About Us

CU-CitizenAccess is an online newsroom devoted to community and watchdog reporting by journalism students at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

The newsroom focuses mostly on Champaign County and central Illinois, but produces occasional regional, national and international stories.

COVID-19 in Champaign County

Ebertfest prices increased up to 50% prior to postponing due to COVID-19

Prices for Ebertfest tickets soared this year with passes increasing between 35% and 50% from 2020 to 2021, depending on the type of pass. The annual film festival started by the late film critic Roger Ebert in Champaign-Urbana in 1999, was scheduled for September 8 to 11 at the Virginia Theatre in Champaign, but was delayed again because of concerns about COVID-19 pandemic.

The festival had previously been called off in the spring of 2020 due similar concerns about COVID-19, but returned this fall with the price increases.

Nearly 7,000 Illinois students may have returned from lower-vaccinated areas than Champaign

Almost 7,000 University of Illinois students may have returned to campus from Illinois ZIP codes with lower COVID-19 vaccination rates than Champaign, a new analysis by CU-CitizenAccess found. There are about 33,000 students from Illinois enrolled at the university. In its analysis, CU-CitizenAccess matched vaccination rates from the Illinois Department of Public Health as of […]

Nearly 8,000 students may be coming from Illinois zip codes with higher COVID infection rates than Champaign County

Almost 8,000 students may be returning to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus from Illinois ZIP codes with higher COVID-19 positivity rates than Champaign County. About 33,000 students from Illinois are enrolled at the university. A year ago, more 20,000 students may have returned to the university from Illinois ZIP codes with higher positivity rates […]

University of Illinois COVID discipline policies under fire after another “unfair” dismissal of graduate student

While the Graduate Employees Organization and some professors were pushing the University for the changes in COVID disciplinary and testing procedures, a graduate student in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Antonio Ruiz, was dismissed from the University for not complying with the COVID-19 testing policy.

But the University has not deemed it necessary to review its procedures so far, even as calls for change are amplified by social media.

‘Unique historical fear’ of Carle Health billing practices may lead some to skip COVID-19 vaccine, health officials worry

The hospital’s decades-long reputation for aggressively billing patients has resurfaced anew during the pandemic.

Illinois flu activity plunges amid pandemic

Influenza-like illness (ILI) activity has decreased compared to previous years in Illinois.

The highest ILI rate was in mid-February of 2020 at 7.4%. That is a 93.2% decrease to 0.5% of ILI activity in February of 2021 compared to 2020.

Illinois Small Business Association releases Restaurant Revitalization Fund information

The U.S. Small Business Administration has announced details about the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, a program established under the American Rescue Plan Act Congress passed earlier this year.  Under the program, restaurants can apply for loans to help with COVID-19 business expenses. It is similar to the Paycheck Protection Program in some ways, as loans are […]

September 3, 2021

Nearly 7,000 Illinois students may have returned from lower-vaccinated areas than Champaign

August 20, 2021

Nearly 8,000 students may be coming from Illinois zip codes with higher COVID infection rates than Champaign County

May 12, 2021

‘Unique historical fear’ of Carle Health billing practices may lead some to skip COVID-19 vaccine, health officials worry

May 10, 2021

Illinois flu activity plunges amid pandemic

January 28, 2021

COVID on Campus: Tracking and isolating students was hit-and-miss

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