Updated: March 11, 2020 - 7:53 p.m. CST

Dear Millikin Community:

Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the rapidly spreading COVID-19 virus a pandemic. While this signals that the virus will likely spread to all countries and areas across the globe, there are currently no cases of COVID-19 in our county or city, and we have no knowledge of staff, faculty, or students who have traveled to areas of heightened risk. With this in mind, Millikin University is making the carefully considered decision to continue campus operations at this time. Therefore, classes will resume after Spring Break, as scheduled, on Monday, March 16, 2020. We do this in realization that the work of Performance Learning is vitally important to our students and faculty and cannot always be adequately accomplished through remote means. Millikin University has developed a website for updates regarding our COVID-19 planning and prevention. You may access information at millikin.edu/covid19. We will work together to keep our students, staff, and faculty safe and healthy. Primarily this includes imposing social distancing where appropriate, limiting non-essential travel both domestically and internationally, and generally elevating preventive hygiene practices across the campus. If you are currently experiencing flu-like symptoms, please refrain from returning to campus.

Following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and the Macon County Health Department experts, we are implementing a number of actions intended to slow the spread of the virus and protect the health of our Millikin community. We recognize that these actions will be disruptive and create challenges for many of you, but the health and safety of our community, as well as delivering on our distinctive promise of education, is our focus at this time. 

  • CLASSES AND INSTRUCTION: Instructors will be asked to move as much instruction as possible to online or other distance methods. Beyond that, we will try to restrict class meetings to gatherings of no more than thirty individuals, and the vast majority of our classes already meet that guideline. Where face-to-face instruction remains the wisest option, we will continue to use those methods until it is no longer advisable. In the meantime, instructors should work towards preparing alternative delivery of courses, should this become a necessity at a later date. We are also asking that members of our faculty and teaching staff accommodate students who are not feeling well by being flexible with attendance policies. Ill instructors or students are asked to refrain from attending classes. Overall, the guidelines distributed by the Provost regarding the continuity of instruction will remain in place.
  • UNIVERSITY RESIDENTIAL FACILITIESOur residential facilities, including the residence halls, the Woods Apartments, as well as our approved fraternity and sorority chapter facilities, will remain open to students. Visitation will be limited to those students who reside in the facility and group programming will cease. Residential staff will be trained to properly refer students who are ill, and to promote preventative hygiene practices. The Millikin University Facilities team will be increasing cleaning and housekeeping measures with a focus on restrooms and common areas. Students who test positive for COVID-19, or who are experiencing a high level of symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) will be asked to leave campus. We realize that we have students who have no option but to remain on campus, including those from countries with travel restrictions, those whose legal residence is Millikin University, and those with other extenuating circumstances. In such cases, the University, as well as local health authorities, have designated an isolation location to house these students away from the general population.
  • SOCIAL DISTANCING: While we are actively encouraging social distancing practices, by limited in-person instruction, coaching, and meetings to thirty or fewer students, we are not canceling pre-scheduled institutionally significant events at this time. We will allow individuals to make their own decision about attending campus events already scheduled. At this point, we hope to be able to host Commencement exercises, but a final decision will be made at a later date. Any new programs or events, including those with thirty or fewer participants, must be approved by Student Affairs.
  • TRAVEL RESTRICTIONSWe are suspending all university-sponsored, non-essential, domestic and international travel scheduled between now and May 1, 2020.  Determination on travel after that date will be made as soon as possible. A faculty or staff member who believes that they have an essential business reason to travel may request consideration through the Provost or Vice President, but the expectation is that most requests will be denied. We also request that members of the community practice good judgment in personal travel, with the understanding that members of the community could be subject to quarantine should they travel to any area of heightened risk of COVID-19, as defined by CDC guidelines. Those who travel to a level 3 area should quarantine at home for 14 days and communicate with your office. If you have been experiencing any illness, you must be symptom free for at least two days before returning to campus or provide a physician’s note authorizing your return.
  • STAFF: All University employees should report to work as scheduled and continue with their duties as assigned. Notices about changes to schedules will be made if necessary.
  • PREVENTATIVE HYGIENE PRACTICES: We ask that all members of the Millikin University community follow the CDC guidance in regards to prevention:
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • If soap and water are unavailable, hand sanitizers with an alcohol concentration of at least 60 percent can be used.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Stay home when you are sick, especially if you have a fever over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. You should be fever-free (without medicine) for 48 hours before returning to work or school.
    • Cover coughs and sneezes by using a tissue or elbow.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects.

While this is a challenging and rapidly changing time for our campus, we ask for the cooperation of each and every member of our campus community. With our primary concern being the safety, health, and well-being of our Millikin community, we will be continually monitoring the guidance from all federal, state, and local agencies. Please check communications often for the latest updates on our response.

With characteristic Millikin care and thoughtfulness, we will be able to help one another thrive even in this difficult situation. Thank you all for being Millikin to one another and our larger community.

Yours in Millikin,

Patrick E. White