SIU students reactions to the new COVID-19 Policies

Since Gov. JB Pritzer’s executive order on Sept. 7, requiring college students to either become fully vaccinated or receive weekly testing, students’ compliance has varied. 

Jennifer Jones-Hall, the Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, said  66% of students have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The remaining students are either noncompliant or have elected to receive tests on a weekly basis. 

To encourage students to comply, SIU sent out an official letter which stated: “If we have NOT received verification of a COVID test from the last seven (7) days or proof of vaccination by Sunday, September 27, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. you will be placed on disciplinary probation.  If you continue to fail to comply with the Governor’s executive mandate, you will be barred from all university premises including classrooms,  on-campus buildings, residence halls, etc.”


The Illinois Department of Health COVID-19 Vaccine Administration Data states about 56% of Illinois’ population is fully vaccinated and about 55% of the total U.S. population is fully vaccinated with a seven day average of 43,289,203 reported cases.

Since the new mandate was put into place on Sept 5, the school has had fewer cases of people testing positive for COVID-19. According to SIU’s COVID-19 dashboard, from Sept 20 to the 2, there have only been thirteen positive cases reported.

According to Jones-Hall, the new mandate has had a positive effect on the campus, but the students do not share the same sentiment. 

According to the Jackson County Health Department from Sept. 19 to Sept. 25 there were 177 total confirmed cases in Jackson County. 

Donna Morgan, a sophomore, said the school should not have waited for the governor’s mandate to implement stricter COVID-19 policies. The school’s policy before the executive order only required that students wear their mask indoors and in crowded spaces. And with the state mandate, Morgan said that the school is just hoping the students comply instead of enforcing the policies.

“I guess they’re just hoping everyone goes along with them,” Morgan said “I don’t think they’re really enforcing them that much, and all the academic policy is being enforced.” 

Taylor Lawrence, a sophomore said the university should be providing better access to testing whether it be through a shuttle system or a wider range of testing facilities.  


“Testing is all the way over on East Campus, some people may not have a ride or be able to catch a bus, all the way over to East Campus,” Lawrence said.

The Chancellor’s Office  conducted a survey on July 28 before the semester started as a way to see how many students and faculty were vaccinated or planned to become vaccinated  before the semester began.

Lawrence also said the school could send out surveys once a month in order to get more student feedback, and apply it to any new policies they make regarding COVID.

Students like Lawrence and Morgan feel like the administration should be doing a better job of including students in the conversation when it comes to updating the COVID-19 prevention policies.

“I understand the frustration, but the reality is that COVID has changed how we must respond to keep our campus safe. It is the responsible thing to do. As the situation continues to evolve, we have a duty to adapt our plans, often on short notice,” Hall said.

Staff reporter Janiyah Gaston can be reached at [email protected] or on Instagram at @janiyah_reports. To stay up to date with all your Southern Illinois news follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.