Glassman announces updated COVID-19 policy

Glassman+announces+updated+COVID-19+policy

Kyara Morales-Rodriguez, Associate News Editor

In an email sent to all Eastern students on Tuesday, Aug. 31, President Glassman said that Eastern’s COVID-19 guidelines will change slightly after Governor JB Pritzker issued an Executive Order with new mandates for colleges and universities across Illinois.

According to the Executive Order, all higher education personnel and students need to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

In a press release, Governor Pritzker said that those “who do not receive the vaccine or those who opt out for medical reasons or based on a sincerely held religious belief must follow a routine testing schedule to detect cases early and prevent future spread.”

In the email, Glassman explained how the new COVID-19 vaccination mandates will affect the university.

He said that “The Executive Order and revised vaccination/testing policy at EIU becomes effective on September 5, 2021.”

Eastern personnel and students who are fully or partially vaccinated must upload their vaccination status immediately if they haven’t already. Those who demonstrate proof of full vaccination do not need to participate in the mandatory COVID-19 testing.

Those who are not vaccinated, not fully vaccinated or do not wish to disclose their vaccination status with the university “will be required to submit to the mandatory weekly (or more frequent) SHIELD testing.”

SHIELD Testing will be available Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Court 5 of the Student Recreation Center.

“In order to meet the expectations of the Executive Order, students and employees who do not comply with mandated testing as required will be subject to disciplinary action,” Glassman said.

The decision to issue a new Executive Order came in response to COVID-19 cases and hospitalization rates increasing across Illinois.

“The public health requirements come as regions with low vaccination rates continue to see a surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations,” Pritzker said. “In IDPH region 5, Southern Illinois, with the lowest vaccination rate in the state at 44 percent, only 3% of ICU beds are available as the region experiences the highest case rate in the state. Since August 1st, local health departments across the state have reported 27 COVID-19 outbreaks at schools and currently hundreds of schools are being monitored for potential COVID-19 exposures.”

Pritzker said that the increasing spread of COVID-19 “in Illinois and across the country is holding us all back from the post-pandemic life we so desperately want to embrace, and it’s harming the most vulnerable among us.”

Eastern’s Medical Clinic hosts a COVID-19 vaccine clinic every Tuesday. In order to schedule an appointment, personnel and students may call the Medical Clinic at 217-581-3013.

Those who may have questions regarding COVID-19 can contact [email protected] with their questions, and “they will be addressed individually or through future updates as soon as possible.”

Kyara Morales-Rodriguez can be contacted at 581-2812 or at [email protected]