NOVEMBER 5, 2020

Dear Sandburg Community,  

As you are all aware, the state of Illinois has entered mitigation efforts as a result of the rising numbers of people who have contracted COVID-19. The increase in our region and district meant that the College was slightly ahead of the state in putting into place our contingency measures established prior to the fall semester.  

These contingency measures enabled students to understand with some certainty how the semester would look if the situation changed at the state level. One or two students contracting the virus can severely impact programs and activities for all participants due to CDC guidelines and quarantine requirements. This change I want to thank academic leadership and the faculty for their work in making sure that students’ experiences were as smooth as possible.  

This mitigation measure is not the same as the closures we put in place last spring. All service areas of the College remain open to serve students in virtual and face-to-face settings. In some cases, it may require additional larger spaces to make staff and students feel more comfortable, and administrators and staff will work to utilize available space. Additionally, we are not making any changes to the academic calendar, at this time.  

Schools are technically excluded from the mitigation efforts, but the increasing numbers in our district make it imperative that we proceed with extreme caution. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide regular updates through this Thursday message. 

I want to thank everyone for being vigilant and careful while on campus. As we approach the normal flu season, it is more important than ever that we continue to follow the regular handwashing, mask-wearing and social distancing measures recommended by health experts.   


Dr. Seamus Reilly 




SEPTEMBER 10, 2020

A question that has been at the top of everyone’s minds for the last several months is: Is it safe? This is something we now ask ourselves with virtually every decision we are faced with whether we are going to work or to the grocery store. With the COVID-19 virus all around us, the better question is, “How has Carl Sandburg College reduced the risk of exposure to COVID-19?” Sandburg has taken considerable steps to reduce the risk to our students, faculty, and staff as possible during this COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some of the things we have done and are doing to ensure our College is safe as possible for our students, our employees, and the general public.  

Fewer people on campus  
The most obvious example of this is that we have far fewer people on our campuses than in previous years. We have greatly expanded the number of classes that are available either totally or partially online. Sandburg has also expanded blended and established virtual offerings. We have reduced the physical presence of many employees including administration, faculty, staff, students, and guests on campus, and made changes to events to limit large crowds and reduce the amount of person-to-person interaction at these events. Limiting physical presence in general and limiting events greatly reduces the risk of the potential spread of the coronavirus.  

Required mask-wearing  
There is clear evidence that one of the easiest ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is for people to wear masks. For that reason, we have required everyone on our campuses to wear a mask since we reopened in July. For those who do not have a mask with them when they arrive, there are masks available at each open building entrance.  

Social distancing  
We rearranged each classroom over the summer so that seats were 6 feet apart to ensure students are properly socially distanced. Plexiglas barriers were installed in classrooms at instructor stations. Like mask-wearing, we know that this is a small step that can greatly reduce the potential spread of the virus. There are also markings throughout the College to remind people to safely keep their distance from one another. Also, for our administrative and office assistants who work at front-line areas, plexiglass has been installed at their desks to provide a safe barrier as they interact with others.  

SEPTEMBER 10, 2020

Health screening survey  
As people arrive on campus each day, they should fill out the daily health survey available at Signage with QR codes that link to the survey also are posted throughout our parking lots, and iPads are stationed at each entrance as another way people can fill out the survey. This brief questionnaire helps individuals determine if they are healthy enough to be on campus that day. It also provides us with important information that can assist health officials should they need to contact you.  

Enhanced cleaning protocols  
Our custodial staff has done a remarkable job with the enormous task of keeping our classrooms, office areas, restrooms, and other campus spaces clean and sanitized. Each classroom is disinfected after every class period, and all shared surfaces in the College are sprayed with a disinfecting spray daily.  

We will always strive to be as open and transparent as possible with our campus community, and this situation is certainly no different. Maintaining regular communication through these messages will continue to be a priority. Our campus is filled with signage, reminders, and other communications, and we have shared additional messaging on our social media channels in an effort to update and educate the general public.  

 For any questions, please contact our COVID-19 response team at 


AUGUST 27, 2020

Greetings Sandburg Community,  
Carl Sandburg College remains committed to transparency and ensuring the safety of all those who visit our campus. As you are aware, at the conclusion of our first week of the semester, we were informed by the Knox County Health Department that a member of our campus community had tested positive for COVID-19. We received an additional notification Monday of a second positive test.   
In cooperation with the Knox County Health Department, we were able to quickly identify and reach out to students, faculty, and staff who may have been in proximity to those who tested positive. (This is not to be confused with the CDC definition of close contact, which is an exposure to a COVID-19 positive person.) We will continue to inform those in proximity with a separate email as well as notify the general Sandburg community of positive COVID-19 cases on our campuses.   
I must emphasize that at this time we believe our campus is a safe environment for our students, faculty, and staff. We have reduced the capacities of our classrooms to ensure 6 feet between desks, added plexiglass to teacher’s stations, and in locations, staff interacts with the general public. At least daily, all shared surfaces in the College are sprayed with a disinfecting spray while classrooms are sanitized prior to the next incoming class. Sanitizing stations and increased signage continue to encourage all employees, students, and visitors to keep themselves and others safe. Sandburg remains vigilant with the additional protocols enacted to reduce to risk to our campus community. These are critical measures that we know can help limit exposure to the virus.   
The virus does not care who we are, how old we are, or where we are. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the overall safety of our campuses and follow guidance from our local health departments,  the  CDC, the state, and our accrediting bodies, and we will continue to communicate important updates in a timely manner.  
Dr. Seamus Reilly   

AUGUST 21, 2020

Carl Sandburg College has been informed that an individual who was present at the Main Campus in Galesburg has been diagnosed with COVID-19. This individual was last on campus on Thursday, Aug. 20. 

The College is working with the Knox County Health Department to identify and contact any individuals who may have come in close contact with the individual and may have had an exposure to the Coronavirus.

Sandburg will continue to clean and disinfect all areas of our buildings in accordance with the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Illinois Department of Public Health. Sandburg requires everyone on its campuses to wear face masks and maintain a distance of six feet or more from others to minimize the risk of exposure to the coronavirus. Additionally, all visitors to our campuses are required to fill out a health screening survey at as they arrive each day.

Sandburg will continue to monitor this situation. At this time, the College will remain open and continue with in-person instruction Monday.

The College would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone to monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID-19 and to stay home if you are ill for any reason. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • fever (100.4 or higher)
  • cough and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Other symptoms may include:
    • chills
    • fatigue
    • muscle and body aches
    • headache
    • sore throat
    • new loss of taste or smell
    • congestion or runny nose
    • nausea and/or vomiting
    • diarrhea

Symptoms usually develop 2-14 days after the last exposure. An individual who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or who has had close contact with an individual who has COVID-19 should follow all quarantine guidelines and should not be present on campus if required to quarantine.

For any questions, please contact Steve Norton, vice president of student services, at 309.341.5227 or


AUGUST 20, 2020

Dear campus community, 

It has been great to see students and faculty on campus this week. Like many of you, this is my favorite time of the year. A new semester brings with it all of the optimism and excitement of a fresh beginning. Sandburg offers so many opportunities for our students to reimagine their futures. 
For faculty and staff, it is great to have the energy and excitement of students beginning another academic year. 

Of course, this year is so different from any other year in our history. Despite our hopes that we would be nearing the end of this pandemic, uncertainty remains about how long this outbreak will last. 
I believe in controlling what you can control. The College has made significant efforts to protect our campus community, but ultimately each one of us is responsible for helping us all. 

We are maintaining strict enforcement of masking on campus. This is not a choice, but a decision based on the best medical and scientific evidence that we have available right now. The stories of outbreaks throughout the country because of a failure to maintain masking and social distancing serve as a warning to us all. 

We are asking you to stay away if you feel ill or if you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. 

We ask that you remain vigilant. Every person arriving on campus should complete a health screening as they enter each day. If you answer “yes” to any of the questions on the health screening, personnel from the College will contact you. Please pay attention to your email and phone calls coming from the College. 
While this is a great challenge for all of us, this country and this district have faced challenges before. We will come through this latest challenge, and what we learn will make us better prepared for the future. Meanwhile, education, in whatever form it now takes, gives us an opportunity to take charge of what we can control to prepare us for the future. Be safe, be a good citizen, and be #SandburgProud. 

Dr. Seamus Reilly 



AUGUST 6, 2020

Dear Sandburg community,

Carl Sandburg College is looking forward to welcoming students and faculty, whether in person or remotely, this fall semester. We are prepared to welcome everyone back with some changes on our campuses and some new requirements that we have put in place to protect our community.
Our faculty and staff have been working diligently to ensure that our campuses and the learning experience are safe. Our classrooms are equipped to protect students and staff with a smaller capacity to ensure social distancing. While we realize that limiting face-to-face contact is optimal, we also know that some learning experiences cannot easily be replicated using technology. Many of our students are preparing for careers that are crucial in our community and will be required to work under these conditions.

Before coming on campus, faculty, staff, students, and visitors must complete a brief survey to help you self-evaluate their health. This survey is located on the College’s COVID-19 website section, which can be completed at the entrances to the campus using the QR code to access the survey from phones or using the iPads stationed at each entrance. I urge you to put your health and the health of your community first. If you are feeling ill or have been exposed to someone who is sick from COVID-19, we ask that you stay home and refrain from coming to campus.

Upon arrival to campus, only specified entry doors will be available to staff, faculty, students, and visitors. At each of the entrances, signs will greet everyone with the campus mask requirement. Directional signage is on the floor throughout the campus to keep foot traffic moving smoothly and to restrict large groups. Additionally, sanitizing stations and increased signage will encourage all employees, students, and visitors to keep themselves and others safe. Everyone must always wear a mask covering their mouth and nose while on campus. Protective shields are installed in classrooms and in areas of the College where students interact with staff as additional protection.

Due to restrictions on groups over 50, several student activities are going to be unavailable or severely limited. However, I know our vibrant, imaginative student body will take advantage of the virtual tools available to maintain engagement, community outreach, and personal growth. These restrictions also mean our community partners will be able to rent space on our campus; however, all individuals accessing College facilities will be required to adhere to the social distancing and face-covering requirements outlined in the general guidance section of the Restore Sandburg plan.

As always, we are hugely appreciative of the efforts to wear masks, social distance, and have good hygiene habits. Practicing these habits are the best options to ensure we keep our campus open and safe for everyone who uses it.

Dr. Seamus Reilly



JULY 9, 2020

Dear Sandburg community,
We are grateful to have reached an important milestone this week as Carl Sandburg College reopened our campus locations under Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan. These past four months have been difficult, painful and stressful for each and every one of us. Things we may have taken for granted such as being able to work from our offices, head up to our library or see familiar faces on a walk through campus are now a welcome relief. Despite being able to better appreciate those once-overlooked occasions, the fight against COVID-19 is still far from over. It is critical that each of us continues to follow the guidance included in our return-to-campus plan to help ensure that it remains open and available for us to utilize and enjoy.
In addition to developing a plan to reopen our campus locations this summer, Sandburg leadership has been working to determine what instruction for our students during the upcoming fall semester will look like. I am pleased to share with all of you that we will offer several modes of instruction this fall, including in-classroom, face-to-face learning.
The method of instruction for each course has been determined by faculty and academic leadership and formatted for available space on campus. Any in-person learning will adhere to guidelines under the Restore Illinois plan and from the Illinois Community College Board. For courses that include face-to-face instruction, contingency plans are in place should there be a need to discontinue in-classroom learning. The method of instruction for each class section will be noted as students register for their classes.
Course modes of instruction for the 2020 fall semester are:

  • Face-to-face — Students attend classes on a Sandburg campus, Higher Learning Commission-approved location or high school partner site at weekly scheduled class times.
    • Contingency: Classes transition to virtual meetings at regularly scheduled class times or online with some virtual meetings, as determined by the instructor. If a class includes required face-to-face components, those will resume on-site in compliance with state of Illinois guidelines.
  • Blended — Students attend part of the class face-to-face or virtually at scheduled class times while accessing the rest of the content online through mySandburg.
    • Contingency: Face-to-face components transition to virtual meetings at originally scheduled class times or online with some virtual meetings, as determined by the instructor. If a class includes required face-to-face components, those will resume on-site in compliance with state of Illinois guidelines.
  • Multiple modality — Students can choose between face-to-face, virtual or online attendance throughout the duration of the course.
    • Contingency: Class will continue online, with virtual options taking place at the originally scheduled times.
  • Virtual — Students meet virtually with their instructor at weekly scheduled class times. Requires a webcam, microphone, speakers and broadband internet. With state guidance in mind, students may access the computer labs on campus. A loan program for Chromebooks and webcams is available through Sandburg’s Tech Help desk (at 309.341.5446). Students may need to provide their own earbuds with a microphone.
  • Online – Students access online classes through mySandburg. Online classes do not require weekly face-to-face or virtual class meetings.

I am thankful for the diligent work done by our faculty and academic leadership in putting this plan together. Our priority as we prepare to enter the fall semester is being able to conduct instruction that keeps our students, faculty and staff safe. We want to make certain we’re doing everything we can to give our students and instructors the flexibility to choose the type of learning environment that is best for them and that they’re most comfortable with at this time.
Should you have questions about your class schedule or the type of instruction it will include, I encourage you to contact your academic advisor or our Student Services Office at 309.341.5237 or


Dr. Seamus Reilly


JUNE 29, 2020

Dear Sandburg Community,

I am very pleased to share the attached Restore Sandburg plan, which coincides with the move to Phase 4 of the state of Illinois’ recovery plan. We continue to proceed with an abundance of caution and with the safety and protection of all staff, faculty, students, and visitors to campus at the forefront of our mind.

While the campus will be open to the public beginning July 6, we are asking all those who visit campus to respect the safety precautions and protocols which we have put in place. The measures have been taken with the safety and protection of our community in mind.

While the plan details many things, we are aware that this is still an evolving situation and that things may change. I want to thank the members of our Return to Campus Committee and the staff and faculty who have been working tirelessly to ensure that people can continue their educational journey safely and with every opportunity for success.

We have learned many things so far from this pandemic, but one thing that has not changed is the resiliency of our staff, students, and faculty and their collective commitment to the success of the Carl Sandburg mission.

Dr. Seamus Reilly


June 25, 2020

Dear Sandburg community, 

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to present challenges to the Carl Sandburg College family. With the fall semester fast approaching, it is paramount that we continue to develop strategies to deliver the highest quality instruction possible while maintaining the safety of everyone involved. 

On Tuesday, the Illinois Community College Board released guidelines for reopening college campuses during Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan. The College has formed the Return to Campus Committee to tailor our procedures to the safety procedures recommended by the state.  

The Return to Campus Committee comprises individuals from all areas of the College, including administrators, instructional team, faculty council and the Sandburg Education Association. As the point person for this committee, it is the goal of myself and other members of this group to provide input, solicit feedback and to collaborate to help bring the College through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The College will begin a limited reopening July 6, and details of the Phase 4 return-to-campus plan will be shared publicly early next week. This document will detail what the College’s operations will look like until it is safe to proceed to Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois plan. There will be significant changes to how the campus is accessed. We look forward to the day when COVID-19 is in the past; until then, we all must work hard to serve the students of Carl Sandburg College. 


Thank you, 
Cory Gall and Return to Campus Committee


June 11, 2020

Dear Sandburg Community,

This week a family laid their son, father, uncle, cousin, and friend to rest. George Floyd’s senseless death gives us all a momentary look at what black Americans face almost daily. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of George Floyd — and all those grieving — through this heartbreaking time. Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. Black Americans have faced various injustices for hundreds of years through systemic and structural racism that are still alive and well today. We recognize that these egregious injustices were created to disenfranchise and became a model to continue these behaviors for many other marginalized groups.

All around the world, people are protesting these acts of overt and structural racism. The expression of hurt, frustration, and anger we see not only in the recent protests but since Emmitt Till is heart-wrenching and must be acknowledged. We also understand there may be some in the community who might face various acts of racism in very real ways without the knowledge of others. This is not acceptable in any way.

Part of our diversity statement includes that Sandburg is “a community of lifelong learners that welcomes, values and respects diversity.” Our commitment to that statement means we all have an obligation to embrace the idea of learning about the challenges each one of us — particularly people of color — face, respecting the values that we cherish and being accepting of the diverse environment that we are part of. I encourage each of you to use this moment for self-reflection on how you can help be a part of this time of change. We, as a College, will also use this occasion to review and reassess our practices to ensure that we are doing as much as we can to make our learning environment as diverse and inclusive as possible. Change starts with each of us, and we must hold ourselves and each other accountable in order for important and necessary progress to be made.


Dr. Seamus Reilly



MAY 7, 2020

Dear Sandburg Community,

Well, it has been a strange semester. At this time of the year, we typically would be looking forward to celebrating our students’ accomplishments as they prepare for Commencement and pinning ceremonies. This year we will have to be content in knowing that the life lessons they learned, combined with their resilience and determination, will serve them well in the future.

I want to thank you for the incredible work you have done to serve our students and help them to complete their educational goals. This has been difficult for everyone, but the herculean efforts made by faculty, staff, and administration have made me incredibly proud of our Sandburg family.

Our focus is always on the success of the student, and there may be lessons that can be gleaned from this experience to develop courses and clinicals that allow greater access and increase opportunities for those in our district who would benefit from more flexible and compressed schedules. We realize that our faculty and staff can benefit from additional professional support and training, and we will explore tools and training to help people deal with the challenges of new modes of learning and interaction.

We are all ready to return to normal. However, at the moment, normal is uncertain. The state has outlined its plan for a reopening of businesses and activities. For the foreseeable future, it looks likely that we will be maintaining social distancing and face coverings. We will await guidance on when we can convene smaller groups to meet lab and clinical requirements. Our hope is that we will have face-to-face classes and regular activities on campus in August. A lot will depend on what happens over the next few months.

I want to thank all those in our community for the outpouring of support for our students through volunteering and contributions to Carl Sandburg College Foundation, which has set a goal of raising an additional $50,000 to go toward crisis grants for our students.

Our primary concern is for the health and safety of everyone on campus and in our community. We will plan to be flexible and prepared for any contingency. I encourage everyone to continue following the CDC general guidance about frequent handwashing, wearing cloth masks, avoiding close contact with others, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.

We will provide regular updates via the usual channels throughout the summer. Thanks for your patience and your commitment to Carl Sandburg College and our students.


Dr. Seamus Reilly



APRIL 30, 2020

Dear Sandburg community,

Although our on-campus Commencement will not take place at the conclusion of the semester because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we made it a priority to celebrate our newest Carl Sandburg College graduates. I am pleased to announce that this virtual celebration will take place June 30. The details of this event are still being discussed, and we will share more information in the coming weeks both here and on social media.

I would like to personally thank our students who had already registered to participate in Commencement for their feedback in a survey that explored what parts of graduation were most important to them. Despite the unfortunate circumstances we are faced with, it is our goal to make this event as meaningful and memorable for everyone.

In addition to the celebration, all classes at Sandburg this summer will continue to take place online. Obviously, the concept of online learning has changed for all of us in a remarkably short period of time. However, I have complete confidence that our innovative faculty will continue to deliver courses in ways that are interactive, engaging and rewarding for our students, just as we have seen over the course of the last month. One thing that we are learning about our students is the multiple obstacles they face in acquiring an education. And that what typically might have worked in the past may not work in the future. I applaud the faculty who have been working diligently to afford more opportunities for our students outside of the traditional delivery methods. It appears this enhanced learning environment which combines the aspects of synchronous and asynchronous learning may benefit students who otherwise could not attend college.

I am sure that many of you are wondering about the future past summer. As you know, we are complying with the state and national directives. Our fervent hope is that we will be able to resume face-to-face classes in the fall, and this has guided our recruitment and registration of students. Thanks to the Student Services folks for their extraordinary efforts in continuing to reach out to our students. 

At Carl Sandburg we continue to put students first. Our overwhelming concern will be for the safety of our students, faculty and staff going forward. Every effort will be made to ensure that as we get closer to the fall semester starting, we have as many options in place to protect everyone and ensure that we continue to provide the excellent educational environment our district has come to expect. Finally, Gov. Pritzker’s latest stay-at-home order requires individuals to wear masks in public places where social distancing cannot be maintained. For Sandburg employees who are considered essential and continue to work on campus, they will be able to wear their own masks. If they do not have one, a mask will be provided for them. I encourage all of you to continue following guidelines that are in place and the advice of public health officials to help curb the spread of this virus. We will continue to update with facts and concrete information when we have them in our regular communications with the College faculty and staff.


Dr. Seamus Reilly


APRIL 23, 2020

Dear Sandburg Community,

I want to reiterate how grateful I am for the extraordinary efforts to support our students, our community, and each other during this time. Today, Governor Pritzker announced he will sign an executive order to extend the stay-at-home order until May 30. With the wonderful work of the faculty and staff, we will continue to offer our students the support they need to be successful. In the future, there may be questions about when and how we will navigate the reopening our campus locations.

Understand that the priority throughout this situation has been and will continue to be the health and wellbeing of our students, faculty, staff, and greater community. We continue to monitor news and events surrounding the coronavirus on a daily basis, and we will ensure that we have detailed, accurate information while also considering state and federal guidelines before we take any action regarding the reopening of the College.

Please continue to expect a weekly communication from myself around 5 p.m. each Thursday. In the event we have any urgent news to share, we will strive to do so as soon as possible.

Finally, this month’s Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled to take place at 7 p.m. this evening via Zoom. I welcome all of you to attend at this link.


Dr. Seamus Reilly


APRIL 2, 2020

Dear Sandburg Community,

As you are aware, Gov. Pritzker has extended the stay in place order until the end of April. At both the national and state level, keeping people in place will help to mitigate the spread of the virus and hopefully accelerate our return to normal. Sandburg campuses remain closed to everyone. A reduced roster of essential staff is on-site to ensure maintenance and security. All events and activities scheduled or anticipated for the remainder of the spring semester are canceled.

Learning continues for Sandburg students, albeit online, thanks to the efforts of our faculty and staff. Faculty are to be commended for their creativity and commitment to making sure that students continue toward achieving their academic goals. Our staff continue to support students as they work in an online environment with educational, advising, counseling, and technology needs.

As we complete the spring semester, we are also looking ahead to the fall. Registration and advising appointments begin for all students on April 6.

As I walk around the community (maintaining social distancing, of course), I am reminded of how caring a community I live in. The hearts in the windows, the brainchild of a Galesburg resident, reflect how much we all depend on the kindness of others. To this end, I want to thank the faculty, staff, and students who are giving of their time to support the needs of the community by volunteering, delivering food, or reaching out to a neighbor.

We will get through these difficult days, and we will be a stronger, wiser, and more caring community as a result.

Dr. Seamus Reilly


MARCH 26, 2020 

Dear Sandburg Community,

For the first time in our college’s history, all of our teaching, learning, and support services for students for the remainder of the 2020 spring semester will be delivered in a totally online fashion. This is a dramatic change for you and for all of us who have been working in the education field for decades.

However, students should rest assured that this global pandemic will not change our commitment to student success at Carl Sandburg College. So many of you have overcome so many challenges in your lives to get this far, and I am confident that you will adjust and shift gears and complete the rest of the semester.

While the delivery of education has changed, the commitment to your success remains as strong as ever. Our faculty have been working diligently to investigate tools and create the best possible online environment that we can offer. I want to thank all the faculty and staff for their incredible efforts over the last two weeks to prepare for this transformation to an online delivery system. They demonstrate the very best in resilience and adaptability that I know is mirrored by our students.

Our student services and IT staff have worked incredibly hard to make sure that students have the excellent support that they are used to receiving. Advising, registration, and other support services continue in an online format. Our counselors are available to help.

While learning is central to the support we are providing, we are also aware that there are other needs that students have. Our emergency page on also provides links to resources in the community to help our students and staff. If you have needs, please reach out to us and we will do our best to get you the help you need.

Finally, please stay healthy. Follow the federal and state guidelines regarding staying in place, maintain social distancing, and keep washing your hands. This is incredibly difficult for all of us, but the following guidelines now will ultimately shorten the length of the emergency for us all.

While this is an unfamiliar situation for us all, I know that our Sandburg community will rise to the challenge and be successful.


MARCH 20, 2020 

Dear Sandburg community,

You may have seen the advisory this afternoon from Gov. J.B. Pritzker that all Illinoisans “shelter in place” March 21-April 7. I encourage all of you to comply with this order as we must come together to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

I also understand the frustration from yesterday’s announcement that our 2020 Commencement and nursing pinning ceremonies are canceled as a result of this virus. Please know it is equally painful and frustrating for us as well. There is no greater joy for our Board, administration, faculty, and staff than seeing our students celebrate in that moment as they are introduced for the first time as Carl Sandburg College graduates. It is still our intention to honor our newest graduates through commemorative programs, tickets and a celebration of some kind. We will share those details as they are finalized.  

In the meantime, I encourage all of you to finish this semester stronger than ever. We will resume instruction Monday in an online capacity, and virtually all of our College services will take place away from campus as well. This has been a whirlwind week, and there will no doubt be challenges for all of us in the weeks ahead. But working through this as one will make each of us — and Carl Sandburg College — better in the end.

Dr. Seamus Reilly


MARCH 19, 2020

Dear Sandburg community,

The past week has been one of the most challenging in the history of Carl Sandburg College, and the decisions made during this time of the coronavirus pandemic have been made with great care and consideration for our students, faculty, staff and community.

In addition to moving classes and College services to an online capacity for the remainder of the spring semester, we have made the difficult choice to cancel this year’s on-campus Commencement ceremonies. Pinning ceremonies for this year’s nursing program graduates and all other on-campus events through the remainder of the semester also have been canceled.

We know this is a disappointing moment for all of our students who planned to walk across the stage this spring as Carl Sandburg College graduates, and it is a moment nobody deserves to have denied from them. It is a painful choice for us as well, as our mission is geared toward seeing students achieve that ultimate goal of becoming a Sandburg graduate. However, given the directive from the Centers for Disease Control not to have gatherings of 10 or more for the next eight weeks, this is a decision we made with the wellbeing of everyone in mind.

It is our plan to give our newest graduates their due recognition in some capacity at the end of the semester. Details will be shared as that information is finalized.

Please know that even though you and your peers will not able to have that shared experience at Commencement, the accomplishment of becoming a Carl Sandburg College graduate is something that will never be taken away.

Dr. Seamus Reilly


MARCH 18, 2020

Dear Sandburg Community,

As we continue to deal with the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19), I want to remind everyone that the health and safety of our community remains our primary concern. This is an unprecedented situation for the country, and it will mean great changes in the way we live and work in the coming weeks and maybe even months.

However, I know that the faculty and staff at Carl Sandburg College will continue to find innovative ways to serve students and our community.

  • Beginning Monday, March 23, Carl Sandburg College will continue with only online instruction. No face-to-face meetings with students, labs nor clinicals will take place. We realize this is a drastic measure, but given the situation facing us, it is the only thing we can do to safeguard the health of our community.
  • Everything possible will be done to provide simulation or other means to measure learning which typically takes place in these environments.
  • All staff will work from home and there will be no staff on campus except for those essential staff identified by the administration. Essential staff will be notified by their direct supervisor by Friday, March 20.
  • The campus will be effectively shut down. All students, faculty, and staff should avoid campus unless they are given direct specific instructions.

Dr. Seamus Reilly


MARCH 17, 2020

Dear Sandburg Community,

I want to thank all of you for your hard work and creative and thoughtful solutions to the enormous challenges facing the nation during this national emergency. The situation remains incredibly fluid and we continue to work with federal, state, and county agencies to help us navigate the many different issues we face. Carl Sandburg College remains committed to keeping our community safe and to helping our students.

Closing this week has enabled faculty and staff to plan to offer instruction and services online or remotely. We very much appreciate how hard people have worked to be creative and solve the many challenges that we face.

We remain committed to supporting students in the attainment of their educational goals. We want to help faculty and staff move forward with some predictability in these uncertain times.

To that end, beginning March 23, the college will move all instruction to an online format for the rest of the spring semester.

For any currently enrolled students who have not already done so, please take this seven-question survey to help us determine the level of access each of our students has to continue their educational experience. Doing so is important to helping us understand the technology needs of our students in this transition to online instruction.

We will also move all student services and administrative and business functions online.

We realize that this will be an enormous task for everyone, but it represents the best chance we have to complete the semester and provide services to the community. Administrators and supervisors will be in touch as we continue to plan to transition instruction and services.

The majority of faculty and staff will move to working from home or with limited presence on campus.

All previously scheduled events on campus for internal and external groups and organizations are canceled. We have not yet made decisions about commencement or other end-of-year activities.

We will continue to update the community regularly on this page as this situation develops. We remain committed to student success. The Sandburg community has demonstrated its strength and compassion in these difficult times and we know that we will successfully navigate these tough weeks ahead.

Dr. Seamus Reilly


MARCH 16, 2020

Dear Sandburg Community:

We appreciate your patience at this difficult and uncertain time. Our primary focus at this time is to ensure that we are doing all that we can to protect our community. While the campus is closed this week, people are working diligently to plan to deal with the many difficulties involved in providing services and support to our faculty, staff, and students.

Our emergency management team is meeting daily and following guidance from Illinois Community College Board, State of Illinois and the Federal Government as the nation deals with this unprecedented national emergency. Our daily communication will provide the latest information that we have and our best estimates as to how we will continue to move forward. Please understand that this situation is changing on an hourly basis and everything is subject to change.

We will communicate as often as needed using all the various communication channels at our disposal, but you can expect something around 5 p.m. daily. Please continue to communicate with your supervisor if you have questions. I know that the Sandburg community will overcome this challenge.

Dr. Seamus Reilly

Carl Sandburg College's leadership team is meeting on a daily basis to navigate the situation of Coronavirus (COVID-19). We will do our best to provide you with information each day at 5 p.m. during this situation. Please note this is a rapidly evolving situation and actions taken can be changed by the hour. At this time, Sandburg will move forward with the following actions:


  • All campuses will be closed Monday, March 16-Sunday, March 22. No teaching, athletic, or Corporate and Leisure activities will take place during this period. We will have Public Safety staff on campus, but no staff, faculty, or students are to be on campus for any reason.
  • As we transition to majority online learning, for the time being, it is important that we understand the technology needs of our students. We ask that currently, enrolled students take this seven-question survey to help us determine the level of access each of our students has to continue their educational experience.
  • Beginning Monday, March 23, faculty will begin to deliver as much lecture material as possible online. This includes dual credit courses. All labs and clinicals such as in manufacturing (welding, CNC, etc.) and health professions (nursing, dental hygiene, etc.) courses will take place with social distancing encouraged, (maintaining distance approximately 6 feet from others when possible) and additional handwashing precautions will be in place before, during, and after the class period to minimize the risk of infection spread. Faculty and staff should follow the procedures outlined by the CDC and follow all standard clinical and lab procedures consistent with their professional standards. Students, please contact your instructor with course-related questions.
  • Beginning Monday, March 23, all staff are to report to work as normal while practicing social distancing. For Sandburg employees that have or care for those with compromised immune systems, lung disease, heart disease, diabetes etc. consider having discussions with your immediate supervisor in order to create accommodations for your work.
  • At this time the Board meeting on Thursday, March 26 will proceed as usual. Only essential administration (Chief Officers and Vice Presidents) will need to be in attendance.
  • In accordance with the NJCAA, all athletics for the 2019-2020 season will be canceled. This includes all practices, regular-season games, postseason games, and national championships.
  • All large public events have been canceled through the end of April.
  • At this time, we will continue to hold graduation on Wednesday, May 13 and Thursday, May 14. This is subject to change based on CDC guidance.


Misty Lyon
Associate Vice President of Academic and Student Planning


Gina Krupps
Director of Human Resources


MARCH 14, 2020

The coronavirus (COVID-19) is a rapidly changing situation. We ask that you continue to follow the guidance of the CDC. There are steps that you can take to help yourself, your community and Sandburg in preventing the spread of any flu-like virus like the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. 
  • Practice social distancing. Avoid close contact with people who are sick or if you are sick stay home.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth if you have not washed your hands.
  • Unless you are sick, the CDC does not recommend you use a face mask. Face masks may be in short supply and should be saved for caregivers.
  • If you have a compromised immune system or have serious chronic medical conditions such as lung disease, heart disease, or diabetes please consider making accommodations for your health.

We understand this is a difficult time for all and will strive to do our best to support our community. Please see a list of available resources from throughout the district. Please note this list has been compiled based upon available information from local media and social media sources. We encourage you to contact these businesses and organizations before visiting their locations. This list will be updated as we receive information. 

Ameren - In response to the economic hardships that our residential and business customers may experience due to the COVID-19 pandemic, effective today, Ameren Illinois will suspend service disconnections and forgive late payment fees for non-payment through at least May 1. Customers needing assistance with paying their bill should contact our customer care team at for payment options.
T-Mobile -  Starting now - ALL current T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers who have plans with data will have unlimited smartphone data for the next 60 days (excluding roaming). 
Xfinity WiFi Free For Everyone - Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country will be available to anyone who needs them for free – including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers. For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, visit Once at a hotspot, consumers should select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots and then launch a browser
McAlister’s Deli -  If you are concerned about ensuring your children have a hearty lunch, stop by McAlister's Deli from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m., Monday through Friday. Every kid can receive a free sack lunch that contains a turkey and cheese sandwich, chips, applesauce and a cookie. Completely free, no other purchase is necessary.

Wal-mart - new hours of 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. to allow overnight restock/replenish. 
United Way of Knox County - United Way of Knox County will continue providing free meals to local children, as they have in the past, while local schools are closed due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak, and they’re available to any student who needs them. 



Wal-mart – new hours of 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. to allow overnight restock/replenish.
El Camion Real - If you are worried about a meal for your kid(s) feel free to stop by El Camino from 11 a.m. -1 p.m. during the week-day to pick up a to-go FREE Kids Quesadilla meal with rice and beans. We will continue this until school resumes again. We want to do our part to help our community.

If you have questions or to report a suspected case please contact the Illinois Department of Public Health statewide COVID-19 hotline at call 1-800-889-3931 or visit


MARCH 12, 2020

Dear College Community:

 I am writing in response to the rapidly changing situation related to coronavirus. While there are no confirmed or probable cases confirmed in our district or on the campuses of Carl Sandburg College, it is my intention to do everything we can to mitigate risk of infection spread for all our staff, faculty, students, and greater community.

To that end, and acting out of an abundance of caution, we will enact the following measures:

  • All campuses will be closed Monday, March 16-Sunday, March 22. No teaching, athletic, or Corporate and Leisure activities will take place during this period. We will have Public Safety staff on campus, but no staff, faculty, or students are to be on campus for any reason. We will allow faculty to access all campuses before March 16 to gather materials needed for their classes.
  • Beginning Monday, March 23, we will begin to deliver as much lecture material as possible online. We have video and resources available to help faculty move course materials online, and some helpful tips to allow them to transition as smoothly as possible. We realize that not all content can be delivered in an online capacity, but we urge faculty to do what they can to reduce disruption to student learning.
  • Beginning Monday, March 23, all labs and clinicals will take place with social distancing encouraged, and additional handwashing precautions will be in place before, during, and after the class period to minimize the risk of infection spread. Faculty and staff should follow the procedures outlined by the CDC and follow all standard clinical and lab procedures consistent with their professional standards. We will abide by the rules and requirements of external clinical sites.
  • We will continue to operate our instruction in this manner until it becomes safe to revert to standard operations.
  • We will restrict all College travel until further notice to minimize the risk of people becoming ill while traveling to other cities or states. This includes individuals who are traveling on business trips or with student groups.
  • We will work with the Emergency Management Team to plan for extended closures or restrictions in services as mandated by county, state, or federal authorities. We remain in cooperation with our local county emergency management groups and health departments. 

In the meantime, we urge all of our staff, faculty, and students to exercise mitigation procedures as outlined by the CDC.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has information specific to the state:

If you have traveled domestically or internationally to an affected site, we urge you to closely monitor your health upon return. Faculty and students who have been traveling internationally are now considered at-risk and should take extra precautions to protect themselves, their families and their community.

Should you become ill or develop symptoms, we urge you to stay at home and avoid contact with others. The CDC has details about how to deal with a situation should you or a family member become ill.

We will continue to monitor this situation as it evolves.  We welcome your support as we continue to plan, but it is important to act in a way that protects our community.


Dr. Seamus Reilly, President



Autumn Scott
Dean of Student Success



Gina Krupps
Director of Human Resources




MARCH 10, 2020

Carl Sandburg College continues to closely monitor the global outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). We will keep our campus community apprised of any developments that occur. To date, we have not identified any cases of infected Carl Sandburg College students, faculty or staff nor has an individual been identified in any of the counties we serve. It is important for everyone to remain aware of this public health situation.

The College has created emergency plans in the event this outbreak progresses. The emergency operations team will continue to monitor and plan for necessary responses or changes to college operations.



The CDC recommends the following everyday preventative actions:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.



The CDC has valuable information on the following:

Watch the informative video “Get the facts on coronavirus.”



Have questions about coronavirus? Contact the Illinois Department of Public Health hotline.

Phone: 800.889.3931