Return to campus reminders and booster shot requirement
Dear students, faculty and staff,
As we continue to adapt to the changing conditions of COVID-19, we want to provide some important reminders and updates, including a systemwide booster requirement, to ensure a safe and smooth transition for the spring semester. Most students start the semester with two weeks of online instruction beginning Monday. It is imperative that students check the registrar’s website for a list of classes and labs that will meet in-person during this period.
While this remains a very dynamic situation and additional measures may need to be taken as we continue to follow the science along with federal, state and local guidance in charting our response to the pandemic, we expect all classes to resume in person Monday, Jan. 24.
All UIC students, faculty and staff have a role to play in adhering to our community standards and guidelines to support academic continuity while sustaining campus operations amid continuous transitions due to the pandemic. The health and safety of our community depends on the actions of all of us. If you are ill, experiencing cold- or flu-like symptoms, do not come to campus or attend class.
As you likely saw in today’s message from the University of Illinois System, all students, faculty and staff are required to receive a COVID-19 booster shot once they are eligible. This guidance will be implemented consistent with the legal rights of unionized employees. Already strongly recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the booster shot requirement adds to our multi-layered approach to maximize the safety of our UIC community while continuing to realize our mission of learning, teaching and innovating.
Please upload your proof of booster to Healthcheck. If you have already submitted initial vaccination verification, you will be prompted to submit the location, date and type of booster. After submitting and upon receiving a follow-up email, please continue to follow the steps to upload your updated vaccination card.
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 COVID-19 in the last 90 days, you are not required to receive a booster shot until after 90 days from your infection.
- University of Illinois Hospital and Clinics will provide separate guidance for hospital employees.
CAMPUS RE-ENTRY TESTING
Re-entry testing is required for all members of the UIC community, including those who are fully vaccinated and boosted, if you are coming to campus or engaging in academic or clinical activities or field placements off-campus.
Given the limited availability of testing in the Chicago area and across the country at this time, we have adjusted our approach and now strongly recommend that you take advantage of on-campus saliva testing within 72 hours of your first visit to campus for work or study to fulfill your re-entry testing requirement. If you test outside of UIC, information on how to upload testing results will be shared next week. Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days do not have to test to return to campus if you reported your results through the UIC COVID-19 Reporting Tool.
What if your re-entry test is positive?
On-campus positive testing results are automatically reported. If you test positive for COVID-19 at a non-UIC testing location, please report your result via the UIC COVID-19 Reporting Tool. The UIC contact tracing team will reach out to those who test positive using on-campus saliva testing as well as those who self-report off-campus test results. 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 with campus and external resources to successfully complete isolation and quarantine.
- Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated students with an approved medical or religious exemption are required to test twice per 7-day period, 48 or more hours apart.
- All students, faculty and staff in residential housing and performing arts are required to test once per 7-day period, regardless of vaccination status.
- Student athletes will continue to follow testing directives from UIC Athletics.
- All students, faculty and staff are encouraged to utilize on-campus saliva testing at any time. On-campus saliva testing is designated as an approved event (UIC HR Policy 805-03 and University of Illinois Policy and Procedures Rules 11.12).
- All students, faculty and staff will be asked to participate in periodic surveillance saliva testing when contacted by email. This surveillance testing initiative will help to quickly identify and closely monitor the prevalence of infection in our community.
- Attendance at in-person events on campus will require proof of a negative COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen) within 72 hours of the gathering. If you test on campus, COVID-19 testing results are available in your MyChart account.
The best form of defense against COVID-19 transmission is masks. Masking will continue to be 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.
The university recommends using two-layer cloth (utilize the filter insert, if applicable), KN95 or procedural masks to cover your mouth and nose at all times. Also, consider double masking to provide a snugger fit. Single-ply masks, neck gaiters, and masks with exhaust valves are not acceptable masks on campus.
Thank you for your collective efforts and patience in adjusting and adhering to spring semester protocols and best practices that will allow us to keep all our communities healthy and safe. As always, we will continue to closely monitor public health guidance, and we will keep you informed should there be additional changes.
Best wishes for a healthy and successful 2022.
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