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COVID-19: Rising to the Challenge

The federal government's COVID-19 national emergency declaration ended April 10, 2023, and, as such, this site is no longer being updated. We hope our communities continue to make personal decisions and take individual actions that maximize the safety of others.

The University of Illinois System demonstrated its land-grant mission in real time throughout the 2020-23 global pandemic, marshalling its world-class resources and utilizing its knowledge-generating power to foster solutions that helped steer our state through this challenging time. Our researchers continue to study changes in society during this historic period, thus positioning us to face future challenges, stronger together. 

Story archives

Visit our story archives to read about some of the many contributions from talented faculty, staff, and students at our universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago, and Springfield and the System Offices during the pandemic.

Learn more

Learn more about efforts throughout the system in the early months of the pandemic on our COVID-19 response narrative page.


In 2020, the University of Illinois System partnered with Illinois Public Media to produce a limited-series podcast about the universities' efforts to combat the virus and keep communities safe.

podcast art with U of I System logo and images of Alma Mater, Chicago skyline, and Abe Lincoln

Listen to the Rising to the Challenge podcast




Play the Leading the Fight on All Fronts video below, or watch on Youtube


Play the Turning Uncertain Into Extraordinary video below, or watch on Youtube


Learn more about how the SHIELD Illinois program provided fast, accurate COVID-19 testing for schools, communities, and businesses across Illinois.


For communications to students, faculty, and staff during the pandemic, visit:

Messages to the U of I System community

In the News

Throughout the pandemic years, the University of Illinois System, its universities, our leaders and researchers were featured in multiple media stories. See some of the more prominent coverage:

PBS, Aug.16, 2021
Sun-Times, Aug. 24, 2021
WGN TV, July 22, 2021 WTTW, July 22, 2021
Wall Street Journal, June 7, 2021
Sun-Times, Jan. 18, 2021
WGN TV, Nov. 20, 2020
CBS Evening News, Sep. 10, 2020
CNN, Sep. 8, 2020
CNN,  Sep. 1, 2020
CNBC, Aug. 28, 2020