Spring semester online start reminders and contact tracing updates

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Dear colleagues,

By now, you should have received the message from campus describing the decision to start the first two weeks of the spring semester online. I would like to remind you what this means for the start of the semester and offer more tips regarding contact tracing when we get back on campus.

Restart:

  • Classes will be online for the first two weeks, from Monday January 10 to Sunday January 23. Exceptions will be made for colleges, labs, clinics, internships and other health science courses that cannot be offered virtually, including those starting before January 10. These will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis by colleges and academic departments and units in the coming weeks.
  • In-person classes are scheduled to resume on Monday, January 24. Social distancing in the classroom will not be necessary as face masks, which will remain mandatory inside campus, and vaccines (96% of the UIC community is vaccinated) continue to be the best forms of defense against transmission of the disease. COVID-19.
  • All students, faculty and staff are expected to take a PCR test within 72 hours of returning to campus. If you have the opportunity to test in your local community, please do so. If you’re on or near campus before January 24, you can take advantage of a free campus saliva test to get back to campus. Please plan accordingly, as testing sites on campus may be busy the week of January 24, when the majority of students are expected to return. Also, improvedCOVID-19 saliva testwill be implemented to rapidly identify and closely monitor the prevalence of infection in our community. Please refer to campus announcement for all the details.
  • Students, faculty and staff are in a hurry to get a booster, if eligible, before returning to campus. Vaccines are available on the campus or to a location near you.

Return to campus and search for contacts
When in-person teaching resumes, a classroom interactivity tool will be used to simplify the attendance registration process for on-campus and hybrid courses.

Acadly, currently used by some on campus, has been upgraded to allow instructors to participate in any size class in seconds using a smartphone app. It also captures the additional details of closeness between students, which, along with attendance data, can be made immediately available to UIC’s contact tracing team. Instructors who use Acadly will no longer need to manually manage seating charts in their classes for contact tracing purposes.

Offering more than just attendance, Acadly brings an enhanced classroom experience for students and instructors by enabling the use of quizzes, polls, discussions, word cloud questions, videos, files and more , all in one application.

Visituic.acadly.comto learn more about Acadly and to start incorporating it into your plans for the next semester. the Center for the Advancement of Teaching Excellence will also provide support for faculty and students to troubleshoot the platform, as well as to answer questions.

Looking for a contribution for the spring semester
I asked heads of departments and senior managers to provide creative ideas to recognize the incredible efforts of our faculty and staff and to provide more bandwidth and additional resources to support the rapid pace and flexibility needed to teaching and learning as the COVID-19 dynamic remains in motion.

Some ideas have already been shared, including raising awareness of mental health resources for all university employees; involve our students with our success centers and support services from the start to avoid a lag at the start of the spring semester; and work to alleviate the burden of time-consuming transactions and processes for managing grants and human resources, for example. You can submit ideas to provost@uic.edu and your ideas will continue to be collected and shared.

Due to the determination of our university community, we are ready to begin the spring semester with protocols and best practices in place to allow us to keep our university community safe. We are monitoring the changing COVID-19 environment and will continue to be flexible if updated public health recommendations emerge in the coming weeks. We will keep you informed and communicate immediately if there are any other changes in academic operations for the spring semester.

Thank you again for your advice, support and energy. Please enjoy your winter vacation with your family and friends in preparation for an exciting year ahead.

My best wishes to you and your loved ones for a prosperous year 2022.

Javier Reyes
Provost and Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs

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