SIU’s coronavirus response: The DE answers your questions

By Danny Connolly, Guest Writer

The Daily Egyptian asked its readers to comment on Facebook and Twitter any questions they have about SIU converting to an extended break and transferring instruction to online in the wake of COVID-19. 

SIU released more information on the transition to prepare for the coronavirus Thursday, and we answered some of our readers’ questions. 

Q: How will students who don’t have access to the internet in their home continue in online classes?

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—Sarah Doris, junior, zoology

A: SIU is asking students without internet access/computer access to contact Saluki Cares at [email protected] to discuss their options. 

Update 3/16/20: According to SIU’s coronavirus FAQ page, a limited number of laptop computers are available for loan to students.  Students in need of a laptop should fill out a Saluki Cares Report requesting assistance.

Q: Why are the residence halls opening if SIU is worried about large groups of students together?

—Khloe Drahos, sophomore, chemistry

A: Most SIU students who live in residence halls live in single rooms. Students on-campus are encouraged to limit direct contact with the rest of the SIU community for the rest of the semester. Additionally, RSOs are prohibited from holding events with more than 25 participants on campus. 

Q: If SIU goes to end of term with online classes, as some universities have chosen, will students receive reimbursement towards rent and food that they did not utilize on campus? Will students be able to retrieve their books and supplies left in their dorms?

—Kate Taylor Burmeister, parent of a SIU student

A: Residence halls will open 1 p.m. on March 15 as planned. Students can move in or pick up their belongings and move out.  According to a University Student Government Facebook post, students will not get refunded if they decide to move out early from on-campus housing. This was confirmed by university spokesperson Rae Goldsmith at Thursday’s press conference.

Q: Will university staff continue to receive payment for days missed if the university goes on administrative closure, and at what percentage of their current pay? 

—Ethan Trimble, SIU alumnus/staff member

A: If/when the chancellor decides to announce an administrative closure, salaried employees will be paid their normal salaries and hourly employees will be paid for closure days at their regular pay rate. 

Q: Two of my classes are completely group project based. We meet with our groups weekly; how is that supposed to continue if we switch to online or are made to quarantine?

—Krysta Howell, junior, social work

A: As professors have many options for online learning, from D2L assessments, filmed or live-streamed lectures, and emailed assignments, many are still figuring out the details for their classes. Professors may take up to the extended week to contact students about the future of their classes. SIU has also allowed students to receive in-person equipment-based instruction by faculty in small groups or by themselves.  

Q: A requirement of my degree is working with a certain number of patients in a clinic. If people stop coming, will SIU be accommodating for graduating students in this regard? 

— Alexis Atherton, senior, dental hygiene 

A: SIU has allowed internships, clinical practicums and student teaching to continue if the organization where the student is doing the work remains open, employees are coming to work, and there is supervision available. However, students who do not want to continue in the wake of the coronavirus can contact their programs to request an alternate assignment. 

Changes to programs/curriculums should be released to students within the extended week. 

Q: What is SIU’s plan for commencement? Should I still order my cap and gown? 

— Phynix Huhn-Simmons, senior, cinema

A: SIU has not yet made a decision about commencement. Orders for commencement regalia close April 5th. It is recommended to wait on ordering until SIU makes an official decision. 

Q: Will on-campus voting booths remain open to students on Tuesday? 

 — Isaac Ludington, sophomore, political science and economics

A: Gov. J.B. Pritzker has decided Thursday to continue with in-person voting as planned for the Illinois primary on March 17th. None of the on-campus polling places have been moved. Additionally, early voting in Illinois has been extended to close at 6 p.m. on Saturday and 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Q: It is my understanding that Trueblood dining hall allows the general public to dine there. Are there plans to change this?

— Jennifer Smith, website comment

A: Trueblood and Lentz dining halls remain open only for students with meal plans and University Housing staff, according to a University Housing tweet.

For any additional questions about the coronavirus and SIU, you can email [email protected].

Editor’s note: Some questions have been edited and condensed for clarity. Responses have been gathered from information released by SIU, SIU affiliates and the State of Illinois.

Guest writer Danny Connolly is the assignments editor for River Region Evening Edition. The Daily Egyptian can be reached at [email protected]

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