On-campus COVID-19 saliva testing

The best methods to prevent transmission of COVID-19 are wearing a face covering, practicing social distancing, frequent hand washing and staying home if you or a household member have any symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive for COVID-19. In addition to these basic prevention measures, regular testing and contact tracing programs are essential parts of UIC’s efforts to minimize the spread of COVID-19 among our campus community.

Even if you are young or otherwise healthy, you are at risk for contracting and spreading COVID-19 to others, and your activities can increase the risk for yourself and others. Because of this, it’s critical that we all do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19.

COVID-19 saliva testing at the University of Illinois Chicago. (Joshua Clark/University of Illinois Chicago)

Mandatory saliva testing

Effective Monday, Feb. 8, COVID-19 saliva testing is required for all individuals participating in on-campus activities. Individuals should continue to participate in regular saliva testing after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. While the vaccine has very high efficacy, it is not 100%.

  • Students and staff in campus housing, certain students and faculty/staff in performing arts, and student-athletes and athletics staff will continue with the mandatory testing programs previously established for these groups.
  • All other students, faculty and staff coming to campus are required to test once every 14 days and are strongly encouraged to test as often as, but not more than, once per week.
  • The hospital and clinics (UI Health) will implement saliva testing requirements for employees, providers and residents over the next few weeks and additional information will be forthcoming. If you work in the hospital and also enter academic, educational or research buildings on campus you are required to follow campus guidelines and test once every 14 days. When the hospital saliva testing program becomes available, hospital employees will be able to fulfill the requirement for saliva testing at one of the campus testing sites or at the hospital and clinics.
  • Saliva testing is available at the regional campuses in Rockford and Peoria and at the Law School. Faculty, staff and students at those locations have separate guidance.

Saliva testing is for individuals who are not displaying symptoms of COVID-19. Appointments are preferred and may be scheduled online in advance. Walk-ins are welcome and will be first come, first served based on availability around existing appointments.

UIC Healthcheck and Daily Pass

All students, faculty and staff participating in on-campus activities (outside of the hospital and clinics) will be required to use UIC Healthcheck to record health status before coming to campus each day. An enhanced UIC Daily Pass shows current saliva testing status in addition to daily self-reported status. The color-coded saliva testing status, indicated by the badge, should be used as a tool to encourage staff, faculty and students to obtain regular testing and minimize risk to others while on campus:

GREEN

  • You have had a negative saliva test in the 7 days or
  • You are not in the saliva test program because you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last 90 days

YELLOW

  • You have had a recent saliva test but the results are not available yet, or
  • You have had a negative saliva test sometime between 7 and 14 days ago

RED

  • You have not had a saliva test within the past 14 days

The Healthcheck and Daily Pass reports are available to colleges and supervisors to monitor the status of employees and students. Faculty may require that students show their Daily Pass before or during class.  Anyone with a red Healthcheck or Daily Pass badge will be required to immediately obtain a saliva test or leave campus.

Saliva test results

Saliva test results are available in MyChart, the Patient Portal used by UI Health. 

Individuals who do not activate MyChart prior to their testing saliva appointment will be asked to sign up at the testing site. It is recommended that individuals use a NetID when setting up a login and password. If you already have a MyChart account through UI Health or another healthcare provider, the results will be sent to the email you already have established within MyChart. 

Before the test

  • Testing is free to all UIC students, faculty and staff.
  • Be aware of the symptoms of COVID-19. If you are displaying any symptoms of COVID-19 please contact your medical provider to seek care and determine if diagnostic testing is recommended (individuals with COVID-19 symptoms are not eligible for saliva testing).
  • Bring a valid i-card to the testing site. It will need to be shown to be tested.
  • Refrain from eating, drinking, tooth brushing, mouth washing, gum chewing, and tobacco use for 30 minutes before submitting a saliva sample.
  • While lining up outside the testing location, please wear a face covering and practice social distancing of six feet while in line.
  • Wellness screening and temperature monitoring will be conducted at the entrance.
  • If you are under the age of 18, you must provide a signed consent form from your parent/guardian before testing.
  • No food or drink allowed in the testing site.
  • Should a student be unable to independently conduct the saliva testing due to mobility, ambulatory, or other disability, it is advised that the student contact the Disability Resource Center at drc@uic.edu or 312-996-8332 at least two days prior to the testing date.
  • Should an employee be unable to independently conduct the saliva testing due to mobility, ambulatory, or other disability, it is advised that the employee contact the Office for Access and Equity at oaeada@uic.eduor 312-996-0512 at least two days prior to the testing date.
  • Everyone entering the testing station is asked to update their university contact information should we need to alert you of important information about further testing or contact tracing:

Students

  • In Self-Service, select “University of Illinois Chicago.”
  • Log in using your NetID and Password.
  • In the Main Menu, select “Personal Information.”
  • In the Personal Information menu, select “Addresses & Phones.”

Faculty/staff

  • In My UI Info, select “My Profile”
  • Log in using NetID and Password
  • Select “My Profile”
  • Select “Address/Contact Information”

Taking the test

  • Individuals will be asked to provide a saliva sample. The sample collection process only takes 3-5 minutes and is painless.
  • You will receive your test results via MyChart within 24-48 hours.
  • If you test positive, you will be provided with follow-up isolation instructions and will be contacted by UIC contact tracing. Participating in contact tracing is part of UIC’s strategy to keep the campus safe.

Do NOT take the saliva test:

  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • If you have had a positive COVID-19 test within the past 90 days. (Testing positive another time within 90 days of a prior positive test does not mean that you are infectious to others.)
  • If you have had a saliva test in the previous 48 hours.

You may take the saliva test for COVID-19 after being exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 on day 7 or later from last exposure.

Testing locations

Effective March 1, main campus saliva-based COVID-19 testing sites are open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.*

Testing sites hours and locations:

  • Student Center West, 828 S. Wolcott Ave., Thompson Room.
  • Student Center East, 750 S Halsted St., Illinois Room.
  • Dorin Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt Road. (*Open Monday through Friday only; closed Saturday.)

During spring break March 22-27, saliva testing will continue at Student Center East and Student Center West. The Dorin Forum location will be closed during spring break.

Voluntary testing appointments are preferred and may be scheduled online in advance. Walk-ins are welcome and will be first come, first served based on availability around existing appointments.

SPECIAL NOTE: Appointment confirmations (via phone or printed out) will be required before entry to testing sites. The last patient is accepted 15 minutes prior to closing.

Contact tracing

The UIC contact tracing team is responsible for contacting students, faculty and staff who test positive using the COVID-19 saliva test, as well as those testing positive at University Health Services and Student Health Services, and those who self-report any other tests. UIC contact tracing counsels individuals on isolation, identifies and notifies their close contacts on campus, monitors both groups for COVID-19 symptoms, and connects individuals in need with campus and external resources to successfully complete isolation and quarantine.

If you are a student or employee, please report COVID-19 symptoms and exposures to a COVID-positive individual using the online reporting tool.

UIC contact tracing will be in touch with anyone who receives a positive saliva test or submits a positive test result within 24-48 hours of their result or submission of their results online, respectively. They will then provide regular follow-up during a person’s isolation period. UIC contact tracing will inform these individuals when it is acceptable for them to leave isolation.

A key component of contact tracing is to obtain a list of persons who may have been exposed to infected individuals. If an individual receives a positive test result it will be important to begin compiling a list of persons with whom they have been in direct physical or close contact, particularly if that involved close contact (within 6 feet for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period, and is regardless of mask-wearing). After assembling a list of contacts, UIC contact tracing will reach out by phone to any UIC employee or student who may have been exposed to an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 in order to provide support and guidance.  Every effort will be made to keep the name of the infected individual confidential. Persons with significant exposures to the infected individual will be asked to quarantine based on current UIC quarantine policy.

For additional information about quarantine and isolation, printable fact sheets are available:

If someone in your household has recently tested positive for COVID-19

If someone in your household has been exposed to a person who tested positive for COVID-19

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and University of Illinois Springfield students

During the Spring semester, Urbana-Champaign and Springfield undergraduate students who participate in in-person instruction or internships in Chicago may be eligible for on-campus saliva testing at the Chicago campus. Please contact covidtesting@uic.edu to determine eligibility.

Faculty, staff, and graduate students from Urbana-Champaign who are based in Chicago for work and/or research activities will continue to be eligible for testing during the Spring 2021 semester.

Please visit the Urbana-Champaign saliva testing webpage or Springfield saliva testing webpage for additional information.

More information

For additional information or questions about saliva testing, please contact the COVID-19 Call Center at 312-355-4649 or email COVIDtesting@uic.edu. We will share additional information about testing as it becomes available on this webpage and through our weekly Circle Back to Campus newsletter.