The Office of the President emailed students Thursday announcing Northeastern Illinois University’s decision to extend Spring Break through March 29. Dr. Gloria Gibson’s targeted announcement also informed students that all events and travel plans are canceled until further notice.
While there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus COVID-19 within the NEIU community, the targeted announcement categorized the measures as preemptive steps aimed at keeping “students, faculty and staff healthy and safe.”
The email reads that while the schedules of faculty, staff and administrators remain uninterrupted, faculty are instructed to determine alternative methods to deliver course instruction despite no immediate plans for the university to close.
“Faculty, staff and administrators should continue their normal work schedule during these two weeks,” reads the targeted announcement. “Also during this time, faculty will develop alternate modes of course delivery, as appropriate, to replace face-to-face instruction.”
Events of 50 or more students have also been postponed indefinitely in addition to the cancelation of school-sponsored travel over spring and summer breaks. The decision follows the suspension of NEIU’s Alternative Spring Break, which planned faculty-led trips to Philadelphia, Pa., Tuscon, Ariz., Selma, Ala., and Miami, Fla.
Gibson also detailed the university’s plan to further emphasize cleanliness and sanitation, outlining its plan to deep clean each of NEIU’s four Chicagoland locations. Going forward, a task force assembled by Gibson will provide her–and by extension, the university–up-to-date on developments and recommendations pertaining to COVID-19.
According to Gibson, “Over the next two weeks we will deep clean all University locations, including El Centro, Carruthers Center and CCAS, and employ additional measures like disinfection of high-touch surfaces and common areas, such as classrooms, washrooms, stairwells and gathering spaces. In addition, hand sanitizer stations have been ordered and will be placed at building entrances upon arrival.
“I realize how these decisions may result in great disappointment and a tremendous inconvenience for all of us. But we feel strongly at this time that this is the right thing to do. As many of you know, other universities around the country are taking similar precautions.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently declared coronavirus COVID-19 a pandemic. According to WHO’s website, an influenza pandemic is a novel strain of the virus to which the human population has little to no immunity.
On Monday, Gov. J.B. Prizker formally announced a disaster declaration, Illinois’ version of an emergency declaration. Two days later, the state of Illinois confirmed six new cases of the coronavirus, raising the total to 25. Of those six cases, three patients are aged 7o or older. Two other patients are in their 50s while the other is a man in his 40s.
The COVID-19 pandemic rippled throughout America, with the NBA, NHL, AHL, WTA and NBA G-League all suspending their seasons. Ultra Music Festival announced the cancelation of the 2020 version of its festival while various college basketball leagues canceled their conference tournaments. Additionally, four high-profile celebrities–Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson and Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz–contracted the virus.
Information on task force activities, discoveries and personnel can be found at neiu.edu/coronavirus.