Message from the Chancellor: UIS COVID-19 Update (March 20)

March 20, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff —

This afternoon, Gov. JB Pritzker announced a stay-at-home order for everyone in Illinois beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday, March 21, through April 7.

A University of Illinois System message followed to address how the order affects decisions and operations for the system and its three universities. Please be sure you review that message if you have not yet done so.

Much of the work we have done thus far at UIS aligns with the governor’s order, which allows universities to continue essential functions, including “facilitating distance learning, performing critical research or performing essential functions, provided that social distancing of six feet per person is maintained to the greatest extent possible.” I commend everyone who has worked so diligently to adapt operations and approaches to course delivery as needed to carry on our educational mission.

Based on the information we have today, below is additional guidance as it pertains to UIS in light of Gov. Pritzker’s order:


  • In the best interest of your health and safety, I urge students remaining on campus to return home if possible. We understand some students have no other options, and UIS will continue providing residential and dining services for those who have permission to continue living on campus. After 6 p.m. today, only students who have permission to remain living on campus will be able to access the residence halls by card-swipe. Please contact the Office of Residence Life at 217-206-6190 or if you need to arrange a checkout between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday, March 21. For students who need to collect their items at a date past Saturday, March 21, please wait until the stay-at-home order is lifted and then consult with Residence Life.
  • Health Services and Counseling Center staff will remain available to students. For Health Services, please call ahead (217-206-6676) to first discuss your health concern with a Health Services employee and to schedule an appointment. For Counseling Center services, please call 217-206-7122 or email to schedule an appointment.


  • If you have been working on-site, please check with your supervisor about whether the governor’s order changes your work arrangement.
  • Faculty who have made arrangements to use designated UIS classrooms or labs to record or stream classes and/or faculty performing critical research may continue to do so, provided social distance is maintained to the greatest extent possible.
  • Faculty and staff who have permission to continue to work on-site are asked to bag and place their trash in the hallway outside their workspace/classroom or in the large trash receptacles located in common spaces/breakrooms. Food waste is not to be left in offices. Please also consider emptying items out of your personal and breakroom refrigerators if you do not anticipate being on campus during the stay-at-home period.
  • ITS has provided information for faculty and staff who intend to remote into their office computers and/or who want to forward their office phones to another number, such as a home or mobile number. Please review the “Guide to Remote Access” webpage for further details, including the “Keep Working” and “Keep Teaching” pages.
  • Mail delivery will continue on campus, and Campus Receiving & Stores will continue to receive and deliver packages.

With fewer people working and living on campus, building access may be limited. Academic buildings will be open when necessary to allow for faculty access to classrooms for remote teaching. The Student Union and Food Studio will be open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends. If you need access to a space that is locked, please be sure you have a working key or swipe-card or call UIS Police Dispatch at 217-206-6690 to request assistance.

Today’s decision by our governor was based on scientific modeling conducted by U of I scientists and other public health experts, who concluded we must quickly take stronger action to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our state. Taking these actions will save lives. We all must comply.

The UIS COVID-19 website continues to be updated frequently, and the email account continues to be monitored to help address questions by faculty, staff and students. Please remember to use these resources to help better understand this rapidly changing situation.

Please do stay safe and healthy in the coming weeks. We will get through this together.

Chancellor Koch