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Overview

The Return to Campus guidelines were created to assist Loyola University Chicago students, faculty, and staff who are returning to on-campus activity. The guidelines should not be interpreted as a directive that large-scale, on-campus operations will begin immediately. All faculty and staff who are able to work remotely should continue to do so unless otherwise instructed by their dean/vice president, department or program director, or supervisor.  

The guidelines are only for those who are already working on campus and for those who have been instructed to return to campus by their dean/vice president, department or program director, or supervisor.  

The guidelines are constructed to protect the health and safety of our faculty, staff, students, and greater Loyola community.  

All students, faculty, and staff are expected to fully comply with the guidelines outlined in this document. Failure to do so may result in corrective action. 

Return to Face-to-Face Instruction

We plan to continue and expand upon on-campus instruction and other campus operations with a public, transparent, and science-based COVID-19 containment program. This program includes a vaccination requirement, comprehensive health monitoring, surveillance testing for those not vaccinated, and contact tracing components consistent with federal, state, and local health department guidelines.

Mitigation and containment of COVID-19 will require continued vigilance in vaccine tracking, self-checking for COVID-19 symptoms; testing for COVID-19, the use of face coverings and social distancing; hand washing; and regular, careful cleaning of high-touch areas across our campuses.

Extensive health monitoring in combination with sufficient testing and contact tracing will ensure that individuals who might have been in proximity with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 can quickly be identified and advised to self-quarantine as well as any necessary medical treatment.

The level at which on-campus instruction, as well as events and other operations, can safely resume will be directed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Illinois Department of Public Health, and Chicago Department of Public Health, and based on our capacity for campus and community testing and tracing.

Continued self-checking for COVID-19 symptoms, testing ,vaccination, immunization, use of face coverings, and social distancing practices will be essential in the containment of COVID-19.

Given the rapidly developing circumstances related to COVID-19 impacts at the local, state, and national level, as well as a consistent flow of new data about the disease, the campus strategies for health monitoring and tracing are expected to adapt to incorporate the most current information and recommendations.

 

Governance

Emergency Response Structure

Loyola University Chicago's emergency response, planning, and decision-making started in February 2020 and has evolved as the coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold. Our top priority remains the health and safety of our community, followed by academic continuity (teaching, research, and learning) and student recruitment and retention.

The emergency response organizational chart depicts our current organization structure. This will continue to evolve, expanding and contracting as needed by our response. Nearly 250 faculty, staff, and students have been working daily on our emergency response and planning for a return to the “next normal” of University operations. 

To learn more, visit our emergency response web page at LUC.edu/coronavirus/erp.

Communication Strategy

As a Jesuit, Catholic university, our communication strategy is rooted in cura personalis (care for the whole person), cura communalis (care for the community), and cura apostolica (care for the institution). Following the wisdom of St. Ignatius of Loyola, our objective is to “reach people where they are” through a wide array of channels and methods to listen and to provide information and resources that serve their educational, spiritual, emotional, and daily needs. Two-way communications are essential at all times, most especially in times of crisis. We are committed to working with our community to navigate and emerge stronger from the coronavirus pandemic through dialogue and transparent, timely, frequent, and effective communications.

Structure and portfolio

Under the University’s Emergency Response Plan (ERP), leaders at all levels are committed to caring for and communicating with our students, parents, faculty, staff, alumni, and community. The centralized Management, Policy, and Command (MPC) team meets via Zoom several times a week, and the MPC chief communicates decisions and actions in real time via a “management bulletin” email to leaders throughout the University. In turn, this broader team of more than 250 faculty, staff, and students help ensure that the relevant stakeholders and colleagues are informed and able to serve as ambassadors with internal and external constituents.

The public information officer (PIO) oversees the University’s master communications plan and reviews it with the MPC members as a standing component of every meeting to ensure message alignment, consistency, and coordination. The PIO, who also serves as the vice president of University Marketing and Communication (UMC), leads a team of 28 communications professionals, 14 of whom staff the MPC sections and divisions, along with additional campus communicators, to provide strategy and assist with messaging. The PIO communications team meets daily to review strategy, update the master communications plan, and coordinate immediate needs with UMC’s overall portfolio and assignments of the larger team.

The COVID-19 global pandemic has disrupted and challenged every part of Loyola. Since UMC began focusing on this issue in January 2020, our team has adapted as the crisis has escalated to remain fully functional and forward focused in collaboration with our University partners in continued service to Loyola’s brand, reputation, recruitment, retention, and relationships.

For additional information, visit LUC.edu/umc.

Reaching People Where They Are

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, we have been dedicated to reaching Loyola community members where they are through a variety of communications channels and methods, including but not limited to the following:

  • The COVID-19support@LUC.edu email account centralizes intake of and replies to questions, comments, and concerns. When emails are received, a UMC staff member assigns them to an appropriate MPC leader for rapid response. All incoming and outgoing emails are catalogued, tracked, and archived.
  • Loyola’s COVID-19 website was specifically developed as the centralized communications hub during the pandemic and serves as the definitive source for the most current and accurate information. We remain committed to transparent and timely communication. When any decision is made, we communicate it broadly and on this site. Our COVID-19 site includes:
    • Recent changes and updates, tagged and sorted by audience
    • An archive of all previous messages with date sent, subject, sender, audience, and hyperlinks
    • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) sourced from emails, social media posts, and direct inquiries; all FAQs are constantly updated with a time stamps; sorted by recent questions, theme, and audience; and searchable by keyword.
    • Information and resources
    • Feature stories and videos
    • Quick links to internal and external resources
    • Emergency response plan and structure
  • A key component of the COVID-19 website is the Return to Campus plan. All official decisions about the reopening of our campuses are aligned with guidance from the scientific community and city and state officials as to what is legally allowed and medically advisable (LAMA), and are communicated to the Loyola community as they become available.
  • Loyola’s homepage includes a banner labeled “Coronavirus Information and University Updates” that includes a date/time stamp and drives audiences to the COVID-19 website. The UMC team works with partners throughout the University to update relevant websites, such as the Office of the President and the Office of the Provost, to direct audiences to the COVID-19 website for the most up-to-date and accurate information.
  • Community email messages are segmented by audience and are tracked for delivery, open rate, click through rate, and so on.Email databases are constantly updated.
  • Social media is an essential component of our ability to inform, inspire, and engage our constituents. Our comprehensive social media plan for official University channels is focused on sharing critical updates and resources, as well as keeping our community connected and emotionally/spiritually fed, reaching prospective and current students, highlighting our Loyola experts, engaging alumni and donors, and promoting fellowship and fun. In addition to the central University channels, UMC works with campus partners throughout the University to leverage a wide network of affiliated social channels to amplify messages and maximize engagement.
  • Delivering the Loyola Experience in a digital environment is a key component of our web, social, and mixed/multimedia plan:
    • To help current, prospective, and incoming students maintain continuity during these challenging times, we have created robust online experiences for such things as Loyola Weekend, Summer Sessions, Orientation, and Commencement. We continue to evolve and enhance our offerings, including virtual campus tours.
    • Virtual town halls such as Pizza with the President, Afternoon with the Provost, and overviews of Loyola’s finances allow the community to ask questions and engage leadership.
    • Webinars such as Loyola’s Emergency Response Plan ensure the community is informed.
    • Video messages are used regularly to welcome new students, congratulate graduates, celebrate student achievements, highlight Loyola experts, share spiritual wisdom, reconnect the Loyola community to campus and each other, and thank the Rambler community.
  • Media relations are an important part of our external communications strategy to be transparent, maximize reach, and care for Loyola’s reputation.
  • Storytelling is always central to our work in highlighting the spirit of Loyola, especially as we celebrate our sesquicentennial year and prepare for our next 150 years. The resiliency and ingenuity of our talented, dedicated community has never been clearer or more important than at this time.

We Hear You

Listening and responding to the needs of our community is at the heart of the Jesuit mission and our communications plan. Vehicles for listening and two-way communication include but are not limited to the following:

  • The COVID-19support@LUC.edu email
  • The president’s email
  • Emails to UMC
  • Phone calls
  • Surveys
  • Social listening
  • Media monitoring
  • Virtual Town Halls
  • Zoom sessions

In addition to replying to individual inquiries, we track frequently asked questions and emerging themes to inform our communications and updates on Loyola’s COVID-19 website.

E-mail Support

The COVID-19support@LUC.edu email is our emergency response mailbox used to respond to inquiries made by the students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, neighbors, and various other friends of Loyola.

The inquiries are categorized by topic and assigned to subject matter experts to ensure the best response possible can be made to each email inquiry received.

A large group of people across multiple departments is responsible for monitoring the inbox and responding to messages. For more information about the caretakers of the mailbox, please visit the emergency response page for additional support.

If you have any questions about Loyola’s emergency response program, the return to campus guidelines, or general COVID-19 concerns, please review our FAQ website at LUC.edu/coronavirus/faqs or contact us at COVID-19support@LUC.edu.

 

Guiding Principles

In preparation for reopening our campuses, Loyola University Chicago has set forth the following principles to guide our decision making, always remaining in alignment with the latest public health information and the direction of city and state government regulations for safely reopening.

Emergency Response Principles

In this unprecedented situation, we continue to live the Loyola’s mission as Chicago’s Jesuit, Catholic University: a diverse community seeking God in all things.

Under this foundational mission statement, we are executing our emergency response program with these guiding principles:

  • Focus on mitigating risk and ensuring the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff as our top priority
  • Execute emergency response with a centralized decision-making process
  • Align our decision making with legally allowable and medically advisable (LAMA) protocols as defined by the Centers for Disease Control, State of Illinois, and City of Chicago
  • Provide the experience of a Jesuit, Catholic education that seeks to serve humanity through learning, justice, and faith
  • Deliver a first-class education for our students that offers access to the accomplished faculty, rigorous coursework, and thoughtful curriculum that are the hallmarks of a Loyola education
  • Offer appropriate teaching and learning support for students and instructional faculty
  • Use the latest science and data to assess and continuously identify opportunities to improve operational outcomes
  • Communicate all decisions and plans to our students, faculty, staff, and University constituents in a timely manner
  • Emerge from the pandemic stronger than we began

External Guidance and Resources

Loyola is committed to the health and safety of our community, and the University is closely following the guidance of national, state, and city officials in preparing for a phased reopening of campus. The following sections contain links to external documents and guidelines being used to shape Loyola’s planning and safety requirements.

CDC Guidelines

We continue to monitor information provided by the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and to act in accordance with national public health mobilization efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. The fundamental guidance for our efforts starts with the CDC’s COVID-19 website, which contains the latest information on:

  • Self-protection
  • COVID-19 symptoms and diagnosis
  • Testing
  • Current U.S. cases
  • Social distancing measures
  • The use of face coverings
  • Public gatherings and travel

For more information, visit the CDC’s COVID-19 website at cdc.gov/coronavirus

Restore Illinois

Loyola is following guidelines set by Restore Illinois, a five-phased plan designed to safely reopen the state. The plan was created in accordance with public health expert recommendations and guided by health metrics, with distinct business, education, and recreation activities characterizing each phase. The initial framework will be updated as research develops and as the potential for treatments is realized, and Loyola will update its guidelines to follow new restrictions.

Currently, Illinois is in its Bridge Phase.

Find more information on the plan at:

Additional data and information on the plan are available from the Illinois Department of Public Health at dph.illinois.gov/restore.

City of Chicago Framework to Open

The City of Chicago continues to experience COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Presently, the City is operating in a Bridge Phase, with expanded capacity limitations for its Phase IV, “Gradually Resume,” of its “Protecting Chicago” framework for reopening.

Loyola is operating in accordance with Chicago’s citywide guidelines, and its industry-specific guidance for institutions of higher education, and we expect this guidance to rapidly evolve this summer and fall.

For more information, visit: City of Chicago: Reopening Chicago

City of Chicago Higher Education Guidelines

As of May 14, 2021, the City of Chicago is operating in a Bridge Phase, with increased capacity limitations, and Phase IV industry-specific guidelines for colleges and universities.

In Phase Four: Gradually Resume, institutions must encourage social distancing, limit classroom capacities, require face coverings, provide hand sanitizer, identify and optimize high-traffic areas display appropriate signage, and clean and sanitize frequently.

In Bridge Phase, institutions may increase capacity for most activities and events. Six feet of physical distance must continue to be observed between parties, however.

Chicago Emergency Travel Order

The City of Chicago has issued a Travel Order applicable to anyone coming into the City of Chicago from designated states with a significant degree of community-wide spread of COVID-19. Anyone traveling from a state on the Orange list is directed to obtain a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in Chicago or quarantine for a 10-day period (or the duration of their time in Chicago, whichever is shorter).

No quarantine or test is required for anyone traveling from a state on the Yellow list. Travelers who are both asymptomatic and fully vaccinated are exempt from quarantine.

Loyola expects this travel order to be updated frequently. For current information on which states are impacted, and to what degree, please consult Chicago’s Emergency Travel Order.