We, as a campus community, are all living through a very interesting time together. Even though this new reality has created many different challenges for us, Illinois has done their very best to help keep everyone safe on campus. Opening up such a large college during a moment like this is very difficult, but is a task Illinois decided to take on. Here are some of the ways Illinois is defying the odds and showing the world how it can keep students safe during a pandemic.
At Illinois, we are lucky to be doing an immense number of Covid-19 tests daily. There are a ton of testing centers on campus; you can’t take a walk around the school without noticing a few of them. All of the centers carry UIUC’s own quick Covid-19 saliva test. These centers are staffed by locals and students who are fantastic and facilitate a quick and easy testing process. The test only takes a few minutes and the process is super easy from start to finish.
All you have to do to take a test is walk up, show your I-Card, answer a few questions, and proceed with the test. It’s that simple. The results usually come back within 24 hours, which is a fantastic turnaround time. Illinois makes it so easy for everyone on campus to take a test multiple times a week. This really contributes to stopping the spread on campus and helping everyone feel safe when they are going out and about for classes.
Safer Illinois App
All of the testing is great, but what really sets Illinois apart is how all of this information is organized. Before the semester started, Illinois released the ‘Safer Illinois’ app for testing and all other Covid-19 related purposes. The app has a ton of different features that are there to help, such as a testing center locator, a place to check what hours they are open, and a place to check your symptoms.
The most important feature of the app is being able to check your current Covid-19 status. When you take a test at one of the many testing centers around campus, your test information is automatically loaded in the app along with a status that gives you “building access” from a recent negative test. This app is what you use to get into campus buildings to go to class or study. Even though mask-wearing and other precautions are still being taken, when you are in a UIUC building, you can have the peace of mind to know that you and everyone around you have recently tested negative.
Illinois has designed a schedule for students that allows many classes to still be in-person. Experiences like labs and small lectures that couldn’t be done online are still able to be in-person due to all of the safety precautions put into place. Even if your class is not in-person, UIUC has put in a lot of work to make the online class experience great this year. A lot of effort has gone into this semester from professors and other faculty members to make any type of class you are taking the best it can be. No matter how you are taking your classes, you can be assured that you are still getting a world-class education.
Illinois, through all of their efforts and initiatives, has proven to their students and the world that it’s possible to open up a college during a tough time like this. I’ve never had more pride or school spirit than this, and I’m so glad Illinois gave us a chance to come back this semester despite all the odds. Coming back to college could have been tough, but I haven’t felt safer since I’ve been here.