Working Together to Protect our Community and Advance our Academic Mission

FAQs

General COVID-19-Related Information

1. What is the University’s plan for Autumn Quarter 2021?

As announced by President Zimmer and Provost Lee on March 29, the University is planning for a full resumption of activities on campus by the start of the new academic year in September.

The University shared public health precautions for return to campus for the academic year on August 26.

2. Will the University report COVID-19 cases that occur in the campus community?

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.

3. Will the University continue to provide COVID-19 testing throughout the summer?

Testing is available to all members of the University campus community who are experiencing symptoms or have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. 

For the 2021-22 academic year, the weekly COVID-19 testing is required for anyone who is not vaccinated. The Mandatory Surveillance Testing Program will begin in September. Weekly COVID-19 testing will be available to fully vaccinated individuals on a voluntary basis. Details on enrollment for the Voluntary Surveillance Testing Program will be available in September. 

Visit UChicago Forward for more information.

4. Will University contact tracing continue throughout the summer?

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. 

For more information, visit the UChicago Forward website.

5. What treatment is available for those who test positive for COVID-19?

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

6. What is the University’s current travel policy?

The University has revised its COVID-19 travel restriction, effective June 15, 2021, to allow for greater responsibility in units to assess travel requests by faculty, other academic appointees, postdoctoral researchers, staff, students, and visitors to campus (e.g., for recruitment) to account for improved conditions in many parts of the United States and internationally.  All University-supported travel still requires review and approval by the appropriate authority named in the updated policy.  The updated policy also provides new guidance on what constitutes University-supported travel.

For more information, visit the UChicago Forward travel page.

University COVID-19 Vaccination-Related Requirements

1. Will the University require students to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19?

Starting with Autumn Quarter 2021, the University of Chicago will require all students participating in University in-person classes, employment, research, or other University-sponsored programs or activities in the U.S. to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 unless they have an authorized exemption.

2. Are University employees required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19?

The University expects every University employee to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 unless they have applied for and have been granted a medical or religious exemption.

University employees who have not yet uploaded proof of their vaccination status must, by October 15, take one of the following steps:

  • Upload proof of full vaccination by following these steps, OR
  • Apply for a medical or religious exemption by using these forms and submit for approval, OR
  • Employees who are still in the process of being vaccinated must upload a copy of their vaccine appointment confirmation using the same steps as would be used to upload COVID vaccine documentation and enter the anticipated dates for each dose. Once fully vaccinated, employees must use the same steps to upload final vaccination documentation. Employees who are in the process of being vaccinated must receive their second dose by October 29.
3. Will others on campus (contractors, affiliates, visitors, and volunteers) be expected to be vaccinated?

The University encourages everyone to be vaccinated at their earliest opportunity.

  • Contractors and Suppliers: The University expects certain University contractors and suppliers working in University facilities to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 unless they cannot do so because of a medical or religious reason. This has been communicated to the contractors and suppliers with employees working in any University facilities who are subject to this requirement. (“University facilities” include all owned or leased buildings with University offices, laboratories, classrooms, libraries, cafes, residence halls, museums, performance spaces, or other University facility in Hyde Park and the Chicago area, including the Howard T. Ricketts Laboratory in Lemont, Illinois. Excluded from this definition are the National Laboratories and property leased to third parties by the University’s Commercial Real Estate Operations.)
  • Visitors: Visitors may be asked to provide proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test as a condition of admission to certain convenings on and off campus, as may be required by the venue or event organizer.

We will provide details in the near future on requirements for other non-employees who will be on campus.

4. What vaccines will be accepted?

Any COVID-19 vaccine authorized for use by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or by the World Health Organization (WHO) will be accepted. For a list of authorized vaccines, see question #5 below.  

5. Which vaccines have been authorized for use by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the World Health Organization (WHO)?

At this time, the following vaccines have been authorized by the FDA or WHO, under emergency use authorization/listing, or full authorization in the case of Pfizer/BioNTech, and will satisfy the University’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement:

• AstraZeneca (WHO)
• Covishield/Serum Institute of India (WHO)
• Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (FDA)
• Moderna (FDA)
• Pfizer/BioNTech (FDA)
• Sinopharm (WHO)
• Sinovac (WHO)

This list will be updated as other vaccines are authorized.

6. Where can students and employees receive a vaccination?

There are many options for vaccination appointments and the availability of appointment times from many providers has been increasing. These opportunities include:

  • UChicago Medicine– Thanks to increased availability of COVID-19 vaccines, UChicago Medicine is able to vaccinate all Chicago residents 12 and older. Call 773-834-8221 to make an appointment. Adult patients with MyChartaccounts also may schedule appointments through MyChart.
  • UChicago Student Wellness– Students can make an appointment online through the WellnessPortal (click on “Check-In or Schedule an Appointment” > “Medical Appointments” > “Health Maintenance” > “COVID Vaccine”).
  • Chicago Vaccination Finder– The City of Chicago has a website with multiple options for scheduling vaccinations, including information on pharmacies with vaccination programs and options outside of Chicago. The City site also contains information about Zocdoc, which has partnered with the city to streamline vaccine access.
7. Will individual University offices be expected to gather vaccination information?

No. Individual offices should not set up their own processes or ask individuals about their vaccination status.

8. How will vaccination data be used?

A limited number of staff will have access to vaccination data to confirm compliance with University requirements designed to help protect the health and safety of our campus and neighboring communities. The information will be maintained in accordance with all applicable laws and public health regulations.

Given the experience of UChicago Student Wellness in the University’s vaccination efforts including its ongoing role in verifying student immunization compliance, Student Wellness will play a lead role in verifying compliance with the University’s vaccine requirement.  Individuals’ vaccination data is stored in a HIPAA-compliant medical record system.

9. How have the available vaccines been tested for safety and efficacy?

The three vaccines that have received either full approval or emergency use authorization (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration all have undergone thorough testing for safety and efficacy in large clinical trials. Each trial enrolled between 28,000 and 44,000 people before the vaccines received EUA status. The vaccines were found to be highly efficacious in preventing COVID-19 infections and recent data suggest that a vaccinated individual has a greatly diminished ability to transmit the virus if exposed.

Over 369 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through August 30, 2021. Many people have reported only mild side effects and to date, the systems in place to monitor the safety of the vaccines have found that serious side effects are rare. For more information about vaccine safety, visit the CDC’s website.

10. What are the expectations for time intervals between doses for two-dose vaccines?

For individuals who received a two-dose vaccine, we expect the dosing interval to be consistent with CDC guidelines. However, if your dosing interval is outside these recommendations, we still encourage you to submit your documentation. UChicago Student Wellness is coordinating the University-wide vaccination registry processes. Your records will be reviewed by the UChicago Student Wellness medical team, and if there is concern, they will contact you.

11. What does it mean to be “fully vaccinated”?

Being fully vaccinated means two weeks after a two-dose vaccine or two weeks after a one-dose vaccine. Students and employees should not upload their documentation until two weeks after they have received all doses of their vaccine.

Employee Vaccination Information

1. How is the University updating its vaccine requirement for employees?

To help ensure the highest possible vaccination rate at the University, all University employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 unless they have applied for and have been granted a medical or religious exemption. There will no longer be an option for employees who do not receive an exemption to participate in weekly testing in lieu of vaccination.

2. Why is the University taking this step?

This requirement is to ensure the highest possible vaccination rate at the University. It strengthens our existing employee vaccination policy, which was announced on July 13. We are taking these steps to reinforce precautions against COVID-19 in light of risks such as the Delta variant, and to support plans for a full resumption of in-person activities. We are also monitoring and learning from the experiences with COVID-19 on other university campuses this fall and taking appropriate steps to limit the spread of the virus here, while upholding UChicago’s distinctive approach to education, research, and intellectual life.

3. On what date does the mandate take effect?

To meet this requirement, University employees who have not yet uploaded proof of their vaccination status must, by October 15, take one of the following steps:

  • Upload proof of full vaccination by following these steps, OR
  • Apply for a medical or religious exemption by completing and submitting the corresponding form, OR
  • Employees who are still in the process of being vaccinated must upload a copy of their vaccine appointment confirmation using the same steps as would be used to upload COVID vaccine documentation and enter the anticipated dates for each dose. Once fully vaccinated, employees must use the same steps to upload final vaccination documentation. Employees who are in the process of being vaccinated must receive their second dose by October 29.
4. What if an employee is still in the process of getting fully vaccinated by the deadline?

Employees who are still in the process of being vaccinated must upload a copy of their vaccine appointment confirmation using the same steps as would be used to upload COVID vaccine documentation and enter the anticipated dates for each dose. Once fully vaccinated, employees must use the same steps to upload final vaccination documentation. Employees who are in the process of being vaccinated must receive their second dose by October 29.

5. What exemptions can employees apply for?

There are limited exemptions for individuals who apply for and are granted a medical or religious exemption. In limited circumstances, employees who work in fully remote positions may be eligible for a temporary exemption.

6. How can employees apply for an exemption?

Employees can apply for a medical exemption by completing the medical exemption form; apply for a religious exemption by completing the religious exemption form; or apply for an temporary exemption on the basis of working fully remotely by completing the remote work form. Submit the completed form to c19exemptionrequest@uchicago.edu. Employees who apply for an exemption will be notified whether their application has been approved.

7. Will employees who receive an exemption need to participate in mandatory COVID-19 testing and observe masking requirements?

Yes. Any University employee working on campus or at a University facility in the Chicago area who receives an exemption or is in the process of being vaccinated will continue to be required to participate in the University’s weekly COVID-19 testing program and wear a mask in University facilities.

8. What are the possible consequences for employees who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine and have not been approved for an exemption?

Employees who have not taken the steps required for compliance may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

9. Do employees who have had COVID-19 need to be vaccinated? What are the additional requirements/ precautions for them?

Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, and who do not have another approved exemption, will still need to comply with the University’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement. Exemptions apply for unvaccinated employees who have tested positive within the 90-day window prior to October 15. To apply for this exemption, employees must email their COVID-19 test results to c19exemptionrequest@uchicago.edu .

In limited circumstances, employees who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 may request a modification of the 90-day exemption – see the medical exemption form for more details. Such requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and additional documentation will be required, including proof of a prior COVID-19 test result.

The University is following current guidance from UChicago Medicine for employees who have previously tested positive for COVID-19. If an employee has had COVID-19 in the past 90 days, they will need to postpone vaccination until that 90-day window has elapsed, if electing to be vaccinated through UChicago Medicine. If they are still symptomatic and infectious, they should postpone vaccination until they are well and no longer contagious. Also, anyone treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent therapy in the past 90 days should postpone vaccination until after the 90-day window has passed.

Employees will be required to be vaccinated when this exemption expires if there are no other approved exemptions. After the 90-day window and until the employee is fully vaccinated (two weeks after the second of a two-dose vaccine series or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine), employees will be subject to weekly testing and may be required to follow additional mitigation measures.

The University may adapt this guidance as more information becomes available.

10. How will exemption information be used?

A limited number of individuals will have access to exemption applications. The information will be maintained in accordance with applicable laws.

11. Can an employee request a reevaluation of their exemption request if it is denied?

Exemption decisions cannot be appealed. If an employee has new information, they may submit it for consideration.

12. If I have further questions about the exemption process, whom should I contact?

Please email c19exemptionrequest@uchicago.edu with any questions about the exemption process.

13. How can employees access mental health resources?

The Staff and Faculty Assistance Program offers confidential support and counseling for University personnel.

Student Vaccination Information

1. Does the vaccination requirement apply to all students?

The requirement applies to all students participating in University in-person classes, research, or other University-sponsored programs or activities in the U.S. This includes undergraduate, graduate, professional school, and non-degree students. There are limited exemptions, as detailed in question #9 below.

2. Why is the University requiring students to be vaccinated?

The requirement will strengthen the University’s ability to protect the health and safety of our campus and neighboring communities. Research indicates universal COVID-19 vaccination for UChicago students will contribute to greater immunity, reduce the risk of sudden clusters of COVID-19 on campus, and help protect members of our community who are at the highest risk of developing serious illness from the virus. This is particularly true for students who are often in close contact with one another and often live in shared spaces with multiple students. The student vaccine requirement thus will significantly assist the University in safely resuming in-person education, research, and co- and extra-curricular activities.

For more information, please see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Science Brief and information for people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

3. When is the deadline to submit documentation?

Students participating in any University in-person or on-campus activity that began in June, July, or August 2021 were required to show proof of full vaccination by August 1. This included early-arrival fall athletes and anyone in classes, labs, pre-matriculation, pre-orientation, orientation, University-sponsored trips, or other programs.

All other students were required to show proof of full vaccination by September 1, 2021.

4. Does the University require students to receive other vaccines?

Yes. The State of Illinois requires students entering post-secondary educational institutions to show proof of immunization against a number of diseases. The University complies with these requirements, and the experience of administering and confirming those requirements for students has informed the University’s approach to the COVID-19 vaccine requirement.

5. When should students who do not have access to an FDA- or WHO-authorized vaccine receive an FDA vaccine?

Students who do not have access to an FDA- or WHO-authorized vaccine are advised to consider getting a vaccine that is available to them, according to local public health guidance and with direction from their doctor. This may afford protection prior to coming to campus for Autumn Quarter.

According to CDC guidance, people who received all or some of the recommended doses of a COVID-19 vaccine that is neither authorized by the FDA nor listed for emergency use by the WHO may also complete an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine series. The minimum interval between the last dose of a non-FDA authorized vaccine or a non-WHO-listed vaccine and an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine is 28 days.

The University is committed to facilitating access to vaccines for students when they arrive in the U.S./on campus. When making vaccination decisions, please keep in mind UChicago Medicine is currently offering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Students can request a vaccine appointment by emailing UChicago Student Wellness at studentwellness-notification@uchicago.edu. Please provide your phone number, eight-digit student ID number (if you have one), and if you are not currently on campus, please indicate the date you anticipate arriving on campus. Staff will contact you to arrange an appointment time.

6. What if I received a vaccine that is not authorized by the FDA or the WHO? Do I need to receive an FDA- or WHO-approved vaccine before I come to campus?

The WHO is currently evaluating several additional vaccines and may approve some of them in the coming months. If you received a vaccine that was not approved by the WHO at the time you received it, you do not need to receive an alternate vaccine before traveling to campus. If by the time you arrive on campus that vaccine is still not approved by the WHO and you still have not received a WHO- or FDA- approved vaccine, you will need to receive an FDA-approved vaccine on campus.

If the vaccine you received is approved for use from the WHO by the time you arrive on campus, that vaccine will meet the University’s requirement and you will not need to receive another vaccine at that time. If you have questions about this, please email studentwellness-notification@uchicago.edu and UChicago Student Wellness staff can provide guidance.

7. Where can I find information about how to comply with the COVID-19 vaccine requirement?

Full details can be found on the UChicago Student Wellness immunizations page. Students should not upload their documentation until two weeks after they have received all vaccine doses.

8. What are the consequences of not complying with the vaccine requirement (for students)?

Students who are not vaccinated and do not have an approved exemption are not compliant with the University’s requirement, and therefore will be subject to non-compliance measures including restrictions on course registration. Further, students who have not been vaccinated or do not have an approved exemption will not be authorized to come to any University campus, grounds, or facilities, or participate in University-sponsored in-person classes, research, or other activities (whether on campus or off campus) after their vaccination deadline. Students with approved exemptions will be required to participate in the University’s surveillance testing program until fully vaccinated and may be required to follow additional mitigation measures. Additional implications may vary by division and school.

University facilities include all owned or leased buildings with University offices, laboratories, classrooms, libraries, cafes, residence halls, museums, performance spaces, or other University facility in Hyde Park, Chicago and the Chicago area, and the Howard T. Ricketts Laboratory in Lemont, Illinois.  This does not include the National Laboratories and does not include property leased to third parties by the University’s Commercial Real Estate Operations.

9. Are there exemptions to the student COVID-19 vaccine requirement?

There are exemptions to the vaccine requirement, as follows:

Medical and religious exemption: these forms can be found on the UChicago Student Wellness immunizations webpage and must be submitted through the my.WellnessPortal.

Students who recently tested positive for COVID-19: these students can receive a 90-day exemption from the vaccine requirement by emailing a copy of their test results to studentwellness-notification@uchicago.edu. After this 90-day period, students will be required to comply with the COVID-19 vaccine requirement and participate in the University’s surveillance testing program until fully vaccinated and may be required to follow additional mitigation measures. In limited circumstances, students who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 may request a modification of the 90-day exemption. Students who wish to apply for such a modification must complete the Prior COVID-19 Exemption Form and email it to studentwellness-notification@uchicago.edu. Requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and additional documentation will be required, including proof of a prior COVID-19 test result.

Remote study/research: students who are not returning to campus or participating in any University-sponsored in-person class, research, or activity may request an exemption on a quarter-by-quarter basis. This can be found on the UChicago Student Wellness website and must be emailed to studentwellness-notification@uchicago.edu. The availability of remote study should first be discussed with your dean of students.  Submission of this form is intended as an attestation that a student will not be coming to campus during a particular quarter. Submission and approval of this exemption form does not mean that remote coursework is an available option for a particular program.

 

 

 

10. What are the additional requirements/precautions for students who are not yet fully vaccinated?

Unvaccinated students with an approved exemption, or who are in the process of being fully vaccinated, will be subject to weekly testing and may be required to follow additional mitigation measures. Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 within 90 days are not subject to weekly testing.

Students who have not been able to get vaccinated due to limited supply in their home countries will be able to be vaccinated on campus. Students in this circumstance will need to follow the same weekly testing protocol as students who have exemptions until they are fully vaccinated (two weeks after a two-dose vaccine series or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine). The University will provide more information later this summer on the additional precautions required, including the details on the weekly asymptomatic surveillance testing program.

Students can request a vaccine by emailing UChicago Student Wellness at studentwellness-notification@uchicago.edu. Please provide your mobile phone number, eight-dight student ID number, and if you are not currently on campus please indicate the date you anticipate arriving on campus.  Staff will contact you to arrange an appointment time.

11. How do I inform the University that I have initiated the process of being vaccinated?

For students who have started the process of being vaccinated on campus through UChicago Student Wellness, Student Wellness staff will make a notation in their medical record so that those students can be registered for weekly surveillance testing until fully vaccinated.

Students who are in the process of being vaccinated off campus should email a copy of their vaccine appointment confirmation to studentwellness-notification@uchicago.edu.  Students will be contacted to get registered in the surveillance testing program.

12. Do students who have had COVID-19 need to be vaccinated? What are the additional requirements/precautions for them?

Students who have tested positive for COVID-19, and who do not have another approved exemption, will still need to comply with the University’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement. Exceptions apply for unvaccinated students who have tested positive within the 90-day window prior to the start of their on-campus activities for Autumn Quarter. To apply for this exemption, students must email their COVID-19 test results to studentwellness-notification@uchicago.edu​.

In limited circumstances, students who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 may request a modification of the 90-day exemption. Students who wish to apply for such a modification must complete the Prior COVID-19 Exemption Form and email it to studentwellness-notification@uchicago.edu. Such requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and additional documentation will be required, including proof of a prior COVID-19 test result.

The University is following current guidance from UChicago Medicine for students who have previously tested positive for COVID-19. If a student has had COVID-19 in the past 90 days, they will need to postpone vaccination until that 90-day window has elapsed, if electing to be vaccinated through UChicago Medicine. If they are still symptomatic and infectious, they should postpone vaccination until they are well and no longer contagious. Also, anyone treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent therapy in the past 90 days should postpone vaccination until after the 90-day window has passed.

Students will be required to be vaccinated when this exemption expires if there are no other approved exemptions. After the 90-day window and until the student is fully vaccinated (two weeks after a two-dose vaccine series or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine), students will be subject to weekly testing and may be required to follow additional mitigation measures. The University will provide more information later this summer on the additional precautions required, including details on the weekly asymptomatic surveillance testing program.

The University may adapt this guidance as more information becomes available.

13. What is the process for international students to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and show proof of vaccination?

International students who have received a COVID-19 vaccine authorized for use by the FDA or the World Health Organization (WHO) can submit proof of vaccination to the University.

If an international student arrives in the United States and has not yet been vaccinated or has received a vaccine that has not been approved by the WHO by the time they arrive on campus, the University will facilitate access to an FDA-authorized vaccine when they arrive on campus. Please note that students may be subject to additional travel restrictions/requirements as designated by local authorities. Students will also be subject to weekly testing and may be required to follow additional mitigation measures until they have been fully vaccinated.

Students can make an appointment online through the my.WellnessPortal (click on “Check-In or Schedule an Appointment” > “Medical Appointments” > “Health Maintenance” > “COVID Vaccine”

14. Does the vaccine mandate apply to students who are not coming to the U.S. this academic year?

The vaccine mandate the University announced applies to students entering the U.S. this academic year. Specific guidelines and requirements for students participating in University in-person classes, research, or other University-sponsored programs or activities outside of the U.S. will be provided in separate communications. We strongly encourage all members of the University community to be vaccinated at their earliest opportunity.

15. My vaccine documentation is not in English? How do I get it translated?

Records must include all relevant information (name, date of birth, vaccine manufacturer, location and dates of dose administration) in English.  The University does not offer a translation service or provide referrals for specific companies. Suggestions for how to find a reliable translation service can be found on the Office of International Affairs website.

16. Who can I contact if I have questions?

If you have additional questions, please email studentwellness-notification@uchicago.edu with your question(s) and include your phone number and eight-digit student ID number.  Employees should include their UChicago email address and their UChicago ID (which can be found on the back of your University ID card). We will be able to address your inquiry more efficiently via email, and we will call you if we need further information.  Forms and detailed instructions are also available on our immunizations webpage.

Testing FAQs – General Information

1. What is the University's approach for testing the campus community for COVID-19?

The University of Chicago is maintaining a three-part COVID-19 testing program for the 2021-22 academic year, designed to identify and isolate both symptomatic and asymptomatic infection. This testing approach is based on guidance from UChicago Medicine (UCM) and other public health authorities and includes:

  • Mandatory Surveillance Testing – required weekly testing for all members of the University community who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and will be in a University facility in the Chicago area; additionally, testing may be required for fully vaccinated individuals living in University Housing for events with an increased risk of exposure, including but not limited to testing upon move-in. In the event additional testing is required, individuals will be informed of the requirement(s) by University Housing leadership.
  • Voluntary Surveillance Testing – weekly testing for vaccinated students, faculty, other academic appointees, postdoctoral researchers, and staff who will regularly visit campus or another Chicago-area University site and who have volunteered to participate in this testing program.
  • Symptomatic Testing – required testing for those with symptoms of COVID-19 or who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.
2. Who qualifies for testing or should get tested?
  • If you are a member of the campus community (including a student, faculty member, other academic appointee, postdoctoral researcher, staff member, or resident in University housing) and are experiencing symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive with COVID-19, you should contact UCM or UChicago Student Wellness for screening and testing in UChicago’s Symptomatic Testing Program, if directed to do so after screening. (Individuals experiencing symptoms may also contact their own medical providers if they do not wish to be screened and tested through the University’s Symptomatic Testing Program.)
  • If you are a member of the campus community and you are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and you will be in University facilities in the Chicago area at any frequency, you are required to be a part of our Mandatory Surveillance Testing Program. In addition, all those living residence halls, including faculty, staff members, and their families living in University housing, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to participate in ad-hoc testing as part of our Mandatory Surveillance Testing Program, including testing upon move-in.
  • Fully vaccinated students, faculty, other academic appointees, postdoctoral researchers, or staff who will regularly be at a University location in the Chicago area and can commit to regular testing may opt in to the University’s Voluntary Surveillance Testing Program.
3. Why is UChicago doing regular testing of individuals who do not have COVID-19 symptoms?

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.

4. What type of COVID-19 test does UChicago perform?

New for 2021-22: Beginning in Autumn Quarter 2021, the Mandatory and Voluntary Surveillance Testing programs will utilize a saliva-based 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 and Student Wellness, 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.

5. Why is UChicago switching to saliva-based tests?

Saliva-based tests allow for self-collection. Improvements in the accuracy of saliva-based tests make it a good option for asymptomatic surveillance testing.

6. What do I need to do differently for the saliva-based test?

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.

7. How long will the test take?

Your entire appointment, including the sample collection process, should take less than 10 minutes to complete.

8. What will I need to bring with me to my test?

You should bring your UChicago ID.

9. When does testing begin?

Mandatory Surveillance Testing will begin the week of September 13 but may vary depending on your return to campus date, and the enrollment process.  The Voluntary Surveillance Testing program is expected to open for applications from new participants in October 2021 with more information provided in September 2021.

10. Do I need to sign a consent to participate in testing?

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.

11. What do the consent and HIPAA authorization say?

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).

12. Where can I find the consent forms?

The Mandatory Surveillance Testing consent form is located here

The Voluntary Surveillance Testing consent form is located here

13. Where do I find my results?

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.

14. How quickly will I be notified of my results/my results become available?

Typically, within 48 hours.

15. What happens if I test positive?

For those participating in the Mandatory or Voluntary Surveillance 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. Additionally, individuals with a positive test result will be contacted by the UChicago Contact Tracing team to help understand the risk of exposure to other individuals.

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, in addition to notification through MyChart, you will be notified by phone if you have a positive result and be provided next steps. Students will be notified by UChicago Student Wellness; all other staff and faculty will be notified by a UCM medical professional or his/her designee.

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 and receive regular check-ins from our clinical staff.

Any student, faculty member, other academic appointee, postdoctoral researcher, or staff member who receives a positive result from a test conducted through the University testing program will be provided with instructions for follow-up care. Additional Information and resources on COVID-19 benefits can be found on the Human Resources website.

Any member of the University community who receives a positive test result through a clinic, office, or laboratory not affiliated with the University of Chicago must notify C19HealthReport@uchicago.edu of their test result.

16. Who will have access to my test results?

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.

17. Does the University require us to download a contact tracing app, and if so, which one?

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.

18. Who should I contact if I have any questions or issues related to COVID-19 testing?

You should email C19Testing@uchicago.edu.

19. Do members of the broader Hyde Park-area community have access to COVID-19 testing?

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.

20. Why are participants in the testing programs getting tested once each week and not more frequently?

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.

21. Will I continue in the Mandatory or Voluntary Surveillance Testing Programs if I test positive?

Participation in the Mandatory or Voluntary Surveillance Testing Program will be paused for students, faculty, other academic appointments, postdoctoral researchers, and staff who test positive for a period of up to 90 days after testing positive for COVID-19. People who have recovered from COVID-19 often continue to have positive tests even though they are no longer contagious.

The testing program staff will work with participants to pause weekly testing and to re-schedule the testing when appropriate to resume. If during the period of suspension, any faculty member, academic appointee, postdoctoral researcher, or staff member experiences symptoms, they must call the UChicago Medicine COVID-19 triage hotline for screening and testing, at 773.702.2800. Students must call UChicago Student Wellness at 773. 834.WELL.

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 C19Testing@uchicago.edu.

Mandatory Surveillance Testing Program

1. How do I sign up for the Mandatory Surveillance Testing Program?

Members of the Mandatory Surveillance Testing population—members of the campus community who are not fully vaccinated and those living in residence halls—are automatically registered for the testing program but must complete and sign consent and HIPAA authorization forms and sign up for their account in the my.WellnessPortal. These items must be completed prior to moving into the residence hall and arrival on campus.

2. How often do I get tested?
  • 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 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 fully 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.
3. Where does Mandatory Surveillance Testing take place?

The testing program will now operate in the Walker Museum, Suite 309, located on the main quadrangle at 1115 E. 58th Street. The test site can be accessed in two ways:

  • Main entrance: Take the stairs to the third floor and turn right to enter the test site.
  • Elevator/ADA entrance: Enter via the ground-level entrance located between Rosenwald Hall and the Walker Museum. Take the elevator or stairs to the third floor, then turn left and continue down the hallway to enter the test site.

We are in the process of exploring other testing depots in the Chicago-area and will provide additional details about this soon for those who may need it.

4. Do I get tested at the same time and location every week?

Yes. Participants will schedule a specific day and time to be tested every week when they register through the my.WellnessPortal. Unlike last year, COVID-19 testing appointments will be set for specific times instead of 4-hour testing windows. 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.

5. How many people will be present at the time of the test? Will it be scheduled in a way that allows for appropriate social distancing?

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.

6. What are the repercussions for not participating in the Mandatory Surveillance Testing Program?

Testing is required for members of the campus community who are not considered fully vaccinated in addition to those living in residence halls (on an ad hoc basis). If you do not comply with the testing program, you will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including prohibition from accessing campus buildings or any University facility, and/or unpaid leave or termination of employment for employees.

7. Is there a cost?

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.

8. Who performs the test?

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.

9. What happens if I miss my testing appointment?

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.

10. If I have symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19 should I still attend my regularly scheduled Mandatory Surveillance Testing Program appointment?

No. You should self-isolate and call to schedule a screening through our Symptomatic Testing Program. Students should contact UChicago Student Wellness at 773.834.WELL. Those working at UCM or within the BSD could call 773.702.6819. All other members of the university community should call the UCM triage hotline at 773.702.2800.

If you are symptomatic, test positive, or are exposed to COVID-19, your participation in the Mandatory Surveillance Testing program will be paused until you are released from isolation or quarantine.

11. Will I continue in the Mandatory Surveillance Testing Program if I test positive?

Participation in the Mandatory Surveillance Testing Program will be paused for students, faculty, other academic appointees, postdoctoral researchers, and staff who test positive for a period of 90 days after testing positive for COVID-19. People who have recovered from COVID-19 often continue to have positive tests even though they are no longer contagious.

The testing program staff will work with participants to suspend weekly testing and to re-schedule the testing when appropriate to resume. If during the period of suspension, any faculty member, academic appointee, postdoctoral researcher, or staff member experiences symptoms, they must call the UChicago Medicine COVID-19 triage hotline for screening and testing, at 773.702.2800. Students must call UChicago Student Wellness at 773.834.WELL.

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.

12. Will or should I continue in the Mandatory Surveillance Testing Program if I receive a vaccine?

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 a two-dose vaccine or two weeks after a one-dose vaccine.

Note: if you are fully vaccinated and receive a positive test result, isolation requirements according to public health guidance will continue to apply regardless of your vaccination status. If you think you are considered fully vaccinated based on the information above, do not live in University Housing, and would like to opt-out of the Mandatory Testing Program, contact C19Testing@uchicago.edu.

Voluntary Surveillance Testing Program

1. Who qualifies for the Voluntary Surveillance Testing Program?

Interested students, faculty, other academic appointees, postdoctoral researchers, or staff who are considered fully vaccinated and who are present on the Hyde Park campus or a University facility in the Chicago area on a regular basis and can commit to weekly testing for the duration of Autumn Quarter may qualify for the Voluntary Surveillance Testing Program. Note: if you are fully vaccinated and receive a positive test result, isolation requirements according to public health guidance will continue to apply regardless of your vaccination status.

2. When does testing begin?

The Voluntary Surveillance Testing program is expected to open enrollment to new participants in October 2021. Information about the enrollment process and timeframe will be provided in September 2021.

3. How do I sign up to be a part of the Voluntary Surveillance Testing Program?

Members of the University community will be sent registration details prior to the start of Autumn Quarter 2021.

4. How long do I need to commit to being a part of the Voluntary Surveillance Testing Program?

Voluntary Surveillance Testing will continue through Autumn Quarter for individuals who will frequently be on campus or another University facility in the Chicago area and can commit to regular weekly testing; however, those who will be away from campus periodically during the quarter are still eligible to be tested during the weeks that they are on campus. You can request make-up tests, changes to your test schedule, or opt-out at the test site or by contacting C19Testing@uchicago.edu.

5. Where does testing for the Voluntary Surveillance Testing Program take place?

The testing program will now operate in the Walker Museum, Suite 309, located on the main quadrangle at 1115 E. 58th Street.  The test site can be accessed in two ways:

  • Main entrance: Take the stairs to the third floor and turn right to enter the test site.
  • Elevator/ADA entrance: Enter via the ground-level entrance located between Rosenwald Hall and the Walker Museum. Take the elevator or stairs to the third floor, then turn left and continue down the hallway to enter the test site.

We are in the process of exploring other testing depots in the Chicago area and will provide additional details about this soon for those who may need it.

6. Is parking available at the testing site?

No additional parking will be designated for the testing location.

7. How many people will be present at the time of the test? Will it be scheduled in a way that keeps those being tested separated from others?

All testing locations have been carefully reviewed by the UCM and University Facilities Services team 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.

8. Is there a cost?

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. See below for information regarding the Symptomatic Testing Program.

9. Who performs the test?

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.

10. What happens if I am away from the Chicago area when I am scheduled to be tested?

Individuals may reschedule their testing appointment through the my.WellnessPortal.  If you are unable to commit to regular weekly testing, contact C19Testing@uchicago.edu to withdraw from the Voluntary Surveillance Testing Program.

11. If I have symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19 should I still attend my regularly scheduled Voluntary Surveillance Testing Program appointment?

No. You should self-isolate and call to schedule a screening. Students should contact UChicago Student Wellness at 773.834.WELL. Those working at UCM or within the BSD could call 773.702.6819. All other members of the university community should call the UCM triage hotline at 773.702.2800.

If you are symptomatic, test positive, or are exposed to COVID-19, your participation in the Voluntary Surveillance Testing program will be paused until you are released from isolation or quarantine.

12. For employees who are part of the voluntary testing program, will the time away from work for the weekly testing be considered paid time?

Yes. While the test should only take about 10 minutes each week, the time for the test as well as time getting to and from the testing location will be considered part of employees’ paid time. Employees who are part of the voluntary testing program should notify their managers of their testing schedule test to arrange for any necessary coverage.

13. Will I continue in the Voluntary Surveillance Testing Program if I test positive?

Participation in the Voluntary Surveillance Testing Program will be suspended paused for students, faculty, other academic appointments, postdoctoral researchers, and staff who test positive for a period of up to 90 days after testing positive for COVID-19. People who have recovered from COVID-19 often continue to have positive tests even though they are no longer contagious.

The testing program staff will work with participants to suspend weekly testing and to re-schedule the testing when appropriate to resume. If during the period of suspension, any faculty member, academic appointee, postdoctoral researcher, or staff member experiences symptoms, they must call the UCM COVID-19 triage hotline for screening and testing, at 773.702.2800. Students must call UChicago Student Wellness at 773.834.WELL.

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 Testing Program

1. How do I get tested if I have symptoms or have had a close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19?

Any faculty member, other academic appointee, postdoctoral researcher, or staff member who is experiencing symptoms or has been identified as a close contact of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 may call the UCM COVID-19 triage hotline for screening and testing, at 773.702.2800. Students should call UChicago Student Wellness at 773.834.WELL.

2. Is there a cost?

You will need to provide your insurance information to schedule a screening. You will not receive a bill from UCM or pay anything out of pocket when these services are provided. However, your insurance company may be responsible for paying whatever is covered under your policy. Therefore, we still require you to provide your insurance information when receiving COVID-19 testing-related services. For additional information please visit the UCM COVID-19 Information and FAQs website.

3. Who performs the test?

The University of Chicago Medicine (UCM).

4. Will my test results be shared with University contact tracers?

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 have been exposed to or test positive for COVID-19, promptly report to C19HealthReport@uchicago.edu, even if you have not been on campus.