Working Together to Protect our Community and Advance our Academic Mission

Community Programs and Engagement

This group analyzed guidelines and timelines for the return of University personnel and related research and education functions, and determined how it would affect the University’s community-facing programs, community engagement, and associated communications strategies, all while working to protect the health of our surrounding community.

Community Support

The University of Chicago is committed to supporting the vitality and strength of Chicago, and the South Side in particular.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, the University quickly adapted, reimagining existing community programs to continue supporting its neighboring communities and residents at an uncertain time. To learn about civic engagement programs and initiatives that have moved to virtual formats to continue serving the city and South Side, visit

The University also launched several new initiatives to support our extended South Side community during the pandemic. Starting in March of 2020, the University’s Community Support Initiative helped address the urgent food security needs of South Side residents. Community Support also provided emergency and, later, ongoing support for small businesses and community-based nonprofits navigating a landscape shaped by pandemic and growing economic challenges.

In partnership with the Greater Chicago Food Depository and, later, local caterers and catering companies, the University funded and oversaw preparation and distribution of more than 300,000 meals to residents in need across the University’s nine-community footprint on the South Side. Additionally, UChicago  provided more than $800,000 in emergency bridge grants to help over 200 South Side small businesses, including 27 University tenants;$400,000 in emergency bridge grants and capacity-building assistance to help 79 local nonprofits. Through virtual programming from the University’s startup hub, the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the Community Programs Accelerator, and other initiatives, local small businesses and nonprofits also received ongoing support to help them adapt to a new reality.

In August, the University launched the UChicago Stand Together initiative which builds on the University’s work to help Chicago students gain admission to, pay for, and thrive in college. The initiative offers specialized help for students from Chicago Public Schools and area charter schools as they navigate the college search and application process virtually.

There area variety of ways for community residents to tap into University programs. To stay informed about those opportunities, as well as online events, subscribe to University’s civic engagement newsletter here.

Return to Campus

The University held a community update on our campus reopening plans on September 17.  University leaders shared information on campus safety protocols designed to contribute to a successful, healthy, and safe return to campus, as well as the safety of the broader South Side community. They also shared how lessons learned from other higher education institutions influenced UChicago’s planning, highlighted key metrics that are being monitored and shared publicly, and described how community programs have and are being adapted to operate safely throughout the school year, among other topics.

Please revisit this webpage for future updates.

Please revisit this webpage for future updates.

COVID-19 Community Resources

General COVID-19 Resources

  • UChicago Medicine COVID-19 Testing Locations and Resources: This UChicago Medicine page offers relevant phone numbers, links, hours, directions, and other resources for local residents in need of COVID-19 testing information.
  • City of Chicago Coronavirus Response Center: This site maintained by the City of Chicago provides up-to-date city and state COVID-19 case numbers, information about prevention measures, what to do if you’re sick, how to get tested, and reopening guidance, in addition to daily Facebook and Twitter Live Q & As with Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, access to the Chi COVID Coach mobile app, and other tools.
  • The Illinois Department of Public Health Coronavirus Disease Resource Page: Illinois residents can find COVID-19 symptoms, treatment, and testing information; frequently asked questions; regional metrics; state vaccination plans; school and travel guidance; maps; a COVID-19 dashboard; and links to watch daily COVID-19 press conferences on this site operated by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
  • City of Chicago Contact Tracing Information: Information about how Chicago COVID-19 contact tracing works, how residents can become contact tracers, and how community-based organizations and clinical partners are taking part in local contact tracing efforts is available on this City of Chicago page.
  • South Side Weekly COVID-19 South Side Community Resource Guide: This comprehensive guide compiled by nonprofit newspaper South Side Weekly includes links and resources related to free and low-cost South Side clinics, pharmacy delivery, COVID-19 test sites, mental health support, community group efforts, food, kids, unemployment and sick leave, housing, utilities and city debt, legal aid, relief funds and mutual aid efforts, and other services.

Health Resources

Tech and IT Resources

Small Business and Jobs Resources

Resources for Community Organizations

  • Free PPE for Community Organizations: Contact Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corp (GAGDC) at infoline@gagdc.orgor call 773-358-3487

 Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I see the latest number of COVID-19 UChicago cases and tests?
The UChicago COVID-19 Dashboard is updated regularly and provides important information on the status of COVID-19 at the University and the health of the campus community.
How can the community report off-campus students who are violating COVID-19 regulations?
The UCAIR Incident Reporting System is open to the public. The system can be used to report any concerns about COVID-19 related public health violations (including anonymously, if preferred), such as:

*   Concerns about PPE usage
*   Concerns about social distancing and density
*   Concerns about cleaning and disinfection
*   Concerns about individuals at work who should not be
*   Any other COVID-19 related public health concern

This is NOT the process for reporting any potential COVID-19 exposures or confirmed cases. For these types of reports, please email


Who is in the Community Programs and Engagement planning group?
Name Unit
Derek Douglas (lead) Office of Civic Engagement
Alicia Berg Facilities Services
Amar Parikh (staffing) Office of Civic Engagement
Caroline Grossman Rustandy Center
Chris Skrable Chicago Studies/The College
Christina Angarola Office of Civic Engagement
Cynthia Okechukwu Office of Legal Counsel
E.J. Reedy Polsky Exchange
Franklin Cosey-Gay Chicago Center for Youth Violence Prevention
Gretchen Crosby Sims Institute of Politics
Jackie Stewart Arts + Public Life
Julie Krause University Events
Kenton Rainey UChicago Police Department
Michael Harvey (staffing) Office of Civic Engagement
Mike Hayes Campus & Student Life
Neli Fanning Physical Sciences Division
Rob Chaskin Social Service Administration
Shaz Rasul Office of Civic Engagement
Tristé Smith Office of Civic Engagement
Veronica Hauad Office of Admissions
Wendy Williams Office of Civic Engagement
Will Howell Harris School of Public Policy

If you have been exposed to or test positive for COVID-19, promptly report to, even if you have not been on campus.