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NIU announces plan for rest of semester amid COVID-19, push for online learning "wherever possible"

DeKALB – With the holidays approaching and COVID-19 surging across the region, state and nation, Northern Illinois University President Lisa Freeman announced this week plans to transition certain courses not already online to remote by Nov. 30.

Students living on campus can remain, however, though staff and faculty able to work from home are encouraged to do so.

According to a letter sent by Freeman to the campus community Monday, though the majority of NIU courses are already online, those undergraduate and graduate courses that are able to do so should transition to online beginning Monday, Nov. 30.

“The majority of NIU classes that don’t need to be face-to-face are already being delivered online,” Freeman said. “At this time, wherever possible, we want to transition those remaining undergraduate and graduate classes and class activities to online delivery beginning Monday, Nov. 30, through the remainder of the semester.”

That coincides also with a directive by the DeKalb County Health Department, which recently sent out a recommendation that school districts in the county go remote through at least Jan. 19.

Freeman also said those students and staff able to work and learn from home should do so.

“Beginning Wednesday, all employees who are able to work from home are asked to do so for the remainder of the calendar year,” Freeman said. “As always, our supervisors are asked to be thoughtful, patient and flexible in leading their teams during this challenging time.”

Student employees whose jobs require them to be on campus can remain, however, the letter states.

For three days this week, NIU also offered a free pop-up COVID-19 testing site in conjunction with local and state health officials to encourage the campus and greater DeKalb County community to get tested for the viral respiratory disease prior to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Since the semester began, NIU has also been conducting regular and daily testing of its student and staff population to mitigate community spread, and daily case numbers on campus have remained stable, in single digits for the most part, for more than a month.

Surveillance testing where NIU tests a random pool of campus members daily to better asses community spread, where its occurring, and who to quarantine – will pick back up the week of Nov. 30 after Thanksgiving.

Residential halls and dining facilities will remain open for students living on campus, however.

“This has been an immensely difficult year,” Freeman said. “Our employees have dealt with great obstacles and uncertainties, but you have risen to the occasion and made all Huskies proud. I remain deeply grateful for how you’ve embraced change and for the unwavering commitment you continue to demonstrate when it comes to protecting our pack. Please continue to take of yourselves and others.”

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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