|Message Sent To:||All Faculty, All Staff, All Students|
|Message From:||Message from the Office of the President|
|Date Sent:||Friday, November 13, 2020 09:30 AM CST|
Preparing for Holiday Travel and Current City Guidelines
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
As a University community for and with others, we at Loyola University Chicago continue to monitor closely with apprehension the surge in positive COVID-19 cases across the City of Chicago, State of Illinois, and country. Because of a significant increase in the number of cases and hospitalizations in Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and city public health officials yesterday announced a stay-at-home advisory that will go into effect on Monday, November 16.
Out of an abundance of care and concern for our wider community, nation, and world, we are advising Loyola students, faculty, and staff to either refrain from or limit non-essential holiday travel this year if feasible. The best way to protect yourself and others is to stay home and celebrate with your immediate household or celebrate virtually. If you choose to gather with others during the holidays, we ask that you follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Holiday Celebrations recommendations—stay in small groups, practice social distancing, wear masks, and gather outdoors if possible.
We recognize that forgoing the chance to see familiy and loved ones for the holidays might be difficult and disheartening. If traveling in and out of Chicago, compliance with Chicago’s Emergency Travel Order, which is regularly updated, is requested. Please note that this travel order was recently revised with an added tier of restrictions.
If you live elsewhere and decide traveling outside of your community is essential, please consider the potential risks and take protective measures before, during, and after your trip. Consider completing a two-week quarantine and getting tested prior to departure. Research COVID-19 trends in that city and/or state before confirming travel plans. If COVID-19 is spreading near your travel destination or in the area in which you currently reside, the CDC advises travelers to postpone their plans.
Many students have inquired about Loyola’s testing availability ahead of holiday and end-of-semester travel. While limited appointments for PCR testing for travel are available, the Wellness Center unfortunately is unable to accommodate the volume of exit testing for most students at this time. Those who would like to get tested ahead of traveling are encouraged to do so at off-campus testing sites. A list of local testing sites can be found here.
If traveling, it is also important to consider the health of your travel companions and those you are visiting. If any of these people fall into a high-risk group, you should rethink travel at this time. All transportation methods—air travel, personal vehicle, train, etc.—present different types of risk. The CDC has information on travel considerations that can help you take measures to protect yourself and others, including information on lodging considerations. When you are traveling, practice health safety behaviors that reduce the transmission of COVID-19: wear face coverings, frequently wash hands, use hand sanitizer, and keep six feet or more from other travelers.
If you do plan to travel in the coming weeks, whether back to your own homes or to visit loved ones, please weigh the pros and cons and postpone your plans if the trip could potentially endanger yourself or others. Mayor Lightfoot and Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker may continue to add new restrictions for the City of Chicago and State of Illinois between now and Thanksgiving, so please continue to check our COVID-19 website for the most up-to-date information.
Regardless of your travel plans, please continue to follow the health and safety protocols outlined on the Return to Campus website and follow the recommended CDC guidance. Protecting yourself and those around you is the most meaningful gift you can give this holiday season.
Thomas M. Kelly
Senior Vice President for Administrative Services
Joan Holden, DNP, APRN, ANP-BC
Director, Wellness Center