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HIGHER EDUCATION

President Dietz urges Illinois State University community to beware of 'COVID fatigue'

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A sign outside Illinois State University's temporary COVID-19 testing facility on Monday instructs students who can be tested at the building.

NORMAL — In a message to the campus community, Illinois State University President Larry Dietz warned against “COVID fatigue” and urged people not to let their guard down.

“Today, I’m asking you to double down and do everything you can to prevent a coronavirus resurgence in our community and at Illinois State University,” Dietz said in Monday’s message, posted online and emailed to faculty, staff and students.

“Due to enhanced testing, tracing, tracking, and cleaning by ISU staff, along with more vigilant adherence to COVID-19 protocols from our students, the University’s coronavirus cases and positivity rates have been a success story as of late,” said Dietz.

In the past seven days, 35 positive cases have been reported among students out of 1,268 tests on campus, for a positivity rate of 2.8%.

However, Dietz warned, “If we let our guard down even for a moment, those numbers could jump to the same levels they reached two months ago, making life difficult for the campus community and dangerous for our most vulnerable populations.”

ISU’s Thanksgiving break begins Nov. 23. Face-to-face and hybrid classes will end at noon Nov. 21. The final week of classes and final exams will take place online.

Larry Dietz

Dietz

Moving all courses online after fall break is being done to allow students to stay home, if they can, and to decrease the density of people on campus after the break and holiday — a time when many students, faculty and staff travel and visit friends and family. The university has noted that such activities increase exposures to risks associated with the spread of COVID-19 and the beginning of flu season.

Students still have the option of returning to campus after fall break but ISU officials “strongly encouraged” those who do to get tested for COVID-19 when they return.

Dietz noted the increased number of televised sports and entertainment events that could lead to more people gathering indoors.

He urged the campus community to keep such gatherings small and continue to follow other safety protocols, such as wearing face coverings, maintaining physical distances, washing hands and cleaning surfaces.

“We cannot afford to slip up as we head into the homestretch of this semester,” said Dietz.

ISU Professor Olcay Akman describes how to look at the effectiveness of various approaches to limit COVID-19 exposure on passenger aircraft.


24 Illinois State students who found fame 

Contact Lenore Sobota at (309) 820-3240. Follow her on Twitter: @Pg_Sobota

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