Illinois Colleges Struggle to Control Coronavirus

Daniel Garrison, Staff Writer

Illinois State University and the University of Illinois have struggled to keep the virus under control, ranking 5th and 13th nationwide respectively in total cases. Both universities have recently put new guidelines into place to combat the spread of the virus. 

Illinois State Freshman and EHS alumni Daniel Pauk says that parties are the reason for increasing cases at Illinois State.

“The school has so many cases because of the large number of parties and gatherings that the school has trouble shutting down,” said Pauk.

The University of Illinois sent out a mass mail to all students which read, “Over these past few days, the irresponsible actions of a small number of students have created the very real possibility of ending an in-person semester for all of us. Their poor choices have led to a concerning and rapid increase in the number of new undergraduate COVID-19 positive cases…. Over the weekend, we responded to more than 100 party-related calls.”

The University of Illinois has put an order in place restricting anybody from leaving their dorm for any reason other than getting COVID tests, class, or other health necessities.  The University of Illinois has tested students twice every week since the university began classes in August. Attending Illinois looks like it never has before. 

Senior Lydia Foster has two siblings attending the University of Illinois. 

“Life looks pretty different,” said Foster, “A lot of places are very strict on who can enter. They have to show an app on their phone which displays their COVID test status. My sister is staying in an apartment so it makes social distancing easier. My brother is living in his fraternity house, so he is around a lot of people, making social distancing harder. The school is working hard to have all the students tested very often.”

Life also looks different for Pauk. 

“I spend most of my time in my dorm or in the quad. Most buildings are open however I don’t have a reason to go in any of them. For meals, I wear my mask to the dining hall but I take my food to go because only two people can sit at each table.”

Online classes and guidelines restricting where students can go raise the question if students are receiving the full worth of their tuition. University of Illinois freshman Jonah Herndon, who only has online classes and is not allowed to leave his dorm, does not believe he is. 

“It feels like an incredible waste of money,” said Herndon, “I am paying for the campus experience and being forced to stay in a small dorm room.”

Pauk agrees that he is not getting the full value of his tuition.

“On a personal level, having classes online, compared to in-person, is hurting the academic quality. I, as well as many others, have trouble focusing while conducting classes via zoom. The precautions have also hurt me socially by not allowing groups of more than 10 at a time to hang out.”

Going forward, Illinois universities will have to maintain a balance of keeping students safe and providing a satisfactory education to their students.