerings as last year; several international dishes will be available each week, and the Grill will offer many items, including some new, healthier options. We can also address dietary needs on an individual basis.

Q. What will happen at the Student Union to promote safety?
A. Face coverings will be required while not eating. Seating is limited and physically distance. Furniture may NOT be moved and everyone must adhere to table seating limitations. Outdoor seating is available – and umbrellas for most tables for hot days. There will also be a tent up on the north end of the patio for outdoor seating – it will be up for about a month. The Union has also purchased a few “beach” chairs for student use outdoors. Chairs can be checked out from the Welcome desk for up to two hours.

Q. What are the cleaning precautions at the Student Union?
A. Professional staff in Food Service and the Union will follow a scheduled routine for cleaning their areas with an emphasis on high touch areas, bathrooms, kitchen, tables, chairs, stairs, etc. Union staff will also be wiping down flat surfaces, their work areas, checked out equipment, and high touch areas. We are also asking students, staff, faculty and other visitors to the Union to participate in keeping our building safe – there are spray bottles and paper towels available for users to use before or after using a space table.


Q. If someone needs to come to campus for a brief time, does that person need to stop by a testing site?
A. Yes, anyone visiting campus should be tested, no matter how long they plan to be on-site.

Q. How should faculty/students plan for testing prior to coming to class?
A. If you are living on campus or regularly attending classes or working on-site, you should sign up for a weekly testing timeslot. Those who make pop-in visits should be tested the day they are on campus, so plan ahead to ensure you can go through the testing process. You do not have to wait for test results to be on campus.

Q. How are we notified of our testing results?
A. You’ll receive a secure message to log into the health portal to check your results. You do not need to create an account; simply enter your UIS NetID and password.

Q. Is there an identified threshold to pause university operations?
A. We are working on those thresholds and mitigation strategies.

Quarantine & Isolation

Q. What would happen if an on-campus resident tested positive?
A. We would work with that student to move to a separate location on campus if they cannot return home to isolate. The Sangamon County Department of Public Health will start the contact tracing process to notify individuals who were in close contact with that individual to determine if they should isolate or quarantine.

Q. How does notification work if a campus community member tests positive for COVID?
A. Students will be notified of the need to quarantine or isolate from Health Services or the Sangamon County Department of Public Health. Staff and faculty will be notified of the need to quarantine or isolate from the Sangamon County Department of Public Health. Health Services will inform Residence Life if there is a residential student who has been notified to quarantine or isolate.

Q. If necessary, where should I quarantine or isolate?
A. Individuals who need to quarantine or isolate will be strongly encouraged to do so at the permanent home address, or off campus. If this is not possible, Residence Life has set aside a few quarantine and isolation spaces for temporary relocation. During quarantine and isolation, Health Services will work with the student to monitor health conditions daily. Health Services will notify Residence Life at the point an individual has completed their quarantine or isolation.

Q. If an employee tests positive but they are asymptomatic, can they choose to work remotely?
A. Yes, you can work remotely if you are feeling up to it and if you are able to perform your job remotely.