Update on COVID-19 Precautions (September 29, 2022)

To: Members of the University Community

From: Ka Yee C. Lee, Provost, and Katie Callow-Wright, Executive Vice President of the University

The University of Chicago community has worked tirelessly in recent years to take necessary precautions against COVID-19 while advancing our core missions of research and education. This year we will keep many precautions in place, while updating others. We are excited to welcome back our community this year, with updated precautions as summarized in this message. Note that employees in a healthcare / patient-facing environment may be subject to separate requirements and will receive further guidance in the coming days.

Weekly Testing Requirement Change: In light of changes in state and federal guidance in recent months, as well as a campus vaccination rate of more than 95%, the University will no longer require weekly testing for people who have not been vaccinated. Recently the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stopped recommending testing of asymptomatic individuals with no known exposure to COVID-19; the State of Illinois has also removed testing requirements for higher education and N-12 institutions. We will continue to make on-demand testing available as described below.

Vaccination: We are grateful that the vast majority of University employees and students have received at least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. 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 through UCM or the University’s dedicated clinics. 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.

Voluntary and Symptomatic Testing: Please visit UChicago Forward for detailed information on how to get a COVID-19 test on campus. Any member of the campus community can receive regular voluntary testing, or on-demand testing after exposure to someone with COVID-19. Even if you filled out consent forms during the last academic year, you must complete the most recent consent forms at my.WellnessPortal before scheduling testing. Information on symptomatic testing is available at UChicago Forward, including how to obtain symptomatic testing through UChicago Medicine.

Masking: We recommend using a mask when you are indoors and others are present. While the decision to mask is your own, we ask that you consider this extra precaution. We ask everyone to be courteous of others and respect their choices. 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. Individuals who have recently tested positive or have been exposed are required to wear a mask according to the University’s exposure protocols for a prescribed period of time.

Exposure Protocols: It is vital to stay home and get tested if you have potential symptoms of COVID-19, and to follow the University’s exposure protocols if you test positive for COVID-19. Remember that anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 must stay away from in-person activities until at least five days have passed since the date of the positive test or since COVID-19 symptoms first appeared, and until COVID-19 symptoms have resolved. Isolation housing is available for students in campus housing. Any UChicago community member who tests positive for COVID-19 must promptly self-report to C19HealthReport@uchicago.edu.

We are grateful for your continuing help in upholding these precautions, which are vital to limit the spread and impact of COVID-19 on our campus and in our city.