SIU System President Mahony: Our Plan is for On-Campus Classes to Resume in August

May 14, 2020

Carbondale, IL - In a system-wide message shared with faculty and staff, SIU System President Dan Mahony confirmed plans are being developed for the SIU campuses, based in Carbondale and Edwardsville, to be open for in-person education in August. In order to be fully operational in August,

Mahony noted the campuses will continue to follow guidelines and directives set forth by the governor and health officials. “Our goal has not changed, but we now have additional information from the governor’s office and our own system-wide task force to provide a framework for fall planning.”

Mahony referenced Governor Pritzker’s “Restore Illinois: A Public Health Approach to Safely Reopen Our State” plan, which describes criteria for reopening the state. “Based on our internal discussions, which have been informed by expertise from faculty in our School of Medicine, we believe we will meet the Governor’s standards for reopening by August which allows schools and universities to provide on-the-ground education with approved safety guidance,” Mahony shared.

Mahony pointed out, however, that reaching the revitalization phase will still mean following directives from health officials to minimize the spread of COVID-19. “Even when we obtain the ability to offer in-person classes, we will have to continue to follow recommendations regarding social distancing, minimizing density of events and other safety measures.” Mahony also shared the progress of the system-wide task force he created to consult on best practices for reopening. Specifically, the group is exploring issues like: options for delivering face-to-face classes, utilization of protective measures, organization of large group events, testing and tracking as well as maintaining safety in residence and dining halls.

“These are the issues that we’re hearing about most from our new and returning students and their families,” Mahony said. “While our campuses are different and may be addressing issues in a different way, we share the same goal of maximum preparedness to provide peace of mind for everyone who will be studying, living and working on our campuses this fall.”

The university’s goal is to announce plans by mid-June to give students, faculty and staff a clear sense of how the fall 2020 semester on the SIU campuses will unfold. “I know that I’m joined by our campus leaders in saying how excited we are about the prospect of returning to campus this upcoming academic year,” Mahony said. “Besides furthering one’s education, going to college is about learning to navigate all the amazing challenges we encounter in life. I believe this upcoming school year has the potential to help us all see how strong and resourceful we can be as we help our students get the most out of their college experience.”