Eastern still plans to stay on campus

Elizabeth Taylor, Associate News Editor

Despite decisions made by other universities in Illinois, Eastern’s administration intends to keep campus open as long as possible.

University President David Glassman confirmed this decision in a brief written statement received by the Daily Eastern News on Tuesday.

“EIU students will return to campus after Thanksgiving break for the remainder of the Fall semester,” Glassman said. “Also, there has been no change to our Spring semester and EIU students will return to campus after the semester break.”

Northern Illinois University, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Western Illinois University, and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have all made the decision to cancel spring break in 2021 and adjust their schedules to accommodate the different schedule; Eastern has no plans to follow suit.

Other schools in the U.S., including Arizona State University and New Mexico State, are planning to move classes to online-only after Thanksgiving break.

The hope with this decision is to limit cases on campus that could spike due to having students travel home during break.

However, Eastern’s administration feels confident that campus social distancing policies will continue to keep students safe as they return to campus.

Jeannie Ludlow, president of the EIU Chapter of University Professionals of Illinois, said that primary concerns don’t only include students’ physical health; their mental health, stress levels and homework management are also important to keep in mind.

“We all plan to do what we need to do to finish out the semester the same way we started it,” Ludlow said. “There are enough students at Eastern who would be very challenged at home to get their work done, people who when they’re back home would have to share the computer with their family, people who live in places where internet access isn’t as good as we would like it to be for everyone. There are so many more distractions when you’re at home than when you’re on campus.”

The obvious exception to Eastern’s decision would be if Illinois Governor Pritzker mandated a more intensive lockdown like Illinois put in place earlier in the pandemic.

As COVID-19 cases continue to multiply across the U.S., another lockdown could be on the horizon in a second attempt to flatten the curve.

Currently, there are no signs that this will happen any time soon, but professors and students should still be prepared, just in case.

“EIU would not want to make that decision [to shut down], unless the Governor said to us, ‘You really have to do this as a public health concern,’” Ludlow said. “And when he says that, what he means is that the risk of illness or death is higher than the benefit of education. If it gets that bad, then of course we all want to go home.”

Eastern’s academic calendar is available online, and is still accurate and up to date at this time.

 

Elizabeth Taylor can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]