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Illinois moves to Phase 5; campus COVID-19 guidelines change

June 11, 2021

Today marks an important COVID-19 milestone in Illinois. Gov. J.B. Pritzker has confirmed the move to a full reopening, also known as Phase 5, the final phase of the Restore Illinois plan.  

The state’s guidance allows those who are vaccinated to wear their masks less, and it allows the college to take a significant step closer to our "new normal."

Starting today, June 11, and as a temporary measure through June and July (or a shorter period if circumstances call for tightening of mitigation efforts), Augustana College maintains these expectations:

For all community members

• You are welcome to remove your masks outdoors while on campus. Please continue physical distancing.

• Anyone planning to continue wearing a mask is welcome to do so.

• Meetings may be held in person, and that practice is even encouraged. Please continue being mindful of space and reasonable capacities in rooms. Those attending meetings are welcome to request that everyone in the meeting wear a mask, and supervisors/meeting facilitators should provide opportunities for that request to be made and honored by all in attendance. Employees are not required to share their vaccination status in meetings.

• Please continue carrying a face covering with you at all times and be prepared to wear it as necessary or requested.

• Immediate family members of employees are welcome to resume activities at the PepsiCo Recreation Center and are also welcome to visit campus.

• All visitors should adhere to the same guidance and recommendations of internal community members such as Restore Illinois Phase 5 guidance.  

For fully vaccinated community members

• You are welcome to remove your masks both indoors and outdoors while on campus.

• You may go without a mask inside campus buildings.  

• While public health guidance is not requiring physical distancing between vaccinated individuals, Augustana College is encouraging minimal contact and physical distancing for all community members at this time.

• There is no requirement to continue using temperature check stations or the Campus Clear app.

For community members who are not fully vaccinated

• You should remain masked in all public areas inside buildings on campus.

• You should remain masked both inside and outside when engaged with others such as in meetings or as you walk with a colleague across campus.

• You should continue physical distancing of at least 6 feet. 

• You should continue to use temperature checks stations or the Campus Clear app. 

Vaccination status

Vaccination status is being managed on the honor system at this time. If infection rates increase considerably, spread occurs on campus, or other unforeseen circumstances occur, vaccination status may need to be verified later.  

Over the coming days and weeks, the Augustana Strong Task Force will continue to consider the public health guidance and expert information shared through the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Restore Illinois plan, the Centers for Disease Control and Department of Education, as well as other public health authorities.

That guidance will assist the college in addressing matters such as the future of contact tracing and quarantine at Augustana, establishing further details on larger group gatherings on campus, future practices of the fine arts and athletics, expansion of our admissions visitor process, protocols in dining, and best practices delivering in-person instruction. 

Moving forward, employees with specific questions should consult with their supervisors, and students should talk with their residential life staff members or the Dean of Students office.

Let’s also rely on our Community Principles of Care and Responsibility. While there’s a strong indication that a large majority of the campus community is vaccinated, we also know that roughly half of our local community is currently unprotected. Even if you’re vaccinated, please ask colleagues you interact with if they’d be more comfortable remaining masked. They may have children or vulnerable family members in their households who remain at risk for infection.

Finally, we realize there are questions about whether the college will require employees and/or students to be vaccinated upon return to campus later this summer. Please be assured that President Steve Bahls continues to work closely with outside experts and the Augustana Strong Task Force leadership. A final decision will be announced no later than July 9.

We are Augustana Strong. 

Sincerely,
 
Dr. Wes Brooks
Vice President and Dean of Student Life
Chair of the Augustana Strong Task Force