Shaken but resolved, Northern University staff said putting students first would get them through the difficult days ahead.
This morning, marked the start of a return to normalcy at the DeKalb campus rocked by a mass shooting that left five undergraduates dead and many wounded Thursday. Faculty and staff returned to work today and classes will resume Monday.
The gunman, former NIU student Steven Kazmierczak, killed himself.
The university has brought in grief counselors to prepare instructors for the questions students might ask, including experts from Virginia Tech, which suffered a similar tragedy in 2007.
"Faculty need to be aware of their own emotions," said Christopher Flynn, director of Virginia Tech's counseling center. "For many of them, it's a sincere loss. We at Virginia Tech talk about the 'new normal.' Grief continues for a long period of time. Grief takes at least a year to go through that cycle."
NIU art professor Frank Trankina said he and his colleagues expect they'll be dealing with students who knew others who were injured or died.
"I'm going to wait and see what happens," Trankina said. "It's hard to predict how they'll respond, but we need to be sensitive."
Unlike a normal day of classes, filled with noise and bustle, it was a quiet day at NIU.
But numerous people braved the freezing temperatures to lay flowers for the victims and sign a commemorative banner.
Ann Pellican, who attends classes with hearing-impaired students to transcribe lectures, gathered with co-workers to place carnations in front of Cole Hall, where the massacre happened.
"My main concern is for the safety of the students," she said. But she acknowledged going into a lecture hall like the one where the shooter opened fire will be difficult.
"That will really bother me," she said.