Students and faculty at the University of Illinois Springfield will return to their in-person classes Thursday, after a two-day closure due to COVID-19 cases.
Contact tracing showed classrooms or work environments on campus were not points of transmission, according to an email from UIS Interim Chancellor Karen Whitney. Transmission is happening at social gatherings or visiting bars and restaurants.
“Our situation is reflecting the situation in the greater community,” Whitney said at a virtual town hall meeting on Wednesday. “With the virus being more prevalent in our community, odds are greater that when people leave campus and interact with others without masks or social distancing, they’re going to come back and test positive.”
Whitney praised the work of the campus COVID-19 response team, which was responsible for getting in touch with those who have tested positive, getting them to isolate, tracing their contacts and requesting that those people quarantine.
Fifteen people tested positive Monday in on-campus testing. An additional person associated with the university tested positive at a community site, and was added to the total cases.
The number of new university-associated cases dropped to four Tuesday, three from saliva-based testing program and one from outside testing.
UIS requires those visiting campus for school or work to be screened once a week, using technology developed at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign.
On-campus food service will continue to be grab-and-go, and all other in-person events must be canceled or moved to virtual format for the next two weeks. Brookens Library and the Recreation Athletic Center will reopen with reduced hours and capacity.
Students and faculty had a choice of online, in-person and hybrid classes at the beginning of the semester. In August, about 25% of the 836 courses had some on-campus element.
UIS will still move to online-only learning after Thanksgiving break through the end of the semester.