Over the past few days, I have received several messages regarding the summer campus environment, and the fall 2020 semester at Illinois State. I understand that some people are apprehensive. I also appreciate the expressions of support I have received from the University community.
Dozens of staff members are working almost non-stop to help Illinois State navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, and I am grateful for such a powerful level of commitment and diligence. I am also proud that ISU has been a model of compliance with federal, state, and local directives regarding cleanliness, safety, and well-being.
Going forward, Illinois State will continue to follow state and local regulations while providing our students with the premier on-campus university experience that has been the foundation of our strength and stability for decades. The individualized attention that we offer our students and their families has allowed ISU to thrive academically and financially, while many other Illinois public universities have been forced to lay off or furlough faculty and staff members, cut programs, and close facilities.
As we gain a clearer understanding of the context in which Illinois State will operate in fall 2020, I and other University leaders will continue to communicate the steps we are taking to provide a Redbird-quality education as safely as possible. Human Resources will soon be communicating Illinois State’s approach to Governor Pritzker’s “Restore Illinois” blueprint regarding the safe and gradual return to on-campus operations over the summer.
Additionally, in planning for fall 2020, the division of Academic Affairs will be seeking input from departments, schools, and faculty members regarding what courses can be offered in alternative formats while preserving academic quality and integrity. As we create the “new normal,” where Redbirds can continue to teach, learn, and serve safely, I understand that once the University details its plans for fall 2020, individuals will consider their own role. Please be assured that a full spectrum of actions will be contemplated to ensure our campus environment will be as safe as possible, including processes to address faculty, staff, and students who may face a higher health risk.
I wish all of you the best, and I look forward to your continued counsel and support.