Frequently Asked Questions
This page of frequently asked questions will provide answers to a number of campus-level questions about COVID-19 and its impact on university programs and operations.
This FAQ was last updated on March 27, 2020 at 9:05 a.m.
A number of specific departments on campus maintain topic-specific FAQs as well.
Are there any cases of COVID-19 on campus or in the surrounding community?
With public health officials continuing to tell us to expect the number of cases in our community to rise regularly in the coming weeks we will be unable to accurately maintain a count on our university website. Champaign-Urbana Public Health District posts daily updates on their own site with case information that can be found here.
We will continue to post information about any cases with connections to faculty, students or staff on campus as allowed by state and federal privacy regulations.
What precautions is the university taking to protect students, faculty and staff from COVID-19 on campus?
We continue to monitor COVID-19 and to take any new actions that are warranted as new information emerges in this rapidly changing situation.
The university continues to work closely with our local, state, and national public health agencies to address the threat presented by COVID-19. We also follow regular updates from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Information about any current health and safety precautions can be found on the McKinley Health Center site.
Will the university be implementing any special screenings or other procedures related to spring break travel by students and other travel by university employees?
As announced on March 5, 2020, the university cancelled all international spring break programs sponsored by the university. Additionally, university-sponsored domestic student spring break programs that require air travel are cancelled.
Someone affiliated with the university reported to me that they have been diagnosed with COVID-19, to whom should I forward this information?
The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District (CUPHD) is informed by local healthcare organizations immediately when anyone in Champaign County receives a positive result to a COVID-19 test, so there is no need to inform CUPHD about a person who was tested and diagnosed here. However, if you learn of someone with a university connection (a student, staff, faculty member, visiting scholar, etc.) who has tested positive in another county, please instruct the person to call CUPHD immediately at (217) 352-7961 to ensure that any local contacts are identified, alerted and given appropriate support. All public health districts are required to trace the contacts for anyone diagnosed with COVID-19, but notifying CUPHD will help ensure that cases with a connection to our community are properly addressed.
Have you reduced police services on campus?
No. All emergency and non-emergency services offered through the University of Illinois Police Department will be available through spring break and beyond. The department remains fully staffed at all hours of the day.
Additionally, the SafeWalks service remains available for anyone who needs to travel on campus at night.
If I need to self-quarantine, what should I do?
The Champaign Urbana Public Health District has created this pdf handout to help explain COVID-19 quarantine guidelines.
Are counseling resources available?
Our counseling staff is preparing to deliver alternative counseling services to students including phone consultations and eventually telehealth. Meanwhile, students who have United Healthcare may access online counseling via http://telehelp4students.com. If you access this site through your UnitedHealthcare app, you can bypass the necessary insurance information requirement. If you need help, contact customer service at 217-333-0165 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please check the Counseling Center website at https://counselingcenter.illinois.edu for frequent updates regarding our telemental health services and online psychoeducation.
If a student is experiencing a psychological emergency, they may call the 24 hour Crisis Line at 217.359.4141 or 911.
What impact does the stay-at-home order for the state of Illinois have on plans for moving out of the residence halls?
On March 20, the governor issued a stay-at-home order for the state of Illinois. This order required the university to alter our plans for moving students out of university residence halls. Please visit University Housing’s coronavirus page for the latest information on Move-Out, and options for individuals who can no longer make it back to campus due to the stay-at-home order.
Can I return to my residence hall?
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is requiring all students who can safely do so to return to their permanent home address to take their classes for the rest of the semester. University Housing is asking those students living in residence halls, Private Certified and Greek housing to begin making plans to move out. For those who cannot leave, we will work with you to ensure you will have a safe and supportive home here as you continue your studies.
I live off-campus but am returning to my permanent home. Can I terminate my lease?
Students should carefully review their lease. Student Legal Services advises that it is unlikely that COVID-19 would serve as a basis to terminate one’s lease. Non-payment of rent due to COVID-19 will lead to a Five Day Notice and potential eviction, which goes on record. Locally the courts are temporarily closed but once reopened, evictions will likely be filed for non-payment.
Does the closure of restaurants in Illinois mean that dining services in residence halls will be closed?
No. University dining hall facilities are exempt under the state order. The university has stopped buffet-style service and has moved to a plated system — food is plated by dining staff — and “grab and go” takeout service only. All meals are served on disposable products.
University-sponsored Events and Meetings
Is the university cancelling events?
Effective March 16, all campus events for this semester, including those sponsored by student organizations, are cancelled. Information regarding Commencement and other year-end celebrations will be shared at a later time.
Are Engineering and ACES Open Houses cancelled?
Are Siblings Weekend and Moms Weekend cancelled?
Is Commencement cancelled?
The University of Illinois System announced that commencement ceremonies will not take place in May and diplomas will be mailed.
While commencement won’t be happening in person in May this year, we absolutely understand the importance of Commencement at Illinois.
We are actively exploring options for a rescheduled in-person ceremony when it is safe to do so and planning experiences for our graduates in the coming weeks to celebrate their achievements.
What we want you to know for certain:
Class of 2020, we hear you. We want to celebrate you, not just at graduation, but every day. We will do everything we can to ensure this is a special time for you and your families.
As soon as we know more, we will announce details via email, and on websites including the COVID-19 site and the Commencement website.
How do I conduct job searches, especially the on-campus interview stage of the process?
We recommend that units utilize electronic means for the interview process.
Are athletic events cancelled?
Yes. The University of Illinois supports decisions by the Big Ten Conference and NCAA in canceling all remaining winter and spring athletic competitions through the end of the current academic year based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat.
In accordance with protocol established by the University of Illinois, Big Ten Conference and NCAA to ensure appropriate safety measures when dealing with COVID 19 issues, Illinois Athletics has canceled all sport camps held before May 1. A decision on camps occurring after May 1 (including the 2020 Summer Camp Season) will be made mid-April. Additionally, because the Varsity sport seasons have been canceled for the 2020 Spring season, NO Marketing & Promotions Gameday activities will occur. Thank you for your understanding and patience. All questions should be sent to email@example.com.
Is the university still giving campus tours?
Campus tours have been temporarily suspended, but you can also visit us virtually. Additionally, Admitted Student Days have been suspended indefinitely until further notice.
Will courses continue to be taught face-to-face?
The university is suspending face-to-face instruction for the rest of the spring 2020 semester. Most courses will be taught online or via alternative delivery approaches.
How will final exams be administered? Will the schedule be any different?
Final exams will be administered via alternative delivery methods, mainly online testing. The exam schedule is still being determined. Please contact your professor for specific details for each course.
I can’t get the online course technology to work or I am having a problem. Who should I contact for assistance?
If your instructor has not specified a point of contact for technology assistance, you should contact Technology Services either by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone (217-244-700).
I have a disability and can’t get the online course technology to work or I am having a problem. Who should I contact for assistance?
Students who need disability accommodations or assistance with this transition should contact Disability Resources and Educational Services at +1-217-333-4603.
Are academic advisors still helping students?
Yes. Academic advisors continue to assist students. On the Keep Learning page, under Resources, there is a contact list for College and Departmental Contacts for Students that has the latest information.
If I am a student who cannot return to my permanent home, what should I do?
The university will work to make arrangements with students who cannot leave campus. University Housing has more information on their website.
Is the university increasing student insurance fees because of COVID-19?
No. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign began reviewing student insurance fees before the COVID-19 pandemic started. The University is concerned about the cost of attendance and college affordability. We do not take health insurance premium increases lightly and work closely with United Healthcare, our insurance underwriter, to keep rate increases to a minimum. Unfortunately, based on data from previous years, a rate increase is being made.
More detailed information regarding the driving factors that led to the university’s student insurance fee decision can be found at https://si.illinois.edu/news-announcements.
Are employees who are concerned about catching the virus permitted to miss work?
An employee can request approval of vacation time by the employing unit. However, if the request is not granted, the employee’s absence could be considered unauthorized and unexcused and subject to potential disciplinary action. The employing unit, with approval from Illinois Human Resources, could authorize telecommuting. For more information on HR guidelines during situations such as this, please visit the Campus Administrative Manual HR policy section.
What are you doing to plan for the possibility that this outbreak will continue for several months?
When we first learned of the outbreak, our Campus Emergency Operations group gathered administrators from across the university to begin planning for immediate, as well as longer-term, possible impacts. Many unknowns exist at this point, and we understand that this kind of uncertainty can be stressful, but our staff is focused on the safety of our campus community and continuity of academic and business operations. As we learn more and as the semester progresses, we will address any additional challenges that arise.
Has the University of Illinois restricted travel?
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has taken several steps to restrict travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Please visit the Travel page for specific information.
If I travel for personal reasons to a region the CDC has labeled as high-risk, do I still need to self-quarantine before returning to campus?
Yes. The purpose of your travel is not as important as where you traveled. Currently, CDC and WHO have designated all areas of the world as being above usual risk. All returning students are now required to follow campus policies of social distancing. Please see the recent communication from campus leadership. All campus, community, and classroom activity has been changed to prevent and reduce disease spread. COVID-19 testing capabilities are currently following the CDC protocols but this may change soon now that Illinois has been permitted to develop and deploy testing alternatives.
I am on a domestic “study abroad” trip. Do I have to end my program? Or am I not allowed to leave it?
Programs that involve domestic air travel that have not yet departed are cancelled. Programs that involve domestic air travel that have already departed (are currently away from campus) should follow CDC guidelines for travel in the United States.
My research grant is funding my travel to an international conference. Is that considered a prohibited university-sponsored travel opportunity?
The University has suspended all international travel for university-sponsored business. A faculty member may request a waiver from their Unit Executive Officer (UEO). The waiver will have to undergo second level review. Waivers will be awarded only if the travel is urgently necessary to the university’s mission—for example, if student safety is at risk or if the research has immediate consequences for health of the population. Participation at disciplinary conferences is not considered an activity that is critical at this time. It is expected that waivers will be rarely granted.
Many people travel for Spring Break. How will you ensure they don’t bring back COVID-19 to campus?
Currently, CDC and WHO have designated all areas of the world as being above usual risk. All returning students are now required to follow campus policies of social distancing. Please see the recent communication from campus leadership. All campus, community, and classroom activity has been changed to prevent and reduce disease spread. COVID-19 testing capabilities are currently following the CDC protocols but this may change soon now that Illinois has been permitted to develop and deploy testing alternatives.
A number of departments at the University of Illinois are maintaining topic-specific FAQs for their areas of expertise: