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University of Illinois Takes Steps to Address COVID-19 Risks

3/13/2020 3:27:23 PM Colin Robertson, Illinois CS

Just hours after the World Health Organization declared the recent outbreak of COVID-19 to be a pandemic, the University of Illinois System announced steps to mitigate the public health risks posed by the novel coronavirus.  The new polices include the migration of courses to online or alternative delivery mechanisms by March 23rd, suspending events with more than 50 attendees, prohibiting university-sponsored international travel, and limiting university-sponsored domestic travel. 

In an announcement sent to all three campuses, President Timothy Killeen noted that there have been no confirmed cases among students, faculty, or staff, but that proactive policies are needed to help curb the spread of the virus.  “The new policies were carefully crafted to safeguard our students, faculty and staff without compromising the world-class education and the groundbreaking research discovery that are synonymous with the U of I System,” stated Killeen.

In a follow-up email, Chancellor Robert J. Jones and Provost Andreas C. Cangellaris provided additional guidance for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, noting that, going forward, the most up-to-date information for campus will be available at covid19.illinois.edu.  They also indicated that students should consider staying at their permanent homes after spring break, but that those who are unable to return home or who do not have adequate computer and internet access at home will be welcome to return to campus. 

The Department of Computer Science will provide updates as necessary, but until further notice, these policies should be followed for the rest of the Spring 2020 semester:

  • Courses: Classes will transition to online instruction by Monday, March 23.
  • Events: All in-person events, including interviews, seminars, etc., are cancelled. Each activity should be evaluated to see if an appropriate virtual option can be provided.
  • Meetings: All meetings of two or more people should be planned with virtual participation as an option. In fact, virtual participation is the recommended option, even if people are on campus. If people are involved in in-person meetings, appropriate social distancing must be practiced.
  • Summer Events and Programs: For now, planning for summer programming will proceed as normal. The Department will continue to review this and will revise recommendations as necessary.

To assist the Illinois CS community, here is a short list of resources, as well as postponed or cancelled events. In the next few days, we will update and expand this, and post a CS COVID-19 FAQ.

Resources:

Events:

Engineering Open House

March 27-28

Cancelled

Illinois Computer Science Sail 2020

April 4

Cancelled

Illinois Days Silicon Valley (with a panel including Parisa Tabriz)

April 4

Cancelled

Utpal Banerjee Lecture in High Performance Computing

April 13

Postponed