In-person instruction resumes Monday, Jan. 24

Dear faculty and staff,

We are beginning the new year and spring semester with a deep appreciation for your partnership and trust in the face of ever-changing circumstances. Your actions continue to keep our students and each other safe. Simply put—thank you.

We want to prepare you, as best we can, to welcome our students back to campus Monday, Jan. 24. We benefit from the expertise of our own health professionals who work closely with local and state public health officials on the latest COVID-19 safety guidance. Our decisions to emphasize comprehensive testing, contact tracing, masking, and vaccination are driven by science and have proven effective in keeping our campus safe. These layered measures, with some adjustments to address the Omicron variant, will continue to serve us well when we are back on campus together.

When and what testing must I do to return to campus? And what do I have to submit?

You must complete COVID-19 re-entry testing no later than 72 hours after first arriving on campus. You are encouraged to take advantage of on-campus saliva/PCR testing. If you test at any UIC test site, you do not need to submit your results because they are captured automatically.

If you test outside of UIC, you should submit your proof of a COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen) online beginning Friday, Jan. 21.

If you have tested positive in the last 90 days you do not have to test to return to campus. However, if you tested positive outside of UIC you must report your results through the UIC COVID-19 Reporting Tool.

As a reminder, do not come to campus if you are ill and have COVID-19 symptoms.

Will there be more testing capacity? Will testing sites have extended hours?

To accommodate a demand for testing at the beginning of the semester, UIC will increase capacity on campus by sponsoring a SHIELD Illinois COVID-19 testing site at the Isadore & Sadie Dorin Forum, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m., beginning Jan. 24. Our existing Student Center East and Student Center West testing sites will also have extended hours beginning Monday, Jan. 24, from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Additionally, the Student Center East testing site will be open Sunday, Jan. 23, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The UIC community may test at any location and should check the saliva testing webpage for up-to-date hours and information.

What do I need to bring with me to a UIC testing site?

  • Bring a valid i-card.
  • Be prepared to show your UIC Daily Pass. If you are unvaccinated you must have completed your daily Healthcheck.
  • Provide a saliva sample and follow instructions at the testing site.
  • You will receive an email to access your test results.

Will mandatory and surveillance testing be ongoing? If so, for whom?

Mandatory COVID-19 testing is required for:

  • All unvaccinated students, faculty and staff who have a medical or religious vaccination exemption and all partially vaccinated students, faculty and staff, twice per 7-day period, 48 or more hours apart.
  • All students, faculty and staff in residential housing and performing arts, once per 7-day period.
  • Student athletes should follow testing directives from UIC Athletics.

Surveillance testing is strongly encouraged for:

  • All students, faculty and staff not in mandatory testing groups. Specific units and departments will be contacted via email throughout the semester on a rotating basis to participate in saliva testing to inform current and future health and safety measures.

Why is UIC’s isolation and quarantine protocol different from the CDC’s 5-day guidance?

The campus has updated isolation and quarantine procedures, utilizing Illinois Department of Public Health and CDC Considerations for Institutions of Higher Education requirements and safety considerations for the campus. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, will still be required to isolate for a minimum of 10 days from symptom onset or a positive test. Quarantine guidance will vary for those exposed to COVID-19, depending on vaccination status and low-, medium- or high-risk exposure. UIC Contact Tracing will provide the most up-to-date guidance for individuals who test positive or those who have been exposed to COVID-19.

Will UIC require or provide KN95 masks?

Recently, the CDC updated masking guidance to recommend wearing the most protective mask one can find, ensuring it fits well and can be worn consistently. Well-fitting disposable medical/procedure masks and KN95s provide more protection than cloth masks. A limited number of KN95 and medical/procedure masks will be available for students and staff. Students can obtain masks at Student Center East and Student Center West and campus libraries; faculty and staff will receive information from their college or unit about how to obtain masks.

Masking is required indoors on campus, including in classrooms, except when alone in a private office or personal residence hall room, or when an individual has a medical condition, disability or other reason that prevents them from safely wearing a face mask. It is our responsibility to hold each other accountable and to wear masks properly by fully covering your nose and mouth.

What is the status of vaccinations and boosters on campus?

Fortunately, our campus community is 96% vaccinated. Vaccines are safe and help protect you from serious illness and hospitalization. If you are not yet vaccinated, or you haven’t received your booster, you can make an appointment on campus or at a location near you.

The University of Illinois System is requiring a COVID-19 booster shot for all students, faculty and staff once you are eligible. You can upload your proof of booster to Healthcheck.

There are a few exceptions to the booster requirement:

  • If you have previously received a vaccine exemption, it will be extended for the booster and no further action is necessary.
  • If you have had recent COVID-19 infection, you may receive a temporary exemption from the booster shot requirement.
  • University of Illinois Hospital and Clinics will provide separate guidance for hospital employees.

What are the classroom expectations for in-person learning?

The goal is to offer the majority of our classes in person this semester while allowing for accommodations and flexibility for absences associated with COVID-19. Guidance and support for instructors and students is available online. New tools have been implemented to support contact tracing and attendance and compliance with health and safety measures.

Learn how COVID-19 impacts:
Employee mental health resources
Human Resources guidance for managers and employees

If you still have questions or want to learn more, check out the COVID-19 FAQs and plan to attend the Virtual Town Hall Wednesday, Jan. 19, from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

We are well-positioned for a successful spring semester, to engage with each other through our teaching, learning and research.

Wishing you a healthy and safe spring semester!

Michael Amiridis

Javier Reyes
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Robert Barish, MD, MBA
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs

Susan Bleasdale, MD
Chief Quality Officer and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Quality & Patient Safety

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