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Saints United

Update for the Summer 2021 Semester

On June 16, 2021, USF announced several updates to components of the COVID-19 safety practices outlined in the USF Preparedness Plan. Please refer to the Updates tab of the navigation menu below to review the new information. Please also know that efforts to update the Preparedness Plan will continue over the coming weeks. These updates will be shared with the USF community as they are finalized, and an updated version of the Preparedness Plan will be shared at that time, as well.

To see more details, select from the following options:

COVID-19 Update (6/16/2021)

Dear USF community,

Below, please find from the Crisis Management Team an updated, mid-month data picture of reported COVID-19 positive tests among USF students and employees, as well as reported occurrences of students and employees quarantining. Following the data picture are some preliminary updates to the USF Preparedness Plan and campus COVID-19 safety practices. As a reminder, this information and all other updates are available on the Saints United web site.

University of St. Francis — COVID exposure

January

February

March

April

May

June

thru June 15

COVID positive tests reported to USF

Employees – on campus transmission

0

0

0

0

0

0

Employees – off campus/unknown transmission

3

3

2

0

1

0

Students – on campus transmission

2

0

2

0

0

0

Students – off campus/unknown transmission

10

2

3

5

1

0

Total

15

5

7

5

2

0

(COVID positive students isolating on campus)

3

1

2

0

0

0

Quarantine

Total Employees

9

7

2

1

0

0

Students quarantining on campus

9

0

6

0

0

0

Students quarantining off campus

44

1

30

26

0

0

Total

62

8

38

27

0

0

Updates to the USF Preparedness Plan & Campus Safety Practices

On Friday, June 11, the State of Illinois moved to Phase 5 of its Restore Illinois Plan. In line with the move, the Crisis Management Team has begun reviewing and updating components of the USF Preparedness Plan. These efforts are being conducted in accordance with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and the Will County Health Department (WCHD). The following changes that will take place immediately include:

Vaccinations
For all USF campus community members and guests, which includes students participating in on-campus activities including but not limited to in-person classes, athletics and student organizations/activities and employees working on campus in any capacity, it is strongly recommended that you get vaccinated for COVID-19 if you have not already done so. Information on finding vaccination opportunities can be found near the conclusion of this update.

Face Coverings
Face coverings are optional for all individuals who are fully vaccinated. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated should continue to wear face coverings. Over the coming weeks, signage reflecting this change will be placed at the entrances of all campus buildings. As we enter this Year of Respect, the campus community will rely on the honor system for everyone to do their part to help maintain a safe and healthy campus.

Physical Distancing
All campus community members are encouraged to continue practicing physical distancing (6 ft.). Classrooms setups and room capacities will continue to reflect this physical distancing practice, but the capacity for some indoor campus spaces may increase beyond previous COVID-19 safety limits.

In-Person Meetings
In-person meetings may resume, but they must adhere to capacity limits posted at the entrance of rooms and meeting spaces.

Temperature Stations
The temperature stations located at the entrances of campus buildings will remain in place. While individuals will no longer be required to stop at the stations when entering a campus building, you are encouraged to access the nearest station if you notice the onset of any illness symptoms and then take appropriate action.

Involvio App
It is no longer required for individuals to use the Involvio app to self-screen each day prior to arriving on campus. Please note, though, that individual instructors, advisors, coaches, etc., may require students to use the app and present a green pass provided through the app prior to entering the classroom, meeting space, practice, etc. Any instructors doing so will communicate this directly with students. All USF campus community members are also strongly encouraged to continue monitoring themselves for any COVID-like symptoms. Should you test positive for COVID-19 or you develop COVID-19 symptoms, please refrain from accessing campus and take appropriate action.

Room Cleaning Protocol through ABM
AMB will continue to clean classrooms on a daily basis. Rooms that experience heavy usage will be cleaned more frequently.

Campus Signage
Over the course of the summer, COVID-19 specific directional signage (floor clings and wall signage) placed throughout our campuses will be removed. Any exterior doorways designated as enter or exit-ONLY last summer will once again serve as both entrances and exits. Other COVID-19 specific signage will either be removed or updated to reflect current practices.

Other Updates
As the summer continues, the Crisis Management Team will continue to review and update additional aspects of the USF Preparedness Plan in accordance with CDC, IDPH, and WCHD guidance. The team will also be working with faculty and staff committees in the coming weeks to address specific items pertaining to fall semester, such as:

  • Food guidelines for meetings
  • Visitor restrictions/guidelines
  • Travel protocol
  • Quarantining and isolation protocols
  • Shuttle bus capacity (including athletic transport)
  • Athletic game spectators
  • Field trips
  • Performing arts
  • Interactive activities in classrooms and meeting rooms

We currently anticipate that an updated version of the plan will be shared with the USF community sometime in mid-July. The updated plan will also be made available on the USF Portal and on the Saints United web site. Please continue to check your USF email through the summer to stay current with any updates.

Reporting Positive Cases and Quarantine Requirements
Although some COVID-related safety practices are changing, one practice remaining unchanged is the need to report if you have tested positive for COVID-19 or are required to quarantine. In either of these instances, students should immediately complete the Campus Leave Due to COVID-19 Form, and employees should immediately contact both their direct supervisor and the Human Resources Department at HR@stfrancis.edu.

Vaccination Opportunities

If you are interested in getting a COVID-19 vaccine but have not yet been able to schedule an appointment, please consider visiting the Will County Health Department’s online vaccination scheduling page or call 815-774-7386. The page is currently offering both walk-in and pre-scheduled vaccination opportunities.

Other vaccination opportunities can be identified by:

  1. Visiting vaccines.gov;
  2. Visiting participating pharmacy websites (Walgreens, CVS, etc.), and;
  3. Contacting your primary healthcare provider for other options.

The Crisis Management Team sincerely appreciates your patience as we diligently work through the intricate details of the Preparedness Plan in anticipation of the start of the fall 2021 semester. It is also important to note that COVID-19 continues to present us with dynamic challenges that may require us to revert to previous safety practices on short notice. Again, it is important that you continue to check your USF email through the summer to stay current with any updates, which will also be made available through the updated USF Preparedness Plan that will be made available on the USF Portal and on the Saints United web site.

Again, we thank you for your continued efforts to keep our campuses and community safe and healthy.

Sincerely,

The USF Crisis Management Team

Terry Cottrell
Vice President for Information Technology & Planning

Dave DiLorenzo
Director of Community & Government Relations

Julee Gard
Vice President for Administration & Finance

Sr. Mary Elizabeth Imler, OSF
Vice President of Mission Integration & University Ministry

Al Scheuber
Interim Director of Maintenance

Jason Williams
Director of Safety & Security

: :

COVID-19 Update (5/28/2021)

Dear USF community,

The Crisis Management Team would like to share with you this updated, end-of-month data picture of reported COVID-19 positive tests among USF students and employees, as well as reported occurrences of students and employees quarantining. Additionally, please be reminded that this information and all other updates are available at stfrancis.edu/saints-united.

University of St. Francis — COVID exposure

January

February

March

April

May

COVID positive tests reported to USF

Employees – on campus transmission

0

0

0

0

0

Employees – off campus/unknown transmission

3

3

2

0

1

Students – on campus transmission

2

0

2

0

0

Students – off campus/unknown transmission

10

2

3

5

1

Total

15

5

7

5

2

(COVID positive students isolating on campus)

3

1

2

0

0

Quarantine

Total Employees

9

7

2

1

0

Students quarantining on campus

9

0

6

0

0

Students quarantining off campus

44

1

30

26

0

Total

62

8

38

27

0

Please also note the following additional reminders and updates.

Updates to the USF Preparedness Plan & Campus Safety Practices

Pending the continued, non-increasing trend of established COVID-19 metrics, Governor Pritzker anticipates that the State will enter Phase 5 of its Restore Illinois Plan on Friday, June 11, 2021 (Illinois is currently in the Bridge Phase of the plan). Once the State moves to Phase 5, the Crisis Management Team will review the USF Preparedness Plan according to Phase 5 parameters and other recommendations from state and local health officials. Any changes to the USF Preparedness Plan will be communicated through the USF email system and will be reflected in an updated version of the plan that will be made available through the USF portal and on the Saints United web page.

Vaccination Opportunities

If you are interested in getting the COVID-19 vaccine but have not yet been able to schedule an appointment, please consider visiting the Will County Health Department’s online vaccination scheduling page. The page is currently offering both walk-in and pre-scheduled vaccination opportunities.

Other vaccination opportunities can be identified by:

  1. Visiting vaccines.gov;
  2. Visiting participating pharmacy websites (Walgreens, CVS, etc.), and;
  3. Contacting your primary healthcare provider for other options.

Again, we thank you for your continued efforts to keep our campuses and community safe and healthy.

Sincerely,

The USF Crisis Management Team

Terry Cottrell
Vice President for Information Technology & Planning

Dave DiLorenzo
Director of Community & Government Relations

Julee Gard
Vice President for Administration & Finance

Sr. Mary Elizabeth Imler, OSF
Vice President of Mission Integration & University Ministry

Al Scheuber
Interim Director of Maintenance

Jason Williams
Director of Safety & Security

: :

COVID-19 Update (5/17/2021)

Dear USF community,

The Crisis Management Team would like to share with you this updated, mid-month data picture of reported COVID-19 positive tests among students and employees, as well as reported occurrences of students and employees quarantining. Additionally, please be reminded that this information and all other updates are available at stfrancis.edu/saints-united.

University of St. Francis — COVID exposure

January

February

March

April

May

thru May 14

COVID positive tests reported to USF

Employees – on campus transmission

0

0

0

0

0

Employees – off campus/unknown transmission

3

3

2

0

1

Students – on campus transmission

2

0

2

0

0

Students – off campus/unknown transmission

10

2

3

5

0

Total

15

5

7

5

1

(COVID positive students isolating on campus)

3

1

2

0

0

Quarantine

Total Employees

9

7

2

1

0

Students quarantining on campus

9

0

6

0

0

Students quarantining off campus

44

1

30

26

0

Total

62

8

38

27

0

Please also note the following additional reminders and updates.

Bridge Phase of the Restore Illinois Plan
On Friday, May 14, Illinois entered the Bridge Phase of the Restore Illinois Plan. The main component of the Bridge Phase is an increased capacity level for many industries. For specifics on the Bridge Phase, click here. When other key COVID-19 metrics—such as hospital admissions—are stable or declining for a 28-day period, the state intends to lift all capacity limits and resume large gatherings with new safety protocols (that date is tentatively scheduled for June 11).

Face Coverings at USF
At USF, many individuals are asking if they still need to wear a face covering indoors once they are fully vaccinated, especially light of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) new guidance on face coverings. Please note that USF is continuing its current COVID-related campus safety practices – regardless of vaccination status.

The Crisis Management Team will be meeting soon to review the university’s current COVID-19 related safety practices in relation to the recent guidance provided by the CDC and the Illinois Department of Public Health. Any changes to these practices will be communicated appropriately, so please be sure to regularly check your USF email for any updates.

Vaccination Opportunities
If you are interested in getting the COVID-19 vaccine but have not yet been able to schedule an appointment, please consider visiting the Will County Health Department’s online vaccination scheduling page at https://willcountyhealth.org/vaccine-locations/. The page is currently offering both walk-in and pre-scheduled vaccination opportunities.

Other vaccination opportunities can be identified by:

  1. Visiting Vaccine Finder at https://vaccinefinder.org/;
  2. Visiting the State’s COVID-19 Response website at https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/vaccination-location;
  3. Visiting participating pharmacy websites (Walgreens, CVS, etc.), and;
  4. Contacting your primary healthcare provider for other options.

Again, we thank you for your continued efforts to keep our campuses and community safe and healthy.

Sincerely,

The USF Crisis Management Team

Terry Cottrell
Vice President for Information Technology & Planning

Dave DiLorenzo
Director of Community & Government Relations

Julee Gard
Vice President for Administration & Finance

Sr. Mary Elizabeth Imler, OSF
Vice President of Mission Integration & University Ministry

Al Scheuber
Interim Director of Maintenance

Jason Williams
Director of Safety & Security

: :

COVID-19 Update (4/30/2021)

Dear USF community,

The Crisis Management Team would like to share with you this updated, end-of-month data picture of reported COVID-19 positive tests among students and employees, as well as reported occurrences of students and employees quarantining. Additionally, please be reminded that this information and all other updates are available at stfrancis.edu/saints-united.

University of St. Francis — COVID exposure

January

February

March

April

COVID positive tests reported to USF

Employees – on campus transmission

0

0

0

0

Employees – off campus/unknown transmission

3

3

2

0

Students – on campus transmission

2

0

2

0

Students – off campus/unknown transmission

10

2

3

5

Total

15

5

7

5

(COVID positive students isolating on campus)

3

1

2

0

Quarantine

Total Employees

9

7

2

1

Students quarantining on campus

9

0

6

0

Students quarantining off campus

44

1

30

26

Total

62

8

38

27

Details on the university’s COVID-19 response plans for the fall will be shared in the coming weeks. Please continue to check your USF email following the conclusion of the spring semester and throughout the summer to remain updated as new information is released.

If you are interested in getting the COVID-19 vaccine but have not yet been able to schedule an appointment, please consider visiting the Will County Health Department’s online vaccination scheduling page at https://willcountyhealth.org/vaccine-locations/. The page is currently offering both walk-in and pre-scheduled vaccination opportunities.

Other vaccination opportunities can be identified by:

As the spring 2021 semester draws to a close, we thank you for your continued efforts to keep our campus community safe and healthy.

Sincerely,

The USF Crisis Management Team

Terry Cottrell
Vice President for Information Technology & Planning

Dave DiLorenzo
Director of Community & Government Relations

Julee Gard
Vice President for Administration & Finance

Sr. Mary Elizabeth Imler, OSF
Vice President of Mission Integration & University Ministry

Al Scheuber
Interim Director of Maintenance

Jason Williams
Director of Safety & Security

: :

COVID-19 Update (4/16/2021)

Dear USF community,

The Crisis Management Team would like to share with you this updated, mid-month data picture of reported COVID-19 positive tests among students and employees, as well as reported occurrences of students and employees quarantining. Additionally, please be reminded that this information and all other updates are available at stfrancis.edu/saints-united.

University of St. Francis — COVID exposure

January

February

March

April

COVID positive tests reported to USF

Employees – on campus transmission

0

0

0

0

Employees – off campus/unknown transmission

3

3

2

0

Students – on campus transmission

2

0

2

0

Students – off campus/unknown transmission

10

2

3

2

Total

15

5

7

2

(COVID positive students isolating on campus)

3

1

2

0

Quarantine

Total Employees

9

7

2

0

Students quarantining on campus

9

0

6

0

Students quarantining off campus

44

1

30

18

Total

62

8

38

18

If you are interested in getting the COVID-19 vaccine but have not yet been able to schedule an appointment, please consider:

  1. Visiting VaccineFinder.org;
  2. Visiting the State’s COVID-19 Response website;
  3. Visiting participating pharmacy websites (Walgreens, CVS, etc.);
  4. Contacting your primary healthcare provider for other options.

Again, we thank you for your continued efforts to keep our campuses and community safe and healthy.

Sincerely,

The USF Crisis Management Team

Terry Cottrell
Vice President for Information Technology & Planning

Dave DiLorenzo
Director of Community & Government Relations

Julee Gard
Vice President for Administration & Finance

Sr. Mary Elizabeth Imler, OSF
Vice President of Mission Integration & University Ministry

Al Scheuber
Interim Director of Maintenance

Jason Williams
Director of Safety & Security

: :

COVID-19 Update (3/31/2021)

Dear USF community,

The Crisis Management Team would like to share with you this updated, end-of-month data picture of reported COVID-19 positive tests among students and employees, as well as reported occurrences of students and employees quarantining. Additionally, please be reminded that this information and all other updates are available at stfrancis.edu/saints-united.

University of St. Francis — COVID exposure

January

February

March

COVID positive tests reported to USF

Employees – on campus transmission

0

0

0

Employees – off campus/unknown transmission

3

3

2

Students – on campus transmission

2

0

2

Students – off campus/unknown transmission

10

2

3

Total

15

5

7

(COVID positive students isolating on campus)

3

1

2

Quarantine

Total Employees

9

7

2

Students quarantining on campus

9

0

6

Students quarantining off campus

44

1

30

Total

62

8

38

The State’s vaccination plan is currently in Phase 1B Plus (which includes USF employees). Phase 1C, which includes any resident 16 and older, is scheduled to begin on Monday, April 12. If/once you qualify per the State’s vaccination plan and if you are interested in getting a COVID-19 vaccine, please consider:

  1. Visiting VaccineFinder.org to search for vaccination opportunities;
  2. Visiting the State’s COVID-19 Response website at illinois.gov/s/vaccination-location to search for vaccination opportunities;
  3. Visiting participating pharmacy websites for available vaccine appointments, and;
  4. Contacting your primary healthcare provider for other options.

The Crisis Management Team will also continue to work with Kodo Care Pharmacy to identify/arrange future vaccination clinics for the USF community.

Again, we thank you for your continued efforts to keep our campuses and community safe and healthy.

Sincerely,

The USF Crisis Management Team

Terry Cottrell
Vice President for Information Technology & Planning

Dave DiLorenzo
Director of Community & Government Relations

Julee Gard
Vice President for Administration & Finance

Sr. Mary Elizabeth Imler, OSF
Vice President of Mission Integration & University Ministry

Al Scheuber
Interim Director of Maintenance

Jason Williams
Director of Safety & Security

: :

COVID-19 Update (3/15/2021)

Dear USF Community,

The Crisis Management Team would like to share with you this updated, mid-month data picture of reported COVID-19 positive tests among students and employees, as well as reported occurrences of students and employees quarantining. Additionally, please be reminded that this information and all other updates are available at stfrancis.edu/saints-united.

University of St. Francis — COVID exposure

January

February

March

as of March 15

COVID positive tests reported to USF

Employees – on campus transmission

0

0

0

Employees – off campus/unknown transmission

3

3

0

Students – on campus transmission

2

0

0

Students – off campus/unknown transmission

10

2

2

Total

15

5

2

(COVID positive students isolating on campus)

3

1

0

Quarantine

Total Employees

9

7

1

Students quarantining on campus

9

0

4

Students quarantining off campus

44

1

30

Total

62

8

35

Some members of the USF campus community have inquired as to the status of any future vaccination opportunities through the university. Please know that the Crisis Management Team, in cooperation with our local pharmacy, will schedule a vaccination clinic for USF employees and students as soon as phase eligibility happens and based on vaccine availability. Should any opportunities present themselves to us, we will share the appropriate details with employees and students at that time. In the event of such opportunities, they will be conducted within the parameters of the vaccine distribution phase that Will County is in at that time (currently 1B). Individuals who are interested in becoming vaccinated and have not done so already may also want to register with the Will County Health Department or contact their healthcare provider and local pharmacies for available appointments (again, based on phase eligibility and vaccine availability).

As warmer, spring weather becomes more frequent over the coming weeks, please be reminded to adhere to USF’s Four General Practices while you are on campus, whether inside or outside. Our collective, ongoing efforts will continue to contribute to a safe and healthy campus as we begin the second half of the spring semester.

Sincerely,

The USF Crisis Management Team

Terry Cottrell
Vice President for Information Technology & Planning

Dave DiLorenzo
Director of Community & Government Relations

Julee Gard
Vice President for Administration & Finance

Sr. Mary Elizabeth Imler, OSF
Vice President of Mission Integration & University Ministry

Al Scheuber
Interim Director of Maintenance

Jason Williams
Director of Safety & Security

: :

Spring 2021 Commencement Update (3/3/2021)

Dear University of St. Francis Community –

The weather beginning to break and the snow slowly melting away serve as reminders that spring is on its way, which means that our May Commencement is just around the corner.  While there are still several weeks left in the semester, I would like to take this opportunity to share some advance information regarding the University’s plans to celebrate our May 2021 graduates.

USF will celebrate our May 2021 graduates with a virtual Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 8, 2021. Please note the following regarding that day:

  • The virtual Commencement Mass will begin at 9 a.m. CDT. A link to view the Mass, celebrated by Fr. Terry Deffenbaugh, will be posted at stfrancis.edu/commencement.
  • The virtual Commencement ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. CDT and will be streamed at stfrancis.edu/commencement.
  • The ceremony will celebrate all May graduates (undergraduate, masters, and doctoral) from our Joliet campuses and our online programs – with the names of all graduates being read aloud during the ceremony.
  • The live stream will, also, include a “tassel ceremony” for undergraduate program graduates and a “pin presentation” for masters and doctoral program graduates.
  • Commencement programs will be made available at stfrancis.edu/commencement in an electronic, downloadable format prior to the ceremony.

Let us join together again this May as a welcoming community of learners to celebrate this special milestone for our graduates.  Until then, I wish you continued success throughout the second half of the spring 2021 semester.

Peace and all good things,

Arvid C. Johnson
President
University of St. Francis

: :

COVID-19 Update (3/1/2021)

Dear USF Community,

The Crisis Management Team would like to share with you this updated, end-of-month data picture of reported COVID-19 positive tests among students and employees, as well as reported occurrences of students and employees quarantining. Please note the numbers reported below reflect the entire month of February (and therefore include the numbers reported in the mid-month update issued on 2/15/2021). Additionally, please be reminded that this information and all other updates are available at stfrancis.edu/saints-united.

University of St. Francis — COVID exposure

January

February

COVID positive tests reported to USF

Employees – on campus transmission

0

0

Employees – off campus/unknown transmission

3

3

Students – on campus transmission

2

0

Students – off campus/unknown transmission

10

2

Total

15

5

(COVID positive students isolating on campus)

3

1

Quarantine

Total Employees

9

7

Students quarantining on campus

9

0

Students quarantining off campus

44

1

Total

62

8

Again, the Crisis Management Team extends to you its sincere appreciation for your collective, ongoing adherence to USF’s Four General Practices. Your efforts are helping to keep our campus safe and healthy.

Sincerely,

The USF Crisis Management Team

Terry Cottrell
Vice President for Information Technology & Planning

Dave DiLorenzo
Director of Community & Government Relations

Julee Gard
Vice President for Administration & Finance

Sr. Mary Elizabeth Imler, OSF
Vice President of Mission Integration & University Ministry

Al Scheuber
Interim Director of Maintenance

Jason Williams
Director of Safety & Security

: :

COVID-19 Update (2/15/2021)

Dear USF Community,

The Crisis Management Team would like to share with you this updated, mid-month data picture of reported COVID-19 positive tests among students and employees, as well as reported occurrences of students and employees quarantining. Note that this information and all other updates are available at stfrancis.edu/saints-united.

University of St. Francis — COVID exposure

January

February

1st – 15th

COVID positive tests reported to USF

Employees – on campus transmission

0

0

Employees – off campus/unknown transmission

3

3

Students – on campus transmission

2

0

Students – off campus/unknown transmission

10

1

Total

15

4

(COVID positive students isolating on campus)

3

1

Quarantine

Total Employees

9

4

Students quarantining on campus

9

0

Students quarantining off campus

44

0

Total

62

4

Some members of the campus community have asked how long the University anticipates continuing its Four General Practices, especially given the ongoing distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations. Please know the collective, ongoing adherence to USF’s Four General Practices, even after individuals have received the COVID-19 vaccination, plays a critical role in protecting each other and ourselves. USF will continue these practices until we receive guidance from the Will County Health Department advising otherwise.

The Crisis Management Team thanks you for your continued diligence. Your efforts are helping to keep our campus safe and healthy. Your efforts are making a difference.

Sincerely,

The USF Crisis Management Team

Terry Cottrell
Vice President for Information Technology & Planning

Dave DiLorenzo
Director of Community & Government Relations

Julee Gard
Vice President for Administration & Finance

Sr. Mary Elizabeth Imler, OSF
Vice President of Mission Integration & University Ministry

Al Scheuber
Interim Director of Maintenance

Jason Williams
Director of Safety & Security

: :

COVID-19 Update (2/2/2021)

Dear USF Community,

The Crisis Management Team would like to share an updated data picture of reported COVID-19 positive tests among students and employees, as well as reported occurrences of students and employees quarantining. Note that this information and all other updates will also be made available at stfrancis.edu/saints-united.

University of St. Francis — COVID exposure

January

COVID positive tests reported to USF

Employees – on campus transmission

0

Employees – off campus/unknown transmission

3

Students – on campus transmission

2

Students – off campus/unknown transmission

10

Total

15

(COVID positive students isolating on campus)

3

Quarantine

Total Employees

9

Students quarantining on campus

9

Students quarantining off campus

44

Total

62

As Saints United and as we continue in this Year of Compassion, please be reminded it is imperative that our entire community understands and fulfills its role to help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19. Our collective, ongoing adherence to USF’s Four General Practices, even after you have received the vaccination, plays a critical role in protecting ourselves and each other. Always remember to:

  1. Wear a face covering and your USF ID.
  2. Exercise appropriate physical distancing.
  3. Practice frequent hand hygiene.
  4. Self-screen daily via the Involvio app and take proper action, as directed.

Thank you in advance for your demonstration of compassion through your continued actions to contribute to a safe, healthy campus.

Sincerely,

The USF Crisis Management Team

Terry Cottrell
Vice President for Information Technology & Planning

Dave DiLorenzo
Director of Community & Government Relations

Julee Gard
Vice President for Administration & Finance

Sr. Mary Elizabeth Imler, OSF
Vice President of Mission Integration & University Ministry

Al Scheuber
Interim Director of Maintenance

Jason Williams
Director of Safety & Security

: :

COVID-19 Update (1/15/2021)

Dear USF Community,

Happy New Year and welcome to 2021! With spring semester classes beginning on Tuesday, January 19th, the Crisis Management Team would like to share with you the following important updates regarding USF’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Statement of USF Community Expectations

As Saints United and as we continue in this Year of Compassion, we each have a part to play in keeping one another safe. Therefore, it is imperative our entire community understand and fulfill their role to help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19.  Just as we did for the fall semester, everyone will be required to sign electronically a Statement of USF Community Expectations (you will be able to do this through the USF Portal beginning on Monday, January 18).  This Statement outlines principles all members of our community will be asked to agree to as a condition of returning to and remaining on any of the USF campuses and revolve around USF’s Four General Practices:

  1. Wear a face covering and wear my USF ID.
  2. Exercise appropriate physical distancing.
  3. Practice frequent hand hygiene.
  4. Self-screen daily via the Involvio app and take proper action, as directed.

Involvio App Questions

As a reminder, the Involvio app’s COVID-19 daily symptom screening questions have been updated for the spring semester. Please be sure to read those questions carefully as you select your responses.

Future COVID-19 Reporting from the Crisis Management Team

Over the past few months, the Crisis Management Team has provided monthly updates of COVID-19 positive tests among students/employees and reported occurrences of students/employees quarantining. Please note that the next update will be issued at the end of January. Starting in February, the Crisis Management Team will issue two monthly updates (one at the midpoint of each month and one at the end of each month). Additional updates will be issued as needed in the event of significant spread and/or reportable condition per the Will County Health Department. Note that all updates will continue to be posted at stfrancis.edu/saints-united.

Vaccination Update

USF is currently working to arrange the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine to interested USF students and employees. As details on the opportunity become available, they will be shared with you through USF email.

It is important to note that all members of the USF Community, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to continue their adherence to USF’s Four General Practices, which includes the wearing of a face covering, until otherwise communicated by the university (and based on the guidance of the Will County Health Department).

Our successful return to campus will require the continued, collective efforts of the entire USF community to protect ourselves and each other. We each have a part to play in keeping one another safe, and it is imperative our entire USF community understand and fulfill their role to help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Thank you in advance for your demonstration of compassion through your continued actions to contribute to a safe, healthy campus.

Sincerely,

The USF Crisis Management Team

Terry Cottrell
Vice President for Information Technology & Planning

Dave DiLorenzo
Director of Community & Government Relations

Julee Gard
Vice President for Administration & Finance

Sr. Mary Elizabeth Imler, OSF
Vice President of Mission Integration & University Ministry

Al Scheuber
Interim Director of Maintenance

Jason Williams
Director of Safety & Security

: :

Happy New Year…and Welcome Back! (1/4/2021)

Dear Members of the University of St. Francis Community:

Happy New Year, USF!

The University of St. Francis successfully completed the Fall 2020 semester in December with the typical end of semester rush of activities and celebration with our graduates, which included an address by the General Minister of the Franciscan Order (and, thereby, the 120th successor of St. Francis of Assisi), Br. Michael Perry, OFM. (You can access his Commencement address – which included a message from Pope Francis to our graduates – at 0:35:00 in the following video: https://youtu.be/woB8YB0L3o0)

That said, 2020 was anything but typical – and a year unlike any in our University’s 100-year history.  Our faculty, students, staff, and many community partners all helped us stay Saints Strong – and healthy, as SaintsUnited – through the ups and downs of a remarkable year.

As we begin 2021, we are renewing our commitment to you as we prepare to welcome students, faculty and staff back to campus in January.  USF will continue to be a safe, active, engaged place to live, work, and learn.  Yes, we will remain cautious and keep safety at the forefront, but we will be smiling behind those masks, and looking forward to a better year!

We are all looking forward, hoping for a better, brighter, new year.  You can help that happen by being smart, remaining safe, and taking care to limit your exposure to COVID-19 – especially during the next 2 weeks.  During this extended January break, we encourage all of our community members to focus on your physical and emotional well-being.  Take care of yourself and take advantage of health-related resources provided in your community and on our campus.  This January, before coming back to campus, don’t travel if it isn’t necessary, and limit your exposure to the disease by staying home and by wearing a mask when you are in public spaces.

We welcome students back to on-campus (and, of course, online) learning on January 19th and look forward to helping them learn, grow, and achieve their goals in 2021 and beyond.  As vaccines become more widely available, we may be able to modify our plans and hold more traditional on-campus events, but we are not there yet. Indeed, as our campus plans change in the future, we will let all of you know immediately – because, together, we are SaintsUnited and SaintsStrong.

In our Franciscan tradition – and, as we begin the new year – please know that I wish you “Pace e Bene”…or…

Peace and all good things,

Arvid
USF President

: :

Closing Fall 2020…and Preparing for Spring 2021… (12/28/2020)

Dear Members of the University of St. Francis Community:

We hope many good things for the new year, and first-and-foremost among them is that you are safe and healthy… and planning for a great 2021.

After our successful in-person fall 2020 semester, the University of St Francis will again resume spring 2021 semester on-campus classes for faculty, staff, and students enrolled in traditional face-to-face, hybrid (a mix of face-to-face and online activities), and fully-online courses on 19 January.  Beginning on 4 January – and, as required to support our students’ needs – on-campus housing will be open, administrative offices will be open, faculty advisors will be available, food service will be up and running, and our many student services will be ready to provide support.

Indeed, we are planning to offer the same high-quality on-campus courses, labs, and programs with a mix of in-person, hybrid, and online courses throughout the spring semester.  Students and faculty both clearly – and, often, loudly – preferred the personal interaction that is the core of teaching and learning at the University of St. Francis.  We’ve heard you, and we are here for you!

Measures like physical distancing, required mask wearing, routinely washing hands, and limits on the size of group meetings will remain in place – as will the requirement to obtain a “campus pass” each day via the Involvio App.  We are not yet free of the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic; however, as new treatments and vaccines become available, we will alert the campus of any changes and opportunities to increase the safety of our community.  Until then, we must remain focused on maintaining and adhering to the practices that helped us have a safe, healthy fall 2020 semester and have protected our campus.

If campus plans change in the future, we will let all of you know immediately – because, together, we are SaintsUnited and SaintsStrong.

In our Franciscan tradition – and, as we close our Centennial year – please know that I wish you “Pace e Bene”…or…

Peace and all good things,

Arvid
USF President

: :

COVID-19 Update (12/23/20)

Dear USF Community,

As 2020 draws to a close, the Crisis Management Team would like to share an updated data picture of reported COVID-19 positive tests among students and employees, as well as reported occurrences of students and employees quarantining.  Note that this information and all other updates will also be made available at stfrancis.edu/saints-united.

University of St. Francis — COVID exposure

August

September

October

November

December

COVID positive tests reported to USF

Employees – on campus transmission

0

0

0

1

0

Employees – off campus/unknown transmission

2

0

8

7

4

Students – on campus transmission

0

0

1

0

0

Students – off campus/unknown transmission

5

2

19

33

0

Total

7

2

28

41

4

(COVID positive students isolating on campus)

0

0

1

3

0

Quarantine

Total Employees

7

6

23

20

4

Students quarantining on campus

4

0

9

19

0

Students quarantining off campus

4

49

110

44

0

Total

15

55

142

83

4

We hope you are enjoying your time with loved ones and want to use this opportunity to remind you of the importance of your continued adherence to USF’s four general practices, even while you are away from campus. Your efforts now and throughout winter break will help to position our campus community for a healthy return in January and a successful spring 2021 semester.

Speaking of the return to campus in January, please recall the covenant you made in August to uphold the four general practices listed on the front page of the Preparedness Plan.  The expectation is that these will still be adhered to by our students, staff, faculty and administrators for the spring semester.  Should there be a change in your commitment, employees are to contact HR and students are to contact the Dean of Student Life.  Also, please note that the questions asked as part of the daily symptom screening process administered through Involvio will be updated prior to your return. Be sure to read those questions carefully as you select your responses.

We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a safe New Year!

Sincerely,

The USF Crisis Management Team

Terry Cottrell
Vice President of Operations & Information Technology

Dave DiLorenzo
Director of Community & Government Relations

Julee Gard
Vice President for Administration & Finance

Sr. Mary Elizabeth Imler, OSF
Vice President of Mission Integration & University Ministry

Al Scheuber
Interim Director of Maintenance

Jason Williams
Director of Safety & Security

: :

COVID-19 Update (12/1/20)

Dear USF Community,

Yesterday marked the transition of classes to remote instruction to close out the 2020 fall semester at USF. In light of this transition, the Crisis Management Team would like to share an updated data picture of reported COVID-19 positive tests among students and employees, as well as reported occurrences of students and employees quarantining.  Note that this information and all other updates will also be made available at stfrancis.edu/saints-united.

University of St. Francis —
COVID exposure

August

September

October

November

COVID positive tests reported to USF

Employees – on campus transmission

0

0

0

1

Employees – off campus/unknown transmission

2

0

8

7

Students – on campus transmission

0

0

1

0

Students – off campus/unknown transmission

5

2

19

33

Total

7

2

28

41

(COVID positive students isolating on campus)

0

0

1

3

Quarantine

Total Employees

7

6

23

20

Students quarantining on campus

4

0

9

19

Students quarantining off campus

4

49

110

44

Total

15

55

142

83

Students are reminded that employees are on campus through December 23rd to answer questions or assist as needed. Please also note that we anticipate sharing our next COVID-19 update with the USF community later this month.

As we all finish the semester and head into the holiday season, please be mindful of the importance of continuing adherence to USF’s four general practices.  We are confident that our collective adherence to these practices throughout the end of the semester and into the New Year will position us well for the start of the spring semester on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, which includes a return to on-campus instruction.

Sincerely,

The USF Crisis Management Team

Terry Cottrell
Vice President of Operations & Information Technology

Dave DiLorenzo
Director of Community & Government Relations

Julee Gard
Vice President for Administration & Finance

Sr. Mary Elizabeth Imler, OSF
Vice President of Mission Integration & University Ministry

Al Scheuber
Interim Director of Maintenance

Jason Williams
Director of Safety & Security

: :

A Message of Thanksgiving… (11/18/20)

Dear Members of the University of St. Francis Community:

As we prepare to celebrate our national holiday of Thanksgiving, I want you to know how grateful I am for each of you, all that you have done to keep our campus and each other safe this semester, and the privilege to serve as your President.  Overall, it has been a good semester; and, we are fortunate that – thanks to our commitment to our Preparedness Plan – we have had very few cases of COVID-19, none of which has been too serious.

I know you are aware that the Coronavirus numbers are skyrocketing regionally and nationally; but, at USF, we continue to fare better than elsewhere.  By way of an update from the Crisis Management Team, as of November 17th, we have had a total of 20 students and 6 employees test positive this month from off-campus and unknown transmissions.  There have, also, been 14 employees quarantining this month and 41 students (only 9 on campus).  Our intention is to continue to keep the campus open for our students through next Wednesday, since it is safer here than “out” there.

Surely, this has not been the semester – nor the year-to-date – for which any of us dreamed or hoped, but we are faithfully journeying on the path set before us.  That said, I realize the semester is not over yet.  There are still two weeks of coursework to complete, including final exams.  Know that we continue to be here, first and foremost, for our students – as well as to support each other.

Aware that we are experiencing two pandemics and as members of USF’s welcoming community, it is important to recall and reflect on our Solidarity Statement – developed by our Student Government Association and endorsed by our Executive Council in 2017:

Respect, Service, Compassion and Integrity are all core values at the University of St. Francis.  Our Franciscan hearts value diversity and will stand with all of our brothers and sisters who are facing racism and discrimination.  We believe that human rights and right for all people, regardless of the color of their skin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, and citizenship. Therefore, SGA stands with respect, integrity and compassion by accepting students’ differences and helping students that face such things in their life.  SGA stands with service because we will do anything in our power to support our students who have experiences with discrimination.  SGA stands with the student body of the University of St. Francis as we are a welcoming community for all.    

We embrace our Franciscan values of respect, integrity, service, and compassion and bear witness to the pain of our Black and Brown colleagues and students.  As people privileged by education and opportunity, it is my hope that we will continue to act against bias and injustice and to pursue equity and inclusion – not just during times of crisis but in daily acts of courage.

Honoring the call of our Sister Sponsors to acknowledge and to stand in opposition to the systemic racism that permeates our world, the Catholic Franciscan Charism Committee and the Diversity Council are working together this year to address issues of inequity on our campus and to build a campus culture where communities of color are heard, supported, and thrive.  Let us commit in word and action with those supporting social justice “to struggle together, and to imagine and create a world free of anti-Blackness, where every Black person has the social, economic, and political power to thrive.”  May this be our Christmas presents/presence!

As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., reminds us: “I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.” This is a reciprocal relationship…a fraternitas of sorts – based upon love and solidarity.

In anticipation of the spring semester, I implore us all to continue to follow our four “General Practices” throughout the rest of this semester, through the holidays, and into the new year.  The start of the spring semester calendar has been pushed out one week so that we all can come back on the tail end of the flu season and with enough time to recover from any potential exposures at holiday feasts and celebrations with family and friends.  During the first two weeks of January, please self-quarantine – out of compassion for one another – so that you can return to campus healthy and safe.  Our CARES team will be reaching out, but please also be sure to check the MyUSF portal for announcements.  Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Crisis Management Team or your faculty advisors and Deans.

We remain SAINTS UNITED!

May your Thanksgiving be one filled with gratitude for the many blessings we share.  As we pray in the Peace Prayer of St. Francis, it is in giving that we receive.  Know that you will be greatly missed – as the campus will seem very quiet without our students – and that we all look forward to their return on January 19, 2021.

Pace e Bene,

Arvid

President

: :

Free COVID-19 Testing through IDPH (11/4/20)

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has several mobile testing teams that are dispatched to various locations around the state each week to provide COVID-19 testing. USF’s parking lot on Taylor Street will be used as the location for an IDPH mobile testing site scheduled for Saturday, November 7 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. while supplies last. Please note the following:

  • Testing is open to the community (USF students and employees are welcome to participate, if interested).
  • There is no cost to the individual for testing, but participants should bring with them their medical insurance card (if they have one). However, note that insurance is not required.
  • Specimens will be collected using a simple nasal swab.
  • Drive-through and walk-up testing are both available at most testing locations.

Please click here for more information on mobile testing sites through the IDPH.

: :

COVID-19 Update (10/29/20)

Dear USF community,

Over the past couple of weeks, COVID-19 positivity rates across Illinois have continued to increase at a quicker rate than compared to rates measured in August and September. Similarly, COVID-19 positivity rates in Region 7 (which includes Will County) have also continued to climb and reached levels last week that prompted Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker to place resurgence mitigations on the region.

At USF, we have also seen the number of COVID-19 positive tests reported to USF begin to increase in just the last ten days. The Crisis Management Team feels that this signals a timely opportunity to share a larger data picture of reported COVID-19 positive tests among students and employees, as well as reported occurrences of students and employees quarantining. The data presented below is current as of the end of the business day on Wednesday, October 28, 2020.

University of St. Francis — COVID exposure

August

September

October

(as of Oct 28th)

COVID positive tests reported to USF

Employees – on campus transmission

0

0

0

Employees – off campus/unknown transmission

2

0

7

Students – on campus transmission

0

0

1

Students – off campus/unknown transmission

5

2

16

Total

7

2

24

(COVID positive students isolating on campus)

0

0

1

Quarantine

Total Employees

7

6

20

Students quarantining on campus

4

0

9

Students quarantining off campus

4

49

110

Total

15

55

139

We are sharing this information with you to reiterate that this is not a time to relax our guard. We all need increased attentiveness and adherence to the four general practices in our USF Preparedness Plan: 1. Wear a face covering and wear my USF ID. 2. Exercise appropriate physical distancing. 3. Practice frequent hand hygiene. 4. Self-screen daily and take proper action if exposed. Increased adherence to these practices (both on and off campus) will ensure positive change over time to our reported numbers. As a reminder, students who test positive for COVID-19 are to complete the form for the Dean of Students and employees who test positive are to contact HR so that appropriate notifications can be made.

Know that we will continue to share regular updates with you based on what is reported to the university and based on contact tracing efforts of the Will County Health Department. This will help to keep you aware of COVID-19 positive tests and instances of quarantining within our university community.

We thank you in advance once again for your continued role in helping to maintain collectively as safe and healthy of a campus environment as possible. As a reminder, you can review the USF Preparedness Plan and information on USF’s response to COVID-19 at stfrancis.edu/saints-united. As always, remember that we all are Saints United.

Sincerely,

The USF Crisis Management Team

Terry Cottrell
Vice President of Operations & Information Technology

Dave DiLorenzo
Director of Community & Government Relations

Julee Gard
Vice President for Administration & Finance

Sr. Mary Elizabeth Imler, OSF
Vice President of Mission Integration & University Ministry

Al Scheuber
Interim Director of Maintenance

Jason Williams
Director of Safety & Security

: :

COVID-19 Update (10/20/20)

Dear USF community,

USF stands behind its values of respect, service, compassion and integrity. Specifically regarding the value of integrity and in an effort to clarify our practices and put everyone at ease, we would like to use this opportunity to address some concerns regarding the university’s handling of COVID-19 case information and overall related communication efforts that have been brought to our attention.

We are certainly aware that some universities – especially those with large on-campus student populations – report COVID-19 case information to their school communities through the use of a COVID-19 case tracker on their institution’s website. Many of these institutions administer their own COVID-19 testing on campus.  For USF, the Crisis Management Team has recommended that we follow the reporting guidelines of the Will County Health Department (the county in which our Illinois campuses operate and the organization that reviewed and approved the USF Preparedness Plan shared with the school community in July) and continue to act in accordance with the Clery Act, which requires public disclosure of ON-CAMPUS TRANSMISSIONS of  COVID-19 of at least 5 people.

Institutions that administer their own COVID-19 testing on their campus have the ability to report easily the number of tests administered and the results therein.  We do not administer COVID-19 testing on our campus due to our small size. As such, it would be extremely challenging to accurately quantify and report the number of tests administered to students and/or employees and the results of such tests.

We, however, would like to share that there have been no on-campus transmissions of COVID-19 to date, which means that no one has contracted the virus from an on-campus source (student or employee). We can say that with certainty because COVID-positive students and employees, in accordance with their local health departments, have reported to USF through contact tracing measures the source of contact for their illness.

Yes, and is the case across our county, state, and country, some members of our university community have tested positive for COVID-19. It is imperative to note that these transmissions sourced from another family member living in their household, exposure at a job or location outside of USF, etc. This demonstrates the importance and effectiveness of USF’s daily symptom screening process (conducted through the Involvio app) that is asked of students and employees BEFORE coming to campus. In short, those individuals who completed their daily symptom screening received a red pass and appropriately stayed home.

As Saints United, we have all committed to this responsible behavior upon the reopening of the campus in August by acknowledging the Statement of USF Community Expectations. This, and the compassion to adhere to our health & safety protocols and not put others at risk, is what has positioned us to state confidently and accurately that COVID-19 has not spread with an “on campus transmission.”

That statement may prompt some follow-up questions, such as, “Have any students or employees tested positive for COVID-19?” or “Have any students or employees needed to quarantine due to potential exposure to COVID-19?” The answer to both questions is, “yes.”

As of October 15, 2020, we have had approximately 75 students report to the Wellness Center that they were quarantining (most were self-imposed due to exposure or symptoms). Included in that number is an entire sports team (35 players), who quarantined for 2 days out of an abundance of caution. Of all these instances, only 7 individuals quarantined on campus in designated quarantine rooms. Regarding employees, only 25 employees have had to self-quarantine off-campus because of potential exposures since August. In all cases, for students and employees alike, we have encouraged action that reflects an abundance of caution.

As for positive COVID-19 cases among our students and employees, we have totaled 15 students and 7 employees who have reported a positive test. No one has had to isolate on campus and, again, none of these cases were contracted on campus nor resulted in other positive cases on campus.

We recognize that additional cases continue to be reported and additional students and employees will need to quarantine and isolate.  We will actively investigate any additional cases that are brought to our attention in a way that protects the privacy of our students and employees while at the same time trying to ensure that our campus remains a safe, healthy environment.  Rather than speculating and/or spreading rumors, the single best thing we can all do is to commit to our general practices of:

  • Wear a face covering and USF ID.
  • Exercise appropriate physical distancing.
  • Practice frequent hand hygiene.
  • Self-screen daily.

We understand the COVID-19 pandemic has created delicate and unprecedented times through which we are all navigating. Academic institutions of all types and sizes are proceeding in a manner that best reflects their own institution’s respective needs and situations. Please know that every Crisis Management Team member takes very seriously the responsibilities that come with his or her roles in this capacity and makes recommendations to act and communicate following careful vetting processes. Know that we will proceed with our response to the pandemic as outlined in our Preparedness Plan (available at stfrancis.edu/saints-united) while continuing to demonstrate our values of respect, service, compassion and integrity. We will each continue to do our part to create collectively as safe and healthy of a campus environment as possible. We all are Saints United.

Sincerely,

The USF Crisis Management Team

Terry Cottrell
Vice President of Operations & Information Technology

Dave DiLorenzo
Director of Community & Government Relations

Julee Gard
Vice President for Administration & Finance

Sr. Mary Elizabeth Imler, OSF
Vice President of Mission Integration & University Ministry

Al Scheuber
Interim Director of Maintenance

Jason Williams
Director of Safety & Security

For all USF campus community members and guests, which includes students participating in on-campus activities including but not limited to in-person classes, athletics and student organizations/activities and employees working on campus in any capacity, it is strongly recommended that you get vaccinated for COVID-19 if you have not already done so. To find a vaccination opportunity, please consider:

  1. Visiting the Will County Health Department’s online vaccination scheduling page at https://willcountyhealth.org/vaccine-locations/
  2. Visiting vaccines.org;
  3. Visiting participating pharmacy websites (Walgreens, CVS, etc.), and;
  4. Contacting your primary healthcare provider for other options.

USF will also continue to explore other vaccination opportunities for the campus community and will share those directly through the USF email system.

USF Preparedness Plan

This preparedness plan goes into effect August 1 and will apply to all members of the USF community: students, faculty, administrators, staff, business partners (e.g., Ricoh, ABM), and all campus visitors.

As Saints United, we each have a part to play in keeping one another safe, and it is imperative our entire community understand and fulfill their role to help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19.  Everyone will be required to sign electronically a Statement of USF Community Expectations sent through the USF portal before returning to campus.  This Statement outlines principles all members of our community will be asked to agree to as a condition of returning to and remaining on any of the USF campuses.

(Note: An Affirmation of USF Community Expectations was issued to the USF Community for the start of the fall 2020 semester. An updated Reaffirmation of USF Community Expectations as provided below was issued to the USF Community at the start of the spring 2021 semester.)

Reaffirmation of USF Community Expectations for Spring 2021

I acknowledge that I have reviewed the expectations and information about USF’s practices and procedures as they relate to returning to the campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal of USF is to protect all individuals by establishing recommendations to minimize the risk of exposure and mitigate the effects of the virus within the community.

During this year of COMPASSION, I will demonstrate a greater mindfulness of others. I am committed to the safety and health of the USF community, both our students and employees, and pledge (even after complete individual COVID-19 vaccination) to:

  1. Wear a face covering and wear my USF ID.
  2. Exercise appropriate physical distancing.
  3. Practice frequent hand hygiene.
  4. Self-screen daily via the Involvio App and take proper action, as directed.

I pledge and agree to abide by the recommendations in order to keep my USF community and me as safe as possible.

Signature:                                                                       

Date:                           

USF believes that constant education and reminders to all will be necessary to help instill a culture of compliance with best practices.  It is hoped that if anyone fails to be compliant, those who observe the problem should first offer a friendly reminder, then tell the person that they are in violation of employee policy/student conduct rules, and subject to disciplinary action

The university is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy work environment for all employees. Vice Presidents should develop a return-to-work plan for their divisions in consultation with Human Resources as necessary. Return-to-work plans should consider staffing needs as well as facilities and operational needs. For academic units, department chairs and program directors will work with their deans and Human Resources partners.

Supervisors are encouraged to consider staffing approaches that always accomplish department objectives as well as ensuring adequate coverage in student-facing areas, while limiting potential for virus transmission, such as physical distancing provided by individual offices.  All employees are encouraged to return to work on campus after July 31.  Because USF is a service business – serving our students first and foremost and one another – it is our presence that creates a welcoming environment for all our students.

Employees who are in a high-risk group for COVID-19 or who live with someone or otherwise have significant contact with someone in a high-risk group should contact Human Resources to discuss a request for reasonable modification. Individuals should consult with their health care providers about their level of risk and need for a modification. Human Resources will work with the employee and their supervisors or deans on appropriate modifications, which may include remote work.

According to the CDC, individuals with certain conditions (including pregnancy) may have a higher risk for COVID-19 infection. Those conditions may include:

  • Older adults (aged 65 years and older)
  • People with HIV
  • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
  • Chronic lung disease (Including COPD)
  • Diabetes (Type 2)
  • Serious heart conditions
  • Severe obesity
  • Being immunocompromised
  • Chronic kidney disease (treated with dialysis)
  • Sickle cel

USF will consider a remote work option should the pandemic warrant the need for such at the discretion of the Vice President of the division and the Director of the department.

Remote work is a temporary, informal arrangement between an employee and supervisor to work from a non-office location.  USF considers remote work to be a viable, flexible work option when both the employee and the job responsibilities are well-suited for it. Remote work is not an entitlement and it is not a university-wide benefit.

Temporary work from home guidelines and agreement for administrators and staff is located on the portal under Human Resources department.

The highest priority for USF is safety as students choose to return to campus.  Though there is a different risk than staying at home, some students value a face to face modality as well as an on-campus experience.  For many, USF serves as “home” and as the cultural and social anchor of their college experience.  USF following the CDC, public health and higher education officials have outlined ways to mitigate that risk.

Resident Students

Residence Education will communicate with all resident students prior to their arrival to inform them of the expectations to take responsibility for their own health and safety, to do their part to contribute to a healthy community living environment, and to follow university health and safety protocols. To view the COVID Housing Agreement visit: https://www.stfrancis.edu/the-usf-2020-2021-housing-agreement/ . The university has and will continue to take measures to mitigate disease and will provide education to support student responsibility for health and safety.

USF is working closely with CDC and IDPH guidelines to provide the core elements of a residential living and learning environment within the parameters of public health recommendations. Measures are being put into place include, but are not limited to:

  • In accordance with CDC and IDPH recommendations, Residence hall rooms will default to single occupancy. Residents will have an option for one roommate with signed waiver for Fall 2020.
  • Residence Education is holding up to ten beds with private bathrooms for quarantine and isolation housing on campus.
  • Placement of hand sanitizers and self-cleaning products, as well as regular cleaning of common areas and common bathrooms at least twice daily, conducted by ABM personnel.
  • Education on mitigation measures, and expectations that resident students wear face coverings in community settings. These measures will also include information about steps students should take if they become ill.
  • Residential guests will be limited to one at a time in public spaces. A residential guest is defined as an individual who does not live within the building. This includes residents of other buildings, nonresidential students, friends and family. All guests are expected to practice social distancing and wear face coverings. These guests can visit in public spaces such as ground floor lounges or open areas in the quad.
  • Room guest limitations of other students living in the same building as the room they are visiting are still limited based on the number of students who can socially distance within a room. The expectation of social distancing and mask wearing still holds.
    • Single Room Type: No more than 2 people in room
    • Double Room Type: No more than 3 people
    • Triple Room Type: No more than 4 people
    • Apartment and suite spaces: 1 additional in building resident per resident of occupying space

Residence Education will continue community building this year. However, the community building will be done with safety in mind. This includes limiting gatherings, adhering to social distancing and hosting virtual engagement where appropriate. For common spaces there will be posted limitations with continued expectation of social distancing and face coverings

  • Building Computer Labs – No more than 3 people at a time
  • Community Kitchens: No more than 2 people at a time
  • Laundry Rooms: No more than 2 people at a time
  • Lounges: Must be able to practice social distancing in these spaces
  • Bathrooms: Confirm entering the space doesn’t prohibit others from social distancing

Move-in Process: Freshman and transfer students will move in with staggered assigned times on August 21st. Returning students also will move in with staggered move in times on August 22nd and August 23rd. Check in will take place in Marian Hall. Regularly cleaned and monitored carts will be provided for assistance with move in. Students will be encouraged to check in digitally via their own cellular devices. Regularly cleaned and monitored laptops will also be provided for digital check-in if needed. USF will not have move-in volunteers to limit the number of people in the residential spaces during this time.

Student athletes and student leadership groups including but not limited to the following will move in with staggered times throughout August.

  • Fall Sports
  • RA/MA/SA’s
  • Orientation Board
  • Duns Scotus Honors students
  • International students
  • Peer Ministers
  • Student employees (Security, Ambassadors, Dining, Tutors for training and work purpose only)

 Isolation: Students experiencing COVID-19 symptoms (cough, difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat or loss of taste/smell) should contact their health care provider immediately and should refrain from any unnecessary contact with others, including attendance at class, social events, etc. until they can be tested and are known to be negative. If their health care provider recommends testing, the student should enter isolation. USF will provide space in a house or apartment for the student to isolate.

Students needing isolation housing should contact Safety and Security at 815-740-3200. Students will need to bring all necessary supplies, including clothing, bedding, toiletries, and academic supplies when they enter isolation. Meals will be delivered twice daily and Residence Education and/or Wellness Center staff will contact students in isolation twice daily. The University of St. Francis will follow guidelines established by the CDC to determine when it is safe for a student to discontinue isolation. It will likely be at least 14 days since the last exposure.

Quarantine: Students who have been determined to have had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 will need to quarantine themselves for 14 days. While in quarantine, students should not leave their residence and should refrain from any unnecessary contact with others. If a student develops symptoms while in quarantine, they should contact their health care provider immediately. Students who develop symptoms while in quarantine will immediately be considered to be in isolation and will be moved to isolation housing if needed. Students who do not develop symptoms after 14 days will be able to leave quarantine. Students in quarantine will still be expected to fully participate remotely in class possible.

Quarantine-in-place: Students living in spaces with private bathrooms will quarantine in place. Students should not leave their residence once they are notified that they must quarantine. Meals will be delivered twice daily and Residence Education and/or Wellness Center staff will contact students in quarantine twice daily.

Alternative Quarantine housing: Students living in residence halls with communal bathrooms will be provided a temporary space with a private bathroom to quarantine. Students will need to bring all necessary supplies, including clothing, bedding, toiletries, and academic supplies when they enter quarantine.  Meals will be delivered twice daily and Residence Education and/or Wellness Center staff will contact students in quarantine twice daily.

Quarantine-at-home: When students return to campus in August, they will be asked if they can safely return to quarantine at home should the need arise during the academic year. If a student can return home and is determined to need to quarantine, they will be asked to return home to quarantine.  Students will need to bring all necessary academic supplies when they return home.  Students who develop symptoms should then isolate themselves while at home. Students who do not develop symptoms after 14 days will be able to return to campus (See conditions in 4.5.1).

Pre-Quarantine sequester is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Students who have been determined to have had close contact with a person suspected, but not yet confirmed, of having COVID-19 will be asked to sequester in place until test results are available for the person suspected of being infected. Students in sequester should leave their room only to use the bathroom and should wear a mask while outside of the room except to brush their teeth or shower. Students should also avoid interaction with others in the hallway or the restroom. Meals will be delivered to their room. Students in sequester will still be expected to fully participate remotely in class possible. If the test results are positive, the student will immediately begin to quarantine. If the test results are negative, the student can resume normal activities. Where students share a room with a roommate both students will need to sequester together until test results are available.

 
Commuter Students

In addition to the expectation that commuter students follow this plan and commit to self-screening before coming to campus, wearing face coverings and other guidance, USF holds commuter students accountable to the same general practices as residential students whenever on campus.

International Students

USF will follow the CDC guidelines for students who come to campus from abroad.  Our International Program Office (IPO) is communicating with international students that are not currently in the U.S. to plan their return so that they have the required fourteen days to quarantine before attending class or engaging with others on the campus.  For those who will need to travel directly to the university and have a housing contract USF will provide a room after July 31 (but no board) to self-quarantine.

Now more than ever, the university needs its entire community to adhere to best practices for protecting their own health and the health of others. As such, all students, faculty, administrators and staff as well as visitors on campus will be expected to follow health and safety general practices.

Observing these general practices is done more out of concern for the health and safety of one’s self and others more than a requirement.  Supervisors will be responsible for implementing and monitoring these general practices in their areas and to address violations with their employees.  If necessary, concerns would be reported to Human Resources and the Vice President for their area.

With face coverings, it might be more difficult to recognize one another.  For security reasons, USF suggests everyone always wears their employee/student ID as we return to campus starting August 1.

Face Coverings

Face masks or face covering must be worn by all students, staff, faculty, administration and visitors while on the USF campus, except when alone in a private room (office, residence hall room) or in a private vehicle. Appropriate and limited exceptions may be made, for example while eating in the dining areas.

Important Notes:

  • Face coverings do NOT replace the need for physical distancing
  • Students will be asked to leave class if they do not have an appropriate face covering on
  • Both students and instructors will wear a face covering and maintain physical distancing throughout the entire class
  • Disposable face coverings will be made for situations that cloth ones are ill-advised (e.g. labs or wherever chemicals are being used)
  • Face coverings or any personal protective equipment should not be shared with another person
  • Consider carrying a spare face covering in case something happens to one

A starter kit will be provided to all students, faculty, administrators and staff.  The USF logo cloth face coverings should be sterilized after each use.

The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.  Current CDC findings state that face shields have not been deemed effective and therefore, are only to be used in conjunction with a face covering or when other methods of protection are not available or appropriate.

Proper use and care of cloth face coverings:

  • Putting on the face covering
    • Wash hands or use hand sanitizer prior to handling the face covering
    • Ensure the face covering fits over the nose and under the chin
    • Loop straps around the ears or tie straps behind head/neck
    • Throughout the process avoid touching the front of the face covering
  • Taking off the face covering
    • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when removing the face covering
    • When taking off the face covering, loop your fingers into the straps and pull the straps away from the ears, or untie the straps
    • Wash hands immediately after removing
  • Care, storage and laundering:
    • Keep face covering mask stored in a paper bag when not in use
    • Cloth face coverings should be replaced immediately if soiled, damaged (i.e. ripped, punctured) or visibly contaminated
    • Cloth face coverings may not be used more than one day at a time and must be sterilized after each use.
  • Sterilization
    • Wash in washing machine on HOT and hang dry or,
    • Hand wash with soap and water, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds, rinse and hang dry or,
    • Soak for 5 minutes in bleach mixture (1 gallon water and 1/3 cup bleach), rinse and hang dry

Please note: Disposable masks are designed for single use and cannot be cleaned between use.

USF will consider reasonable requests for individuals who cannot medically tolerate masks or other face coverings.  Reasonable modifications may include taking classes online and working remotely. Students should contact the Dean of Students who will work with the Wellness Center and/or Office of Disability, as appropriate. Faculty, administrators and staff should contact Human Resources.

Physical Distancing

Keeping space between you and others is one of the best practices we can utilize to avoid being exposed to the COVID-19 virus, and to slow the spread. Knowing that individuals can spread the virus without showing any symptoms and that infectious air particles are the most likely way to spread the virus, it is important to stay away from others when possible, even if they have no symptoms. Physical distancing is important for everyone, especially to help protect people who are at a higher risk of getting ill.

  • Stay at least 6 feet (about two arms’ length) from others (per current CDC guidelines)
  • Stay out of crowded places. On- or off-campus large gatherings/parties should be avoided unless strict adherence to physical distancing and face covering protocols can be observed until such time guidance would deem that they do not put the community at significantly greater risk.

Physical distancing is being implemented throughout campus:

  • Classrooms
  • Maximum occupancy has been determined for every classroom using the 6ft (2m) physical distancing guidelines
  • Many larger meeting spaces (e.g. Presidents room, Moes room, Turk Theatre, etc.) are being retrofitted into classrooms to accommodate larger classes
  • Desks, tables and chairs have been removed, relocated or taped off to accommodate physical distancing
  • Revised capacity limits for rooms must be observed as posted.
  • Meetings
  • Meetings will be conducted electronically, when feasible, if meetings need to be held in person, attendance will be limited to 50 participants or less to accommodate physical distancing. (according to the IL Reopening Plan)
  • Technology for remote work and virtual events will be used more frequently than is typical with on-campus operations.
  • Common Areas
  • Floor markings will be placed to demonstrate 6ft (2m) distance between individuals in locations where lines typically form
  • Tables and chairs have been removed, relocated or taped off to accommodate physical distancing
  • Revised room capacity limits will be posted by the entrance to all rooms/areas
  • Limiting occupancy in common areas and establish self-cleaning protocols for such shared spaces
  • Traffic Flow
  • Use stairs for vertical circulation rather than the elevators which have very limited occupancy.
  • Hallways are not used for congregating but for movement to maintain necessary physical distancing.

Hand Hygiene

Hand hygiene is an integral part of the COVID-19 pandemic response. Practicing hand hygiene, which includes the use of alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR, i.e., hand sanitizer) or hand washing is a simple yet effective way to prevent the spread of pathogens. All community members are expected to wash or sanitize their hands regularly in accordance with public health guidance (CDC).

Hands should be washed for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, especially before eating, after using the restroom, after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing or touching your face. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC also recommends washing hands after you have been in a public place and touched an item or surface that may be frequently touched by others, such as door handles, elevator buttons, tables, or after adjusting face covering.

Hand sanitizer dispensers (with approved sanitizer fluids) have been installed around campus in classrooms, high traffic areas, and shuttle buses.

Respiratory/Cough Etiquette

To prevent the transmission of all respiratory infections (including COVID-19 and influenza), we expect community members to implement appropriate respiratory/cough etiquette as a standard precaution. Per the CDC, the following measures to contain respiratory secretions are recommended for all individuals:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Use the nearest waste receptacle to dispose of the tissue after use.
  • If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.
  • Perform hand hygiene (e.g., hand washing with non-antimicrobial soap and water, alcohol-based hand rub, or antiseptic hand wash) after having contact with respiratory secretions and contaminated objects/materials.

Self- Screening for Signs and Symptoms of COVID-19 and Self-Reporting Daily

As Saints United, we each have a part to play in keeping one another safe, and it is imperative our entire community understand and fulfill their role to help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19.  In the past many (students and employees) have come to campus with a cold/illness intending to “tough it out” or “I’m not that sick.” Moving forward WE must build a new culture, in which WE protect each other from sickness, by staying home and remoting in. With this in mind, WE (students, faculty, administrators and staff) are expected to self-screen for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 daily.

USF plans on utilizing a technology platform, which will be accessible to everyone in the university community. This platform will confidentially ask if any COVID-19 symptoms are present and then provide a clear message on what to do (e.g. come to campus, see your doctor, etc.). All students, faculty, administrators and staff will be expected to complete the questionnaire every day (ideally prior to coming to campus). Compliance is unlikely to be universal but will be monitored to ensure the community takes this need seriously. It could be helpful to keep a personal daily “close contact” log to facilitate investigation/contact tracing in the event that an individual develops COVID-19 illness.

Contact Tracing

Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 must quarantine until recovered, however to help determine the risk of potential exposure to others on campus, the Will County Health Department will conduct contact tracing through on-campus class attendance, athletic attendance, symptom screening, and talking with the individual who tested positive for any other potential exposures.  A trained health department contact tracer will then notify anyone who should isolate or self-quarantine.

Information to share with contact tracer:

  • The date they first experienced symptoms
  • The testing date and location
  • The date test results were received
  • The last day they were on campus
  • The area(s) of campus where they have spent extensive time, both in the last two (2) days (for contact tracing) and over the last seven (7) days (for cleaning purposes)
  • The identities of USF students, staff, faculty, and administrators with whom they have had close contact.

COVID-19 Testing

Considerations for USF’s decisions on COVID-19 testing related to symptom monitoring and testing are informed by research data and guidelines from the CDC, IDPH, Will County health officials, and the American College Health Association.

The recommendations for COVID-19 testing continue to evolve, and, at the present time, CDC does not recommend entry testing of all returning students, faculty, administrators and staff.  Testing will assess a person’s infection status only at a single point in time. A person who tests negative in the morning may become infected in the afternoon, the next day, or the next week. Given this, the University will not require mass testing but is focusing on the critical importance of its prevention, mitigation, and monitoring efforts.  USF expects community members to follow personal safety practices at all times.

The only students required to be tested for COVID-19 will be student-athletes per NAIA guidelines.  Student-athletes will be mandated to be tested no more than seven days prior to their first competition of the season.  For further details, refer to Section 11.0 of this document.

The Wellness Center is currently prioritizing testing of symptomatic students for COVID-19 using molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests administered by Physicians Immediate Care in Joliet.  USF has arranged transportation, if necessary, to Physicians Immediate Care via an arranged service such as Medicar.  Additional contact tracing/expanded testing of asymptomatic individuals may be utilized in specific situations, such as localized clusters of COVID-19 cases on campus and other appropriate situations. This approach is consistent with the current recommendations of IDPH and the American College Health Association (ACHA). According to ACHA, “screening large numbers of students will likely produce no substantial public health benefit, and at very high cost.”

Employees who are sick should contact their primary health care provider for testing.

Temperature Checks

The signs and symptoms of COVID-19 present at illness onset vary, however fever, cough and shortness of breath are commonly reported. Therefore, in addition to daily symptom checks we will also get our temperature taken at building entrances and significant monitoring points (e.g. residence hall desk, weight room, etc.) through contactless temperature scanners. This information will not be stored, if a person registers an elevated temperature, they will not be able to enter the building.

  • Fever: any temperature 100.4o F (38o C) or higher
  • No fever: temperature below 100.4o F (38o C)

Additionally, contactless temperature scanners will be at building entrances and significant monitoring points (i.e. residence hall desks, weight room) to detect anyone that has an elevated temperature (100.4 o or higher) upon arrival at campus.  This information will not be stored.  If a person registers an elevated temperature, they will not be able to enter the building.

Privacy and Confidentiality

USF will treat medical information received by the contact tracer as confidential and will share information only as needed to ensure compliance with public health guidelines, directives and this plan. Names of impacted individuals will never be shared in public communications.

All community members are expected to help maintain the privacy and anonymity of individuals who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are quarantining due to COVID-19 exposure. Individuals who are able to identify the individual based on the circumstances are expected to be discreet. For example, it is okay to share you are quarantining due to a direct contact with an individual with COVID-19, but do not share the individual’s name. We want to be respectful and supportive of all community members through this crisis.

In accordance with the Clery Act, USF will inform the community if there is a confirmed outbreak of COVID-19 on campus that could pose an immediate threat to the health or safety of the campus community. The determination of whether cases are linked and constitute an outbreak will be made in accordance with Clery Act and public health guidance.

Proper Actions if Exposed

Rapid case investigation and contact tracing are critical to containment strategies to limit the scope of any outbreaks of infection. Those containment strategies include isolation of identified cases and quarantine of close contacts of identified cases that occurred within 48 hours prior to symptom onset.

“Close contact” is currently defined by CDC as:

  • Living in the same household or residence hall room as a person who has lab-confirmed COVID-19,
  • Providing care in a household for a person who has lab-confirmed COVID-19,
  • Within 6 feet of a person who has lab-confirmed COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes or more within 48 hours prior to the development of symptoms,
  • In direct contact with secretions from a person who has lab-confirmed COVID-19 or who was diagnosed with COVID-19 (e.g., being coughed or sneezed on, kissing, sharing utensils, etc.).

Isolation and Quarantine

Containment strategies currently defined by CDC are:

Isolation: used to separate people infected with the virus from people who are not infected.

Quarantine: used to keep someone who has been exposed to COVID-19 but is not ill away from others.

Members of the USF community diagnosed with COVID-19 are expected to follow the CDC isolation guidelines to help protect the health of the greater community and prevent disease transmission. They should work under the care and direction of their medical provider to determine when they are able to return to campus or to the classroom. In general, individuals are expected to stay home until they receive a written medical release (employees submit documentation to HR@stfrancis.edu, and students submit documentation to Dean of Students, mrockafellow@stfrancis.edu):

  • Fever free for 72 hours without the use of medication, AND
  • Other Symptoms have begun to improve, AND
  • Additional 7 days of isolation, OR
  • 10 days have passed since symptoms began (whichever is longer).
  • If Asymptomatic, 10 days since the positive COVID test.

All members of the USF community should comply with recommendations to stay home and quarantine if feeling sick or if they have been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case. Fourteen days of quarantine is required for any students or employees who have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Residential students who are not able to isolate or quarantine off campus will be moved to temporary isolation/quarantine rooms. Residence Education has a coordinated care protocol with Dining, Health Services, Dean of Students, and the Wellness Center for students in need of this housing. Students will receive support to continue with their academics while in isolation or quarantine.  USF is not able to provide isolation or quarantine housing to students living off campus.

Faculty, administrators and staff will be supported to work remotely to the degree they are able while in isolation or quarantine.

If You Develop Symptoms or Been Diagnosed with COVID-19 (Isolation)

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, are waiting for test results, or have a cough, fever, shortness of breath or other symptoms of COVID-19 you need to follow CDC guidelines and isolate yourself from others.

  • Stay at home or in your residence hall room until it is safe to be around others
  • Student – contact your primary care provider or the Wellness Center 815-740-3399 for further advice
  • Employee – contact your supervisor (phone or e-mail) as soon as possible to report your absence and contact your primary care provider
  • If you are confirmed for COVID-19
    • Student – report this to Wellness Center
    • Employees – report this to Human Resources

The confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis will be reported to local and/or state health authorities by the health care provider that conducted the test. USF may also share the information provided by students and employees directly with IDPH. USF will work closely with state and local health officials on any recommended measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. USF community members who have been in direct contact with a person with a confirmed diagnosis may be contacted by both USF and state or local health officials as part of contact tracing efforts.

 If You Have Been Around Someone with COVID-19 (Quarantine)

If you feel healthy but recently had close contact with a person with COVID-19 within the past 7 days delay returning to campus for 14 days after your last exposure. Monitor symptoms and check your temperature twice a day.

Cleaning and Sanitization

Cleaning surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice for preventing COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in community settings. The university has established cleaning protocols consistent with CDC, IDPH and ABM guidance, which include measures such as:

  • Routinely cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and objects in common areas. This includes cleaning objects and surfaces such as tables, desks, countertops, common area furniture, handrails, elevator buttons, doorknobs, light switches, computers, vending/ATM machines, toilets, faucets and sinks. Disinfection cleaning by ABM will be done with EPA-registered disinfectants approved for use against the virus.
  • Frequently touched surfaces in high-traffic common areas will be cleaned at least twice daily by the ABM. Frequently touched surfaces in areas with less traffic will be cleaned once daily. Please note this change will limit other work and services performed by custodial staff. For example, private office areas may be vacuumed less. Staff can assist by moving waste to hallway receptacles and by utilizing the self-use cleaning station supplies to clean personal spaces. Resident students are responsible for cleaning their personal spaces.
  • Community members will be asked to safely assist by cleaning in areas they use with provided cleaning supplies, such as classroom desks, seats and podiums.
  • Drinking fountains will be shut down to prevent mouth contact with the spout. Everyone is encouraged to use reusable bottles and refill them without contact at the working filling stations.
  • Maintenance staff will use various combinations of engineering controls, administrative controls, safe work practices and additional personal protective equipment when working or cleaning in an area that has been assessed as a higher risk exposure area.
  • Virex II 256 will be the primary disinfectant, as approved by the CDC and EPA.
  • Electrostatic Spraying Equipment utilized in classrooms/meeting spaces.

Students, faculty, administrators and staff may not use another person’s personal protective equipment, phone, computer equipment, desks, cubicles, workstations, offices or other personal work tools and equipment. Shared equipment, such as copiers, printers, microwaves, should be properly disinfected.

USF will follow the CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting area for a confirmed COVID-19 case:

  • Close off areas used by the person who is sick.
  • Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area if possible.
  • Wait 24 hours before cleaning or disinfecting. If 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible.
  • Clean and disinfect all areas used by the person who is sick, such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment like tablets, touch screens, keyboards, and remote controls.
  • Vacuum the space if needed with high-efficiency particular air (HEPA) filter, if available.
    • Do not vacuum a room or space that has people in it. Wait until the room or space is empty to vacuum, such as at night, for common spaces, or during the day for private rooms.
    • Consider temporarily turning off room fans and the central HVAC system that services the room or space, so that particles that escape from vacuuming will not circulate throughout the facility.
  • Once area has been appropriately disinfected, it can be opened for use.
    • Students and employees who were not within close contact with the person who is sick can return to work immediately after disinfection.
  • If more than 7 days since the person who is sick visited or used the facility, additional cleaning and disinfection is not necessary.
  • Continue routine cleaning and disinfection. This includes everyday practices that businesses and communities normally use to maintain a healthy environment.

To support community members who cannot work or attend class due to illness or quarantine, St. Francis will provide flexible leave policies.

Students

USF has faculty-approved attendance policies that were developed before the era of COVID-19. Since the arrival of the pandemic, faculty have been flexible in accommodating student needs that relate to COVID-19.  During this pandemic:

  • Faculty are asked to take attendance in all courses and/or to include activities that measure student attendance/engagement. This not only holds students accountable but may also help with identifying students in distress or assisting, if needed, with contact tracing efforts.
  • Faculty should clearly outline attendance expectations in their syllabi.
  • Faculty are asked to work with students who are unable to adhere to class attendance policies that would make sense under typical conditions.
  • Students may be unable to attend class sessions in person if they are 1) a member of an at-risk group, 2) in isolation or quarantine due to exposure or potential exposure to COVID-19, 3) caring for a child or someone who is ill, or 4) unable to travel to campus.
  • Additionally, students may be unable to attend in-person or online class sessions if they are ill or require a modification.
  • Students are expected to communicate with their professors about absences in a timely manner, i.e. before class sessions. Students should also be proactive about working with their professors to make up missed coursework.
  • If students are unable to finish coursework within a term or semester due to illness, they may be eligible for an incomplete grade based on current policy.
  • Each college/school/department will develop specific policies regarding whether remote access to classes will be regularly available for all students or reserved for students with a clearly defined and approved reason.

Students who are in a high-risk group for COVID-19, who live with someone in a high-risk group, or who are otherwise unable to come to campus will have opportunities for online coursework. If a required course is not available in a fully online setting, departments and deans will work with students to ensure they are able to enroll in courses that allow them to continue making progress toward their degree.

The student appeal process will be used should a student have a concern.  An ad hoc COVID-19 committee (appropriately staffed e.g. with Office of Disability Services, Wellness Center, Office of Institutional Diversity) will review the concern in a manner consist with the ordinary process.

Employees

Employees may be unable to come to campus if they are 1) a member of a high-risk group or live with someone in a high-risk group, 2) in isolation or quarantine due to exposure or potential exposure to COVID-19, or 3) caring for a child or someone who is ill.  If a modification is necessary for the employee to temporarily work from home, a note indicating such from the employee’s doctor needs to be submitted to Human Resources.

Faculty members who are not seeking a modification due to elevated risk but who would prefer to teach fully online in fall should consult with their department chair and/or dean to discuss options that balance their preferences with the needs of their program and their college. Guidance and process for making these requests will come from deans.

USF has numerous paid and unpaid leave options in place for all employees who are not able to work due to illness or quarantine. Employees who are quarantined but able to work from home are expected to do so. Employees who are not able to work may use available leave time.

  • If an employee is unable to work due to illness or quarantine, your time away from work should be recorded using the SICK earnings code and writing COVID in the comments section.
  • Short Term Disability would be available if an employee remains ill and needs to stay home after 21 calendar days (known as the benefit waiting period).  This 3-week benefit waiting period will be covered with an employee’s earned leave time (Sick hours and, if not enough, earned Vacation hours).  Employees should contact Human Resources to start the short-term disability process through Guardian at the beginning of the initial illness.
  • An employee who is sick, whose family members are sick or if the employee is unable to work due to a bona fide need may be entitled to leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) or FMLA under certain circumstances.  A bona fide need for leave would be for care for a child whose school or childcare provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19. The FFCRA provides a certain amount of paid or partially paid time off. The FMLA, which could be used in connection with the FFCRA, entitles eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12-month rolling back calendar year for family or medical reasons.

USF is committed to creating a safe instructional experience for students and faculty, while continuing to provide the holistic and personalized education for which the university is known.  Various plans are in motion to prepare for welcoming faculty and students back in the fall.

The Faculty Development Work Group is putting together peer-to-peer (synchronous) training sessions from July 20 to August 14. In addition, a Canvas course is being created with curated video (asynchronous) and text links for all professional development topics; this will be made available to all faculty members on Monday, July 20.

This section provides an overview of instructional plans that relate to all academic programs, including those at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Further details will be provided by Academic Affairs, deans and department chairs/program directors. Students and faculty who have specific questions should contact the dean or department chair.

Fall 2020 Academic Calendar

The University calendar has been altered to adapt to COVID-19 and to provide a larger gap between the end of the Fall 2020 term and the beginning of the Spring 2021 term.  Specifically,

  • USF’s Fall Break (originally scheduled for October 19th through 23rd) is being moved and shortened to Tuesday & Wednesday, October 6-7th.  This means the semester will now end one week earlier on Friday, December 11th.
  • All on-campus, face-to-face classes will move to an online format after Thanksgiving Break, which begins on November 26th.  This change applies to the two final weeks of the semester (the last week of classes and finals week).
  • Shortening the semester in this way moves commencement to Saturday, December 12th.

Student athletes in fall and winter sports will be able to stay on campus and participate in late season games, as necessary.

The Academic Task Force, in consultation with their colleagues and Deans, developed plans for Fall 2020 instructional experiences that took into consideration:

  • The in-person learning component is highly valued by students in many of our programs, who seek it out as part of the “USF experience,” and being on campus and in the classroom provide crucial social and intellectual support for many of our students, especially those who have experienced marginalization.
  • In-person instructional experiences have been designed around the health and safety protocols outlined in Section 4.1-5 of this plan.
  • Some faculty and students will not be able to come to campus for teaching and learning due to their own health-related risks or that of someone they live with.
  • We may have periods of short-term or extended absences for students and faculty during fall, which we will need to accommodate.
  • A spike in COVID-19 cases in the fall or other factors could require a return to fully virtual teaching and learning. There may be limited exceptions for activities that cannot be done virtually, that are considered indispensable to the university’s core mission, and that can be conducted within rigorous standards of safety and welfare.
  • Altering the gap between classes from twenty minutes to thirty to allow for more time for cleaning and “aerosols” generated simply through speaking to settle (minimum of 17 minutes).

Course Delivery Models for Fall 2020

Transition time between classes has been extended to 30 minutes versus 20 minutes as in the past.

Course ModalityModality CodeDescription
OnsiteAClass will meet on site on posted days/times with necessary practices including face coverings and physical distancing as required by USF
Blended OnsiteYClass will be a blend of onsite class meetings and remote learning via asynchronous online or live video
OnlineZInstruction will be via asynchronous (not live) online activities with no onsite class meetings
Live VideoVClass will meet using live streaming video at the scheduled class times; there will be no onsite class meetings

Technology to Support Instructional Models

USF has implemented a variety of technology and equipment upgrades including increased data network speeds to support more seamless transitions between hybrid, live, and asynchronous audiovisual classes and meetings, software for remote test proctoring, recommendations through our bookstore for student computer needs, and new laptops for any full-time faculty members.  Standards for student connectivity to our new multi-mode course offerings have also been adopted and are available at the Tech Support web site for future reference.

Fall 2020 Off-Campus Instructional and Field Experiences

Each college will establish protocols for its Fall 2020 off-campus instructional and field experiences, including service learning, internships, clinicals, and volunteering, in alignment with public health guidelines and the guidelines of the host organization.

If you are enrolled in an off-site or clinical experience (e.g., nursing clinical or student teaching), your instructor will be contacting you with information about how the course will be conducted.

Fall 2020 Study Abroad Experiences

All study abroad experiences have been cancelled for Fall 2020.

USF’s contracted food service supplier has strategies to support physical distancing in all dining locations working through guidelines from CDC, IDPH and the state licensing agency to create the safest dining environment feasible.  Dining Services will take a multipronged approach to providing an enjoyable and safe dining experience when students, faculty, administrators and staff return to campus in the fall. Patrons will notice many changes – from fewer tables and chairs and line control mechanisms, to the use of Plexiglas shields and new cashless payment options.

Planned strategies include:

  • Maintain physical distancing in dining areas, including but not limited to:
  • Revised occupancy capacities with fewer tables and chairs
  • Encouraging the use of to-go meals
  • Adjusted staffing levels and increased cleaning rotations
  • Line control staff to help manage the number of patrons in a serving area at a time, as well as the use of floor markers, one-way service lines, etc.
  • Practice good hygiene and reduce the risk of exposure to germs, such as:
  • Requiring the use of masks or other face covering when not eating, including while in line to receive food
  • Hand sanitizers at entrances and exits
  • Cashless payment options as available, contactless credit card readers and mobile ordering
  • Removal of reusable options (mugs, coffees, sodas, etc.) and self-service items
    • Replacing small wares (napkins, utensils) with prepackaged items
  • Cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch areas throughout the day

USF Department of Athletics is partnering with officials from NAIA and the CCAC to address testing and contingency plans for fall sporting events.  A more detailed document is available from the NAIA website.

All student-athletes and coaches must receive a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test no more than seven days prior to the first competition. If a student or coach tests positive during initial testing, he or she must receive a negative test result prior to returning to competition. If a student or coach is unable to test during seven-day window prior to the first competition, he or she then must be withheld until a test can be conducted and must receive a negative test result before his or her first competition.

Student athletes will hear from their coaches about steps that will allow them to train and compete safely.  Beginning August 15, per NAIA, coaches, student-athletes and those in close contact with student-athletes are required to be screened each day a practice or team activity occurs.

For competition, all game-day participants (student-athletes, coaches, support staff, officials, etc.) are required to be screened within six hours of the beginning of the contest. All screening must be done by an athletic trainer or designated healthcare professional. The screening process will identify student-athletes, staff or other game-day participants who should be withheld from participation and referred for further evaluation or COVID-19 testing.

USF does not expect to hold large athletic events with large capacity crowds given the limitation of gatherings of fifty (50) individuals.  Other options could include required spacing or broadcast-only events.

Due to the limited number of individuals able to use the weight room and fitness center on campus at one time (10 in each area) , access times to these areas for general student and staff use will be posted at the entrance to these areas as well as at the main entrance to the Sullivan Center at the beginning of each month.  Users are expected to maintain physical distancing and clean equipment prior to and after each use with sanitation supplies provided.  Inwood Athletic Club is also available for student and staff usage.  Club access regulations can be found on the Joliet Park District website or by calling 815-741-7275.  Alumni and other outside guests will not be able to use these facilities until further notification.

The university will continue to offer traditional support services to students. Support services, including student life, Academic Resource Center, and Counseling from the Wellness Center may be offered in-person or remotely. Health and safety protocols will be followed.

USF Wellness and Counseling Centers (Joliet campuses)

The USF Wellness Center located in Tower Hall, Room S213 (815-740-3399) has an RN available Monday – Thursday from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm.  It will maintain typical (non-COVID-19) health services.  The Counseling Center is located on Motherhouse third floor, Rm. 310, and can be reached at 815-740-3598.

COVID-19 causes many to experience issues such as anxiety, depression, etc.  The Counseling Center is there to help with group and individual services.  As with any health need, it is best to seek services early.  The Center will continue to provide for needs during this pandemic.  The staff will stagger appointments to facilitate physical distancing during face to face visits as well as coordinate remote connections.

In order not to add to the health concerns from the COVID-19 virus and further reduce the stress on our local health system this fall, employees are encouraged to get a seasonal flu shot. Seasonal flu shots for the campus community (students, faculty, administrators and staff) will be provided this year.

Counseling Service (Albuquerque campus)

Students at the Albuquerque, NM campus may access counseling services through The Solutions Group at 505-254-3555.

The link to the NMDOH testing information is https://cvprovider.nmhealth.org/directory.html.  The NMDOH has an array of resources available at https://cv.nmhealth.org/.

Student engagement activities must follow university health and safety protocols. Management of extracurricular activities including intramurals, club programs, etc. will be evaluated by appropriate offices to determine which can occur safely under the physical distance guidelines.  Those that cannot will not be allowed.  There will be no campus large gatherings/parties until such time USF concludes that they do not put the community at significantly greater risk.

  • Student clubs and organizations will be encouraged to engage online through virtual fairs and meetings. Clubs will continue to manage club rosters, communication and marketing. Any in-person meetings will be required to follow university guidance and policies, including use of face coverings and physical distancing.
  • Campus-wide programming will also be encouraged to engage online, with some events having the potential for in-person components (e.g., using multiple rooms with streaming for events or trainings, shifting in-person games to larger halls, etc.).
  • Off-campus programming/experiences will require approvals and must follow university guidelines for transportation, site expectations, setup and waivers.
  • In-person events and programs must follow university guidelines such as physical distancing, cleaning processes and others.

To continue to protect the community, all campus events have been canceled through August 1. This includes all internal and external clients and groups.

Events and reservations will continue to follow IDPH and CDC guidance on physical distancing, as well as room and meeting capacities through the fall. USF will work with event hosts on options for physical distancing events and following IDPH guidelines in Phase IV of a maximum of 50 individuals.  The EVENTS SET-UP FORM has been updated to include additional questions for health and safety.  This will include some necessary tracking method for contact tracing.

All university-sponsored travel for professional development has been suspended until further notice. Community members who are considering personal travel should read the CDC’s travel health notices and be prepared for isolation or quarantine before returning to campus. USF may impose travel-based quarantines based on public health guidance and information on community transmission. Students who travel internationally or who are coming to the U.S. from a foreign country are expected to follow CDC and/or State Department guidance on quarantine.

If health precautions are taken and general practices are observed, field trips will be allowed.

Inter-campus shuttle service will begin on August 24, 2020. The University’s shuttle service will adhere to the guidance of APPA (Association of Physical Plant Administrators) regarding ridership numbers and operating standards recommendations.  The health and safety measures that have been adopted include:

  • Electrostatic cleaning units have been purchased and will be used on our shuttle buses for deep cleaning/sanitizing daily.
  • All passengers will be required to wear face covering. Plexiglas shields between the driver and passengers will in place on each shuttle.
  • Reduced passenger capacity on each shuttle to ensure adequate physical distancing of passengers
  • Hand sanitizer available on all shuttles.
  • Drivers will regularly sanitize high-touch point surfaces and bring in fresh air from the outside (roll down windows) for increased air exchange in these enclosed spaces.

The University of St. Francis is committed to ensuring a safe environment for its visitors to campus. These visitors will also have important roles to play in safeguarding the health of our community members. As such, the university will require all visitors to follow all university established protocols while on campus.

As with community members, any visitor who is sick is expected to stay home and not come to campus. All visitors and guests will be required to wear face coverings while on campus, use hand sanitizer/wash hands, have their temperature taken upon arrival on campus, and answer health screening questions before coming to campus.  If a visitor answers “yes” to any of these questions, they may not enter or remain on campus.

University Ministry will reopen the St. Joseph Chapel in the Motherhouse as well as the Tower Hall and St. Clare campus chapels once the Ministry team is approved as such by the Diocese of Joliet.  Physical distancing practices will be enforced, steps will be taken to reduce the number of common objects attendees may touch, and sanitization and cleaning protocols will be followed.

Daily Mass will begin on August 3rd. Capacity is limited in accordance with state and diocesan guidance.

 Among other steps, the following actions have or will be taken:

  • Eucharistic celebrations will be in accordance with state directives limiting the size of group gatherings.
  • Hymnals have been put into storage.
  • Holy water fonts will remain empty.
  • Signage, aisle markers and pew limits will be used to enforce physical distancing.
  • Cleaning will take place between services.
  • Face coverings will be required for attendees.
  • Only cantors will sing; congregational singing will be discontinued.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available and Eucharistic ministers must use it before distribution.
  • The chalice will not be offered.

The university is developing plans to respond to a possible surge in cases on campus or in the community. Such plans will be consistent with public health guidance and directives. A surge in cases or other external factors may affect campus operations, including changes to dining or residence hall operations or a possible need to return to online classes and closure of residence hall(s). Factors that will be considered include:

  • Government directives, e.g. mandate from local, state, federal government or health department.
  • Level of transmission, e.g. 5% of students living on campus infected (suggested number locally).
  • Identified percentage of face-to-face employees are infected
  • Options for reducing transmission risks
  • Community compliance with protocols
  • Community compliance with protocols and the ability of the university to effectively manage on-campus cases
  • Local hospitals have reached an identified percentage of occupancy for bed

If a surge in cases locally or nationally causes USF to put some or all classes online, USF will be prepared to continue and complete courses online. Tuition and fees will not be refunded. If residence halls are closed, charges for residence hall rooms and meal plans generally will be prorated. The university refund schedule will be updated to reflect refund policies in the event of residence hall closures.

The University will communicate with constituents as quickly, thoroughly and accurately as possible regarding COVID-related planning, preparedness, and policy. This Preparedness Plan will be communicated to all students, faculty, administrators and staff as well as visitors by posting the Plan on the University’s website and promoting through email and social media. Additional communication and training regarding COVID-19 prevention and mitigation measures will be ongoing through a variety of means, including:

  • Campus signage
  • New employee and new student orientations
  • Direct communication from USF and supervisors
  • Communication with students as they prepare to move to campus and start classes
  • Ongoing communications to the community as circumstances and regulations related to COVID-19 and this plan change

In order that all communications convey accurate and timely information, send a unified message, are simple and clear, and align with the core mission and values of USF, the Crisis Management Team will have the final oversight before any campus area sends a message regarding COVID-19 initiatives. Click here to see previously-issued COVID-19 emergency alerts and communications from spring and summer.

The health of our community is paramount as we return to campus. USF students, faculty, administrators and staff are expected to comply with this plan and all accompanying policies and procedures. The first step in creating a community that adheres to these policies is education. Prior to returning to campus, the university will provide education for all students, faculty, administrators and staff about the spread of COVID-19, mitigation strategies, and the rationale for campus policies and procedures related to COVID-19.

We recognize that building a culture takes time. It is important that ALL members of our community take personal responsibility for their actions, follow their own personal safety plans, and remind each other of the importance of protocols such as wearing masks or other face coverings, health and safety practices such as hand-washing and physical distancing.

Students are expected to uphold all policies, plans and protocols related to mitigating the spread of COVID-19. Students who are repeatedly documented for being noncompliant with COVID-19 established expectations or who engage in egregious violations will enter the student conduct process and may be subject to discipline in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct. These expectations extend to students who live off-campus in our neighborhood.

Employees are also expected to uphold all policies, plans and protocols related to mitigating the spread of COVID-19. We are trusting that employees will willingly comply with and promote COVID-19 established expectations.  Employees who violate established health and safety expectations may be subject to discipline in accordance with the USF policy manual.

Students, faculty, administrators and staff will be required to sign a form “Statement of USF Community Expectations” acknowledging that they have read, understood and commit to following these protocols whenever on campus during the full extent of this pandemic.

As Saints United, “In my actions, I am St. Francis.  Together, we are St. Francis!”

Fall 2020 Semester

USF opened campus buildings on August 3, 2020  and fall semester classes began on August 24, 2020. The university is adhering to the “Restore Illinois” guidelines presented by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, as well as the “best practices” guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Will County Health Department.

To facilitate a safe and healthy return to campus, USF created a preparedness plan, approved by the Will County Health Department, that offers details on the guidelines and practices that will be in place and adhered to upon re-opening. For a quick overview of the plan, please review the university’s Fall 2020 Opening booklet. For detailed explanations on the various components of the university’s preparedness plan, please click on the appropriate content areas provided below or access an electronic version of the plan, which is available on the MyUSF portal.