Saliva testing and COVID-19 updates
Dear faculty, staff and students,
As we approach the completion of another successful in-person semester, you should be aware of a few COVID-19 updates for the summer and fall.
First and foremost, COVID-19 vaccines continue to be the most effective protection against serious illness, hospitalization and death. With more than 95% of our campus community vaccinated, UIC continues to be a safe environment for in-person learning and working.
Local and national data is continuously assessed to make informed decisions for the health and safety of our community. Based on the current situation, we are adapting and refining some of our tools and processes.
Masks continue to be required in classrooms, lecture centers, research labs, the libraries and learning/success centers, health care settings, and on UIC shuttles and buses. Masks will also be required at spring commencement ceremonies. Masking in all other settings is strongly recommended based on current levels of community transmission. We will evaluate masking guidance over the summer and provide an update when guidance changes.
Masks continue to be a useful tool in the prevention of COVID-19. In settings where masking is recommended, it is a choice based on personal assessment of risk when to unmask. The use of masking is encouraged and supported and should be respected by all members of the UIC community.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have placed a high priority on COVID-19 testing to lessen the spread of disease. Effective May 9, UIC will transition to the SHIELD Illinois saliva-based test at Student Center East, Student Center West and the Behavioral Sciences Building, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. We first utilized this test on campus in January to provide additional test capacity during the omicron surge. This transition will allow the UIC testing program to be more flexible and scalable as we go forward. (Those who work within UI Health will continue to utilize UIC saliva testing.) The SHIELD Illinois test is similar to the current UIC saliva test with a few exceptions:
- Faculty, staff and students will be able to pick up a sample collection kit that can be used at your convenience and dropped off where it was picked up. Samples should be dropped off within 4 hours of collection.
- Test results will be available using SHIELD Illinois’ “Point and Click” system within 48 hours. You must create an account to view your results. Test results will no longer be available in UI Health MyChart.
- Make sure to not eat, drink, clean your mouth, use tobacco/vape products or an inhaler in the 60 minutes prior to your test.
- Learn more about SHIELD Illinois. If you have questions about your test, contact the SHIELD Illinois patient hotline at 217-265-6059.
Mandatory COVID-19 testing continues to be 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.
- Students in performing arts, once per 7-day period, to allow for unmasked educational performances.
- Student-athletes should follow testing directives from UIC Athletics.
- Hospital employees should follow testing requirements provided by UI Health.
Faculty, staff or students who test positive for COVID-19 at a non-UIC testing location should report test results using the UIC COVID-19 Reporting Tool. Test results from on-campus saliva testing locations will be automatically reported to UIC contact tracing.
Healthcheck and Daily Pass
The UIC Healthcheck and Daily Pass tools will no longer be used on campus, effective May 9.
- Healthcheck will not be required for reporting health status, nor will it be used to disclose COVID-19 vaccination status. Moving forward, student immunization records are managed by the Office of the Registrar, and employee vaccination requirements are managed by University Health Service.
- The Daily Pass, commonly referred to as the badge, will no longer be needed for entry to specific buildings on campus, including the libraries.
It is strongly recommended to mask at all events at this time. Eating and drinking at events should be done in seated areas away from others outside one’s household or social circle.
COVID-19 university travel guidance
The university requires faculty, staff and students traveling for essential university business domestically and internationally to obtain prior approval from their unit head. Depending on the travel destination, travelers may be required to register their travel plans with UIC contact tracing. Up-to-date guidance and the form required for unit head approval are available online.
UIC COVID-19 updates will be available on the UIC today website and will no longer be distributed through the weekly Circle Back to Campus e-newsletter, effective May 9.
Please remember to stay home if you are ill or have COVID-19 symptoms. Your continued attentiveness to this important safety measure will help to protect your classmates and colleagues.
Robert Barish, MD, MBA
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs
Susan Bleasdale, MD
Chief Quality Officer and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Quality & Patient Safety