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Letter to the Editor, Radio Edition: Joint Release from Southern Illinois Community Colleges Addresses Coronavirus

Our local community colleges are working hard to develop and operationalize mitigation protocols at our various campuses. Our region has for many weeks now been an area with a dangerously high transmission rate of COVID-19. While each of our campuses will implement procedures that best fit our campus communities, it is essential to recognize that we are unified in our message and our adherence to state and federal guidance and orders regarding vaccination and testing. It is vital to note that we are unified in ensuring our students and staff can visit our campuses, knowing that their safety is our top priority.

It also should be noted that we, as Presidents, are in agreement that the best and safest way for our campuses to continue providing face-to-face learning and services is for our communities to get vaccinated against this virus. For over a year, we waited while the vaccinations were developed and tested. Since May of this year, our campuses have held vaccination clinics and worked with our local county health departments and the medical community to promote and provide vaccination. The vaccines have been shown to successfully mitigate the virus and the duration and severity of the virus in rare breakthrough cases. We as a collective believe that the science behind the vaccines and the widespread vaccination efforts will allow us to stay face-to-face on our campuses and in our communities. This message is not about politics, we are educators, and our ultimate goal is to ensure our students succeed
while also keeping everyone safe.

If vaccinations are not the chosen option, for the good of public health and serving the interest of helping others stay safe, simple testing to help control the spread of the virus is essential. We all must do our part to help reduce the spread and save our healthcare system from imploding. Reducing disease spread is how we stay open for business and protect lives, be it through vaccination or this simple testing. You have options. Please help us to help you by researching, discussing your concerns with your doctor, and committing to the choices you have to keep everyone safe.

Per both the United States President’s order and the Illinois Governor’s order, we will continue to test those individuals who cannot take the vaccination for various reasons. We will all have a variety of ways for this to be accomplished, and as a group, we continue to support and work together and assist each other in our efforts and resolve. We are here to serve our community; the educational and career success of our students and staff is our mission. Let’s focus on each other to move us all forward.

George M. Evans
President, Kaskaskia College

Kirk Overstreet, Ph.D.
President, John A. Logan College

Jonah Rice, Ph.D.
President, Southeastern Illinois College

Terry Wilkerson
President, Rend Lake College

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