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NIU Asks Students To Consider Moving Home Early Due To 'Significant Increase' In COVID Cases

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NIU COVID-19 Dashboard
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NIU officials asked students via email to consider returning home a week before the end of the semester. The move comes as the university has seen a “significant increase” of COVID-19 cases including more than 100 positive tests in the past two weeks.

Chief of Staff to the President at NIU, Matt Streb, says the decision didn’t come because they met a certain number threshold. He says the school saw higher community spread and wastewater testing numbers were going up.

“It's not like we've had one event that something happened at or where we saw an outbreak," he said. "We're seeing cases in the region, we're seeing cases in the state going up.” 

If students have in-person finals, those will still be happening as planned. Streb also stressed that moving out early is voluntary.

“We have about 15% of our classes in-person this year,” he said. “So, a lot of our classes are already online. But again, I want to be clear too, just because you have all online classes you may need to be here because you need access to the Wi-Fi.”

Streb said free COVID testing is available to students before they leave campus. NIU also held a clinic this week vaccinating 800 students. As of now, the university hasn’t made any changes to in-person commencement ceremonies.

Other schools in Illinois are also seeing an uptick in cases, including K-12 schools moving to more in-person learning.

Over 700 Naperville students were quarantined last week because of exposure to positive cases. Oswego East High School went totally remote this week because of positive cases in the building.