As the winter break approaches and we look ahead to the spring term, we are taking a close look at Illinois State’s approach to the Coronavirus pandemic. The Omicron variant is spreading at unprecedented rates throughout Illinois, the nation, and the world, resulting in an overwhelming number of positive cases. In our planning efforts, we are working to anticipate the potential impacts of this highly transmissible variant on our campus community. Out of an abundance of caution, Illinois State will begin the Spring 2022 semester with two weeks of online teaching and learning.

Although this is not how any of us expected to begin the spring term, we must continue to make decisions that are in the best interest of the health and safety of our campus community. This decision, made in consultation with University leadership and shared governance partners, is based on the most recent scientific data available from public health and government officials to help us avoid last-minute disruptions to our academic environment.

As I have shared previously, vaccination is the best and most effective protection from COVID-19.  Pfizer and Moderna booster doses for eligible, vaccinated individuals have been found to be especially effective.  It is critical to know that while vaccinated individuals may still test positive, they are significantly less likely to have severe disease, require hospitalization, or die.  Vaccination is even more essential in the fight against the Omicron variant.   

Please review the following actions to start the Spring 2022 semester: 

  • All courses will be delivered online between January 10-January 21.  Some exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis for a small number of specific courses. After January 3, students should regularly monitor their University email address and ReggieNet course pages for additional information.  
  • Illinois State University offices and facilities will reopen as scheduled on January 3, 2022. 
  • In-person teaching and learning will resume on Monday, January 24.  
  • No member of the University community should return to campus if they have tested positive for COVID-19 until the appropriate isolation period has concluded.  
  • Regularly scheduled events will continue with additional mitigation measures implemented where appropriate and feasible. If necessary, events will be subject to cancellation due to updated guidance or mitigation requirements. 
  • Students:  
    • All students, regardless of vaccination status, are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test administered by a healthcare provider, taken no more than 3 days prior to returning to campus facilities. Submit results to the secure Patient Health Portal. Students living in close proximity to campus may test at an on-campus testing site within the 3-day period before they return to campus, but appointment times will be limited.  
    • Students who are on campus and who have not provided Student Health Services (SHS) with evidence of being fully vaccinated are required to participate in weekly on-campus, saliva-based, COVID-19 testing.  
    • Students are also strongly encouraged to obtain and upload proof of a booster vaccine, when they become eligible. Submit booster records as soon as possible to the secure  Patient Health Portal.   
    • Students living in on-campus housing may return to their residence hall or apartment as previously scheduled. However, students are not required to return to campus during the two-week online instruction period, if all their classes are online.  More information about spring move-in will be provided to on-campus students by University Housing Services prior to their arrival. As a reminder, the University is closed from December 23-January 2.  
  • Faculty and Staff:  
    • All faculty and staff, regardless of vaccination status, are required to schedule and take an on-campus SHIELD COVID-19 test as soon as possible upon returning to campus, but no more than one week after returning. 
    • Faculty and staff who are on campus and who have not provided Student Health Services (SHS) with evidence of being fully vaccinated are required to participate in weekly on-campus, saliva-based, COVID-19 testing.  
    • All faculty and staff are also strongly encouraged to obtain and upload proof of a booster vaccine when they become eligible.  Submit booster records as soon as possible to the secure Patient Health Portal.   

It is my hope that this updated approach to the spring semester will provide the least disruption possible to our academic environment during this uncertain time.  I want to extend my most sincere appreciation for your flexibility and adaptability as we face yet another obstacle in our on-going battle against COVID-19.  After so many months, soon to be 2 years, pandemic fatigue is understandable, but please make every effort to remain diligent in your approach to avoid COVID-19 as you enjoy time with family and friends in the coming weeks.  

I hope you can find time to relax and recharge during this break period and wish you good health as we approach the new year. Lastly, for the most up-to-date information about the University’s approach to COVID-19, visit the Coronavirus website or email