The University of Illinois Springfield is planning to offer more in-person classes next fall.
UIS has been following COVID-19 testing and United in Safety protocols that have kept its seven-day rolling positivity rate below 1 percent for most of the fall and spring semesters, well below national and regional averages.
The university’s decision to expand in-person learning is based on its successful testing program in collaboration with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the increase in vaccination availability in Illinois and across the country.
UIS Interim Chancellor Karen Whitney said she is pleased with the progress that students, faculty and staff have made during the 2020-21 academic year.
“UIS has worked incredibly hard during the COVID-19 pandemic to prioritize health and safety,” she said. “Our university community’s compliance with our testing requirement and rapid contact tracing program have been paramount, as well as our focus on frequent, transparent communication with faculty, staff and students to keep everyone well-informed.”
Additionally, the university’s adherence to its United in Safety health and safety guidelines have greatly contributed to keeping positivity rates low, and UIS’ expert approach to adapting course delivery enabled students to continue pursuing their educational goals whether on or off campus.
“UIS was able to quickly adapt course delivery to remote methods and provide robust support to both faculty and students because of our expertise within the nationally recognized Center for Online Learning, Research and Service. This has better positioned ourselves as we prepare for fall courses," Whitney said.
UIS surveyed both students and faculty this semester to help guide planning for the fall semester. Both groups indicated that increasing the number of on-campus courses is a top preference.
“The faculty at UIS have been instructional innovators in teaching and learning before and during the pandemic,” said Dennis Papini, UIS vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost. “The recent survey of faculty reveals a desire to return to the classroom coupled with a continuing commitment to explore and experiment with delivering high-quality academic activities at the university and online.”
Faculty member Lynn Fisher, associate professor of anthropology and chair of the campus senate, said she is looking forward to returning to the classroom.
“I would very much like to be safely back in the classroom with students. It is very encouraging to see increased access to vaccines,” Fisher said. “As students make plans for fall, I encourage them to talk to faculty and advisors about the wide variety of in-person, hybrid and online options at UIS.”
Registration for Fall Semester 2021 classes begins April 5 for current students and April 12 for new students. Students can apply for admission by visiting uis.edu/apply. Fall 2021 classes will start Aug. 20.
For more information, contact Derek Schnapp, UIS director of public relations, at 217-206-6716 or firstname.lastname@example.org.