To: Members of the University Community
From: Ka Yee C. Lee, Provost
Date: March 20, 2020
Today, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker issued a statewide “stay at home” order to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday and effective through April 7. The order’s main objective is to reduce the spread of coronavirus by asking Illinois residents to stay at home as much as possible, while providing for continuation of a number of designated activities.
Thanks to the intensive efforts of our entire community, the University has already taken numerous actions to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), including moving to remote learning and encouraging remote work wherever possible. We will comply fully with this important new order and will work immediately to ensure that our community is prepared to carry it out.
The University provides many essential services that will continue under the new directive. These include life-saving patient care at the University of Chicago Medicine, essential educational and research functions, student dining, security, and other vital activities.
We are continuing to study details of the stay at home order and their implications for our community. Because operations in support of remote teaching and learning are considered essential functions, we will work to provide continued support for instructors and students, while taking additional steps to ensure the safety and well-being of the people providing services. We will have more to share on these and other issues in the coming days. Managers will contact employees who are involved in essential campus functions with further instructions.
In accordance with the order, the University is taking the following actions:
- All students who are planning to leave campus should do so as soon as possible
- Students who have been approved to remain on campus in residence halls may do so and are expected to abide by the stay at home order.
- Student dining is already operating in a to-go-only format. Hutchinson Commons will have limited hours during Spring Break to serve students who are staying in residence halls. Beginning on March 29, the Baker Dining Commons will be open for students remaining on campus for Spring Quarter.
- Students who live off campus and in Chicago should also abide by the stay at home order. If students living off campus wish to return home, they should do so as soon as possible.nStudents who need assistance can apply for emergency funding via one of the University Bursar’s Emergency Assistance Programs. Please visit the Bursar’s site <https://bursar.uchicago.edu/emergency-assistance-programs/> for details.
We recognize that this new order can bring uncertainty. Students who need counseling support should contact Student Counseling Services at 773-702-9800.
- Employees should continue to work remotely if possible, as many are doing already.
- Employees who are in essential functions and cannot work remotely should be in contact with their managers to discuss specific circumstances as a result of the stay at home order.
- Almost all buildings on campus now require a University of Chicago ID card for entry. Please be sure to keep your ID card with you at all times.
All non-critical research activities requiring aggregation of people should be suspended and access to labs will be limited to essential personnel to perform critical research functions.
All events on campus have been suspended until further notice.
Spring Quarter will begin on April 6 as scheduled via remote learning.
These steps are likely to bring additional challenges for all of us, including concerns for families, friends, and colleagues, and we appreciate your patience and partnership. I know our community will approach this with the dedication and helpful spirit of collaboration that the situation requires. Our campus has experienced additional cases of COVID-19 in recent days and, unfortunately, we expect to see more as cases across the city and state continue to increase. We wish a quick recovery to all who are affected by this disease, and our thanks go out to the dedicated staff at the University of Chicago Medicine who are working every day to provide treatment to COVID-19 patients and save lives. We will be in contact in the coming days to provide more information to guide compliance with the stay at home order. For additional information, please continue to consult the University’s coronavirus website <https://coronavirusupdates.uchicago.edu/ and the new website with information to assist in planning for remote learning and remote work during Spring Quarter 2020https://spring2020.uchicago.edu/