Masking, event and travel guidance updates
Dear students, faculty and staff,
While Illinois’ masking mandate is expected to be lifted Feb. 28 for some indoor settings, masking will continue at schools, hospitals and congregate settings. UIC will continue to require masks indoors.
However, with the continued decline in cases, we can now safely step down from some mitigation measures:
- UIC will no longer require a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of attending an in-person event; and
- Essential university travel no longer requires university-level pre-approval to CDC COVID-19 level 4 countries.
Additional details about masking, events and travel are below.
We continue to evaluate local data trends while waiting to learn about updated mask guidance from the city of Chicago and the CDC. We anticipate more adjustments to our COVID-19 protocols in the coming weeks.
While remaining cautiously optimistic, we know that moving too soon to ease our COVID-19 precautions could impact the positive trends being seen. As COVID-related hospitalizations and cases steadily decline in Chicago and at UIC (positivity rates have decreased to 0.6%), it is clear our safety measures are working. Our classrooms have not seen any known COVID-19 transmission, largely due to compliance with masking, vaccination and contact tracing. In addition, taking precautions such as not coming to campus if you are ill and have COVID-19 symptoms has helped maintain a healthy and safe campus environment.
Individuals are at greatest risk for COVID-19 exposure when gathering unmasked while eating and drinking.
The updated COVID-19 guidance includes:
All individuals on campus must remain masked indoors, regardless of vaccination status, including in classrooms. Exceptions are 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.
UIC continues to allow extracurricular events that bring together faculty, staff and students outside of regular job and classroom responsibilities. However, event attendees are no longer required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the event. Currently, the Chicago Department of Public Health requires evidence of vaccination for entertainment venues. UIC will continue this requirement at university-sponsored events, consistent with city guidance.
Eating and drinking is not permitted at university-sponsored events on or off campus. Any refreshments must be individually packaged for event attendees to take with them. Additional event guidance is online.
Traveling for essential university business to a CDC COVID-19 level 4 country no longer requires pre-approval by the vice chancellor for health affairs, provost or chancellor. Faculty, staff and students must continue to follow COVID-19 university travel guidance, including travel registration, pre- and post-travel counseling and/or testing, and unit/department head approval.
Thank you for your ongoing patience and cooperation in continuing to wear masks and adjusting and adhering to other COVID-19 precautions. We will update you as public health guidance and data continues to be revealed and the positive trends are confirmed in the weeks and months ahead.
Robert Barish, MD, MBA
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs
Susan Bleasdale, MD
Chief Quality Officer and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Quality & Patient Safety