To: Members of the University Community
From: Ka Yee C. Lee, Provost, and Michele Rasmussen, Dean of Students in the University
Subject: Updates on Spring Planning
Date: March 5, 2021
 
We are writing to share advance information and guidance on precautions that are planned as we approach Spring Quarter, which begins this year on March 29.
 
Although aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic have taken an encouraging turn recently, we must continue to uphold the UChicago Health Pact in order to limit the spread of COVID-19 on campus. In that respect, our plans for Spring Quarter will be substantially the same as our approach for the Autumn and Winter Quarters, which proved largely successful in keeping infections to a minimum in our campus community.
 
While we hope to see a continuing trend of more vaccinations for the University community in the coming months, it is too soon for this to affect most precautions on campus. The University will be sharing more information on vaccinations as we learn more about the city’s plans and vaccine availability.
 
We ask all members of the University community to prepare in the coming weeks for Spring Quarter with these precautions in mind.
 
Week of March 21
  • As an added measure, we are asking you to avoid traveling outside the Chicago area if possible during the week preceding the start of Spring Quarter. Travel can increase the risk of infection with COVID-19, especially during high-volume travel periods, and could raise the chances of bringing the virus back to campus or nearby South Side communities.
  • On-campus housing and dining facilities will remain open during the week of March 21-28. The College and Office of Campus and Student Life will be in touch with details about suggested activities for students in campus housing, keeping public health precautions in mind.
  • The University’s COVID-19 testing programs will continue as normal. See below for more information.
 
Spring Quarter
  • For the College and most academic units, the first week of classes in Spring Quarter, from March 29 through April 2, will be held remotely, similar to the start of Winter Quarter. In-person classes will begin April 5 where applicable.
  • At the start of Spring Quarter, all students who live in campus residential housing are expected to stay at home for most purposes for seven days, to help continue our success in limiting the spread of COVID-19 in residence halls. Campus Dining will provide only takeout meals during the first week of Spring Quarter.
  • Anyone living off campus in Chicago, including students, academics, and staff, must follow the City of Chicago’s Emergency Travel Order when traveling.
  • All members of the University community, whether they will be on campus or not, will be required to complete an online attestation form for Spring Quarter, due by April 5. You will receive additional information on how to complete the attestation.
 
Remote Work
  • For the most part, current remote work arrangements will continue at least through Spring Quarter, for people whose responsibilities do not require them to be on campus or in another University facility. Some in-person activities are likely to increase as conditions allow, contingent on the state of the pandemic, and as a result some staff members may need to work in-person more as the quarter progresses. Unit leads will work with staff as necessary to make such plans. We will maintain the general use of remote work for duties that do not require an in-person presence and will begin re-assessing plans before summer.
 
Voluntary Surveillance Testing Availability
  • Registration will be available next week for those in the Chicago area who have not yet enrolled in the University’s Voluntary Surveillance Testing Program but would like to participate in it for Spring Quarter. Enrollment capacity may be limited. Those who have enrolled previously do not need to take additional action to take part in it for Spring Quarter. People who are eligible to enroll will receive more information next week. Enrolling in the program is a commitment for the remainder of the current academic year. Members of the campus community who are already enrolled in testing should continue regardless of their vaccination status. Testing remains mandatory for people living in residence halls and for student athletes.
 
We thank our entire community for your continued diligence and care for each other in taking precautions against the pandemic. Those efforts have clearly been paying off, and we ask for your help in maintaining a safe environment as we get closer to spring and warmer weather.
 
Keywords: 
COVID-19