Northern Illinois University plans to resume face-to-face classes Monday, approximately two weeks after the university temporarily announced plans to move all undergraduate courses online due to an uptick in coronavirus cases, NIU's president said.
On Sept. 11, the university announced more than 120 students tested positive for COVID-19, a sharp increase in cases which was attributed to off-campus parties and gatherings.
In a letter to the campus community on Friday, NIU President Lisa Freeman said during the two-week pause from in-person instruction, the school identified new cases within "the student surveillance testing population" and was immediately able to quarantine groups of students who were likely exposed.
"Outside of this now-isolated population, our overall positivity rate has gone down," Freeman said. "Importantly, through the DeKalb County Health Department's contact tracing efforts this past month, there is no evidence that a classroom setting has been the point of origin. We also have seen a notable decrease in parties and social gatherings. These results show us that the vast majority of you are taking this situation seriously, and I am grateful."
Parties and unregistered events of any size remain strictly prohibited as they remain high-risk activities, the letter to the campus community added.
"I want to be very clear: If we see a change in the positivity rate again, or a lack of compliance, we will be forced to take another pause or shift permanently to remote learning and related restrictions," Freeman stated in her letter.