Coronavirus Updates

Email from Provost Ka Yee C. Lee (Mar. 30, 2020)

From: Ka Yee C. Lee, Provost
Subject: Restricted Access to University Facilities

In the last weeks and days, we have taken unprecedented steps to keep people safe from COVID-19 and to stop the transmission of this virus. We appreciate the tremendous support across campus and the flexibility you have shown as we work together to keep our community safe. Despite such efforts across the state, new COVID-19 cases are continuing to increase rapidly in Illinois with widespread community transmission, and we must do more to “flatten the curve.”

Therefore, beginning on Tuesday, March 31, at 5 p.m., all academic and administrative campus buildings will move from general key card access to secure key card access, whereby only those individuals deemed essential personnel who must be on campus will be able to access the facility. Each unit has previously compiled a list of essential personnel whose key cards (University IDs) will now be the only cards that can unlock doors. Since our goal is to significantly reduce the number of people on campus, we have asked the deans and officers to review the list of essential personnel for their units and limit access to the fewest possible people.

We recognize that some instructors have particular situations that make teaching remotely from home very difficult. We will consider designating instructors as essential personnel at the request of deans, on a very limited case-by-case basis and for teaching purposes only. In these cases, we will identify specific classrooms for teaching and recording course sessions, and those classrooms will be cleaned after each use.

Much like the City of Chicago has been forced to close public parks and playgrounds, we are forced to ensure that only those who truly must be on campus can access our facilities. Protecting the health of these individuals is paramount and having extra people in our buildings increases the chance of illness for those who must come to campus, including our front-line healthcare workers.

The University is an intellectual home and community for all of us, and I recognize that this additional measure of locking our doors, albeit temporarily, will be difficult for many of us. While for now we cannot gather together on campus, we remain united as a community as we work together in our fight against the coronavirus pandemic. This is an extraordinary step needed to protect the University and our broader community.  Thank you for your partnership and commitment in these difficult times.