A mumps outbreak has forced an Illinois university to postpone its December commencement events until May, the school announced this week.
With one confirmed case and nine potential other cases of mumps, Lewis University said its December commencement ceremony and all related events will be rescheduled for May 17-19.
The events were initially slated to take place Dec. 15-16.
“As a university, we share in our students' disappointment about rescheduling our December Commencement Ceremonies,” the university said in a statement. “We are not canceling Commencement, we are rescheduling it in the best interest of public health. While the ceremony has moved, transcripts and diplomas will still be sent to our graduates on the same previously scheduled timeline.”
The university has also canceled all remaining events through Dec. 28, but class schedules will remain the same.
The university’s president, Dr. David Livingston, said in a letter to students that the decision is “out of a sense of caution and concern for our community and loved ones.”
"I have heard stories of faculty members going out to dinner with families who had travelled great distances to be at an honors night celebration but found it was cancelled. I also have observed members of our community reaching out to help those who cannot be at work or attend a class," Livingston wrote. "These actions represent the best of who we are as a Lasallian community."
The Will County Health Department announced a mumps outbreak at the Romeoville campus earlier this week.
As a result, the Illinois Department of Public Health mandated that all students, faculty and staff submit evidence of immunity to the school’s health and counselling services. Those who don’t submit evidence by Monday will be restricted from campus until at least Dec. 28.
Students and staff are being urged to notify their healthcare providers if they become ill or develop swollen or painful salivary glands under their ears, jaw, or on their cheeks. Common symptoms of mumps include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite and swollen glands.