Western Illinois University is making considerable changes to the fall semester due rising cases of COVID-19.
The WIU Administration has announced the school is transitioning to full remote learning through the end of the calendar year. Interim President Martin Abraham told WGEM that administrators are watching the COVID numbers closely, and the numbers are going up.
Abraham says effective immediately, group sizes are being limited to 25 people and dining halls will be carry out only. He says all students will move to full remote learning following the Thanksgiving holiday break.
He says the school is making the change due to their moving up a level in terms of a warning level for COVID. McDonough County is currently on the Illinois Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 metric warning list with a positivity rate of 8.2% as of Saturday.
Abraham says following Thanksgiving break, there is only three weeks of classes before students again leave for the Christmas holiday break, and school administrators feel it’s safer to keep students at home and not increase risk they will bring the virus back to the campus.
WIU is one of many schools who are skipping spring break this year as another effort to stop the spread of COVID among students. Abraham says as of right now, the plan going forward is to return to the current hybrid combination of remote and in-person learning during the spring semester, which begins on January 19th.