March 19, 2020

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Members of the SIU Carbondale Community:

The situation with COVID-19 continues to change, often multiple times a day. We remain in close touch with state and federal agencies and update the FAQ website as new information is available and we make decisions.

This message focuses on several important topics.

COMMENCEMENT

As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, it is has become clear that it is not possible to hold a traditional, in-person commencement ceremony in May. We make this decision with regret because we know that commencement is the highlight of the college experience for students and families. It is a celebration of our students’ accomplishments, and it is a day of pride for the university. But we must be responsible in the face of the uncertain timeline for COVID-19 and important restrictions of large gatherings.

This decision does not affect the conferring of degrees and a student’s ability to graduate. Students who are qualified to graduate will still do so, and degrees will be mailed as usual.

I want to stress that this is not necessarily a cancellation. We are exploring alternatives to celebrate graduation virtually or possibly to be held in the future. We have a lot of ideas and welcome your input. Please stay tuned for more information.

Refund information for students who have already rented caps and gowns will be posted at commencement.siu.edu shortly.

HOUSING

Students who are not planning to be on campus for the semester and elect to continue their studies at home may retrieve their belongings at any time. On weekdays, staff will be on hand to check out students who move out of their rooms. On the weekends, signage is posted with the name and number of the hall director on duty who will assist with this process. Students who want to wait until later in the semester to come for their belongings are welcome to do so.

REIMBURSEMENTS

We are receiving many questions about possible reimbursement for room, board and student fees from students who will not be completing the semester on campus. We are exploring options now. It’s complicated and may take some time, so we appreciate your patience. Our goal is to be as fair and responsible as possible, recognizing that we must coordinate with other agencies. Please know that we are looking at all of our options and will let the community know what we decide as soon as possible.

STUDENT EMPLOYMENT AND COMPENSATION

We know our students depend on their campus jobs and we believe that it is important that we continue to support them during this unprecedented time. All students will be paid through the end of the spring semester regardless of whether their jobs are no longer needed due to a closure of a service or they are not returning to campus. We are working through details about how this will work now, and we will be providing detailed information to supervisors with guidance on how to move forward paying students in the next few days. We continue to need and value the efforts of students who are able and available to work.

MORRIS LIBRARY

We have made the decision, along with many other university libraries nationally, to reduce the scope and size of library services and limit them to students, faculty and staff. We will preserve access to some services by email and phone as noted below. The first-floor computer lab, room 139, will remain open and will be reconfigured to accommodate social distancing. The first-floor study around Delyte’s will remain open with access to WiFi for those with laptops who do not have WiFi at home. (Students who do not have laptops should contact Saluki Cares for assistance.)

The library will continue to deliver the following services:

  • We are scanning parts of books for faculty and students on demand. Current Fair Use best practices allow us to scan entire books if necessary.
  • Reference services will be delivered virtually through Ask a Librarian at or by phone at 618-453-1455. Special Collections is closed to the public but available at 618-453-2516 or speccoll@lib.siu.edu.
  • We have a means to check out books to people on request. Our major ebook service is offering unlimited access. Please consult our Morris Library Covid-19  FAQ for more information.

OTHER UPDATES

Our FAQ website includes a number of additional updates related to:

  • Cancellation of admissions-related events in favor of virtual outreach
  • Reducing the number of individuals allowed to gather from 25 to 10
  • Updates to self-quarantine requirements for students, faculty and staff

Students and family members can call the Office of the Dean of Students 618-453-4846 or 1-877-725-0006 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday.  Questions can also be sent to the pandemicinfo@siu.edu email address at any time.

Thank you for all you are doing to be responsible and caring in these challenging times.

John M. Dunn
Chancellor