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Campus Pivots in Response to COVID-19

Minimizing the risk of coronavirus among the University community has required a comprehensive and ongoing effort by the COVID-19 Response Team, health services, the Bearcat athletics program, Hettenhausen Center for the Arts, Sodexo food and facilities management, and others across the campus. Many faculty members continued to teach virtually or in a hybrid model combining classroom and remote learning. Protective Plexiglas barriers were installed, masks were distributed, offices and community spaces were realigned, quarantine housing was established, and cleaning, disinfecting and social distancing measures were put into place.

Free drive-through and walk-up mobile COVID-19 testing has been held several times in partnership with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the St. Clair County Health Department. McKendree also partnered with Walgreens and the IDPH to offer vaccinations at the Hett. 

Adhering to state-mandated restrictions for group gatherings, the dining hall and 1828 limited their capacity and offered take out service and a grab-and-go food cart. Bearcat athletic teams practiced in small group “pods” to reduce exposure and vulnerability. During the spring semester, the majority of athletic teams competed in shortened seasons with no limited spectators.

In November, students and alumni collaborated to stage the play “10 Ways to Survive Life in a Quarantine” to a limited in-person audience and live-streamed online. On the front lawn, the Chamber Choir, Concert Choir and Concert Band performed multiple concerts under the direction of Dr. John McDonald, assistant professor of music education, and Dr. Jennifer Moder-Bell, professor of music education.