Classroom contact tracing and directed saliva testing programs

Dear students,

As the new academic year is now underway, we hope that you are or will soon be settling into your routines, connecting with your instructors and classmates, and finding your unique place among our UIC campus community. We understand that along with excitement and possibility, the start of the fall 2021 semester has brought with it new responsibilities for your own personal health and the health of our campus.

As part of our commitment to providing a safe environment for learning and research, we will launch a classroom contact tracing initiative and COVID-19 directed surveillance testing program that will further protect our UIC community.

Contact tracing and seating assignments

During the week of Sept. 7, instructors will assist with contact tracing efforts by using assigned seating, taking attendance or having students record who they are sitting near or working with in groups. In the event of a COVID-19 exposure, this record will be used by the UIC Contact Tracing team to assess risk and provide guidance to those who may have been in close contact with an individual while they are thought to have been contagious.

You are encouraged to learn the names of those you sit near and socialize with. This will facilitate accurate contact tracing. If we can rapidly identify close exposures the contact tracing team will guide required testing and quarantine, if indicated.

While class attendance is always expected, all students should make every effort to be present and on time at all classes Sept. 7-10. It is recommended that you select classroom, lab, or lecture seats in which you are comfortable, as you may be asked to sit in the same seats for the duration of the semester. Individual instructors will provide specific guidance based on the size and layout of the classroom, lab or learning environment.

COVID-19 directed surveillance testing

As an additional measure to closely monitor the prevalence of disease in our community, we will begin directed COVID-19 surveillance testing the week of Sept. 7. Specific units and departments will be contacted throughout the semester, on a rotating basis, to have employees and students voluntarily participate in on-campus saliva testing, regardless of vaccination status. We encourage you to take part in this surveillance testing initiative to help inform current and future health and safety measures on campus.

Please continue to be vigilant about health and safety measures such as vaccination, frequent hand washing and masking. Thank you for embracing these responsibilities and for doing your best to ensure a safe learning environment for all.

If you have additional questions about the campus response to COVID-19 please visit UIC’s COVID-19 webpage or the Frequently Asked Questions webpage.


Javier Reyes
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Rex Tolliver
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

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