DEKALB, Ill. - Just days before students are set to return to class at Northern Illinois University, faculty and staff there have been told if the on-campus COVID-19 positivity rate hits the 8% mark they will be allowed to teach remotely, union officials said.
The new agreement announced this week by the Illinois Federation of Teachers comes amid growing concerns across the country about a rapidly rising number of cases of the delta variant of the coronavirus and is just one example of various steps that schools, cities and states are taking to slow the spread of the virus.
Nationally, the surge in cases has prompted officials to implement mask and vaccine mandates and the Chicago Tribune reported that officials also announced that students and faculty at the DeKalb campus must wear masks in all instructional spaces, including the library, when classes begin Aug. 23. The school had previously implemented a vaccination requirement for students.
Keith Nyquist, an instructor of business communications and president of the non-tenured faculty union said that if the delta variant makes in-person teaching too dangerous, "We believe the agreement our union bargained will help ensure the greatest level of safety possible for our students, our families, and our neighbors."