This Week in School and Campus Safety

Good morning,

This Weekly Update by the Illinois School and Campus Safety Program continues sharing K-12 and Higher Ed back to school/campus safety resources, as well as providing information from the CDC on Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C).

Thank you for your interest in school and campus safety. However, if you wish to no longer receive our emails, just let me know and I will remove you from our contacts list.


Laura Black
Program Coordinator
Illinois School and Campus Safety Program
Back to School and School and Campus Safety Month, Part II

As we continue through the month of August, which happens to be the Illinois Emergency Management Agency's (IEMA) School and Campus Safety Preparedness Month, more and more K-12 and college students are heading back to classrooms. In addressing back to school safety and school and campus safety month, last week we looked at back to school shopping safety, safety checklists for parents, and transportation safety. This week we continue to providing information and sharing resources on different back to school/campus safety topics.

Return to Campus/Move-in Safety: For many institutions of higher education across Illinois, students are on the cusp of descending onto campuses. Normally, moving into college dorm rooms and apartments can be exciting and hectic. In a typical move-in weekend, students and families cram the into residence halls, parking lots, and even local retailers in order to get students moved into their new surroundings quickly and efficiently while ensuring the student has any supplies he/she may need. However, with COVID-19 still gripping the nation, social distancing and other safety precautions are a must. The Illinois Board of Higher Education's "Higher Education in Illinois: Safely Launching Academic Year 2020" was updated on July 28th and provides guidance for institutions of higher education on reopening with health and safety in mind, including guidance on move-in and residential life, visitors, and space utilization. Additionally, the CDC has resources for higher ed, including the "Colleges, Universities, and Higher Learning: Plan, Prepare, and Respond" page.

Higher Ed Fire Safety: According to the Center for Campus Fire Safety, from January 2000 to August 14, 2018, 92 on and off campus fatal fires have occurred, resulting in 132 victims. Of the 92 fatal fires, 79 were at off-campus housing, 7 were on campus, and 6 occurred at Greek housing. As students set up their new living spaces, consider sharing Campus Fire Safety's Setting Up Your New Living Space resource to help students confirm they haven't made any of the mistakes depicted.

Reducing Risk for College Freshmen: For many college freshmen, going off to college is their first experience living on their own and spending extended time away from their families. While this can be a wonderful and exciting time, the potential also exists for risk-taking behaviors. The National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environment's "Reducing Risk During the First Few Weeks on Campus" states that "the first six weeks of the academic year are critical to both the academic and social success of first-year students. The early days on campus, however, often present the potential for high-risk alcohol consumption, drug use, hazing, and behaviors contrary to successful assimilation into college life." The resource also notes that the first few months are also "the highest-risk time for sexual assault."
Staying Informed - Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children and Aug. 6th Data

Another facet of the pandemic's impact on children is currently being investigated: Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in children (MIS-C). According to the CDC, MIS-C "is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. Children with MIS-C may have a fever and various symptoms, including abdominal (gut) pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes, or feeling extra tired." Although the CDC reports not knowing the cause(s), they also note that most of the children with it have had the coronavirus, or been around individuals with COVID-19. The CDC also reported 570 cases of MIS-C and 10 deaths on August 6, 2020. A CDC graphic from August 6th, depicted Illinois as having 21-30 cases.
Illinois School and Campus Safety Program