COVID-19 Updates Logo

 December 23, 2021

Dear GSU Colleagues:

Greetings! Please read this email carefully, as it contains important new safety information regarding return to work plans following Winter Break.  

First, we would like to congratulate and extend our gratitude to those employees (84%) who have done their part to keep our community safe to date by getting vaccinated. As we plan for break, we expect many employees will enjoy the University holidays and administrative closure from December 24 to January 3, 2022 by gathering with friends and family, and perhaps even traveling among crowds to see loved ones.

Because we wish for all employees to be able to engage in cherished traditions while maintaining the health and safety of the campus community, we have adopted new protocols for employees to minimize the spread of COVID-19 upon our return. Students will receive separate messaging specific to their enrollment status, which likewise will convey the importance of voluntary surveillance testing and other mitigation strategies.

To minimize the risk of a surge in cases after Winter Break, the University is urging all employees and students to take additional precautions not currently required by the University’s Interim Policy for Students and Employees on COVID. These voluntary measures will help protect the individual as well as the greater campus community and, thus, all are expected to fulfill their personal responsibility to keeping keep the community safe by complying to the best of their ability. The University continues to monitor all public health guidance and may make such precautions mandatory if recommended by the Illinois Department of Public Health and/or conditions warrant them on a continued basis after Winter Break.

Employees are urged to take the following precautions in addition to those set forth in the Interim Policy and Operation Plan.

TAKE A TEST!  All employees—including vaccinated employees—are strongly encouraged to take a COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours before returning to campus after Winter Break and upload their results to (whether positive or negative).

For example:

if you are scheduled to return on January 4, 2022, you should test on or after January 1, 2022;

if you are scheduled to return on January 10, 2022, you should test on or after January 7, 2022; and

if you are scheduled to return to work on January 18, 2022, you should test on or after January 15, 2022. 

COME BACK IN PHASES!  The University is permitting employees who voluntarily take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours before returning to campus and upload their results to to return to campus in phases.

Those employees should return as follows:

On January 4, only employees whose presence on campus is deemed essential by their supervisors should return to campus. All other employees should work remotely with their supervisor’s consent during the week of January 4.

On January 10, all administrative and staff employees should return to work on campus if they have not returned already (or as soon as they are otherwise scheduled to work on campus ordinarily); and

On January 18, all faculty should return to work on campus.

GET BOOSTED!  Vaccination remains the best way to limit the spread of COVID-19. If you are fully vaccinated and eligible for a booster, please get a booster shot as soon as possible.

If you choose not to voluntarily submit proof of a COVID-19 PCR test taken 72 hours before returning to campus per the above schedule, you should return as regularly scheduled on January 4.

 A few important reminders applicable to all employees from the existing Interim Policy and 2021-2022 Operation Plan:

Tests are available for free at a variety of locations in your community. In addition, the University will continue to offer Shield Testing on campus to those who are not symptomatic; hours are posted, and appointments are available at

If you test positive or are symptomatic, do not return to work without written clearance from your physician per the 2021-2022 Operation Plan

Any employee who is not fully vaccinated must continue to adhere to the mandatory weekly testing requirements set forth in the University’s Interim Policy regarding COVID-19.

Whenever you plan to return, we also encourage you to use the University’s online screening tool to assess your fitness to come to campus each day.

We wish you a peaceful and healthy holiday season and look forward to welcoming you back in 2022!