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IWU Dean of Students Motivating the Holdouts

Written by on August 24, 2020

Photo courtesy IWU Facebook

NORMAL, Ill.- McLean County continues to see clusters of cases from gatherings, household contacts and off-campus activities.  If you have been to a party or large gathering the McLean County Health Department recommends that you get tested for COVID five to seven days from the event or possible exposure.

Younger individuals are being tested as schools are back in session.  Universities have been doing, and will continue to do, surveillance testing of their students.  

Roughly 45% of McLean County total cases of COVID have been among those ages 18-29 as of August 24th.

Illinois Wesleyan Dean of Students Karla Carney-Hall knows one outbreak at Illinois Wesleyan was directly linked to an off-campus party. 

“That was an off-campus party at a house where a number of our students live, and that group continued to socialize by doing some bar hoping over the next couple of days.”

Due to the rapid increase in active cases, McLean County Health Department’s capacity to investigate active cases and provide contact tracing in a timely manner has been impacted.

So IWU, like other universities, are relying on students.

“When you look at those expectations large parties are just not possible, and they are just not smart. Our efforts to control that is to say to students that ‘you need to follow public health guidelines for your safety and the impact on your friends, family and this community,” said Carney-Hall.

IWU will be holding students accountable, students are susceptible to a suspension if they can be linked as a sponsor to large social gatherings. Carney-Hall says this requires everyone to put in some work. She says a lot of students are working hard to have a great semester. Carney-Hall hopes a few more folks will understand the potential changes they need to make. 

“We will take those measures and we have. So for students that are endangering the public health, recklessly, sponsoring parties and making decisions that go against the guidelines, we will be holding them accountable.”

The challenge all universities are facing is figuring out how to motivate the holdouts. The dean says IWU has been very clear about expectations and IWU wants to enjoy being together on campus. 

“It is hard to figure out what motivates people. I think this last group of holdouts, that are holding out for Normal that want to still party the way they always have and those kinds of things. It is hard to motivate them to do something different. I think that is at the heart of all of this.”