In preparation for the start of the Fall Term, more than 700 Elmhurst University students and parents recently participated in three virtual town halls on health and safety, academics and student life.
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
Health and Safety
Will everyone be required to wear a mask on campus?
For our collective health and safety, everyone on campus will be required to follow state and University protocols on face masks. Wearing face masks will be mandatory for all public areas inside University buildings, including hallways, classrooms and restrooms. Outdoors, masks will be required whenever physical distancing is not possible. Face masks will not be required outdoors if physical distancing is practiced. Residence hall students will not need to wear a face mask in the privacy of their own room, and employees will not need to wear one in their private office unless visitors are there.
What safety measures will be in place, especially for classrooms and residence halls?
- Cleaning, disinfecting: Residence halls and classrooms are being pretreated and retreated with an anti-microbial solution that will inhibit viruses from surviving on coated surfaces. In classrooms, high-friction surfaces will be wiped down three times a day. In the residence halls, bathrooms and other shared spaces will be cleaned three times a day. In addition, carts will be available throughout campus with cleaning solution, hand sanitizer and masks.
- Signage: Signs and other physical markers will be placed throughout campus to communicate social distancing, hand-washing and mask-wearing requirements.
- Facilities, equipment: Air handler filters have been replaced with hospital-grade air filters. Special equipment, including aerators and UV lighting, will be used regularly to disinfect classrooms, residence hall rooms and common areas.
What is the process if a student tests positive for COVID-19?
There is no shame in testing positive for COVID-19. For the collective safety of the campus community, any student or University employee who tests positive should complete the Elmhurst University COVID-19 Self-Reporting Form online, so that contact tracing can take place. Contact tracing will only go as far as contacting those associated with Elmhurst University.
A limited number of isolation spaces will be available for residential students who test positive, although students will be asked to quarantine at home if possible. The University will work with Dining Services to deliver meals to quarantined students.
How will campus decide whether to pivot and close the campus again?
We are continually monitoring the situation at the city, county and state levels, and also are finalizing trigger points that would lead the campus to move to completely remote learning.
Academics and Student Finances
How will classes be offered in the fall?
Courses will be taught through one of five modalities, all designed to prioritize academic rigor and academic excellence, and to sustain the kind of individualized, student-focused experience Elmhurst University students expect. The five modalities include:
- Traditional in-person: Class meets in person, with face masks and social distancing protocols.
- Synchronous hybrid: Class meets at designated dates and times, with some students learning remotely and some in-person at the same time.
- Asynchronous hybrid: Doesn’t meet at a structured date/time—schedule would be determined by each faculty member. Meets infrequently face-to-face, mostly remote through Blackboard.
- Synchronous online: Doesn’t meet face to face but does meet at specific dates and times.
- Asynchronous online: Traditional online class that doesn’t meet in-person and can be tailored to each student’s schedule.
How do students find out how their classes will be offered?
They can see that information now on BlueNet. In addition, faculty will be contacting students registered for their courses to clarify modalities and expectations.
If more than one option is available, can students choose the modality they prefer?
Yes, students can consult with their academic advisor to modify their schedules according to their preference.
Are most classes online?
Actually, approximately two-thirds of courses have an in-person component, meaning they are traditional, in-person courses or some variation of hybrid. The remainder are fully online.
What happens if a commuter student has an online class between two in-person classes?
The University will have socially distanced spaces available for commuter students to participate in online instruction from campus.
Will Elmhurst adjust tuition and fees?
Tuition won’t change, but scholarship and financial aid levels also will not be reduced, and students who have been significantly affected by COVID-19 should reach out to the Student Financial Services office to see whether a financial aid adjustment is warranted.
If the campus has to move to completely remote learning, the University will prorate room and board charges accordingly.
Activities and Student Life
Will there be campus events, and student clubs and activities?
We plan to maintain a full roster of student activities in online, in-person and hybrid formats. All activities will follow state and University requirements and guidelines. Generally, that means wearing face masks, practicing physical distancing, and limiting attendance at in-person meetings and events to no more than 50 people.
Some upcoming events (to be held online, in-person or in a hybrid format) include:
- The Taste of Elmhurst student organization fair
- Weeks of Welcome (WOW) activities
- Sorority and fraternity recruitment
- Culture Fest
- Intramural recreational activities, ranging from esports tournaments to hybrid fitness classes
What campus facilities will be open?
All of our campus facilities, including the Frick Center and the A.C. Buehler Library, will be open. So will our athletic and recreational facilities, including the newly renovated R.A. Faganel Hall and the Tyrell Fitness Center. In addition, some new spaces in the Frick Center will be available, including the Commuter Student Lounge and new prayer rooms for our Muslim students.
The latest information and updates related to COVID-19, including our campus reopening plan, Bluejays Unite! A Return to Campus plan, can be found at elmhurst.edu/covid19.