This is a letter sent Wednesday, March 25 from NIU President Lisa Freeman:
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,
I am writing today to confirm that two NIU students have been diagnosed with novel coronavirus (COVID-19). University officials are cooperating fully with the DeKalb County Health Department and other public health officials regarding the appropriate next step for our community.
Both students are currently practicing self-isolation and will not be able to return to their normal activities or to NIU until authorized by public health authorities. In the first case, one student was briefly on campus Monday, March 16, in Montgomery Hall and had very little contact with others. The second student has not been on campus since Tuesday, March 3, but traveled recently with a small group of fellow NIU students.
As part of the state’s standard protocol for case investigations, public health authorities are identifying those who came in close contact with each individual and are in process of communicating with them directly to take appropriate actions. Both individuals will be completing daily symptom and temperature checks that are reported to health officials while continuing self-isolation. Federal health privacy laws prevent us from sharing any other information about individuals who have tested positive. Our thoughts are with them and we wish them a full and speedy recovery.
Because these are the first confirmed cases of COVID-19 at NIU, we wanted to personally inform you. As testing increases throughout Illinois, more confirmed cases in and around DeKalb, NIU and other counties is to be expected. Going forward, we will update any additional NIU-related cases on our NIU COVID-19 site, and public health officials will directly contact any individuals who might have been at risk of exposure by being in the immediate area of newly diagnosed people.
Anyone who is displaying COVID-19 symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath should self-isolate and seek immediate medical care if symptoms are severe. Please call ahead to your provider so that they can prepare for your arrival. NIU students experiencing symptoms who are on campus or in the DeKalb area should call Student Health Services at 815-753-1311 or the DeKalb County Health Department to discuss their symptoms and history and to be directed to the appropriate care.
We wish a full and speedy recovery to members of our communities and others who are experiencing illness related to COVID-19. Please continue to heed the instructions from our local, state and national public health experts on caring for yourself and others at this time so that we can all help to slow the spread of the virus.
Thank you, Lisa C. Freeman