A Loyola student who was exposed to someone currently being evaluated for COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by coronavirus, is currently in isolation on campus, according to an email sent out by Loyola’s Wellness Center Tuesday.
“We are aware of a student who was exposed to an individual who is currently being evaluated for COVID-19 and is awaiting testing results,” the email said. “We alerted the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and we are working under the CDPH’s guidance. Out of an abundance of caution and in alignment with the CDPH, the student is in isolation on campus and is well.”
Illinois currently has 19 cases of COVID-19 as of Mar. 10, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has declared a “disaster proclamation,” for the state, The Phoenix reported.
Earlier Tuesday, Loyola President Jo Ann Rooney told students in an email the university is encouraging faculty to move classes online, and monitoring the situation in Illinois to decide whether or not online classes would become mandatory.
“Given these rapidly evolving developments, Loyola’s COVID-19 task force continues with its preparedness plans, including the possibility of moving all classes from face-to-face instruction to online instruction,” Rooney wrote in the email. “We have already encouraged faculty to move their courses online, which many are currently doing.”
Just a few minutes after Rooney’s email update, Loyola’s history department sent an email to students enrolled in history courses that included a survey to gather information about students’ access to technology in case of a mandatory online transition.
“As Loyola prepares for the strong possibility of mandatory online instruction (perhaps within days), the Academic Continuity working group is trying to gather information about student access to resources necessary for such a mandatory online transition,” The history department wrote in the survey.
Anna Rozenich, director of University Marketing and Communications, said a task force is in place monitoring the situation. She said the university relies on the information given by public health departments locally, state-wide and nation-wide to make decisions about actions taken on campus.
“You’re looking at the task force monitoring the situation almost hour by hour and taking the lead,” Rozenich said. “The greatest factors are student, faculty and staff health, safety and wellbeing and whatever the regulatory public health officials … guide on the state of Illinois.”
Rozenich said the president’s message was sent out to make students aware of the monitoring in progress by the university, as well as prepare them for the possibility of classes being moved online.
If a student does test positive for COVID-19, CPDH will notify the university with guidance on how to proceed, Rooney said in the email.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.