Dear members of the Knox Community,
At 3 p.m. today, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced an executive order that Illinois residents should "stay at home" beginning at 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, until Tuesday, April 7. The order has some exemptions and clarifications that affect educational institutions, which are included under a category of essential business operations. The College is exploring the ramifications of this directive for faculty and staff and we will send additional guidance no later than Sunday night.
We all want to do our part to slow the transmission of the COVID-19 virus and recognize that we must "stay apart to come together." As you recall, on March 19, the College requested that all staff members whose work does not require them to be physically present on campus make arrangements to work remotely. The governor's order is another step to safeguard our community.
In light of Gov. Pritzker’s announcement, we urge all faculty and staff to prepare to leave campus by taking any materials they require from their offices before the stay at home order takes effect. We recognize that faculty and staff preparations for the start of classes on April 1 must move forward and will provide guidance on how they can complete essential work on campus on a basis consistent with the governor’s directive.
Essential work to maintain the health, safety, and security of our students will continue uninterrupted. Essential work to maintain functions of buildings, labs, and other spaces will also continue. Supervisors will be in contact with employees whose work is deemed essential. Any essential work will take place while respecting the CDC guidelines for personal safety, including 6-feet of distance of possible and strict hand hygiene.
We want also to assure you that the executive order does not in any way conflict with the College’s earlier announcement that all staff employees will be paid at least through March 31, 2020. In the meantime, we are carefully monitoring federal and state emergency relief proposals to see what assistance might be provided to the higher education sector, as those proposals may provide direct payments and expanded lending to colleges and universities to help maintain operations and staffing.
Stay safe and take care. We are Knox.