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Hilltop READY

We are Hilltop READY | Fall 2020

Illinois College will reopen campus for the fall 2020 semester with a hybrid academic experience designed to inspire your achievement and ensure you Graduate READY. 

Hilltop READY is a comprehensive plan to help protect the Illinois College campus and the surrounding Jacksonville community from the spread of COVID-19. Our plans are based on guidance from public health officials and local, state and federal recommendations for the operation of higher education institutions. 

Illinois College leadership is closely monitoring local, state, and national issues related to the  pandemic and listening to the voices of IC students, faculty and staff. This plan may be revised to best serve the College community should circumstances change or scientific research in a particular area evolve.  

To protect the health and safety of the Illinois College community, we will 

  • Educate and develop resources that demonstrate the important role each member of our community plays in managing our collective responsibility. 
  • Communicate clear guidelines and expectations to students, faculty and staff.  
  • Consistently provide channels for feedback and empower students to ask questions. 
  • Promote accountability, caring and respect through IC’s Community of Care Agreement. 
  • Remain vigilant in following daily health and sanitation practices and procedures on campus. 
  • Recognize that this situation is fluid and our work to help protect our community and develop guidelines is ongoing. 

Answers to specific questions about the Hilltop READY plan can be found on the FAQ page. The key areas addressed include:

  • Health, safety and wellbeing
  • Teaching and learning
  • Campus facilities and common spaces
  • Residential life 
  • Athletics 
  • Preparing for contingencies

Health, safety and wellbeing
Before returning to campus, students will be provided educational resources to learn more about how to protect their health and help keep others in the community safe. We ask that everyone on campus pledge to follow IC’s Community of Care Agreement, acknowledging that our collective health and wellbeing as a community is dependent on our individual actions which affect the safety of those around us. Students, faculty and staff will be expected to:

  • Wear a mask around others. Students will receive two reusable cloth masks when they arrive on campus. 
  • Wash hands with soap and warm water and use hand sanitizer often. 
  • Maintain six feet of distance from others. 
  • Take temperatures daily and monitor possible symptoms. If students have symptoms, they are asked to contact the Chesley Health and Wellness Center by phone. 

All community members are asked to avoid unnecessary risks by limiting travel, keeping social gatherings to fewer than 10 and encouraging others to join them in following guidelines. 

Illinois College will be ready to help facilitate contact tracing on campus if a positive case is identified. We ask students, faculty and staff to note those places you visit on campus and the people with whom you are in contact. 

The Chesley Health and Wellness Center of Illinois College remains dedicated to the overall health and well-being of students. The center will continue to provide a wide range of health services including mental health support for students. 

Teaching and learning
Classroom instruction and the classrooms themselves have been reimagined as part of the Hilltop READY plan in an effort to help protect the health of students, faculty and staff. Courses will offer a hybrid model of face-to-face instruction, with the support of online elements, in classrooms reconfigured to support social distancing. What individual courses will look like in this hybrid model will depend on what classes you are taking. 

Illinois College will continue to offer a personalized education that prioritizes student-faculty relationships and in-person instruction. Students will be challenged academically and supported by faculty and staff, all of whom are working on developing additional tools to help them master course material. The robust academic support services for which IC is known will continue to be readily available to all students. Tutoring, supplemental instruction, academic coaching and counseling are available to all students. 

Illinois College will follow a revised academic calendar for the upcoming fall that includes staggered move-in dates for students, the replacement of fall break with a longer Thanksgiving break and remote instruction following Thanksgiving. This schedule will minimize travel to and from campus and will allow first-year students some additional orientation activities on campus. The revised academic calendar is available here.

Campus facilities and common spaces
Clear guidelines and expectations have been developed regarding the use of common spaces, including classrooms and campus facilities. Illinois College will require the use of masks in all common areas, during class and outside when maintaining a distance of six feet is not possible in accordance with CDC recommendations and Restore Illinois guidelines. All IC community members will be required to wear masks entering and leaving buildings. Students will not be expected to wear a mask in their residence hall rooms. Disinfecting wipes and sanitation stations will be located throughout campus. 

All community members are expected to maintain a physical distance of six feet from others within all common rooms and facilities. Shared spaces have been reconfigured to support physical distancing; in some instances furniture has been removed and in other areas it has been strategically arranged to support distancing. Signage has been incorporated throughout campus to clearly communicate expectations — on doors to indicate whether rooms are open or being cleaned, to indicate whether doors should be used as entrances or exits and to direct one-way traffic flow in busier areas. Signs will also reinforce the expectations outlined in IC’s Community of Care Agreement

Steps are being taken to de-densify shared spaces like study areas throughout campus. The IC facilities management team has received special training, purchased new equipment and increased their efforts to sanitize high-touch surfaces on campus on a regular basis. 

Residential life
As a residential campus, Illinois College is committed to providing a welcoming living environment for its students. To help protect residential students amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made changes to several residence halls and added new residential options including increasing the number of single rooms available, renting the Super 8 by Wyndham Jacksonville hotel and providing new options for students interested in living in apartments. 

Move-in dates are being staggered to provide additional special opportunities for new student orientation and reduce the number of people moving into residence halls simultaneously. While first-year IC students will arrive on campus before the start of classes on Aug. 25, the majority of other students will return over a staggered period while taking classes remotely then transition to in-person classes on Aug. 31. All residential students will be assigned a specific date and time for move in by early August. 

The Cafe, Mondos, and Honest Abe Coffee (Starbucks) will remain open but seating will be limited; grab-and-go items will be readily available. Chartwells will follow strict cleaning protocols and eliminate self-service stations. Directional signage will be clearly posted. 

Athletics 
There are nearly 500 student-athletes at Illinois College. In order to help protect their health and wellbeing, Illinois College and the Midwest Conference are committed to following recommended safety precautions during practices and competition. 

On July 16, the Midwest Conference announced the elimination of non-conference play in the fall season while continuing to plan for conference play.  Details of the fall athletic seasons are still being finalized by the MWC, including the decision about whether student-athletes will be required to wear masks during practice and competition. Face masks will be required in Bruner Fitness and Recreation Center, in-person athletic meetings and certain instruction times with notice.The weight room and fitness centers will be closed throughout the day for one hour time slots to fog each space with sanitizer. Wipes will still be available in each room and users are expected to wipe down equipment after each use.

Illinois College is following guidance for athletic competition released by the CDC, the NCAA and the Midwest Conference, as well as local and state health officials. We are monitoring this situation closely and will communicate directly with students once further decisions have been made. 

Preparing for contingencies
Illinois College meets the statewide requirements for opening this fall per Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan. IC is working closely with the Morgan County Department of Health and the Jacksonville/Morgan County Office of Emergency Management. The College is following published guidance from several organizations including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE). 

Illinois College has established leadership teams from across campus to develop contingency plans for various scenarios, including the possibility of positive cases of COVID-19 at IC. Any changes to this plan will be communicated to students by their IC email. 

Many of the details about how Illinois College will implement this plan in practice are shared on our FAQ page here. If your question is not addressed, please contact us at info@ic.edu.