City, university leaders meet to discuss COVID-19 prevention

In+this+Oct.+28+photo%2C+Mayor+Jerry+Smith+listens+to+council+proceedings+in+the+DeKalb+Municipal+Building%2C+200+South+Second+Street.

In this Oct. 28 photo, Mayor Jerry Smith listens to council proceedings in the DeKalb Municipal Building, 200 South Second Street.

Kierra Frazier, Senior reporter

DeKALB — Mayor Jerry Smith said he met with NIU leadership Monday to discuss COVID-19 prevention following a weekend of several large gatherings and three reported positive cases at NIU since Friday. 

“We have to keep our fingers crossed that what’s happened at other campuses across this country is not going to happen at NIU, that we can keep the students here, we can keep our positivity rate low, we can keep the community spread at a minimum,” Smith said. 

Smith and City Manager Bill Nicklas met with NIU President Lisa Freeman, Matt Streb, chief of staff to the president, and Rena Cotsones, associate vice president of Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development at NIU. 

Smith also met with Bob Redel, interim DeKalb police chief and NIU Police Chief Thomas Phillips, who are aware of the large gatherings. Smith said together, they talked with other departments throughout campus communities across Illinois about COVID-19 prevention. 

Smith said that he also met with the DeKalb Area Renters Association so they can help prevent large gatherings happening in the area. 

We have to keep our fingers crossed that what’s happened at other campuses across this country is not going to happen at NIU, that we can keep the students here, we can keep our positivity rate low, we can keep the community spread at a minimum,”

— Mayor Jerry Smith

On Friday, one student and one employee at NIU tested positive for COVID-19. On Monday, another student was tested positive. 

“I’m hoping that the protocols they put in place at NIU work better than the ones at the University of North Carolina and the University of Notre Dame,” Second Ward Alderperson Bill Finucane said. “I know that so far they’ve had three reported cases on campus and let’s hope we can keep that number down.”