COD Moves Forward with COVID-19 Protocols


Zainab Imam

Bee Bishop, Staff Writer

Editor’s note: Due to new information we’ve received, students who test positive and require accommodations related to isolation or quarantining because of COVID-19 should work through the Center for Access and Accommodations, not their instructor.


COD students who are not vaccinated and refuse to be tested will not be allowed on campus for in-person classes and activities, according to college officials overseeing implementation of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s vaccine mandate. In addition, to encourage students to get vaccinated, COD will offer monetary incentives.  

On Sept. 21, students received an email detailing proper steps for submitting their vaccination information. The deadline for submission is Oct. 1, which is also the date students must have either the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, if the student plans on getting the vaccine. According to Vice President Jim Bente at the regular COD Board of Trustees meeting on Sept. 23, about 1,000 students have submitted vaccination records so far. 

COD will also offer a $150 cash incentive to encourage students to get vaccinated, according to a plan presented to trustees at the meeting. The idea behind the incentive is to provide compensation for students who would have to take off work or struggle to find transportation to get vaccinated. A few trustees opposed the motion. Board Secretary Heidi Holan said the incentive is too similar to bribery.

“As an elected member of local government, in addition to swearing to uphold both the U.S. and state constitutions, we implement and uphold our policy manual,” she said. “I found this agenda item to be one of, if not the most, interesting agenda items that has come before me during my time on the board.”

Holan also expressed her dissatisfaction with the mandatory vaccine or weekly testing requirement for students, staff and faculty.

“Executive Order 87 was given August 26,” Holan said. “And despite two meetings since then, while supporting our policy, I still do not believe it upholds the actions ordered in Executive Order 87.”

Trustee Annette K. Corrigan was quick to agree. 

“I am not for any sort of incentivising for vaccination,” Corrigan said. “If we’re at that point something’s very wrong. I’m not in favor of this mandate, and our governor has overstepped with each and every one of these executive orders.”

The motion still passed, with all members, excluding Holan and Corrigan, voting in favor of creating an incentive to help encourage students to get vaccinated.

The Sept. 21 student email also mentioned that students who are not fully vaccinated will be required to test weekly and provide a negative COVID-19 test to be on campus. In a personal interview, Bente estimated testing will start in mid-October and will consist of 6,000 to 7,000 tests per week. When asked about how the college will keep track of those who are not vaccinated, refuse to be tested or test positive, Bente responded, “We’ll have them contacted by a COVID support specialist and inform them of the situation and that they should not be on campus. We’ll have a way of flagging them for their instructors to know that they shouldn’t be in the classroom.”

COVID-19 support specialist is a new position that COD will be hiring to assist in the administrative process of testing. They will be matching COVID-19 test results to an individual, as well as contacting individuals who are not allowed to return to campus. There will be positions in Human Resources to manage faculty and staff results, and positions in Students Affairs to manage student results. 

For students doing weekly testing who test positive, the college will receive the test results and notify those who are required to isolate for the recommended amount of time. Students concerned about missing out on classwork during the isolation period or require accommodations in relation to isolating and quarantining are to contact the Center for Access and Accommodations.

While there is no answer yet as to whether or not COD will be providing refunds to individuals who drop in-person classes, Bente said it’s a topic that will be discussed. He is hopeful the answer will be coming sooner rather than later. 

Lastly, Bente wanted to reassure the community of the college’s goals.

“Our concern is for the health and safety and well-being of the faculty, staff, students and the community at large,” he said. “[We] just want to encourage everybody to consider being vaccinated.”