Monday, February 15, 2021

UIS PERSPECTIVES: Planning, transparency and community mark UIS’ COVID-19 response

The following is an excerpt from a column by Bethany Bilyeu, UIS executive director of Student Support Services. This column appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 13, 2021.

As we are quickly moving through this new year, many of us have spent time reflecting on the past year, and 2020 provided us so much to reflect on. In past years, there are several things that we can safely say are behind us as we look at them in the rear-view mirror. However, this year, there are still many things that we will continue to navigate.

For most of the last year, I have spent most of my personal and professional energy dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, as so many others have. I am a member of the University of Illinois Springfield’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Team. The team’s main purpose is to shepherd UIS through the COVID-19 pandemic, and I believe UIS has done a remarkable job managing COVID-19 on our campus.

For Fall 2020 to be as successful as it was, months of planning and coordination occurred throughout the U of I system. Last spring, as word quickly spread around the world of the growing pandemic, the University of Illinois initiated a system-wide response team that helped guide our COVID-19 response at each of its three universities.

Our campus has risen to meet these many challenges with grace and compassion. I am awestruck by the level of support at this university. One of the most rewarding parts of the past year has been seeing people support one another through this exceedingly difficult time.

Over the past year, many of us have had to make unbelievably hard choices and sacrifices, and more may be coming. And yet, I am hopeful for the future not only for UIS but society at large. I witnessed a group of people coming together in many ways for the first time to work together delivering great outcomes. I know it’s possible for people with different interests to engage in tough conversations and find common ground for the betterment of everyone.

Read the entire article online.