Plan for Spring 2021

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SIU Carbondale has always focused on providing a quality education in a safe and welcoming environment. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, planning for spring 2021 has incorporated a special emphasis on the health and safety of our community.

View Chancellor Lane's message about Fall 2021.

Watch Chancellor Lane's virtual review of the university’s Saluki Safety.

To develop our plan, we sought input from faculty, staff and students; gathered information from other colleges and universities; reviewed recommendations from state and local health agencies; and consulted frequently with our own local health officials and School of Medicine experts. In short, we are moving forward with broad input and the most current health and safety guidance available to develop a plan that will work best for our campus and community.

Following is a current outline of the plan. Additional information is included in the FAQ on the university’s coronavirus website. In some cases, faculty and staff teams are working on more detailed plans.

Please note that every day, health experts learn more and more about COVID-19 and how to minimize its spread. Our plans may change as new information is available and as state and health agencies adapt their guidance and direction.

Questions and feedback may be directed to


Course format

The overarching goal for spring courses is to implement instructional strategies that meet student and curricular needs while protecting the health and safety of the campus community to the greatest extent possible.

To achieve that goal, we will be offering courses in several formats.

  • Traditional face-to-face courses
  • Hybrid courses, in which some instruction is face-to-face but parts of the course may be provided online or in alternative formats
  • Courses fully online or in another alternative format

Guiding principles

We will make decisions on course format based on the following guiding principles.

  • Classes begin on Tuesday, Jan. 19, and finals take place Monday, May 3 through Friday, May 7. There will not be a traditional spring break in order to minimize risks associated with travel.
  • The day and time of courses that are already scheduled will remain the same in order to minimize disruption to students who have already registered.
  • Courses for which in-person teaching is essential to the achievement of learning goals and outcomes will be offered face-to-face.
  • Hybrid courses could include several formats, such as a face-to-face lab and online lecture or staggered in-person attendance with online access to lectures. Faculty are planning multiple approaches.
  • Some core freshman courses, such as English 101, Communications Studies 101, Math 101 and University 101 will be offered face-to-face.
  • Courses enrolling 50 or more students will be offered fully online. This will comply with the state’s size limits for gatherings and also free large classrooms for smaller classes to accommodate social distancing.

Information about the format for individual courses is available on the schedule of classes.

Classroom safety

Following are some of the steps we are taking to protect the safety of students and faculty in the classroom.

  • Rooms with fixed seating will have seats that are not to be used marked to support social distancing. Rooms with movable seating will be arranged for social distancing.
  • Instructional labs will be evaluated for possible modifications of physical space.
  • Students and instructors will wear masks; instructors will have a few extra masks to provide students who forget their masks. Mask requirements and information will be included in course syllabi.
  • Enhanced classroom cleaning protocols will be implemented.

In addition, instructors and academic advisors will be available for virtual office hours and appointments. The university is developing a classroom safety guide to assist instructors.

High-risk concerns and individuals with disabilities

Students with disabilities and students who request course accommodations because they are at high risk for serious complications from COVID-19 should contact Disability Support Services at or 618-453-5738. Disability Support Services staff will work directly with instructors on necessary accommodations.


Testing and tracing

On-campus and drive-through testing is available to students, faculty and staff. Students living in residence halls will be tested when they return to campus. All other students are encouraged to be tested before returning for the semester. Details and information about how to make an appointment will be available on the testing page.

SIU works closely with the Jackson County Health Department, which is responsible for directing the isolation and quarantine of individuals suspected or confirmed to be infected with COVID-19. The health department also directs the tracing of individuals who may have been exposed. Our partnerships with the health department and Southern Illinois Healthcare, as well as work with our own School of Medicine, will guide us in the testing and tracing of COVID-19.

Face coverings

Employees and students will be provided reusable face coverings. For the protection of students, faculty, staff and visitors, face masks are REQUIRED in certain circumstances as directed by the university and in compliance with an order from the governor. 

Masks are required in indoor public spaces regardless of the ability to maintain social distance. Indoor public places include spaces anyone can access, such as reception areas with walk-in access and the lobbies of buildings. Masks are also required in offices and laboratories when multiple people are present and social distancing is variable or not possible. Masks are also required outdoors when social distancing is not possible and when multiple people share a university vehicle.

Social distancing

Following are some of the steps being taken to support social distancing.

  • Occupancy limits will be posted for elevators, conference rooms, classrooms and other spaces.
  • Signage reminding people to wear masks and wash their hands correctly will be posted.
  • Floor decals will be placed 6 feet apart where individuals typically form lines.
  • Gatherings will be limited in size to a number determined by the university and in compliance with state guidelines. Event sponsors will be expected to have an approved plan that incorporates social distancing and other safety protocols.

Other safety measures

  • Reception areas will have clear, acrylic partitions in order to protect both students and staff.
  • Hand sanitizers will be available in each building.
  • Restrooms, common areas and commonly touched surfaces in public areas, such as doorknobs and light switches, will be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis.
  • Additional cleaning protocols will be in place for offices and classrooms (see classroom safety).
  • Faculty, staff and students will be provided information on how to monitor their health and what to do if they believe they have been exposed or infected.


The residence hall experience

Living on campus is part of the college experience, and studies show that students who live on campus early in their academic careers become more engaged, make better grades and are more likely to graduate. Although the residence life experience will be different this year, the university’s goal is to ensure that students can still make positive connections that will help them be successful.

Moving in

Information about spring move-in will be send directly to students living on campus. Contact or 618-453-2301 with questions.

Housing safety protocols

Students will be expected to follow safety protocols in order to protect themselves and those around them. Each student will have an individual room and share a bathroom with one other student. Refillable spray bottles with disinfectant will be provided in each bathroom. Masks will be required outside of individual rooms. Guests will not be allowed in the residence halls. This includes day visitors and overnight visitors.

Dining halls

Dining halls will be open to students with meal plans but not to guests. Dining hall operations are subject to change based on new guidance and how well students adapt, but current plans follow.

  • Students can swipe their own IDs any time during operating hours; the system will be touchless.
  • Staff will prepare and plate meals to order; there will be no self-service, but all food options will be available
  • Tables and seating will be placed to support social distancing, and individual seating will be available.
  • Masks will be required except when students are seated to eat meals.



All student services and facilities will be available, including computer labs, Career Services, Student Health Services, Morris Library, academic advising, tutoring programs, the Student Center and the Student Recreation Center. However, services may be modified to accommodate social distancing and other safety requirements. For example, the Student Recreation Center will deactivate every other machine, enhance cleaning protocols and enforce new capacity guidelines. More information is available in our FAQ section of this coronavirus website.

Student employment

Students will have opportunities to apply for employment on campus. Visit the student employment website to learn more.

Registered student organizations and Greek life

Student organizations will continue to provide extracurricular opportunities in support of academic growth and engagement. All groups will be required to follow social distancing and other safety protocols.