As Redbirds Return this fall, campus will look different

Dr. Andover Tarhule, who began his tenure as Vice President for Academic Affairs and as Provost on July 1, addresses the challenges of the upcoming semester. (Photo by A.J. Harris/WJBC)

By A.J. Harris

NORMAL – Illinois State University President Larry Dietz spoke at a press conference this morning, noting the changes that will take place on campus this upcoming semester in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, though he notes that these plans are fluid and could be altered on a daily basis as the current health crisis warrants.

Aspects of the student experience, both academic and social, will change, and Dietz says he has trust in ISU students to act responsibly.

“We’re going to have student ambassadors that will be modelling positive behavior,” Dietz said.

He adds, “It really is the individuals responsibility and the influence of those around them we think is the best way to get people to comply with the expectations.”

New Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost  Dr. Aondover Tarhule has faith in Dietz’s guidance.

“The guidance we have received here today will hopefully go a long way to mitigating some of the anxiety and uncertainty that faculty, staff and students feel as they contemplate the fall semester.”

Changes for the semester include moving to online only instruction after fall break beginning on November 21, mandatory face coverings in all common indoor areas and outdoor areas where six-foot distancing is not possible, and protocols for student testing, including housing and food needs should someone require quarantining.

Also included in the updated Redbirds Return plan are new policies for dining, student engagement, campus recreation, and travel.

For a full list of the changes that are set to take place this fall visit

President Dietz announces Redbirds Return plan updates 

A.J. Harris can be reached at


Is federal mobilization the answer?

By Mike Matejka As President Donald Trump threatens to send federal marshals into Chicago, over the objections of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, recall another Illinois Governor who protested the incursion of armed federal personnel into the city.   Those federal troops, rather than calming, escalated the situation, leading to deaths and violence. Illinois poet Vachel Lindsay…

In these troubled times, to my fellow white Americans

By Mike Matejka Our nation is at a unique watershed in human relations. African-Americans have been killed too many times in the past before George Floyd, but the response to this man’s death is international and all-encompassing. I was a grade-schooler during the Civil Rights 1960s. I watched Birmingham demonstrators hosed and the Selma – Montgomery…

Workers’ Memorial Day – Remember those whose job took their life

Looking around our community, when we say employer, most will respond to State Farm, Country, or Illinois State University.   We too often forget those who are building our roads, serving our food, or our public employees. COVID-19 has made us more aware of the risk.  Going to work every day for some people means…

Everyone counts and you could make the difference

By Mike Matejka How many federal dollars will there be for road repairs?  To feed hungry families?  How many Illinois representatives will there be in Congress?  Are Illinois communities going to get their fair share? There’s only one way to ensure our community gets treated properly – answer the census. The every ten year U.S. census,…