September 1, 2021 (Updated 9-2-2021, 12:10 p.m.; Timeline Updated 9-7-2021, 10:40 a.m.)
In response to Governor Pritzker’s recent Executive Order, new COVID mitigation protocols will be taking place at all IECC Colleges. We know everyone has questions and we are working to develop answers. Listed below are some important things we can share at this time:
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Since mid-July the number of COVID cases across the state – and more significantly, the number of COVID hospitalizations – has continued to rise. At the time of this writing, every county in Illinois is experiencing “high transmission” levels of COVID-19. Because the Governor understands how detrimental a return to Phase 3 or Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan would be to everyone – including colleges and their students – this Executive Order is an attempt to slow the transmission of COVID and lower the number of people hospitalized for the virus without shutting the state down a second time.
The Executive Order impacts institutions of higher education in three ways:
- Beginning 8/30 facial coverings are required indoors in all public facilities in Illinois, including the four IECC Colleges.
- Unvaccinated individuals will need to test (weekly) for COVID to enter college facilities. More information on this test is below.
- Vaccinated individuals will need to provide the college with proof of vaccination and will not be required to test weekly. More information on documenting vaccination status is below.
While indoors, Yes.
- You must wear a facial covering that covers your mouth and nose when inside any IECC facility.*
- Masks are recommended, but not required outdoors in areas where physical distancing is challenging.
- Some settings (high heat, sources of combustion, mechanical equipment/moving parts etc.) are not safe for use of facial coverings. Follow the instructions of your supervisor/instructor in such settings.
*Faculty/staff may remove facial coverings when in their private offices provided these spaces allow for proper physical distancing (6’) from others. To accommodate a student or to facilitate effective delivery of instruction, faculty may use a clear facial shield instead of a cloth covering. Faculty using clear facial shields should remain physically distant (6’) from others.
No. Contrary to the way this Executive Order has been portrayed in the media, there is no mandate for vaccination. This Executive Order is a “test or vaccinate” order. The IDPH and the CDC have been clear that their goal is to encourage vaccination and to increase the percentage of the population who is vaccinated. This Executive Order is encouraging the same.
Individuals who chose to remain unvaccinated will be required to provide a negative COVID test every week. More information about this test can be found below. IECC encourages everyone to learn more about the benefits of vaccination, consult their health care provider to address risks or concerns they may have, and then make an informed and individual decision about vaccination.
If you are unvaccinated, yes.
If you are vaccinated, no. However, you are still strongly encouraged to test weekly as the vaccines – while still the most effective tool against COVID – do not eliminate the possibility of acquiring or transmitting COVID. A high number of “breakthrough” COVID cases in vaccinated people have been recorded across the nation. Testing weekly is a good way to protect yourself and others.
IECC is currently developing our procedures & protocols to comply with this Executive Order. Here is what we can share with you today.
- Effective August 30, 2021 all individuals must wear masks while inside IECC facilities. (See above for more information)
- Beginning September 6, 2021 temporary testing centers will be operating at all four colleges for students and staff. Hours of operation will be posted on the entrances of our buildings.
- In the next few days, IECC will be able to begin collecting vaccination records from students and employees. More information about required documentation, where to access it, and how to share it with IECC can be found below.
- Beginning September 16, 2021, IECC will partner with SHIELD Illinois to provide testing for all unvaccinated employees and students at each of our four colleges. More information about COVID testing can be found below.
- Individuals who desire to be vaccinated, must receive their first dose of a two-dose vaccination series or a single-dose vaccination by September 19, 2021 to avoid weekly testing. The second dose must be administered within 30 days.
The Governor’s Executive Order pertains to almost everyone who has a prolonged (i.e. more than 10-15 minutes) presence on campus. This includes:
- All employees of IECC - regardless of full-time/part-time status.
- All students of IECC - except for students enrolled in only online courses.
- Individuals who cannot be vaccinated - based on medical or religious grounds - will still need to test weekly as part of the effort to slow transmission of the virus.
- College leadership will make individual decisions about campus visitors (i.e. prospective students & their families, athletic or performing arts events) based on circumstances in the local community.
To document your vaccination status, you will be asked to provide proof of complete vaccination. IECC is partnering with Cleared4Class who will provide vaccine validation for all IECC employees and students. IECC will begin the process of collecting vaccination records no later than 9/20. More information about HOW to share this information with us will be announced shortly. In the meantime, you can begin to prepare by gathering one of the following documents that will demonstrate your immunization:
- Your CDC COVID-19 vaccination record
- Documentation of immunization from your healthcare provider
- Official State Immunization records
The Illinois Department of Public Health can assist you in obtaining proper documentation (I-CARES) if you have no other means of accessing it.
Individuals who do not provide one of these three records will be required to test weekly until documentation is received *or* the Executive Order expires.
As an interim measure, IECC will have temporary testing centers open on all four colleges with rapid COVID tests available for students and employees beginning September 6. These temporary testing centers and rapid tests will be used until our SHIELD Illinois testing centers are up and running.
IECC has partnered with SHIELD Illinois to provide testing at each of our four colleges. Convenient testing times will be available at each college, and employees and students will *not* be asked to go elsewhere for testing. We anticipate testing being available the week of October 4. SHIELD Illinois has an excellent FAQ that you can read here. More information about where tests will be located on campus, as well as testing times, will be released shortly.
SHIELD provides a non-intrusive (i.e. no nasal swab) test that each individual self-administers. You can see an example of how this testing procedure works by clicking here. Developed by the University of Illinois, this test has provided extremely accurate results for higher education, K-12, and businesses across the state. Important things to know about testing:
- Testing is free of charge.
- Testing sites will be open on all four colleges at convenient times throughout the week.
- Depending on traffic at the testing site, testing will take less than three minutes from check-in to completion.
- As we open testing centers the week of 10/4, we will incorporate a phased approach as we learn how to streamline our processes. In order of priority:
- Full time employees & students
- Part time employees & students
- Non-credit bearing/community education students
- Business & Industry employees & students
COVID-19 Resources for Students
IECC closely monitors recommendations provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and considers guidance from the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) and Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) to address and respond to Covid-19.
Let's keep moving forward together by following these steps:
STEP 1 Monitor for symptoms daily. Fever, chills, cough, fatigue are just a few symptoms to watch out for. See a more extensive list of symptoms here and take the
STEP 2 Be responsible and take action. Help prevent the spread of Covid-19.
STEP 3 Be aware and tuned in. Watch out for special instructions from faculty and college administration. Information on transmission, testing, and vaccines is available from these county health department links:
Wayne County Crawford County Richland County Wabash County
STEP 4 Keep moving on. We are all in this together and we should not lose sight of goals we've set and need to continue pursuing. Refer to the campus resources below if you feel you need any assistance in keeping your goals in sight.
Allied Health Advisors, Administrators and Faculty
Bookstores (includes instructions for ordering textbooks online through the college bookstores)
Emergency Alerts for students, families, and community
Libraries (If you have questions regarding off-campus access to Library services or research, please leave both your phone number and your email address.):
Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (CARES Act/CRRSAA Act) Federal Reporting
(The following data is being provided to fulfill federal requirements.)
What: Emergency financial aid is being made available to students of Illinois Eastern Community Colleges – Frontier Community College, Lincoln Trail College, Olney Central College, and Wabash Valley College, through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, commonly referred to as the CARES Act.
Who: Any Title IV eligible student who was enrolled full-time (more than 11.5 credit hours) or part-time (6 – 11.5 credit hours) as of March 16th, that was enrolled in a Title IV eligible program, and met satisfactory academic progress for the spring term. Students enrolled with at least 12 credit hours as of March 16th will receive a one-time aid disbursement of $845. Students enrolled with at least 6 credit hours, but fewer than 12 will receive a one-time aid disbursement of $515.
When: Emergency aid disbursements are being made by check on Friday May 15th to the home address on record with IECC.
A second disbursement of aid from the CARES Act is being made by check on May 29th to the home address on record with IECC for students that were not included in the first round.
Why: The direct emergency aid to students is available for costs incurred like food, housing, course materials, technology, childcare, and healthcare due to the shelter-in-place order that dictated a move to fully online learning.
Reporting Data as of May 29, 2020: Compliance with Section 18004(e) of the CARES Act:
- Illinois Eastern Community College District 529 signed and submitted its Recipient’s Funding Certification and Agreement for the Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act on May 1, 2020.
- The District received $996,242 in emergency aid to provide to students of its colleges:
- Frontier Community College (02074400) - $139,664
- Lincoln Trail College (00978600) - $217,153
- Olney Central College (00174200) - $368,501
- Wabash Valley College (00177900) - $270,924
- The District, as of May 31, 2020, has distributed $1,015,710 in direct aid to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. The District used $19,468 of its Institutional funds under Section 18004(a)(1) in the distribution.
- The estimated total number of students eligible for Title IV assistance in the District is 1,810.
- On May 15, 2020, the District provided aid to 1,043 students. On May 29, 2020, the District provided aid to 259 students. A total of 1,302 students received aid under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
- Students eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, having completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), enrolled with an IECC college on or after March 16, 2020, enrolled in at least 6 credit hours of instruction, and having met satisfactory academic progress for the spring term were determined to receive aid in the first round of aid disbursements.
- Aid supplied to students included a cover letter indicating what the aid was, where it originated, that it would not be required be paid back, and finally that it was for the student to use for costs incurred as a result of disruptions to campus operations due to COVID-19 such as food, housing, course materials, technology, and childcare.
What: Emergency financial aid is being made available to students of Illinois Eastern Community Colleges – Frontier Community College, Lincoln Trail College, Olney Central College, and Wabash Valley College – through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA).
Who: Eligible students are those attending an Illinois Eastern Community College as full-time (more than 11.5 credit hours), half-time (6 – 11.5 credit hours), or less than half-time (1 – 5.5 credit hours) as of the 10th day of the Spring 2021 term and eligible for a Pell Grant. Students who are Pell eligible and enrolled full-time will each receive $1,350, students who are Pell eligible and enrolled half-time will each receive $800, and students who are Pell eligible and enrolled less than half-time will each receive $220.
When: This aid will be disbursed on Thursday, April 1st. Students set up for direct deposit will receive aid directly to their account on file. Checks will be mailed on April 1st to any student not registered for direct deposit.
Why: The direct emergency aid to students is for any component of the cost of attendance or emergency costs incurred due to the coronavirus. Examples of uses include tuition, food, housing, healthcare (including mental health) or childcare.
Reporting Data as of March 31, 2021: Compliance consistent with Section 314(e) of CRRSAA:
Illinois Eastern Community College District 529 received a supplemental award to provide Emergency Aid to Students through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA) on February 19, 2021.
The District received $996,242 in emergency aid to provide to students with exceptional need under Section 314 (a) of the CRRSAA.
As of March 31, 2021, the District has distributed $996,370 in direct aid to students.
On March 31, 2021, the District provided direct aid to 835 students.
Students enrolled as of the 10th day of the Spring 2021 term and eligible for a Pell Grant were eligible for this aid.
Aid supplied to students included a cover letter indicating the where the aid originated, that it would not be required to be paid back, and that it was for any component of the cost of attendance, including healthcare and childcare.