Northern Illinois University President Lisa Freeman sent out an email to employees of the school on Wednesday outlining next steps for their return to campus. She said that return would be a "trickle" not a "flood."
Many have been working remotely since March when NIU began closing campus facilities in the wake of concerns over the spread of COVID-19, and, later, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker's stay-at-home-order.
President Freeman said, while the governor's Restore Illinois plan will likely move into Phase 3 -- further loosening what is and isn't allowed to open -- May 29, she is encouraging staff to continue to work from home at least through July 31.
For the limited number who do return before then, either by preference or necessity, supervisors must approve their on-campus work dates and schedules. New guidelines and protocols will also be in place. All returning employees will have to take a brief online training on those prior to coming back. They include a requirement that protective masks must be worn in indoor shared spaces. The university will provide two reusable masks to anyone that doesn't have their own. There will also be daily cleanings of high-touch surfaces, and offices will provide hand sanitizer and disinfecting products.
Freeman said that the situation with regard to COVID-19 remains fluid, and, as a result, the university's response will likely evolve. She said that the health, safety and well-being of NIU community members remain the school's top priority, and she thanked employees for their flexibility, patience and understanding as NIU tries to find its way through these uncertain times.