Fall Semester Return to Campus Guidelines
Dear students, faculty and staff,
As we prepare to welcome students back to UIC for the fall semester, we are writing with an update on the health and safety measures that we are developing to keep our students, faculty, staff and UI Health patients safe. First, we need to emphasize our shared responsibility to vigilantly follow established health and safety measures in order to keep our entire university community safe – each of us needs to do our part, every day.
As you will read below, we have implemented numerous measures to safeguard our community. Although the large majority of undergraduate instruction will take place remotely, there are still a number of courses that will be offered on campus. Each individual who comes to campus will have to complete the COVID-19 safety training, submit a daily wellness screening, wear a face covering, wash hands/use sanitizer often and practice physical/social distancing.
On-Campus COVID-19 Testing
In order to minimize the infectious spread of COVID-19, UIC will begin implementing a targeted saliva-based testing program. This program involves weekly, mandatory saliva-based testing beginning on Aug. 17 for specific groups of students and employees, including:
- Students and staff in campus housing.
- Certain students and faculty/staff in performing arts.
- Student-athletes and athletics staff.
This initial group of students and employees will be notified by email with instructions on how to obtain a test before classes begin, between Aug. 17 and Aug. 23. A negative test will be required before anyone from these three groups is eligible to participate in any on-campus activities, including classes. Test results are intended to be emailed within 24 hours. The saliva-based tests will be provided at no cost to students, faculty and staff. Individuals with COVID-19 symptoms are not eligible for saliva-based testing and should be referred to a healthcare provider for evaluation.
Additionally, we expect to expand voluntary testing efforts to all students, faculty and staff across campus, beginning Aug. 24. More information will be provided next week about the test and the expansion of this testing program.
Face coverings are required at all times on all university-owned or operated property, including outdoor spaces and within classrooms. Face coverings are required inside buildings, as well as outdoors (to avoid exposing others in high pedestrian traffic areas). Exceptions will be made for individuals who are alone in a private office or a residence hall room, or those with a medical condition, disability or other reason that prevents them from safely wearing a face covering. Face coverings should only be removed when eating and drinking in designated spaces, while maintaining six feet of distance from others and paying special attention to proper hand hygiene when removing and replacing face coverings. Please review the Circle Back to Campus Plan for more information.
Hand washing is among the most effective deterrents to the spread of infection. Upon arrival to campus, everyone should immediately wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, or if immediate hand-washing is not possible, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Hand sanitization stations have been placed at building entrances, elevator lobbies, public lounges, classrooms, residence halls and public lactation rooms not already equipped with a sink and soap.
Maintain at least six feet of physical distance from other people both inside buildings and on campus grounds. All campus spaces have been evaluated for occupancy limits. Many areas have furniture reconfigured and include signage to ensure this six-foot distance is maintained. Public areas (such as elevators, stairwells, restrooms and entrances/exits) may be configured with appropriate signage to allow for physical/social distancing as much as possible. Signage has also been installed in public spaces of all UIC buildings to reinforce health and safety practices.
All members of the UIC Community will participate in a daily wellness screening, including a temperature check and answering a few health questions when coming to campus. Screening can be performed in-person on campus, or using the UIC Healthcheck self-assessment tool. Employees and students are required to follow the wellness screening protocol outlined by their home college or department, the Dean of Students, or Campus Housing, even if they feel healthy.
Any faculty, staff or student experiencing COVID-19 symptoms — whether or not they been exposed to someone who may have COVID-19 — should stay home, not come to campus, and contact a health care provider. If you come to class or work and begin experiencing any possible symptoms of illness, you must leave immediately and inform your healthcare provider.
- Students who are feeling ill or who may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 should call Student Health Services at 312-996-2901 for guidance, contact their CampusCare primary care provider, or any other primary care provider they may have.
- Faculty and staff who are feeling ill or who may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 should contact University Health Services (UHS) at 312-996-7420 or complete the online form and report to their supervisor. They should also contact their personal healthcare provider in addition to contacting UHS. More information for employees is available on the UIC Human Resources COVID-19 website.
- The Chicago Department of Public Health also provides guidance and information on COVID-19 testing sites throughout the city.
COVID-19 Safety Training
All students, faculty and staff will be required to complete the online COVID-19 Safety Training using their university NetID and password to log in. This short self-study course includes guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and takes approximately 15 minutes.
- All UIC employees who are currently working on campus or expect to return by the start of fall semester must complete the training by Aug. 24. All employees who are currently working remotely and will still be doing so at the beginning of the semester must complete the training by Sept. 30.
- Students will receive additional information to complete the online COVID-19 Safety Training by Aug. 24.
- Employees of the Hospital & Clinics will follow a separate process and will not be required to complete this version of the UIC COVID-19 Safety Training. Hospital Human Resources will provide additional information to employees.
Questions about the COVID-19 Safety Training should be directed to UIC Human Resources at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-996-0840.
The university is coordinating and partnering closely with local public health departments to supplement contact tracing for all COVID-19 cases that are related to UIC faculty, staff or students.
Quarantine and Isolation
The university has established quarantine and isolation procedures, developed in coordination with the Chicago Department of Public Health for faculty, staff and students who have been exposed to or tested positive for COVID-19. Details will be posted on UIC’s COVID-19 webpage.
- Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease such as COVID-19. It is used to help reduce the potential risk of transmission of the contagious disease. Quarantine is different than isolation.
- Isolation is used to keep someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 away from people who are not sick.
We are eager to begin the fall semester and we will be sharing additional information as it becomes available on the university’s COVID-19 webpage and through our weekly Circle Back to Campus newsletter.
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Robert Barish, MD
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs
Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs