UI students return for fall semester


CHAMPAIGN-URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — U of I students are back on campus and in the classroom for the first time in months. University leaders cancelled all in-person instruction after spring break back in March.

Monday, August 24th marked the start of the fall semester.

“So far it seems very efficient,” says UI grad student Sean Packer. “It’s results within 5-48 hours. The lines haven’t been long at all.”

When UI leaders launched the COVID-19 testing sites back in July, Chancellor Robert Jones said the saliva-based test was one of the main things allowing them to welcome staff members and students back to campus in some capacity this fall. Since then, they’ve tested more than 60,000 people. The FDA also recently granted approval to expand the innovative saliva test nationally.

Finding out if you have coronavirus now is another task on the weekly to-do list for U of I students.

“It’s every 4 days. Twice a week they’re having us get the test. Then, you show your phone to get into the buildings. You have to have the building-approved status,” explains UI junior Aiyana Campbell.

The university is using a hybrid model: both face-to-face and virtual instruction depending on the class. Students say the decision is ultimately up to them.

‘If you don’t feel comfortable or you just feel you were exposed, then you can say I’m going to zoom the class today,” says Packer.

Students say the freedom to choose is key to making the return to campus in a pandemic more comfortable.

“It’s kind of strange going back to class after not being here since…March, but, I’m definitely easing back into it, says Campbell.

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