University releases updated guidance for coronavirus outbreak

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The Daily Illini File Photo

Students walk across the main quad between class periods on Thursday, February 22, 2018.

The University of Illinois Office of Student Affairs released a statement Tuesday afternoon urging students to take precautionary measures before leaving campus for spring break March 14-22. The University has not canceled or suspended class activities at this time.

“As a precaution, if you leave campus for spring break, we strongly advise that you take with you everything that you would need to continue your studies if the decision was made to suspend in-person classes. This could include books, computers, supplies, etc.,” said the Office of Student Affairs in a Massmail.

The University’s current policy that “any individual who travels to a CDC COVID-19 Level 2 or Level 3 country will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to campus” was restated in the Massmail. The Office also provided links to the University’s Self-Quarantine Policy.

While the University has made no action to cancel or suspend in-person classes and activities, the Office of Student Affairs said it was examining a variety of alternative options.

“As you know, other universities have announced alternatives to in-person classes for their students, the Massmail said. “We are continuing to look at a variety of options for delivering classroom instruction, in the event that face-to-face instruction needs to be suspended.

Columbia University, Fordham University, New York University, Harvard University, Princeton University, The Ohio State University and University of Southern California are just some of the schools that have already switched to online courses due to coronavirus.

The Department Head of Microbiology, James Slauch, said a Massmail sent to University faculty Tuesday discussed preparing and thinking about what needs to get done if classes need to be shut down.

“The goal will be to minimize the impact on students, but some impact is inevitable,” Slauch said. 

Additionally, Slauch said the decision to cancel his department’s seminars and meetings was made Tuesday in order to minimize people traveling and large groups of people coming together.

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