Carl Sandburg College Campuses to Reopen July 6 Under Restore Illinois Phase 4

  Aaron Frey
  Tuesday, June 30, 2020 11:29 AM
  Campus News

Galesburg, IL

Carl Sandburg College President Dr. Seamus Reilly on Thursday updated the Board of Trustees on the College’s return-to-campus plan during the Board’s monthly meeting. 

The Illinois Community College Board released guidelines last week for the reopening of college campuses under the current Phase 4 the Restore Illinois Plan. Sandburg’s Return to Campus Committee created a plan, which was shared with the College community this week, tailored to follow the procedures recommended by the state.

That includes the reopening all Sandburg campuses and buildings starting July 6 and the anticipated resumption of face-to-face instruction in some capacity for the fall semester during Phase 4. The committee is still in the process of outlining specific measures for face-to-face instruction in the fall.

“The Return to Campus Committee is predicated on the simple idea that we want to make sure it's safe,” Reilly said. “We may have some faculty and staff, we may have some students who are not able to be on campus because they have immunocompromised situations, either family or themselves. We spent as much time as we possibly could to think about ways in which (faculty) can plan for that eventuality. If we enter back into Phase 3, if we slide backwards, which I'm hoping we won't, then we would by necessity be back where we were in March.”

Sandburg’s plan also requires that anyone visiting, working or studying on campus wear a face covering. The College is also taking steps to mitigate risk of spread by allowing employees to continue working from home if possible, having a limited capacity in offices and reducing the number of face-to-face meetings for employees. Capacity restrictions and social distancing guidelines elsewhere on campus also will be enforced.

“I’m grateful for the work the Return to Campus Committee has done to put this plan together,” Reilly said. “We eagerly anticipate being able to welcome our students back on campus this fall, but we also want to take the proper steps to best protect their health and the health of others in and around our community. While our state has seen significant improvements with regard to COVID-19 in recent months, we must be careful not to do anything to negatively impact the progress that has been made to this point.”

Sandburg’s campuses have been closed since March 16 and instruction has been exclusively online since March 23 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We're continuing to monitor the plans and guidance from ICCB and (the Illinois Department of Public Health) regarding the safe return to school,” Reilly said. “This has been a very significant undertaking. I want to thank the staff and faculty for their insight, contributions, support and collaboration so that we can develop the best plan possible to safely engage our staff, faculty and students back on campus as we enter into Phase 4.”


The Board also adopted the College’s budget for fiscal year 2021. It includes budgeted revenues of $25.1 million (down from $25.6 million for FY20) and budgeted expenses of $27.6 million (up from $27.2 million for FY20).

Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer Cory Gall said the revenue decrease can be attributed to an 18 percent reduction from tuition and fee revenue because of COVID-19 as well as an estimated 15 percent reduction in Illinois revenue. The slight increase in expenses is due to the College’s negotiated 2.75 percent raise for employees and slight increases in utilities and insurance, Gall said.

“The fiscal year 2021 budget has been prepared with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic at the forefront of conversation,” Gall said. “While enrollment revenue is projected to decrease from the prior year, the College maintains sufficient reserves to meet its needs for fiscal year 2021. The College is happy to maintain a flat property tax rate from the prior year as well.  Overall, the College remains very sound financially and will meet the challenges of the pandemic in the safest way possible.”

The Board also adopted a memorandum of understanding that allows faculty to be paid $20 per contact hour to finish courses that could not be completed online during the spring semester because of the College’s closure due to COVID-19. This non-precedent-setting measure was taken to ensure that Sandburg students affected by the pandemic can continue with their education.

In other business, the Board approved the following:

  • Appointment of Steve Norton, vice president of student services, as the College’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) officer, effective July 1.
  • Employment of Jeremy Bohrer as full-time mathematics instructor, effective July 1.
  • Employment of Tina Braun-Smith as full-time associate degree nursing instructor, effective July 1.
  • Employment of Sonrisa Nolan as full-time speech instructor, effective July 1.
  • Employment of Joshua Seifert as full-time economics/business instructor, effective July 1.
  • Appointment of Cory Gall as associate vice president of administrative services, effective July 1.

The Board’s next scheduled meeting is 7 p.m. July 23. Due to the coronavirus, a location has yet to be announced.

Press Contact

Aaron Frey