(The Center Square) – New guidance encouraging vaccines for students has been issued for Illinois colleges and universities as officials prepare to welcome students to campus next month.
The Illinois Board of Higher Education and the Illinois Community College Board are encouraging schools to require vaccinations before the fall semester. Most institutions around the state are requiring vaccinations, with a few exceptions.
The agencies say they are issuing the guidance to protect the public health of students, campuses and local communities.
“This guidance follows recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to ensure students can safely return to campus this fall,” said Ginger Ostro, executive director of IBHE. “We are strongly encouraging universities to require vaccination to protect their campus and local communities as they bring students back for a full campus experience.”
The guidance says unvaccinated persons should wear a mask, and schools should have a testing program in place. At outdoor events or venue, unvaccinated persons may choose not to wear a face covering but are recommended to do so in crowded outdoor settings.
The guidance also calls for all people, even those who are vaccinated, to wear face coverings on public transportation and in health care settings.
“This updated guidance provides significant flexibility for community colleges as they consider their own local context, allowing them to fully reopen in the fall while also keeping the safety and well-being of their students, faculty and staff at the forefront,” said Brian Durham, executive director of ICCB.
Keith Cornille, president of Heartland Community College in Normal, is looking forward to getting back to normal.
“Yes, we will be back on campus,” Cornille said. “We are excited and the students I spoke to are excited about the opportunity to get back to face-to-face and on campus.”