Thanksgiving, COVID and the Next Few Months

November 23, 2020 | by the Elmhurst University COVID-19 Task Force

The following message was sent by President Troy VanAken to the campus community on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020:

Colleagues and Students:

First, I wanted to thank the Elmhurst campus community for coming together and getting us to this point in the Fall Term. Since classes started in August, we’ve done a good job of keeping the spread of COVID-19 to a minimum on campus. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to ignore the significant external surge of COVID-19 in our region and across the country right now. Although I remain optimistic about recent vaccine developments, it’s likely the impact of that solution is a few months away at the earliest. Until then, we must continue to manage the spread of COVID-19 through established best practices like mask-wearing, handwashing and social distancing.

Current Campus Status

As of this afternoon, our campus alert status is yellow. Our plan is to keep campus open for the Fall Term, including residence halls. While campus will remain open, we also want to be respectful of the Governor’s and the Illinois Department of Public Health’s recommendations, so we anticipate a reduced on-campus footprint.

From the start, we have given faculty the latitude to pick their mode of instruction for classes, and a number of faculty members have already moved their classes online for the remainder of the term. We also have encouraged employees to work from home when possible, and the Office of Admission has moved to more online appointments.

COVID-19 testing will continue to be available to the campus community through the end of the Fall Term as well.

Thanksgiving Break Considerations

Please carefully consider who you will spend time with over the Thanksgiving break. Take a moment to assess the risk of gathering with people who don’t live with you.

Although we are not requesting a formal quarantine for those traveling during Thanksgiving and then returning to campus, we strongly urge you to follow all the established protocols, including wearing a mask, washing your hands, and social distancing.

If possible, we recommend you get tested if you return to campus. We also ask that you limit your interaction with others, since we know the virus can take up to two weeks after exposure to produce symptoms or result in a positive test.

Looking Ahead to J-Term

The majority of classes during J-Term will be online or some form of hybrid. We strongly encourage residential students who don’t have a reason to return to campus to stay at home until the start of the Spring Term. Any residential students returning to campus in January will need to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three to five days prior to returning to campus.

The Importance of Staying United

I’m thankful for everyone who has made the effort to protect our campus community this fall. We will keep our campus alert status and testing results updated on our COVID-19 Updates webpage and continue to answer questions via the email.

It’s more vital than ever that we continue to look out for one another during this very concerning surge of the virus. Be careful, be safe, and be mindful of the health care professionals, essential workers and others who are working tirelessly to help us all.

Have a healthy and Happy Thanksgiving.


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