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.edu regarding 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.
University COVID-19 Vaccination-Related Requirements
We are grateful that the vast majority of University employees and students have received at least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. Members of the community are no longer required to upload proof of their vaccination to the University’s portal. We strongly recommend staying up to date on CDC vaccine recommendations, including the guidance that people 12 years and older should receive an updated booster that targets the more recent Omicron subvariants. This is also a good opportunity to get an annual flu shot. The University plans to offer a small number of vaccine booster clinics on campus this fall, in part to help students and others with limited access to off-campus vaccine locations.
Testing FAQs – General Information
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 2021-22 academic year, must complete new forms for the 2022-23 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 information that is collected about you, with whom that information is shared, and the purposes for which it is used (e.g., contact tracing) and the procedures that you will be required to follow as a participant in those programs.
Negative results for those in 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 (or your UChicago email address if phone number has not been provided) 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 UC Medicine.
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.
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.
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 .
Please note: This program is distinct from the Mandatory Surveillance Testing Program, which is required for all employees and students who are not vaccinated.
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. Required forms must be completed prior to your first appointment. The forms are available on the my.WellnessPortal. Students under age 18 must have their legal guardian sign their consent form to complete registration, email C19Testing@uchicago.edu for PDF versions of the forms.
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.
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, no one is obligated to do so in classrooms, and individual instructors may not set masking policies for classes.
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 Ryerson Test Site. 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. 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.