COVID-19 Voluntary Surveillance Testing Winter Quarter Registration (Jan. 11, 2021)

From: Katie Callow-Wright, Executive Vice President of the University and Chief of Staff in the Office of the President
Subject: Opportunity to enroll in COVID-19 Voluntary Surveillance Testing Program for Winter Quarter

The University of Chicago is reopening registration for its COVID-19 Voluntary Surveillance Testing Program beginning today, Monday, January 11, for those who are not already part of one of the University’s COVID-19 surveillance testing programs. We encourage anyone in the University community who will regularly be on site at a Chicago-area University facility during Winter Quarter to register for this weekly testing program. (If you already enrolled in the program in the fall, you do not need to take additional action to participate this quarter.)

Weekly COVID-19 surveillance testing is a critical part of our efforts to limit the spread of the virus.  Testing continues to be mandatory for students living on campus and for varsity athletes, and the voluntary surveillance program is an important component of monitoring the health of the broader University population. For Winter Quarter, we are expanding eligibility for the voluntary program to include any members of the University community who plan to regularly be at a Chicago-area University facility during the quarter. (Please note, all testing will continue to be conducted in Hyde Park.)

You can apply to participate in the COVID-19 Voluntary Surveillance Testing Program through Friday, January 15, or until the program reaches capacity, if that is sooner than Friday.

Participant Requirements

If you would like to apply to be part of the Voluntary Surveillance Testing Program (and are not already a participant in either the voluntary or mandatory surveillance testing program), you must be a University student, faculty member, other academic appointee, postdoctoral researcher, or staff member who meets the following criteria:

  • Will regularly be at a University location in the Chicago area for the duration of Winter Quarter*; and
  • Can commit to weekly testing in Hyde Park for the duration of Winter Quarter.**

*If you are a student, you may apply if you plan to interact with other current students, use on-campus resources, or otherwise be at a University site in the Chicago area for any reason, regardless of whether your classes are in-person or remote.

**Those who intend to leave Chicago for breaks/holidays are eligible to participate in the testing program. Testing team members will contact individuals who miss their scheduled appointments to arrange make-up tests.

If you meet these criteria, follow the steps below to apply. Space is limited, so we encourage you to register as soon as possible. In selecting participants, we will take into account a number of factors, including how often prospective participants expect to be at a UChicago facility. Testing will begin in late January or early February, with details communicated directly to those accepted.

Test Locations

The weekly Voluntary Surveillance Testing Program is held at two central locations on the Hyde Park campus:

  • 950 E. 61st St., Room 3 (Woodlawn Social Services Center; at Ellis Avenue)
  • Rosenwald Hall, 1101 E. 58th St., Suite 100 (at University Avenue)

Testing at Rosenwald is near capacity, so most new participants will likely be assigned to 950 E. 61st St.

Test Process

The University of Chicago Medicine will administer the weekly testing at no expense to participants. The test will be a nasal swab test conducted by a trained medical assistant and should take less than 10 minutes. This is less invasive than a nasopharyngeal test; it requires a light swabbing of the inside of the nose. Participants will receive their results typically within 48 hours.

More information and frequently asked questions about the University’s COVID-19 testing program as well as our contact tracing and treatment measures are available on the UChicago Forward website.

Instructions to Apply for the Voluntary Surveillance Testing Program

(Students under age 18 will need their parent or legal guardian to sign their consent form and HIPAA authorization to complete registration.)

Step 1: Go to to complete a screening questionnaire to determine if you are eligible for the program. If you are, you will be directed to the next step.

Step 2: If you are confirmed eligible to apply, you will continue your application with your name, date of birth, University affiliation (student/non-student), and you will select your preferred testing day(s) and time slot(s).

Step 3: Next, you will need to digitally sign a consent form and HIPAA authorization to release your testing results to the University and UCM. You will need your Chicago ID number for this process.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Your Chicago ID is not your student ID number. This is the 8-digit number followed by a letter found on the back of your University ID card. If you do not yet have a University ID card, you can find your Chicago ID at Faculty, other academic appointees, postdoctoral researchers, and staff can also find their Chicago ID numbers at the site listed above.

Step 4: Once complete, you should receive a copy of your signed consent form and HIPAA authorization by email immediately.

Step 5: If you are accepted into the program, you will receive an email at a later date to register for MyChart, a medical patient portal. Participants must activate their MyChart account to see their scheduled testing date and time slot, along with additional details about your test. MyChart is also where you will locate your results. If you are not accepted into the program, you will be notified by email in the coming weeks.

Step 6: Participants should arrive at testing site with their UChicago ID or other form of photo identification. You will not need your insurance information. The test is free to participants; all costs will be covered by the University.