COVID-19 protocols updated to account for travel

Emma Garcia, Courier Staff

Since the start of the semester amid the COVID-19 pandemic, various protocols and procedures have been put in place for students at Western Illinois University to follow. These regulations have increased from the start of the semester and there is no sign of them going away. There have been hints throughout press releases from the University of the semester getting cut even shorter than the already condensed date if policies continue to be violated and large, unauthorized gatherings continue to occur on and off-campus. 

Before you arrive on any campus property, it is a requirement to take your temperature and complete the daily COVID-19 self-check survey. It will ask if you are experiencing any symptoms defined by the Center of Disease Control, if you have been in direct contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days, if you have been prescribed a test by a medical professional or if you have been asked by a public health official to isolate or quarantine. If you answered yes to any of the questions, it is strongly recommended that you stay home.

In conjunction with the “Protect the Necks” pledge, it is strongly encouraged by the University that personal travel outside of Macomb and the nearby communities be kept to an absolute minimum. “For our University community members who are traveling home (or elsewhere) this weekend, please remember to avoid large gatherings, wear your face covering, wash your hands/use sanitizer and maintain social distancing whenever possible,” said Interim President Martin Abraham, in an email sent out discouraging non-essential travel in order to protect the safety of the community. 

However, in a new email from administration at Western Illinois University, any faculty and students that will be traveling have been asked to complete a travel request form which can be found in your email or on Western Illinois University’s homepage. Employees and students are encouraged to disclose travel information during the week preceding, as well as the week of, the trip so the administration can work with these individuals on the safest possible return to campus. Additional information will be requested in the form, such as the method of travel throughout the trip, activities being performed while traveling, if the individual is within six feet of others for the duration of the trip and if the individual will be in groups of people larger than what the state of Illinois is recommending. 

 

In his email to all students, Interim President Abraham goes on to say, “If you begin to experience symptoms while traveling this weekend, or if you find you’ve been in direct contact with someone who has tested positive, please do not return to campus, but stay home and quarantine for the recommended 14 days.” 

The disclosure of personal travel is voluntary but highly recommended. Failure to comply with these protocols may result in disciplinary action through Human Resources or conduct processes. Individuals will not be told they cannot travel but may be contacted regarding how to go about safely returning to campus.