DeKalb Public Library To Cancel Large Events

The DeKalb Public Library is continuing to monitor the current Coronavirus situation in Illinois. Out of an abundance of caution and in accordance with Governor Pritzker’s recommendation that large group gatherings be cancelled, the library has decided not to hold our World of Reading or Census Day events.

At this time, the library remains open during regularly scheduled hours and all services are available. As this is a rapidly evolving situation further precautions may be taken if deemed necessary. The library is in contact with other community organizations including School District #428, the City of DeKalb, Northern Illinois University, and the DeKalb County Health Department. We will be coordinating with these entities going forward.

We recommend that everyone stay informed of the latest updates on the Coronavirus and undertake appropriate actions to remain healthy and limit the spread of the virus.

Where to get facts

How to keep using the library if you choose not to visit in person

Your Digital Library is available anywhere, anytime at dkpl.org. You can place holds and renew items, borrow books, movies, TV shows, and music, and do online research.

As always, we’re here to answer your research questions. Call us at (815) 756-9568 or email us at reference@dkpl.org.

Visit www.dkpl.org, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter for other library news and events.   

IHSA Announces Tournament Updates Related to COVID-19

The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) announced on March 12, 2020 that it will significantly limit attendance at the remaining games in the 2020 IHSA Boys Basketball State Series, as well as at other IHSA events, to preemptively reduce the potential spread of COVID-19.

The decision comes after consultation with the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Peoria City/County Health Department, the latter of whom made the recommendation that no more than 60 spectators per school be allowed in the arena for each contest at this weekend’s Class 1A and Class 2A Boys Basketball State Finals. The IHSA currently plans to invoke the 60-spectator per school limitation across all remaining basketball games this season.

 “This was a difficult decision shaped by thoughtful deliberation set against a truly unprecedented backdrop,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “IHSA Basketball is America’s Original March Madness, and we recognize that this tournament is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the competing teams, communities and fans. Ultimately though, we have to put the health and safety of the students, along with the general public, ahead of the spectacle of the event. This is and remains a fluid situation. It is important that our member schools and fans understand that events outside any of our control could lead to further changes over the coming hours and days.”

Games impacted by this change include the 2020 IHSA Class 1A/2A Boys Basketball State Finals on March 13-14, as well as the remaining contests at the Class 3A and Class 4A Sectional, Super-Sectional, and State Final levels. IHSA State Series’ in Debate, Drama & Group Interpretation, and Scholastic Bowl will also operate under a similar premise, with those events being limited to competing students, coaches and essential meet personnel.

Full refunds will be available for any tickets already purchased for the remaining contests.

A schedule of all remaining IHSA State Series winter events is listed below. The Class 1A & 2 Boys Basketball State Finals will be televised and streamed (click here for viewing info).

IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson went into greater detail on the reasons behind the decision in a video announcement earlier in the day. Watch the video below:

REMAINING IHSA WINTER STATE SERIES SCHEDULE
-Class 1A/2A Boys Basketball State Finals on Friday & Saturday, March 13-14 at the Peoria Civic Center.
-Class 3A Sectional Semifinal on March 12.
-Class 3A & Class 4A Sectional Finals on March 13 & 14.
-Scholastic Bowl Sectionals on March 14.
-Class 3A & Class 4A Super-Sectionals on March 17.
-Scholastic Bowl State Finals on March 20.
-Class 3A & Class 4A State Finals on March 20 & 21.
-Debate State Finals on March 20 & 21.
-Drama/Group Interpretation Sectionals on March 20 & 21.
-Drama/Group Interpretation State Finals on March 27 & 28.

The following ancillary events at the Class 1A/2A Boys Basketball State Finals have also been impacted:
-Thursday’s team shootarounds at Carver Arena will not be open to the public.
-The Class 1A & 2A Finals of the Country Financial Three-Point Showdown have been postponed.
-The March Madness Experience in the adjacent Peoria Civic Center exhibit halls will not open this weekend.
-Saturday’s Unified State Basketball Tournament held in conjunction with Special Olympics Illinois has been canceled.
-The state basketball welcome dinners have been canceled.
-The Wheelchair Basketball State Tournament on March 20 & 21 has been canceled.
-The Learning From the Legends Clinic on March 21 has been canceled.
-The Student Section Showdown winner announcement has been postponed.
-All-State Team and IESA champion recognition will not occur.

Northern Illinois University Extends Spring Break, Modifies Courses Through April 4

Northern Illinois University President Lisa Freeman sent the following message to the NIU community Wednesday evening.

URGENT NIU UPDATE: NIU to Extend Spring Break.
March 11, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

The rapid spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) requires that we each take this situation seriously and be responsible members of our NIU community. This is an unprecedented circumstance that is understandably causing concern and anxiety for each member of our community. We are here to support you.

NIU leadership has been working to determine the best path forward to provide courses and student services while also prioritizing the health and wellbeing of all. Out of an abundance of caution, and to help reduce the possibility of transmission of the virus at our university locations, NIU is taking the following immediate actions:

  • NIU will extend Spring Break through Sunday, March 22. During this additional week, NIU faculty will work to develop alternate modes of course delivery, as appropriate, to replace face-to-face instruction.  We understand that this could be especially challenging for different programs, including those at the graduate level, that require doing clinicals, student-teaching, lab work, artistry, etc. We are prepared to accommodate our students and to find effective and appropriate alternatives.

During the extended Spring Break period, NIU will identify ways that we can offer access to academic support services, and continue to provide childcare and health services.

Modified courses will begin Monday, March 23, and run for a period of two weeks through Saturday, April 4. Our goal is to return to face-to-face instruction Monday, April 6. However, if warranted by evolving conditions, we will extend beyond that date and communicate that decision in a timely manner.

  • It’s critical that everyone regularly checks their NIU email as more specific information will be sent in the coming days and weeks that will require all to pay close attention and respond. Please take this simple step to support our community.
  • Residence and dining halls will remain open to accommodate students who want to stay on campus or are not in a position to return to their permanent home. We understand that this is a disruptive time and that our students might need and/or want to continue to live on- or off-campus. Services such as housing, dining, library and recreation will be available to our students with modified hours; detailed information on those services is forthcoming along with instructions for students who plan to stay on campus and need to notify housing and dining.
  • Campus will remain open, and all faculty and staff will continue their regular work schedules. Providing continuity of services for our students, faculty, staff, community and research partners is important. We will do our very best to support our normal daily activities but ask that we show one another patience. We will continue to reinforce that you should stay home if you are not feeling well. 

This type of developing situation will no doubt leave you with more questions than answers. We are in constant communication with Governor Pritzker’s office, state agencies and public health authorities. Our provost and executive vice president, vice presidents, deans and leadership are working around the clock to work out the details and provide you with communications and instructions as soon as possible. I deeply appreciate the care and resilience they are demonstrating throughout this process, and I especially appreciate your patience.

Please continue to check our NIU coronavirus (COVID-19) resource site for updates as they become available. We are a strong, smart and caring community, and a pandemic will not change that.

Thank you for your continued support.

Lisa

Illinois State University Transitions To Distance Learning Through Mid-April

Illinois State University is telling students don’t come back after spring break because of the Coronavirus. In a letter to the University, President Larry Dietz says the break will extend another week. It was to end Sunday. Dietz says faculty and staff will work next week to transition to remote learning. Distance learning will take place at least through April 12th.

ISU says students should stay home and those living in university housing should leave for their permanent residences. Dietz says those who don’t have some place to go will be handled on a case by case basis.

He says these actions will create serious challenges for the campus and the community. But, Dietz says the pandemic has created unprecedented circumstances making these actions prudent and necessary.

The University Lab schools will mirror the rest of ISU, according to Dietz.

By Charlie Schlenker, WGLT in Bloomington-Normal

Illinois General Assembly Cancels Session

Citing concerns about coronavirus disease, the Illinois General Assembly is cancelling session for next week. Authorities are also restricting other large gatherings in the Capitol building. NPR Illinois’ Brian Mackey reports a typical session day can bring thousands of people into the Statehouse — lawmakers, staff and lobbyists; busloads of kids on class trips; and hundreds of demonstrators.

In addition to the House and Senate postponing session, Mackey reports the Secretary of State’s office, which manages the Capitol Complex, is canceling group tours, rallies, and other events.

Illinois Cases Reach 25

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today is announcing six additional individuals have tested positive at the IDPH laboratory for coronavirus disease (COVID-19). 

“More cases in more places in Illinois means we are seeing growing transmission of the virus in the community,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.  “Today the World Health Organization characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic.  We will see additional cases in Illinois and I urge people to take steps now to reduce the impact this will have on their daily lives.” 

Public health officials are still investigating the travel history of these individuals and any potential contact with a known COVID-19 case.  Public health officials will identify and contact people who are considered close contacts of these cases.

At this time, we can release the following information regarding the new cases:

Chicago:

  • 80s male
  • 70s male
  • 70s male
  • 50s female
  • 40s male

Lake County:

  • 50s male

For information about how you, your school, workplace, and community can prepare, please visit Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Communities.  For general questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.

Beloit College Extending Spring Break Due To COVID-19

Beloit College will be taking the following precautionary health measures to decrease the risk of transmission of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and ensure the success and wellbeing of our community.

Spring break will be extended by a week. Classes will resume on March 23, and will be only offered online or remotely for one week. Students will return to campus with the reopening of student residences on Saturday, March 28, at 5 p.m. In-person classes will resume on Monday, March 30, with some instruction potentially taking place online throughout the semester. All on-campus events through March 30 are also cancelled.

Beloit College is also working with students who cannot delay their return on campus and need to return earlier, and are making accommodations on a case-by-case basis and taking personal circumstances into account.

At this time, Beloit College is not asking students who are studying abroad to return home. The college is actively working with its study abroad partners to monitor changing conditions and is following the Centers for Disease Control information for travelers as well as World Health Organization country updates.

These decisions, which have been difficult, reflect our latest knowledge from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the State of Wisconsin concerning the continued emergence of coronavirus in the United States and abroad. We believe this plan aligns with our commitment to delivering excellence in learning while ensuring the health and safety of the Beloit College community.

We’ll continue to share updates as these developments further develop, and ask that the community to also monitor our campus COVID-19 website.

NIU – March 10 Update

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
Tuesday, March 10, 2020
Update to Faculty and Staff re: Travel and Events

Dear Faculty and Staff,

NIU continues to monitor closely the dynamic developments for coronavirus (COVID-19) with a focus on the health and wellbeing of our university community. Herein, I’d like to provide you with an update and advise you about the actions we expect you to take. With guidance from the DeKalb County Health Department, and in alignment with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we are doing the following:

International and Domestic Travel:
At this time, we are prohibiting all university-sponsored travel to countries that have a CDC Level 3 Travel Health Notice. which as of March 10, 2020 is China, Iran, Italy and South Korea. Any faculty, staff or students who are traveling in these areas, including airport layovers, are not to return to NIU and should follow CDC self-quarantine guidelines for 14 days.

While we are not prohibiting future university-related international or domestic travel, we would prefer that you defer travel during this time of uncertainty. The university will support you in making other arrangements and reimburse related expenses that are nonrefundable.

It’s prudent for all of us to consider the risks associated with any form of travel given the spread of COVID19. These include exposure to the virus, challenges with return travel and the potential need to self-quarantine for up to 14 days.

University Events:
While the university is not requiring the cancellation of any events at this time, we encourage those of you who are scheduled to host events to use good judgment and:

  • Consider the following when determining whether to proceed, postpone or cancel:
    • Is the event essential – meaning something that cannot be replicated at another time or conducted easily via available technology instead of face-to-face?
    • Is it a large or small event?
    • How closely will the event participants be required to interact?
    • Are participants coming from an area of high exposure?
    • Will participants include members of a high-risk population, such as older adults or those with health issues?
    • If participants traveling from out of state or the US are impacted by travel restrictions or concerns, could absences impact the program?
    • Are you willing to reimburse participants who must cancel?
  • Communicate with participants in advance about the expectation that they will reconsider their participation or attendance if they are not feeling well, come from an area of high exposure or are a high-risk population. such as older adults or those with health issues.
  • Limit social gestures such as shaking hands or hugging.
  • Provide coronavirus (COVID-19) prevention supplies for event staff and participants, including sinks with soap, hand sanitizers and tissues.
  • Plan for staff absences. Event staff might need to stay home if they become sick, or they might need to stay home to care for someone else. Identify critical job functions and positions, and plan for alternative coverage by cross-trained staff.


Cleaning and Prevention:
Our facilities team has been working diligently to disinfect “high-touch” surfaces daily in public areas (e.g. tables, doorknobs, door push plates, light switches, handrails and student desks). We’ve also added additional hand sanitizer stations throughout the university. Posters promoting good hygiene practices area also being distributed for all buildings.

As we shared previously, all faculty, staff and students who do not feel well are advised to stay home and check in with their personal physician. We will continue to update the university and NIU’s coronavirus (COVID19) site with relevant information.

We are all Huskies, and we all have a responsibility to look out for one another during this very challenging situation. I appreciate your support.

Thank you,
Beth

NIU Halts Int'l and Domestic University Travel, Encourages Students to Stay Current With Coursework

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

The response to Wednesday’s announcement to extend Spring Break and move to two weeks of non-face-to-face instruction has been affirming. Our community is taking the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) seriously, and I appreciate your continued support during this unprecedented situation.

I want to inform you of some important decisions we’ve made today and to add clarity about what will be happening during the additional week of Spring Break, March 15-22:

Self-Quarantine: Today, the CDC declared most of Europe as Level 3, requiring all travelers coming to the U.S. to self-quarantine for 14 days. If you have traveled to or from these countries within the past 14 days, we need you to follow the CDC guidelines and self-quarantine at your permanent home. We ask that those self-quarantining complete this form so that we are aware of your absences and can provide you with support.

University-Sponsored International and Domestic Travel: 
Effective today, March 12, all university-sponsored domestic and international travel for faculty, staff and students is prohibited through May 9. Those who believe that they have essential business reasons to travel can request waivers through the Office of the Provost. Please be aware that the issuance of waivers will be rare.

Classes: All students should expect to keep up with their coursework during the extended Spring Break.

For students currently enrolled in online courses, including 16-week and 8-week online courses that start in the second half of the semester, we are asking our faculty and instructors to communicate to their students about what is expected in terms of student participation and coursework for the week of March 16-22.

Study abroad: Effective March 12, NIU has cancelled all international Study Abroad programs for the remainder of the semester through August. This includes all Faculty-Directed, Cosponsored and Internship programs offered for NIU Study Abroad credit. The university is in contact with students and faculty who are currently abroad, and will offer assistance to address academic and financial issues that might arise from this decision.

Events:
Under the direction of the DeKalb County Health Department, NIU has now cancelled all events with more than 25 attendees through at least April 6. Given the unpredictability of this situation, scheduling events for April 7 and shortly thereafter might be impractical. We acknowledge the impact that the cancellation of events has on participants, spectators and more, but we must prioritize public health at this time. 

Again, this is a very dynamic situation – one that requires us all to seek reputable sources for information, practice smart hygiene and social distancing, and as always, show one another kindness and patience.

We will continue to provide updates on important developments at NIU.

Lisa C. Freeman
President

Public Health Officials Announce First Coronavirus Disease Cases Outside Chicago and Cook County

Illinois is currently reporting 19 cases

CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Kane County Health Department (KCHD), and the McHenry County Department of Health (MCDH) today announced the first Illinois residents outside of Chicago and Cook County to test positive at the IDPH laboratory for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).  The cases include a Kane County woman in her 60s and a McHenry County teen, neither of whom had a history of travel to an affected area and no connection to a known case of COVID-19.  Public health officials are identifying and contacting all close contacts.

“As we anticipated, the number of cases in Illinois is increasing and now includes the first cases outside of Chicago and Cook County,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.  “The State of Illinois continues to take action to reduce spread of COVID-19 in Illinois and we again want to encourage people to start thinking and preparing now in the event they are not able to go to work, if schools are closed, if public transportation is not available, and how else their lives will be disrupted by this outbreak.”  

Currently, there are 19 individuals in Illinois who have tested positive for COVID-19.  At least one case acquired the virus in the community, but probably more.  As IDPH continues to conduct surveillance testing, additional cases will be identified, and we will have a better understanding about the amount of virus circulating in Illinois communities.

In addition to the cases in Kane and McHenry counties, new cases include individuals in:
Cook County:

• 70s – male
• 60s – female
• 40s – female
• 40s – male

Chicago:

• 40s – male
• 40s – male

Public health officials are still investigating the travel history of these individuals and any potential contact with a known COVID-19 case.  These most recent cases are in isolation and are doing well.

Steps to help minimize the risk of spread:

– Everyone: Use the same daily health precautions you would for flu including washing your hands frequently using soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering your cough and sneeze, and staying home when sick.
– Health care:  Screen patients and visitors for symptoms of respiratory illness such as fever, cough, and difficulty breathing; wear proper personal protective gear such as gowns and masks when needed, and have employees stay home when sick.
– Day cares, schools, universities:  Review emergency plans, absenteeism policies, and cleaning procedures; identify strategies for alternative learning mechanisms such as on-line programs; and consider postponing or cancelling student exchange programs.
– Businesses: Review emergency and continuity of operation plans, revisit sick leave policies, and assess schedule flexibility.
– Community and faith organizations: Review emergency plans and communicate with community members if events and services are changed, postponed, or cancelled.

For information about how you, your school, your workplace, and your community can prepare, please visit Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Communities.  For general questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.