Weeks before the first case of the new respiratory virus 2019-nCoV, now widely known as COVID-19, was reported in the Chicago area on January 24, Illinois Institute of Technology leadership was behind the scenes, monitoring the campuses and coordinating efforts with officials from the Chicago Department of Public Health as well as state and national authorities.
Since that time President Alan W. Cramb, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Peter Kilpatrick, and various other members of the campus leadership team have updated members of the university community about how Illinois Tech is keeping its community safe. In early March both Cramb and Kilpatrick addressed the community via video and the Office of Marketing and Communications launched a coronavirus (COVID-19) website with helpful links ranging from remote work tips to faculty resources for research to available services for students living on campus.
As is the case with institutions of higher learning around the world, Illinois Tech moved all academic classroom instruction online, which began on March 23, the first regularly scheduled day of classes following spring break. Additionally, grading for any courses taken by undergraduates during the spring semester was moved to the pass/fail system. Observing public health guidance and best practices from peer institutions, the decision was made to cancel the in-person, on-campus 2019–2020 commencement ceremonies, both the university-wide Commencement Ceremony and all individual college-level ceremonies. A virtual celebration took place on May 16, when all degrees were conferred by college. Graduates will be invited to attend the May 2021 Commencement Ceremony.
In one of his updates to campus staff, Cramb expressed his pride in the Illinois Tech community.
“I would like to thank each of you for the incredible resolve, diligence, and concern that you have shown during this challenging time. Our university is a special community, dedicated to the idea that we can advance Chicago and the world by making a rigorous and quality education available to all who seek it. This commitment to our students is what unifies and connects us. It makes us unique, even among other universities,” he said.