SIU President Plans for Future with COVID-19 in Mind

Apr 24, 2020

Credit Southern Illinois University

SIU President Dan Mahony says he's putting together a system-wide task force to prepare for a multitude of scenarios heading into the next fiscal year, which starts July first, and the next academic year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many layers of operations at SIU, from a shift to online classes to partial refunds to students, and more. Mahony says he hopes students will be on campus this fall, taking classes in-person. But he admits there's still some uncertainty there.

"I think that's in the best interest of our students, frankly, and that's what I would like to move towards as much as we possibly can. But as we've learned this semester, just because that's what we think is best and hope for, if that's not a healthy decision to make, then we have to be flexible enough to adapt to something different."

Mahony has tasked campus leaders with coming up with plans for budgets, too, understanding that state funding is still up in the air and enrollment is unknown. He says the federal CARES Act will help offset some of the costs of COVID-19 this semester, but he wants to have plans in place for the future.

"I think now the goal is to start looking toward next year's budget, and I've asked the campuses to start looking at different scenarios. What if we get this type of cut from the state, what if enrollment is down by this amount? How would that affect the budget, and how do we adjust to that?"

Mahony says the new task force will explore how each campus - including the School of Medicine in Springfield - will be able to deal with various scenarios in the next fiscal year.