CHICAGO (CBS) — Assuming Illinois moves into the next phase of reopening, as expected later this month, the University of Illinois said Thursday it plans to reopen its three campuses this fall, with a mix of in-person and online classes, and new restrictions for dormitories and dining halls.
“Plans to restore in-person instruction were developed through weeks of exhaustive review that brought together literally hundreds of key stakeholders and considered every available option, from a full return to traditional instruction to remaining fully online,” the university said in a statement.
The university said students at all three campuses — in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago, and Springfield — would be required to wear masks in all classrooms, with schedules adjusted to allow for proper social distancing. Reusable, washable masks will be provided for all students, and classrooms will be cleaned and disinfected daily.
Students who don’t or can’t return to campus will be able to take all of their classes online.
Visitors to campus also will be asked to wear masks in public, and observe social distancing guidelines. Faculty and staff also will be required to wear masks in classrooms, research facilities, shared offices, and other publicly shared spaces.
As for online classes, the university said faculty are receiving ongoing training in remote instruction technologies and virtual programs.
According to the university’s website, students returning to campus will be subject to COVID-19 testing, using a new saliva test developed by U of I researchers. Faculty and staff also will have an opportunity to be tested starting in July.
“Our scientists are piloting cutting-edge testing procedures for the COVID-19 virus that are accurate, cost-effective and scalable to the whole university community and provide same-day results,” the university said in a statement.
Officials also are working on plans for testing up to 10,000 people per day, and are developing a “risk-weighted randomized testing algorithm” to maximize testing capacity.
New restrictions also will be in place for dormitories and dining halls. There will be a limit of two students per room, and no visitors allowed inside residence halls. The university also will set up quarantine areas for students who test positive for the virus, or display symptoms of the disease.
Meals at dining halls will largely be prepared for carry-out, with limited in-person seating.
Common areas also will be cleaned and disinfected daily, and hand sanitizer will be available throughout all three campuses.
Gatherings on campus will be based on the state’s reopening guidelines, which limits groups to no more than 50 people during Phase 4.
“The pandemic is still evolving, so our plans will be flexible and nimble. We will monitor campus safety and the latest guidance on the virus, and will adjust plans as needed to protect the well-being of our students, faculty, staff and the communities we call home,” the university said.