CHAMPAIGN, IL — As students at the University of Illinois are returning to the classroom, they are being urged by school administrators to wear a mask due to the jump in COVID-19 cases in the surrounding area.
While masks are not required for students, they are being “strongly recommended” for the next several weeks, the university’s chancellor Robert Jones wrote in a letter to the school community on Monday.
Champaign County is among 33 Illinois counties that remain in the high community level category for the virus and is a reason why Jones strongly urges students to wear a “high-quality” mask as they returned to classes on Monday.
“This time period is critical as we expect our on-campus cases to peak,” Jones wrote.
School officials have reported that 92 percent of the university community is fully vaccinated. However, most of the cases being reported have been mild or asymptomatic. According to the school’s COVID-19 dashboard, there have been 100 cases reported over the past seven days and the school has a positivity rate of 13.14 percent.
In addition to asking students to mask up, Jones made a plea for professors to be understanding to students who are showing signs of not being at 100 percent.
We are asking supervisors and instructors to show compassion to students and employees who are not feeling well,” Jones wrote in his letter. “Some individuals are not medically able to wear a face covering. Please be understanding and empathetic.”