Weather Alert

University of St. Francis Resume Classes Online Following Spring Break

Dear University of St. Francis Students, Faculty, and Staff,

The global outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 continues to be a focus of attention and concern. The health and safety of our entire USF university community remains our highest priority.

We are engaged and monitoring the situation and meeting in real-time to review local, regional, and national health agency reports and preparedness plans. We are also in communication with local officials on preparedness and response plans. Out of an abundance of caution, we have modified USF’s operations in order to fulfill our educational mission as a student-focused institution, while keeping our campus community safe and healthy and, hopefully, helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

This is a very fluid situation, and we will continue to meet regularly and provide updates. While there are currently no reported or suspected cases of the novel coronavirus in Joliet, in Albuquerque, or on any campus of the University of St. Francis, we are taking the following precautions to safeguard the health of all members of the USF community and our educational partners effective Monday, March 16:

CLASSES

  • All classes will resume after Spring Break but will be delivered in online format beginning Monday, March 16, with in-person classes scheduled to resume Monday, April 13.
  • USF is providing ongoing support, as needed, to faculty members to help them convert on-campus instruction to online learning. Faculty are being encouraged to communicate directly with their students to ease the transition to online learning over the next week.
  • Students should contact their professors about student teaching, internships, clinical placements, or similar individual face-to-face learning activities.USF’s Academic Resource Center will remain open, as scheduled.

UNIVERSITY OPERATIONS

  • The university’s campuses remain open to fulfill our mission and maintain continuity. We will continue to work with public health and government agencies to monitor the situation and communicate any updates.
  • Campus operations will continue at this time – with employees reporting for work according to their normal work schedules.
  • Residence halls will reopen, as scheduled, at noon on Sunday, March 15. Students who wish to continue to live in campus residence halls may remain there.
  • For safety and security reasons, all residential students must inform us of their decision to live in on-campus housing or to reside off campus. Please respond to the online survey (texted and emailed to you by [email protected]) by noon on Sunday, March 15. This information ensures that we are aware of who is living on campus to help ensure the safety of all students in case of an emergency.
  • Campus dining services, the counseling center, student health services, and other student services will remain open.
  • USF employees are essential to our campus and community.  If you believe you may be ill, or are symptomatic, please contact your health care provider and take sick days, as needed. Please work with your supervisor if you are out of sick days. The university does not want employees who are ill to come to work.
  • USF student employees who do not intend to return to campus should contact their supervisors to inform them of their plans.
  • Students, faculty, and staff who believe they may be ill should contact their health care provider, instructors, department chair, or supervisor.
  • Employees who may be in an “at risk” category due to conditions including, but not limited to, autoimmune conditions, asthma, COPD, diabetes, or other respiratory illnesses may have the option to work remotely. Please speak with your supervisor to explore such arrangements.
  • USF Building Services are working thoroughly to clean campus buildings and employ best-practice disinfecting protocols.

TRANSPORTATION

  • Campus shuttles will not run between campuses until Monday, April 13.
  • All University-sponsored international travel and non-essential University-sponsored travel has been suspended indefinitely.
  • Essential travel constitutes trips that are absolutely necessary, to events that must be completed face-to-face, and cannot be rescheduled. Contact your division’s vice president if you are seeking an exemption for travel.

UNIVERSITY EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES

  • On-campus gatherings are limited to no more than 25 people until further notice. Any pre-scheduled gatherings of more than 25 people should be canceled or postponed. Please contact the person in charge of your event for more information.
  • ATHLETICS: The NAIA has canceled its 2020 Winter championships.  While the situation remains fluid, all USF intercollegiate athletic events and practices are suspended until such time as the guidance of the CCAC, the NAIA, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will permit their resumption.

STAY INFORMED

  • Please refer to the university website for any additional information relating to campus operations in light of COVID-19.
  • We will continue to evaluate developments and provide further updates and guidance via campus email and posted online at stfrancis.edu/emergency-alerts.

USF continues to ask everyone in the university community to follow the CDC recommendations for preventive actions:

  • Stay home if you are sick. If you are sick, please do not return to campus until you are symptom free for 24 hours.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

The health, safety, and well-being of our university and communities remains our highest priority.

I understand these circumstances present challenges for many who learn, teach, and work at USF. Let us come together as a resilient and determined community to rise above these challenges as we engage in respectful dialogue across our differences and in the common pursuit of truth.  We will continue to serve the needs of our students and fulfill our mission. Thank you for your patience and adaptability during this time.

As the situation evolves, we will continue to monitor updates from local, state, and federal agencies. If we change parts of these plans, I will keep you updated and informed.

Peace and all good things,

Arvid C. Johnson
President
University of St. Francis

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Communication 1 on Coronavirus/COVID-19  (03-03-20)

Dear USF community,

The health, safety, and well-being of our students and staff are among our highest priorities at the University of St. Francis. Please take a moment to review the following information regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19), which has understandably caused concern internationally, domestically and even locally.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has created a COVID-19 reference page that provides guidance for Illinois universities and colleges. Provided below are some excerpts from the document. You may also access the complete document for additional information by clicking here or by visiting http://dph.illinois.gov.

1) Currently, the health risk to the general public from COVID-19 remains low, both in the U.S. and specifically in Illinois. The goal of the ongoing U.S. public health response is to detect new cases quickly and prevent community spread of COVID-19. The coming days and weeks are likely to bring more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and globally, but strong public health measures now may blunt the impact of the virus. For current Illinois statistics regarding COVID-19, please click here.

2) Any student or school personnel returning from a Level 3 country (which includes China, Italy, South Korea, Iran as of 3/2/2020) should not attend school or work for 14 days after the return date. Absences for this purpose should be excused and alternate arrangements should be made for teleworking and online school assignments. Individuals who returned from mainland China in the previous 14 days and develop respiratory symptoms including fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, should seek medical care right away. University health services should immediately notify their Local Health Department.

3) At this time, there is no need to cancel school or social events. However, as with any respiratory virus, students and school personnel should stay home and avoid events when they are ill, and are not to return to class/work until they are fever-free without medication for 24 hours. In the event that the university is advised by authorities to proceed in a different manner, USF will communicate the specified instructions to students and employees via the RAVE messaging system (phone, email and text).

4) There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 infection. As with any respiratory virus, students and school personnel can protect themselves and others by taking common sense actions, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick and do not return to class/work until you are fever-free without medication for 24 hours.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

5) At this time, no special sanitizing processes beyond routine cleaning are necessary or recommended to slow the spread of respiratory illness. Schools should follow standard processes for routine cleaning and disinfecting with an EPA- registered product. Please note that USF already follows this practice.

6) The Illinois Department of Public Health does not currently recommend the use of masks or gloves, the canceling of mass gatherings, nor the canceling of classes. Again, in the event that the university is advised by authorities to proceed in a different manner, USF will communicate the specified instructions to students and employees via the RAVE messaging system (phone, email and text).

7) The Diocese of Joliet has also implemented the following precautions during the celebration of Mass in light of concerns related with the potential spreading of COVID-19:

  • Suspension of shaking hands or other physical contact at the sign of peace.
  • Suspension of the distribution of the Precious blood to the faithful at communion time.
  • All ministers of communion are to wash their hands thoroughly before Mass; a further precaution suggests using an alcohol based anti-bacterial solution before and after distributing communion.

In addition to the linked information from the Illinois Department of Public Health referenced at the beginning of this correspondence, listed below are links to additional resources that offer information on the coronavirus outbreak:

We want to reiterate that the health, safety, and well-being of our students and staff are among our highest priorities at the University of St. Francis. If you have any concerns regarding COVID-19, please call the USF Health and Wellness Center at 815-740-3864 or visit the Health and Wellness Center at Tower Hall S213. You are also encouraged to call the Illinois Department of Public Health at 1-800-889-3931 or email [email protected] to have any COVID-19 questions answered.

Sincerely,

Dave DiLorenzo
Director of Community and Government Relations
University of St. Francis


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