Campus, including Department of Chemistry, to open for fall instruction with COVID-19 safety precautions

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will open the fall semester with as much in-person instruction and residential occupancy as COVID-19 precautions and space availability allow. The university recently announced that Nov. 20 will be the final day of in-person instruction for the semester with instruction in the remaining weeks of the semester and final exams provided via alternative-delivery methods.

Department of Chemistry faculty and staff as well as the School of Chemical Sciences staff are working on plans to deliver this mix of online and face-to-face instruction for the fall semester.

On Aug. 3, Chancellor Robert Jones announced that mandatory twice-weekly testing will be required for all faculty members, staff and students who participate in any on-campus activities. Faculty members, staff and students who visit university facilities only occasionally – for example, picking up an item from an office – will be required to get tested at a campus testing center and have test results dated no more than four days prior to the planned visit to any university facility.

Volunteer works at a COVID-19 testing site on campus
A volunteer works at the COVID-19 testing site at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center on campus.

The university is proceeding with plans for in-person instruction this fall to the extent possible, augmented by distance-learning instruction for larger lectures and other situations that would not align with plans for enhancing the safety of students, faculty members and staff, as well as the greater Champaign-Urbana community.

The campus plan assumes the university has adequate COVID-19 testing in place and that the state has moved into Phase IV of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan by the start of fall instruction, scheduled for Aug. 24.

“Fall 2020 will be an on-campus semester with as much in-person instruction and residential occupancy as restrictions of space, health and safety allow,” Jones said.

Safety considerations include practicing social distancing, wearing face coverings when social distancing is not possible, checking symptoms and adequate hygiene such as washing hands and using hand sanitizer. The university developed rigorous sanitation procedures and processes to sanitize all university spaces to minimize the ability of the virus to spread. Walk-in on-campus testing for COVID-19 is now available.

The plan aspires to deliver in-person instruction as much as possible, especially for courses such as labs and performance-based courses. Classes that meet in person will be in spaces that allow adequate social distancing between students and professors. As an added precaution, for the health and safety of all, face coverings will be required in all instructional spaces and classrooms.

Other precautions associated with the return to in-person instruction include online options for all students who are not able or who do not prefer to return to in-person or on-campus instruction. All undergraduate class sections of 50 or more students will be online in accordance with the Restore Illinois plan guidelines on gatherings.

The campus response to COVID-19 is evolving as administrators keep watch on new developments with the pandemic. More information and resources for dealing with the pandemic can be found at the College of LAS COVID-19 response site and the University of Illinois COVID-19 response site. Key issues and the latest developments are being discussed in depth in the campus briefing series.

Illinois News Bureau and College of LAS

Resources for Students

  • Instructional Resources

    • Chemistry Learning Center: The CLC is now online helping students with general chemistry. Go to the virtual CLC page
  • Mental Health Resources

    • Department of Psychology: The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Psychology Department recognizes that the coronavirus pandemic poses concerns for both physical and mental health and has collected an extensive list of resources specifically for students, as well as resources that are available to the broader Urbana-Champaign community. These resources are meant to be useful to individuals and as someone who might be concerned about or caring for others.
    • Counseling Center: In this unprecedented time, stress and uncertainty can make it difficult to protect your mental health. Illinois students can always reach out to the Counseling Center.
    • Virtual Counseling: Your health services fee covers free access to an online counseling service. BetterHelp provides students with the chance to interact with accredited professionals, including psychologists, marriage and family therapists, clinical and social workers, and board licensed professional counselors. This online platform allows you to speak one-on-one with a professional both through messaging and scheduled meetings, including live chats, phone calls, or video sessions.  
  • Graduate College COVID-19 Information and Resources

    • The college has assembled a comprehensive collection of information for graduate applicants, current graduate students and postdoctoral scholars as they navigate the circumstances of this situation.

  • The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences COVID-19 Resource page

    • The College of LAS is working closely with the Chancellor and Provost's office to ensure that  students continue to receive a world class education and students, faculty, and staff remain healthy and safe. The college has collected some resources that may be helpful in this unprecedented time.
  • Panel on COVID-19 impact on immigration

    • This recorded panel was organized by the University of Illinois Research Park.
  • International Student and Scholar Services COVID-19 Updates

    • The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is monitoring developments surrounding COVID-19 globally. This page includes updates and FAQs relevant to future and current international students and scholars.