COVID-19 Updates

We are preparing for a safe return to campus this fall.

COVID-19 Updates

Updated 2:10 p.m. July 31, 2020. Latest updates:

  • Second paragraph: Message on the requirement to wear a face mask on campus.
  • Updated the Bluejays Unite! A Return to Campus document (PDF).

Elmhurst University plans to return to in-person learning in the fall as the latest guidance from government and public health officials, as well as our University working groups, allows.

For our collective health and safety, wear a mask on campus. The COVID-19 Task Force would like to remind you that wearing face masks in all University-owned and -operated buildings and facilities is not only a state of Illinois requirement, it is also an Elmhurst University requirement. It is mandatory for all areas within buildings (e.g., hallways, classrooms, restrooms) except private offices. Masks are also required outside when physical distancing is not possible. Please read more on why and how to wear a mask.

Updates from President VanAken

On Monday, July 27, President Troy D. VanAken sent the following message to the campus community:

I hope you are having a safe and healthy summer.

As we prepare for the fall during these unprecedented times, our aim has been to develop a campus environment for in-person learning that protects the health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff, as well as the greater community to which Elmhurst University belongs.

The extent to which we ultimately will be able to bring students to campus will depend on a number of factors, including COVID-19 trend lines, the latest information and guidance from government and public health officials, and recommendations from our University working groups. We are continually monitoring this rapidly evolving situation, and are prepared to pivot to alternate plans as needed.

As we keep you informed throughout this process, I’d like to share some updates.

  • Course Schedules: This week, we are making updates in BlueNet to reflect course delivery information. Courses will be delivered using hybrid, online, and in-person formats depending on the content and faculty preference. Students will soon be able to see their course schedules, but will not be able to make changes until the updates are complete. Look for a message from the Office of Academic Affairs in the next day or two with more details.
  • Fall Athletics: Recognizing the continuing challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, member institutions in the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW), including Elmhurst University, have voted to postpone fall athletic competitions and championships until the spring of 2021 for cross country, football, soccer and volleyball. Student-athletes will receive skill development and conditioning opportunities on campus, if health and safety guidelines allow, as well as leadership and professional development programming. You can read more about the decision on the Athletics website.
  • Town Halls: I’d like to invite you to attend one of our virtual Student and Parent Town Halls, where we’ll discuss our plans and answer your questions.

Student and Parent Town Halls

  • Monday, Aug. 3, 6:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Aug. 4, 10:00 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2:00 p.m.

Details will follow on how to attend the meeting virtually.

Some of your questions may be answered in Bluejays Unite! A Return to Campus, which outlines our fall reopening plans.

I understand the frustration and disappointment many of you must be feeling as these uncertain times continue. So I deeply appreciate your understanding as we work together to bring about a safe, strong start to the Fall Term.

Current Guidelines on Campus

Bluejays Unite! — A Return to Campus is our planning document for Fall 2020, which will be updated as the impact of the pandemic changes.

In accordance with Illinois guidelines, the campus is open on a limited basis. Many employees continue to work from home, and all employees on campus are adhering to social distancing and other safe practices.

Per a state executive order, a facemask should be worn in public spaces by anyone over the age of 2 who cannot maintain a physical distance of at least six feet.

All in-person campus events are canceled until further notice.

We thank everyone for understanding as we work together to safeguard the health of our community.

If you believe you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, call your doctor’s office prior to showing up. This will help your doctor’s office take steps to prevent others from being infected or exposed. You can also find testing information and guidance from DuPage County.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who has, please help us keep you and our campus community safe. Submit a report to our trained contact tracers so that they can inform people who may have been in contact with you. Your name will be kept confidential.

Ways to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19.

  • Wash your hands: Use soap and water, and wash for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home if you are sick: If you are running a fever of 100.4° or higher, do not come to class/work.
  • Wear a face covering in public. The CDC notes that COVID-19 can transmit even when a person does not exhibit any symptoms. Covering your nose and mouth can offer some protection, provided that you still observe the rule of 6 feet of social distancing.
  • Avoid group gatherings if possible.
  • Clean/disinfect your area: Use a regular household cleaning spray or wipe on frequently touched objects and surfaces such as door handles and the surfaces of tables and desks.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze: Use a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Use hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol content.
  • Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose and mouth.

What to Know About COVID-19

COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, is a new respiratory virus. Answer your questions about COVID-19 with the help of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

Helpful Resources

What the University is Doing

Our Coronavirus Campus Preparedness Task Force continues to meet and monitor campus and coordinate with local and regional officials.

If you have any questions about the task force’s work, please email us.

Travel Guidelines—Effective Until Further Notice

  • International Travel – University-Sponsored or Personal: We have canceled and are restricting University-sponsored international travel to any country. University-sponsored activities include all academic conferences, athletic travel, academic sponsored trips and other activities arranged or funded by the University. The U.S. Department of State has issued a “Global Level 4 Health Advisory” urging U.S. citizens to not travel abroad. If you undertake any personal travel, you must understand there is the possibility of a self-isolation requirement for 14 days upon your return, and you will also be subject to airline or governmental restrictions that are beyond our control.
  • Domestic Travel – University-Sponsored Travel: A national state of emergency was declared on March 13 as a result of COVID-19. University-sponsored travel is prohibited unless approved by the president.
  • Domestic Travel – Personal: Elmhurst University strongly recommends against any non-essential travel, recognizing that the status of COVID-19 infection in the United States continues to change.

We encourage anyone who is planning to travel to register with the Coronavirus Campus Preparedness Task Force. This will allow the University to contact you in the event of a major emergency or changing circumstances related to your travel destination.

How to Register With the Coronavirus Campus Preparedness Task Force

If you will be traveling out of state or internationally for University-sponsored work, please send the following information to Phil Riordan, vice president for student affairs (, and Marc Molina, executive director of public safety and emergency management (

  • Name:
  • Department:
  • Cellphone Number (if you are using a different phone number for international travel, please provide):
  • Emergency Contact Information:
  • Dates of Travel:
  • Destination:
  • Reason for Travel:
  • Supervisor Name:

Living By Our Values

The safety of our campus community remains our top priority, which is why we are taking these precautions now. But we remind everyone that this is an opportunity to come together, not to spread fear or mistrust. COVID-19’s proliferation from its origins in China has been accompanied by unfortunate reports of bias, disinformation and worse.

As our Non-Discrimination and Non-Harassment Policy states, we will not tolerate discrimination against any member of our community.

Avoid Scams

COVID-19-related fraud schemes are on the rise. Take extra precaution, and ignore phishing emails, phony messages and offers of “treatment.”

Hotline for COVID-19-Related Stress

Illinois launched Call4Calm to put residents in touch with mental health professionals. Text TALK (or HABLAR, for Spanish) to 552020. The service is free, and you only provide your first name and ZIP code.

Illinois Statewide COVID-19 Hotline

From the Illinois Department of Public Health

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