General COVID Information
The University of Chicago COVID-19 Dashboard provides important information on the status of COVID-19 at the University and the health of the campus community. We will continue to update the dashboard throughout the summer with the number of cases detected through surveillance testing as well as cases reported to the University via C19HealthReport@uchicago.edu.
Visit the COVID-19 Testing Program page for the latest information.
Yes. All reports made to C19HealthReport@uchicago.eduof a UChicago community member who has been exposed to COVID-19 or tested positive are forwarded to the University’s Contact Tracing Team. A Contact Tracer is assigned to interview each individual with confirmed COVID-19 to determine if they have been in close contact with other members of the University community.
It is vitally important for all members of the University community to cooperate with the University’s Contact Tracing Team. Their work has been essential in limiting the spread of COVID-19 on campus.
Any faculty, other academic appointee, postdoctoral researcher, or staff member with a positive result from a test conducted by UChicago Medicine will be informed of their test by UCM, and will be provided with options for follow-up care. Students who test positive will be notified by and can receive follow-up care from UChicago Student Wellness.
Visit the UChicago Forward travel page for the latest information.
University COVID-19 Vaccination-Related Requirements
All University employees and students will be required to provide proof that they have received at least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized or approved by the FDA or WHO. You can find vaccination options near you at vaccines.gov. Employees in an N-12 or healthcare/patient-facing environment may be subject to separate requirements and will receive additional communication.
The COVID-19 vaccination requirement will help prevent serious illness from COVID-19 and contribute to a level of immunity within the University community. While vaccines do not remove the risk of infection, they have been shown to reduce the average severity of COVID-19 disease.
All University employees and students. Employees in an N-12 or healthcare/patient-facing environment may be subject to separate requirements and will receive additional communication.
A: Some COVID-19 vaccines include a primary sequence of two doses, including the vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Novavax. If you have completed the primary two-dose sequence for one of these vaccines, you meet the requirement whether or not you have received booster shots.
Other vaccines have a single primary dose, including the Johnson & Johnson Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. Individuals who have received the Janssen vaccine or other single-dose vaccines should receive an additional dose, or booster, in order to meet the requirement. The CDC recommends that “all people ages 18 and older who received a single-dose Janssen primary series should receive a booster dose at least 2 months (8 weeks) after completing their Janssen primary series. An mRNA COVID-19 vaccine is preferred over the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for booster vaccination.”
- Anyone who does not upload proof of receiving two vaccine doses will be required to participate in weekly COVID-19 testing if they are coming to a Chicago-area facility for any reason and at any frequency. In general, unvaccinated individuals no longer need to request an exemption from the vaccine mandate, though they are required to take part in weekly testing. People who are working remotely or taking classes remotely still must request an exemption for testing based on their remote status.
- Booster shots beyond the initial two vaccine doses will not be a University requirement; however, the University strongly recommends that individuals continue to receive vaccine boosters as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- If you have not been able to receive a vaccine authorized or approved by the FDA or WHO, you should do so as soon as possible upon arriving in the United States. Vaccine availability from local providers can be found on vaccines.gov. Students can also receive a COVID-19 vaccine and booster at UChicago Student Wellness. Visit the CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters webpage for their recommendations on booster shots.
- Our goal is to help prevent serious illness from COVID-19 and contribute to a level of immunity within the University community. We are fortunate that most University employees and students already have received initial rounds of vaccination, as well as booster shots. The vaccine requirement will help ensure that most members of the University community have a minimum level of protection against the virus. Those who have not uploaded proof of receiving two doses are required to take the extra precaution of weekly testing to help prevent spread if infection does occur.
Testing FAQs – General Information
Systematic, ongoing testing of unvaccinated asymptomatic individuals is designed to help the University understand the prevalence of COVID-19 on campus, isolate those who are positive, and trace close contacts, all of which will help limit the spread of infection on campus.
The testing programs will utilize a saliva-based PCR COVID-19 test. During their visit, participants will be asked to provide 1-2 ml of saliva into a specimen vial. The test is self-performed and free to participants and all costs will be covered by the University.
For the Symptomatic Testing Program administered by UCM, a PCR nasal swab test will continue to be used. You will need your insurance information available in order to schedule an appointment for symptomatic testing. You will not receive a bill from UCM or pay anything out of pocket when these services are provided. However, your insurance may be responsible for paying whatever is covered under your policy. Therefore, we still require you to provide your insurance information when receiving symptomatic COVID-19 testing-related services.
Participants should refrain from eating, drinking, chewing gum, using tobacco products, or using oral hygiene products for 60 minutes prior to a testing appointment. We recommend drinking water 60 minutes prior to your appointment to ensure your hydration. If the provided saliva sample is determined by the laboratory to be contaminated, then participants will need to return to the test site for another test.
Your entire appointment, including the sample collection process, should take less than 10 minutes to complete.
You should bring your UChicago ID.
Yes. To participate in any of the testing programs you must sign a consent form and a HIPAA authorization, which permit the release of your results to the University and the UCM. Please note: All participants, regardless of whether they signed similar forms for the 2020-21 academic year, must complete new forms for the 2021-22 academic year. Students under the age of 18 will need to have their legal guardian sign their consent form to complete registration.
The consent and HIPAA authorization describe the applicable testing program(s) in which you will enroll – Mandatory Surveillance Testing, Voluntary Surveillance Testing, and/or Symptomatic Testing – and the procedures that you will be required to follow as a participant in those programs. The consent and HIPAA authorization also describe information that is collected about you, with whom that information is shared, and the purposes for which it is used (e.g., contact tracing).
New for 2021-22: Negative results for those in the Mandatory and Voluntary Surveillance Testing programs can be found on the my.WellnessPortal, which is separate from UChicago Medicine’s MyChart. Positive results will also be available on the portal, but you will also be contacted by phone with any positive results as well as next steps.
For those who are tested through the Symptomatic Testing Program administered by UChicago Medicine and Student Wellness, results can be found on your MyChart account and those with positive results will also be contacted by phone with your result as well as next steps. Students will be contacted by UChicago Student Wellness, while all faculty, other academic appointees, postdoctoral researchers, and staff will be contacted by a member of the COVID-19 Testing Program.
Typically, within 48 hours.
- For those participating in the Mandatory, Voluntary Surveillance, or Exposure programs, in addition to notification through the my.WellnessPortal, you will be notified by phone by Student Wellness or a COVID-19 Testing Program staff member if you have a positive result and be provided next steps.
Individuals under an isolation or quarantine directive should not report for testing in the Mandatory or Voluntary Testing Program for the duration of their isolation or quarantine and for 90 days following the positive test result.
For those participating in the Symptomatic Testing Program will be notified through MyChart.
Any member of the University community living off campus who tests positive or has close contact with a known COVID-19 case will be advised to stay in their home during the period of isolation or quarantine. Students living off campus will also have telehealth access to on-campus physicians at UChicago Student Wellness.
Any member of the University community who receives a positive test result must notify C19HealthReport@uchicago.edu of their test result.
Additional Information and resources on COVID-19 benefits for employees can be found on the Human Resources website.
The UChicago COVID-19 Testing team, and either UCM or another testing provider engaged by the University, will report your results to the University, which will use the results to regularly appraise the health of our community and adjust plans accordingly. If your test is positive, it will also be reported to the University’s Contact Tracing team. If you are a student, your results will be sent to UChicago Student Wellness so they can help you with any medical needs you may have. UCM or the University will also report results to federal, state, and/or local public health authorities as required by law.
If you are an employee and receive a positive test result, your result, including your name, will be shared with your supervisor. If you are a student and you test positive, your positive test result, including your name, may also be shared with your area Dean of Students and other faculty, other academic appointees, and staff who need to know your identity to assist you while you are required to isolate and make sure you are taking precautions to keep yourself and others healthy. In all circumstances, the University will instruct its personnel to keep your identity confidential to the extent possible. However, there may be cases in which the University determines that it is necessary to disclose your identity to prevent harm to you or others. For example, if you have roommates, the University may also provide your identity to them. The University may also be required by law in some cases to disclose your identity to public health authorities, government agencies, or others. In such cases, the University may disclose your identity as it determines is appropriate. In some cases, even if the University does not reveal your name or other identifying information, others may be able to infer your identity based on the circumstances.
If you are under the age of 18, the University will also contact your parent(s) or legal guardian(s). In that case, the University will disclose your identity and your test results.
No, the University will be utilizing a specially trained team of employees who will complete contact tracing for all reported positive tests occurring within the University community.
You should email C19Testing@uchicago.edu.
Members of the surrounding community who are symptomatic or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 have access to UCM’s curbside testing program and must provide their insurance information to be scheduled for a screening. You will need to provide your insurance information to schedule a screening. Insurance will be billed; however, there will be no bill from UCM or out of pocket expense even if your insurance does not cover the testing or requires a copay. For additional information please visit the UCM COVID-19 Information and FAQs website.
Regular surveillance testing is one important part of the University’s layers of precautions to limit the potential spread of COVID-19, which have been designed by infectious disease experts at the University of Chicago Medicine. But no single measure alone is sufficient.
That’s why adherence to a layered approach with many precautions is essential. At UChicago, the other layers include enforcing requirements around vaccinations, face coverings, and performing contact tracing as soon as any cases emerge; preparing for isolation needs, including a residence hall staffed and equipped for on-campus isolation housing; performing cleaning in classrooms every day; and other precautions.
Our infectious disease experts have concluded that weekly testing accompanied by swift contact tracing and isolation is the best and most reasonable testing plan for UChicago right now. We will closely monitor the pandemic as it evolves and are prepared to change course if needed, regarding testing or any other aspect of our precautions.
If you are symptomatic or are exposed to COVID-19, your participation in the Mandatory Surveillance Testing Program will be paused until you are released from quarantine. If you test positive, your participation in the Mandatory Surveillance Testing Program will be paused for 90 days. People who have recovered from COVID-19 often continue to have positive tests even though they are no longer contagious. If you are scheduled to participate in the Mandatory Surveillance Testing Program, and you have tested positive for COVID-19 at any point in the 90 days prior to the day you are scheduled for your first test in the UChicago program, you should provide such evidence to the attention C19Testing@uchicago.edu.
The University can provide testing to members of the UChicago community who require proof of a negative COVID-19 prior to international travel at no cost. Testing is conducted through the UChicago COVID-19 Voluntary Surveillance Testing Program and uses a Nucleic Acid Amplification (NAAT) real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test. Please ensure that this test meets the requirements of your destination.
Testing will take place at the Ryerson Physical Laboratory, Suite 155, located on the main quadrangle at 1100 E. 58th Street. Appointments are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Test results are available within two days. Individuals should review the testing requirements of their destination to ensure their appointments are within the allowable time frame for testing before travel and allow sufficient time for results to be released. (If the time frame requires you to be tested on a weekend, contact C19Testing@uchicago.edu for assistance.)
Students and employees may schedule appointments via my.WellnessPortal. To request tests for other individuals, such as family members of international students, email C19Testing@uchicago.edu with details of the request. You should also email C19Testing@uchicago.edu if your destination requires additional information (such as your passport number) included with your test result.
Anyone not already enrolled in the UChicago COVID-19 Mandatory or Voluntary Surveillance Testing Programs must complete the voluntary consent form here prior to being tested.
Mandatory Surveillance Testing Program
Members of the campus community (students, faculty, other academic appointees, postdoctoral researchers, and staff) who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and who will be in University facilities in the Chicago area for the 2022-23 academic year are required to participate.
- Members of the Mandatory Surveillance Testing population—members of the campus community who are not vaccinated and those living in residence halls—must complete and sign consent and HIPAA authorization forms, and schedule their test through the my.WellnessPortal.
For students, staff, and their families moving into the residence halls, you will get tested on your first day of arrival to campus (or shortly thereafter) even if you are fully vaccinated. In some cases, the University may determine that additional ad-hoc testing of on-campus residents is appropriate, such as before moving in or in connection with events with higher risk of exposure or rising community positivity rates. Individuals will be notified of such additional testing requirements by Housing and Residential Life leadership.
If you will be in University facilities in the Chicago area at any frequency and you are not vaccinated, you will be tested on a weekly basis on a day and at a time you select when registering. You will be able to reschedule your testing day and time in the WellnessPortal, but you must still be tested once each week.
- The testing program will operate on the Hyde Park campus, in the Ryerson Physical Laboratory, Suite 155, located on the main quadrangle at 1100 E. 58th Street and operates Monday through Friday from 9a.m. until 4:00p.m. Individuals should access the Ryerson Physical Laboratory test site via the ground-level entrance located between Eckhart Hall and the Ryerson Physical Laboratory (East Entrance).
Participants requiring ADA Access may use the West ADA entrance of Eckhart Hall and follow signage to access Ryerson Physical Laboratory.
Yes. Participants will schedule a specific day and time to be tested every week when they register through the my.WellnessPortal. Participants will be able to change their appointment times and dates via the self-service capabilities in the portal. Please note that if you are unable to be tested at your regular appointment time, your required to contact the testing program team at C19Testing@uchicago.edu or reschedule through the portal, subject to testing program availability.
All testing locations have been carefully reviewed by the University and UCM team taking into consideration proper social distancing, ventilation, and privacy concerns. Specimen collection is expected to take no more than 10 minutes, and proper PPE will be required for the staff at all testing locations, as appropriate.
All costs for administering the Mandatory Surveillance Testing Program are covered by the University. All tests are free and insurance information will not be utilized. See below for information regarding the Symptomatic Testing Program.
The test is a self-performed saliva test. Members of the COVID-19 Testing team will assist participants with the sample collection at the testing locations. Samples are transported by a medical courier to the contracted laboratory for processing and reporting of results.
Individuals who miss, or know they will miss, their normal testing appointment should reschedule their appointment in the my.WellnessPortal, taking care to comply with the weekly frequency requirement. Anyone unable to be meet their testing requirements for a specific week should contact C19Testing@uchicago.edu and advise the testing program staff of the situation.
If you test positive, your participation in the Mandatory Surveillance Testing Program will be paused for 90 days. People who have recovered from COVID-19 often continue to have positive tests even though they are no longer contagious. If you are scheduled to participate in the Mandatory Surveillance Testing Program, and you have tested positive for COVID-19 at any point in the 90 days prior to the day you are scheduled for your first test in the UChicago program, you should provide such evidence to the attention C19Testing@uchicago.edu.
- Members of the campus community who are considered fully vaccinated, as long as they do not live in University Housing may opt out of the Mandatory Surveillance Testing programs once they are considered fully vaccinated. Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving a second dose of a . Note: if you are up to date with your vaccination and receive a positive test result, isolation requirements according to public health guidance will continue to apply regardless of your vaccination status.
Voluntary Surveillance Testing Program
- University students, faculty, other academic appointee, postdoctoral researchers, and staff members who meet the following criteria qualify
- Will be on the Hyde Park campus or another Chicago-area facility and
- Has not tested positive for COVID-19 in the 90 days prior to your test .
The testing program will operate on the Hyde Park campus, in the Ryerson Physical Laboratory, Suite 155, located on the main quadrangle at 1100 E. 58th Street and operates Monday through Friday from 9a.m. until 4:00p.m. Individuals should access the Ryerson Physical Laboratory test site via the ground-level entrance located between Eckhart Hall and the Ryerson Physical Laboratory (East Entrance).
Participants requiring ADA Access may use the West ADA entrance of Eckhart Hall and follow signage to access Ryerson Physical Laboratory.
COVID-19 testing is available on a voluntary basis. There is no need to commit to weekly testing.
The voluntary testing program is primarily intended to provide testing as often as once per week for those who choose to participate. More frequent testing may be limited by scheduling and availability. Some individuals have sought tests on successive days, which is generally not possible because PCR test results can take a day or longer to obtain.
No additional parking will be designated for the testing locations.
To apply to participate in the testing program, complete the consent and HIPAA authorization forms created specifically for this testing program. You must complete them, even if you completed similar forms in the past. Both forms can be accessed, completed, and submitted on the REDCap registration website. Required forms must be completed prior to your first appointment. Students under age 18 must have their legal guardian sign their consent form to complete registration.
To schedule a test, log in to the my.WellnessPortal. Through this portal, participants can:
Schedule or reschedule testing appointments (subject to testing program availability)
View information on testing appointments
View results of completed COVID-19 tests
Testing appointments will be set for specific times. (This is different from the 4-hour testing windows used last year.) Participants will be able to change their testing appointment day and time via self-service capabilities in the testing portal, subject to appointment availability. If you have difficulty scheduling a test, you can contact the testing program at C19Testing@uchicago.edu.
All testing locations have been carefully reviewed by the UCM and University Facilities Services teams to ensure that proper social distancing, ventilation, and privacy. Specimen collection is expected to take no more than 10 minutes, and proper PPE will be required at all testing locations by the testing program staff, as appropriate. Screenings will take place at scheduled timeframes to help control density.
All costs for administering the Voluntary Surveillance Testing Program are covered by the University with no cost to participants. Insurance information will not be requested or required.
The test is a self-performed saliva test. Members of the COVID-19 Testing team will be present to assist with medical questions and verify samples after collection. Specimens are transported to a third-party laboratory for processing and reporting of results.
Individuals may reschedule their testing appointment through the my.WellnessPortal.
If you test positive, your participation in the Voluntary Surveillance Testing Program will be paused for 90 days.If you are scheduled to participate in the Voluntary Surveillance Testing Program, and you have tested positive for COVID-19 at any point in the 90 days prior to the day you are scheduled for your first test in the UChicago program, you should provide such evidence to the attention of C19Testing@uchicago.edu.
SYMPTOMATIC & EXPOSURE TESTING
If you do not have symptoms but have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, you may arrange a test through the University’s exposure testing program. Asymptomatic exposure testing is located at the Ryerson Physical Laboratory (Monday through Friday). This testing program is open to students and employees even if you are not a current participant in either the Mandatory or Voluntary Surveillance Testing Programs. Learn more.
All costs for administering the Exposure Testing Program are covered by the University with no cost to participants. Insurance information will not be requested or required.
The test is a self-performed saliva test. Members of the COVID-19 Testing team will be present to assist with questions and verify samples after collection. Specimens are transported to a third-party laboratory for processing and reporting of results.
Yes. After calling to be scheduled for a screening, you will be emailed consent and HIPAA authorization forms that you must sign in order to release your results to the University and to UCM.
If you are symptomatic and need a test:
Students and employees with a UChicago Medicine MyChart account can login to complete a virtual screening. Based on the results of the screening, you may be eligible to schedule an appointment for a drive-up or walk-in swab PCR test at UCM’s Hyde Park curbside clinic.
Visit the City of Chicago’s website for alternative symptomatic testing locations.
Experts recommend that if you are symptomatic and receive a negative result from antigen/rapid test (including at-home tests), you should still also take a PCR test, which has a lower chance of giving false negative results. It is possible for a symptomatic individual to receive a negative antigen/rapid test result and subsequently test positive with a PCR test days later.
UChicago Masking Policy
The University of Chicago has transitioned to mask optional for much of campus, including classrooms and University shuttles.
In light of recent elevated COVID-19 metrics on campus and in the City of Chicago, and Chicago’s Community Risk Level being changed to “medium” last Friday, the University is recommending that individuals wear a mask in indoor settings when others are present.
While the decision to mask is your own, we ask that you carefully consider this extra precaution in shared indoor settings, including offices, classrooms, and public transportation, as part of our efforts to help prevent further increases in cases. UChicago Medicine is maintaining its own masking policies.
In consultation with experts at UChicago Medicine, most classroom settings are mask optional.
While the decision to mask is your own, we ask that you carefully consider this extra precaution in shared indoor settings such as classrooms, as part of our efforts to help prevent further increases in cases. Instructors and students can request accommodations related to masking requirements or COVID-19. See questions 12 and 13 in this section.
Note – Some units will continue to set their own masking policies. UChicago Medicine will maintain its own masking policies, and those policies will be followed by active clinicians in the Biological Sciences Division and clinical settings in the BSD related to healthcare.
Yes. Masks are still required in some settings and may be used voluntarily in others. The University recommends always keeping a mask with you for such situations.
No. While anyone may ask others to wear masks, starting April 4 no one is obligated to do so in classrooms, and individual instructors may not set masking policies for classes. Instructors with medical conditions may seek accommodations related to COVID-19 precautions through the reasonable accommodation process.
No, masks are not required in classrooms during non-instruction periods or for other activities that are separate from scheduled classes.
UChicago Medicine will maintain its own masking policies. Active clinicians in the Biological Sciences Division and clinical settings in the BSD related to healthcare will continue to follow UChicago Medicine’s policies. In keeping with the City of Chicago’s continuing mask mandate for health care settings, additional requirements may apply in certain areas of the Student Wellness Center and in the COVID-19 Testing Sites at Walker Museum and the Gleacher Center. The Laboratory Schools and UChicago Charter School will communicate separately about their masking policies.
Following the lifting of federal mask mandates for airplanes and other travel, the State of Illinois ended the requirement for people to wear masks on public transportation. As a result, people are no longer required to wear masks on University of Chicago shuttles, in addition to the end of the mandate on CTA and Metra vehicles. While masks will no longer be required, we encourage individuals to continue to wear masks voluntarily in crowded spaces such as public transportation. The CDC continues to recommend that people wear masks in all indoor public transportation settings.
Organizers of certain convenings, such as large indoor performances attended by the public, may seek an exception to the University’s mask-optional policy in order to require audiences to wear face coverings. Exception requests will be granted on a case-by-case basis, with most indoor convenings on campus remaining mask-recommended at this time. See the Guidance for University-sponsored Meetings and Convenings on the UChicago Forward website for more information.
Some convenings, including live theater performances, may be subject to city, state, or union standards that require audiences to wear masks.
Yes, though there is no obligation to wear or remove a mask in settings where masks are optional. During this time of transition, we ask that everyone be courteous of others and respect each other’s choices and requests.
While the decision to mask is your own, we ask that you carefully consider masking as an extra precaution in shared indoor settings, including offices, classrooms, and public transportation, as part of our efforts to help prevent further increases in cases.
No. Units and programs may not otherwise require masks or designate spaces for masking.
Accommodation requests by staff should be directed to Employee and Labor Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Academic accommodations for students with documented disabilities are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Students seeking accommodations should contact Student Disability Services. The University is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to qualified students with disabilities.
No. The same masking requirements apply to visitors and others on campus.
Yes – this is each person’s individual responsibility, rather than a requirement. Individuals who are unvaccinated or not up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering over the nose and the mouth at all times while in University buildings, with the following limited exceptions:
Private spaces – An unvaccinated individual may remove their face covering if they are in a private room/office alone with the door closed.
Eating and Drinking – An unvaccinated individual may remove their face covering to eat or drink so long as they maintain six feet of social distance from others.
Yes. See the Mandatory Testing Program page for more details.
Yes. UChicago’s exposure protocol, based on guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, require that people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have been released from isolation after 5 days must wear face coverings at all times around others until day 10. Individuals who are known close contacts of someone with COVID-19 must wear a face covering around others for 10 days from the date of their last contact with someone with COVID-19.
The University will continue to follow guidance from experts at UChicago Medicine as well as the Chicago Department of Public Health, regarding any subsequent changes to masking mandates.
No. We will communicate any other changes to University policies individually and as needed.