This year our students will have so many opportunities to immerse themselves in the Olivet experience including in-person classes, a full chapel schedule, athletic competitions, musical performances and great social events like Ollies Follies.
Although we are not mandating a vaccine for students or employees, the fact that many of our students, faculty and staff have already received one will have a positive impact on our campus and surrounding community this fall. We encourage those who have not yet received a vaccine to consider doing so as soon as possible, in consultation with their medical provider. In addition to the individual benefit of not needing to quarantine upon COVID-exposure, the higher our collective vaccination percentage is, the greater the likelihood is that we will have a more normal-looking fall.
With the rise of the Delta variant, the current national and local context is different from when plans were first made for the fall semester. Ninety percent of the counties in the U.S. have either substantial or high levels of transmission and Kankakee County falls within those categories. Given this, as well as updated recommendations from the CDC, the Illinois Board of Higher Education, and the Illinois Department of Public Health, we have made a few adjustments to our original plans.
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Per the state of Illinois, masks are required for students and employees (vaccinated and unvaccinated) in all public spaces in every building on campus.
According to the CDC, “Masks are a simple barrier to help prevent your respiratory droplets from reaching others. Studies show that masks reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth.” We fully understand the lack of enthusiasm for any return to masks, but also know that adding this simple measure reduces risk for our entire community while enabling greater opportunity in other areas of campus. It is our sincere hope and desire that this is a temporary measure of precaution, and we will review this policy after the first few weeks of classes.
Students have received further operational updates and will continue to be informed directly as other changes arise. Current CDC guidelines can be found here.