State Colleges & Universities Discuss Return to Campus with IL House

By Benjamin Cox on August 7, 2021 at 8:52am

Illinois House lawmakers heard from Illinois colleges and universities on their return to learning plans this Fall on Thursday.

Most schools are requiring all students and staff to be vaccinated. Those that can’t show proof of vaccination will have to be tested regularly. SIU System President Dan Mahoney says that the vaccine isn’t being mandated on its two campuses in Edwardsville and Carbondale, but it’s strongly encouraged: “With students in particular, we are providing various incentives – both individual incentives as well as group incentives. For certain student organizations that get up to a certain vaccination rate, we are providing them money to help support their student organizations.”

Risk Management and Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Joe Roselieb of Western Illinois University in Macomb says that they are also strongly encouraging all students and staff to get the shot and are offering incentives to do so. He says they also have parameters in place if a case occurs: “I’m going to go on record and say that WIU has one of the best responses within the state with how we have dealt with [COVID-19]. We have two residence halls specifically offline for the use of quarantine and isolation. We have 350 beds available for both quarantine, isolation, and broken out by gender.”

Illinois College, in their Hilltop READY plan, has asked students to send documentation of their vaccination to campus prior to arrival emailing it to Students who upload their vaccination information before arrival on campus in Jacksonville, will be entered into a drawing for $500 in cash. There will be one drawing for every 100 students who submit documentation.

Students who do not get vaccinated will have to provide results of a rapid test prior to moving to campus and then be tested at least twice a week through the campus’ SHIELD testing program in order to remain on campus and enrolled in classes. Unvaccinated students are also being asked to wear masks indoors in certain spaces on IC’s campus.