UIC COVID-19 Guidance for Students
All students who plan to be on campus for the Fall 2021 semester will be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine if they are able to do so. We acknowledge that some individuals may have medical or religious reasons why they cannot be vaccinated. Students who obtain a COVID-19 vaccination exemption will be required to participate in the COVID-19 saliva testing program, UIC Healthcheck, and continue to wear a face covering on campus to participate in on campus activities, including classes.
If students do not follow these guidelines, such as not wearing a mask or not complying with testing requirements, they can be reported to the Dean of Students office via the COVID-19 Non-Compliance Reporting Form.
COVID-19 Student Requirements
I am already vaccinated...
All individuals who have been fully vaccinated (including those who received their vaccination through UI Health) can visit UIC Healthcheck and disclose their COVID-19 vaccination status.
Upon disclosing that you are fully vaccinated (at least 14 days since your final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine), you will no longer be required to participate in mandatory on-campus saliva testing and you will no longer need to complete a regular self-attestation through UIC Healthcheck. Your UIC Daily Pass will remain green.
Following your vaccination disclosure, you will receive an email with instructions on how to submit proof of vaccination.
If you were vaccinated outside of the U.S, your vaccine must be currently authorized for emergency use by either the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the World Health Organization (WHO), and then you will be considered fully vaccinated at UIC as long as you can provide documentation of vaccine receipt.
If the vaccine you took is not currently authorized for emergency use by either the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the World Health Organization, the CDC recommends you receive the full series of an FDA-approved vaccine. You can do so once you arrive in Chicago, as long as 28 have passed since your last dose of a non-WHO/non-FDA approved vaccine.
I am unvaccinated...
Students who are not vaccinated and do not qualify for an exemption will be able to complete their coursework through synchronous or asynchronous online courses, or by streaming and/or watching recordings of in-person courses. However, they will not be able to participate in any on-campus classes, activities or events, including courses with required in-person components. Students who cannot come to campus should immediately check with their instructors to determine whether:
- There are required in-person course components and/or examinations.
- Their class will be live-streamed and/or video recorded.
- There are other mechanisms to obtain course content.
And, using this information, students will need to decide whether it’s feasible for them to take that particular course in the Fall semester or consult with an advisor to determine the best possible route by which to continue their intended program of study.
All currently approved and available vaccines are safe and effective. We encourage you to get the COVID-19 vaccine to protect you and those around you from severe disease.
To get vaccinated, you can find COVID-19 vaccination appointments or walk-in hours at a location near you by visiting vaccines.gov.
You can also take advantage of free, convenient vaccination appointments that are available on campus. For more information about COVID-19 vaccination at UIC/UI Health or to make an appointment, visit vaccine.uihealth.care. If you have any questions about making a vaccine appointment, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am partially vaccinated...
If you are partially vaccinated (you have not yet received your final dose or it has not been 14 days since your final dose), you may participate in on-campus activities if you have a scheduled final vaccine dose and vaccination completion is imminent; however, you must continue to participate in on-campus COVID-19 saliva testing at least weekly, complete the daily UIC Healthcheck COVID-19 Self Monitoring Survey, and wear a face mask indoors. You may update your vaccination status through UIC Healthcheck after your final vaccine dose.
I want to request a medical/religious exemption...
In the interest of the health and safety of our entire UIC community, exemptions are limited to very specific medical exemptions with physician documentation and religious exemptions. To request an exemption, you must complete the proof of vaccination and exemption process online.
After submitting the online exemption, you may come to campus while following current requirements for unvaccinated individuals. This includes twice weekly saliva testing, completing the daily UIC Healthcheck, and wearing a mask. If there are questions or concerns with your submission, you will be contacted.
Please note that this process relates only to the COVID-19 vaccine and is not connected to the standard medical immunization requirements and exemptions handled by the Office of the Registrar and various colleges.
Clinical rotations and other off-site experiences may have additional requirements that are not met by this exemption process.
I received a medical/religious exemption...
Individuals who receive an exemption will be required to participate in on-campus COVID-19 saliva testing at least weekly, daily symptom monitoring via UIC Healthcheck, quarantine if exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, and continue to wear a face covering to participate in classes, activities or events on campus.
Do I need to wear a face covering on campus?
- Masking indoors is still required for everyone, regardless of your vaccination status. This includes 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.
- Individuals who are fully vaccinated are no longer required to wear masks outdoors on university property.
- Individuals who are not fully vaccinated are allowed to unmask outdoors on university property if traveling alone more than 6 feet from others.
- Scarves, bandanas, and gaiters are not to be worn on the UIC campus when a mask is required, as they do not provide the same level of protection as a face mask. For more information on face coverings, please refer to the CDC.
How do I get tested?
UIC has relied on regular COVID-19 saliva testing, daily health screening and contact tracing programs to minimize the spread of COVID-19 among our campus community.
Testing at least twice per 7-day period, 48 hours or more apart and daily UIC Healthcheck COVID-19 Self Monitoring is required for the following individuals:
- unvaccinated individuals who submitted a medical or religious exemption
- those who are partially vaccinated who have a scheduled final vaccine dose and vaccination completion is imminent. You may update your vaccination status through UIC Healthcheck after your final vaccine dose.
Testing locations are available on the east and west sides of campus. Learn more about COVID-19 saliva testing on campus.
You should NOT take the saliva based test,
- If you have symptoms of COVID-19.
- If you have had a positive COVID-19 test within the past 90 days. Testing positive another time within 90 days of a previous positive test does not mean that you are infectious to others again.
- If you have had a saliva test in the previous 48 hours.
What if I test positive for COVID-19?
- Do not come to campus.
- Students should use the online reporting tool for reporting COVID-19 symptoms, reporting exposures to a COVID-positive individual or if you have tested positive for COVID-19 anywhere but at UIC campus saliva testing, University Health Services or Student Health Services. UIC contact tracing will reach out to you rapidly with the correct guidance. It is very important that you report your positive test via the reporting tool so the contact tracing team can provide you guidance with compliance of campus requirements, such as saliva testing, moving forward.
- If you are attending classes on campus, students should fill out the Student Absence Verification Form to begin the faculty notification process. Students should contact their faculty to discuss assignments and the possibility of attending the course remotely. Please note that a faculty notification from the Dean of Students office is NOT a guaranteed excused absence. It is the student’s responsibility to work with their faculty on ways to move forward in their course.
- Isolate at home by staying in a separate room from other household members and use a separate bathroom, if possible. If you have to enter any shared spaces, you and others should wear a mask and physically distance, and also disinfect shared surfaces before and after use.
When do I use the COVID-19 Reporting Tool?
All students must use the COVID-19 reporting decision tool, regardless of vaccination status, if you have:
- a positive COVID-19 test,
- exposure to an individual with known or suspected COVID-19,
- if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms,
- if you have plans to travel out-of-state or country; this includes personal travel and students or scholars returning to or arriving for the first time in Chicago from out-of-state or abroad. UIC contact tracing will provide you with pre- and post-travel counseling, including whether or not you need to quarantine and test. Should you need to quarantine and miss in-person classes, UIC does not require you to provide any documentation to your instructor. You will need to communicate your absence to your instructor for public health reasons.
All individuals who meet the above criteria, regardless of vaccination status, will need to follow the guidance provided by the university’s contact tracing team.
What is the UIC contact tracing team?
The UIC contact tracing team is responsible for contacting students, faculty and staff who test positive using the COVID-19 saliva test, as well as those testing positive at University Health Services and Student Health Services, and those who self-report any other tests. 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 in need with campus and external resources to successfully complete isolation and quarantine.
UIC contact tracing will be in touch with anyone who receives a positive saliva test or submits a positive test result within 24-48 hours of their result or submission of their results online, respectively. They will then provide regular follow-up during a person’s isolation period. UIC contact tracing will inform these individuals when it is acceptable for them to leave isolation.
Why is contact tracing important?
A key component of contact tracing is to obtain a list of persons who may have been exposed to infected individuals. If an individual receives a positive test result it will be important to begin compiling a list of persons with whom they have been in direct physical or close contact, particularly if that involved close contact (within 6 feet for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period, and is regardless of mask-wearing). After assembling a list of contacts, UIC contact tracing will reach out by phone to any UIC employee or student who may have been exposed to an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 in order to provide support and guidance. Every effort will be made to keep the name of the infected individual confidential. Persons with significant exposures to the infected individual will be asked to quarantine based on current UIC quarantine policy.
Why do I have assigned seating in my classes?
Because of the importance that contact tracing plays in keeping our campus safe, your faculty may ask you to sit in assigned seats or assign you to a zone of seats to sit in while you are in the classroom. You may also be asked to record the names of students who are sitting in your vicinity each day. These measures will assist the contact tracing team in quickly identifying individuals who were in close contact should an individual in your class test positive for COVID-19. Those in close contact with the individual can then be tested and quarantined as needed. This information will prevent the need for testing all students and instructors in a class, and minimize the risk of an entire class having to move online and self-quarantine.
What if I do not comply with these guidelines?
- Students who are not wearing a mask will be asked to get a mask before returning to class. If the student refuses, then they will be asked by the instructor to immediately leave class and will be reported to the Dean of Students using the COVID-19 Non-Compliance Report.
- If a student refuses to wear a mask and refuses to leave the classroom this is considered student misconduct and will be reported to the Dean of Students using the Student Misconduct Incident Report Form.
- Students on campus who are unvaccinated (without vaccine exemption) OR who are in groups required to saliva test and do the daily Healthcheck and are not complying with these requirements will be reported to the Dean of Students via the campus monitoring system.
- In these cases, the Dean of Students will proceed as described in the Student Disciplinary Policy.
We acknowledge that some of these expectations may be difficult and ask individuals to behave in ways that may be unfamiliar. Yet, we know the UIC Flames family is up to the challenge. We care about you and we know that you care about one another. It will take all of us working together to keep our community safe. Together, we are confident that we can have a productive, meaningful and public health informed year together.
Stay safe. Care for yourself and others. We are proud of you.