SIU to resume face-to-face classes Jan. 18

CARBONDALE, Ill. (KBSI) – Southern Illinois University plans to resume face-to-face classes starting Tuesday, Jan. 18.

A letter from Chancellor Austin A. Lane posted at on the SIU website on Wednesday outlined the plan to hold face-to-face classes safely, with health and safety protocols in place.

Starting Tuesday Jan. 18, SIU will resume face-to-face instruction. The requirement to wear masks in shared indoor spaces such as classrooms, lobbies and hallways remains in effect. The university will continue to monitor the situation and watch the positivity rates from continued testing, and will adjust plans accordingly.

As of Jan. 12 about 8,000 tests had been conducted on campus or reported from off campus since Jan. 1.

This week, almost 3,700 Salukis have been tested on campus. Of the 2,778 results available, 271 tested positive for an overall positivity rate of 9.8% (6% for employees and 10.1% for students). By comparison, the state positivity rates is 16.7% while Jackson County’s is 20.4%. Last week, 3,456 Salukis tested on campus; 154 results (4.5%) were positive. In addition, 35 residential students out of 1,453 now in the residence halls are isolating on campus.

Data will continue to be updated on SIU’s COVID dashboard page.

School leaders determined they can hold face-to-face classes safely after analyzing data.

Starting Tuesday, face-to-face instruction will resume with safety protocols in place. The requirement to wear masks in shared indoor spaces such as classrooms, lobbies and hallways remains in effect. School leaders will continue to monitor the situation and watch the positivity rates from continued testing. They will adjust their plans accordingly.

If someone needs to be tested, appointments are available. Follow the instructions at the bottom of the on-campus testing page. People who make appointments typically move through the line in 10-20 minutes. Next week, the will offer testing Tuesday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Wednesday 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Thursday, 6 a.m.-2 p.m.

Hourly employees must be tested on campus. If testing on campus would cause a significant inconvenience, email pandemicinfo@siu.edu for instructions to upload an off-campus test result. Be aware that results from at-home COVID tests will not be accepted.

If you have recently tested positive for COVID, upload your information to the Saluki Health Portal. You will not be required to retest for 90 days after the positive result. When the 90 days expire, you will be placed back in the testing protocol (if not fully vaccinated) and required to test weekly.

Fully vaccinated employees and students must test one time. Starting Tuesday, if you are in the testing protocol, you will be required to test each week, per Gov. Pritzker’s executive order.

The type of mask you use should comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guide to face masks. SIU encourages students to double mask or use N95 or KN95 masks.

If you would like to double mask, cloth masks are available for students at the Dean of Students Office (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays), Student Health Center, the Student Center ID office and the Student Recreation Center. Instructors can pick up cloth and disposable masks at their college deans’ and school directors’ offices.

If an employee would like to request an additional SIU cloth mask, an online request form is available, and the masks will be sent via campus mail. To request disposable masks for guests or campus members who have forgotten a mask, please email hrbenefits@siu.edu.

We anticipate our order of N95 masks will arrive this week.

Vaccines, with boosters, are the best way to prevent serious illness and death. A COVID vaccine booster clinic will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Jan. 19-20 at the Student Center Renaissance Room. The Pfizer, Moderna and J&J boosters will be available. To sign up, visit siu.edu/coronavirus. Students and employees who receive a booster shot on campus next week will receive a $5 gift card to Starbucks. If you would like to receive a vaccine, visit vaccines.gov.

Updates will be posted to siu.edu/coronavirus. Questions can be sent to pandemicinfo@siu.edu.

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