(updated May 29, 2020)

Northeastern Illinois University will return to normal operations in deliberate steps, using health, safety and infrastructure needs—not specific dates—as the markers for advancement through the process.

Northeastern’s steps are categorized under the phases that are outlined in Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan to reopen the state by phases within four specified regions. NEIU resides in the Northeast region of the Restore Illinois plan. As the state advances to each phase in the Northeast region, that decision will trigger NEIU to consider the steps that are outlined in this plan. Similarly, a decision by the state to move backward in phases in the Northeast region will trigger NEIU to move back in this plan.

President Gloria J. Gibson, in consultation with the University’s COVID-19 Task Force, will determine when NEIU has satisfied the necessary controls in order to move forward or backward in NEIU Steps.

In addition to the Restore Illinois plan, this document is informed by these sources:

  • Illinois Board of Higher Education Campus Reopening Committee recommendations
  • OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
  • CDC Guidance for Administrators of U.S. Institutions of Higher Education
  • Mayor Lightfoot and Chicago Department of Public Health Framework for Reopening Chicago

Advancement to each NEIU Step is dictated by the satisfaction of three primary controls:

  • Engineering controls (rearrange work spaces to allow social distancing, physical barriers)
  • Administrative controls and safe work practices (modified disinfecting/cleaning schedules, new departmental procedures, flexible work schedules, handwashing and cough signage, personnel to disinfect their workspaces)
  • Personal Protective Equipment (masks as applicable)

This plan is a living document that is revised as the evolving crisis dictates and as Northeastern receives additional guidance from federal, state and local health authorities.

RESTORE ILLINOIS PHASE 1 — Rapid Spread

Definition: The rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital is high or rapidly increasing. Strict stay at home and social distancing guidelines are put in place and only essential businesses remain open. Every region has experienced this phase once already, and could return to it if mitigation efforts are unsuccessful.

Education and child care guidance: Remote learning in P-12 schools and higher education; Child care in groups of 10 or fewer for essential workers

NEIU STEP 1

Goals

  • Ensure safety and security of Northeastern
  • Ensure essential functions are executed

Engineering controls needed

  • All building entrances locked
  • Check-in and check-out through University Police required

Administrative controls and safe work practices needed

  • Restrictions on personnel entering campus
  • Self-screening recommendations and symptom monitoring forms shared with supervisors to be distributed to workers as appropriate
  • General signage on building entrances, open/closed restrooms, InLighten screens, drinking fountains and rooms that have been deep cleaned and sanitized
  • Prompt identification and isolation of ill personnel (HR and Student Health Services tracking)

PPE controls needed checklist during Phase 1

  • PPE available to appropriate workers and visitors who do not have a mask

RESTORE ILLINOIS PHASE 2 — Flattening (current phase)

Definition: The rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital beds and ICU beds increases at an ever-slower rate, moving toward a flat and even a downward trajectory. Nonessential retail stores reopen for curb-side pickup and delivery. Illinoisans are directed to wear a face covering when outside the home and can begin enjoying additional outdoor activities like golf, boating and fishing while practicing social distancing. To varying degrees, every region is experiencing flattening as of early May.

Education and child care guidance: Remote learning in P-12 schools and higher education; Child care in groups of 10 or fewer for essential workers

NEIU STEP 1

Goals

  • Ensure safety and security of Northeastern
  • Ensure essential functions are executed

Engineering controls needed

  • All building entrances locked
  • Check-in and check-out through University Police required

Administrative controls and safe work practices needed

  • Restrictions on personnel entering campus
  • Self-screening recommendations and symptom monitoring forms shared with supervisors to be distributed to workers as appropriate
  • General signage on building entrances, open/closed restrooms, InLighten screens, drinking fountains and rooms that have been deep cleaned and sanitized
  • Prompt identification and isolation of ill personnel (HR and Student Health Services tracking)

PPE controls needed checklist during Phase 1

  • PPE available to appropriate workers and visitors who do not have a mask

RESTORE ILLINOIS PHASE 3 — Recovery

Definition: The rate of infection among those surveillance tested is stable or declining. COVID-19-related hospitalizations and ICU capacity remains stable or is decreasing. Face coverings in public continue to be required. Gatherings of 10 people or fewer for any reason can resume. Select industries can begin returning to workplaces with social distancing and sanitization practices in place. Retail establishments reopen with limited capacity, and select categories of personal care establishments can also begin to reopen with social distancing guidelines and personal protective equipment. Robust testing is available along with contact tracing to limit spread and closely monitor the trend of new cases.

Education and child care guidance: Remote learning in P-12 schools and higher education; Limited child care and summer programs open with IDPH approved safety guidance

NEIU STEP 1

Goals

  • Conduct business that can be performed only on campus
  • Prepare Northeastern for additional staff to return
    • Furniture and workspace furniture and equipment rearrangement to facilitate distancing
    • Sign placement at elevators, open spaces
    • Place physical barriers in open spaces to facilitate distancing
    • Place stand-here stickers on the floor (Welcome Desk, Enrollment Services)

Engineering controls needed

  • All building entrances remain locked
  • Check-in and check-out through University Police required

Administrative controls and safe work practices needed

  • Restrictions on personnel entering all campus locations
  • Resource documentation, self-screening recommendations and symptom monitoring forms shared with supervisors and workers as appropriate
  • General signage on building entrances, open/closed restrooms, InLighten screens, drinking fountains and rooms that have been deep cleaned and sanitized
  • Prompt identification and isolation of sick people (HR and Student Health Services tracking)
  • Adjust cleaning schedules to address new employees on campus

PPE resources needed

  • One reusable mask will be provided to each returning employee
  • Additional PPE available to appropriate workers
  • Wipes or other appropriate cleaning equipment available to employees

NEIU STEP 2

Goals

  • Open select departments and offices where necessary
  • Return additional employees who now have necessary infrastructure
  • Place additional physical barriers in open spaces to facilitate distancing

Engineering controls needed

  • All building entrances remain locked
  • Check-in and check-out through University Police required

Administrative controls and safe work practices needed

  • Restrictions on personnel entering campus. Non-employees can visit by appointment only.
  • Resource documentation, self-screening recommendations and symptom monitoring forms shared with supervisors and workers as appropriate
  • General signage on building entrances, open/closed restrooms, InLighten screens, drinking fountains and rooms that have been deep cleaned and sanitized
  • Prompt identification and isolation of sick people (HR and Student Health Services tracking)
  • Adjust cleaning schedules to address new employees on campus

PPE resources needed

  • One reusable mask will be provided to each returning employee
  • Additional PPE available to appropriate workers
  • Wipes or other appropriate cleaning equipment available to employees

NEIU STEP 3

Goals

  • Prepare for the launch of Phase 4 of Restore Illinois (limited face-to-face instruction)
    • Install additional signage (computer labs, Student Union, CCICS/El Centro lobbies, etc.)
    • Determine occupancy limits and availability for spaces
    • Final preparation of public areas

Engineering controls needed

  • Limited entrances to buildings open
  • University Police monitor movement on and around all NEIU locations, and encourage distancing

Administrative controls and safe work practices needed

  • Restrictions on personnel entering campus will continue. Non-employees can visit by appointment only.
  • Resource documentation, self-screening recommendations and symptom monitoring forms shared with supervisors and workers as appropriate
  • General signage on building entrances, open/closed restrooms, InLighten screens, drinking fountains and rooms that have been deep cleaned and sanitized
  • Prompt identification and isolation of sick people (HR and Student Health Services tracking)
  • Adjust cleaning schedules to address new employees on campus

PPE resources needed

  • One reusable mask will be provided to each returning employee
  • Additional PPE available to appropriate workers
  • Wipes or other appropriate cleaning equipment available to employees

RESTORE ILLINOIS PHASE 4 — Revitalization

Definition: There is a continued decline in the rate of infection in new COVID-19 cases. Hospitals have capacity and can quickly adapt for a surge of new cases in their communities. Additional measures can be carefully lifted allowing for schools and child care programs to reopen with social distancing policies in place. Restaurants can open with limited capacity and following strict public health procedures, including personal protective equipment for employees. Gatherings with 50 people or fewer will be permitted. Testing is widely available, and tracing is commonplace.

Education and child care guidance: P-12 schools, higher education, all summer programs, and child care open with IDPH approved safety guidance

NEIU STEP 1

Goals

  • Bring students back to campus safely according to IBHE guidance

Engineering controls needed

  • Limited entrances to buildings open
  • University Police monitor movement on and around all NEIU locations, and encourage distancing

Administrative controls and safe work practices needed

  • Restrictions on personnel entering campus will continue
  • Resource documentation, self-screening recommendations and symptom monitoring forms shared with supervisors and workers as appropriate
  • General signage on building entrances, open/closed restrooms, InLighten screens, drinking fountains and rooms that have been deep cleaned and sanitized
  • Prompt identification and isolation of sick people (HR and Student Health Services tracking)
  • Adjust cleaning schedules to address additional people on campus

PPE resources needed

  • One reusable mask will be provided to each returning employee
  • Additional PPE available to appropriate workers
  • Wipes or other appropriate cleaning equipment available to employees

RESTORE ILLINOIS PHASE 5 — Illinois Restored

Definition: Testing, tracing and treatment are widely available throughout the state. Either a vaccine is developed to prevent additional spread of COVID-19, a treatment option is readily available that ensures health care capacity is no longer a concern, or there are no new cases over a sustained period. All sectors of the economy reopen with new health and hygiene practices permanently in place. Large gatherings of all sizes can resume. Public health experts focus on lessons learned and building out the public health infrastructure needed to meet and overcome future challenges. Health care equity is made a priority to improve health outcomes and ensure vulnerable communities receive the quality care they deserve.

Guidance: All sectors of the economy reopen with businesses, schools, and recreation resuming normal operations with new safety guidance and procedures. Conventions, festivals, and large events can take place.