CHAMPAIGN — The University of Illinois will require students, faculty and staff members to undergo coronavirus testing twice a week and verify their status before entering campus buildings.
In an email to the campus community Monday, Chancellor Robert Jones said the twice-a-week testing will be required for all those participating in on-campus activities.
Those who will be coming to campus only occasionally will be required to undergo testing before they enter a campus facility and have results dated no more than four days before the campus visit, he said.
The UI has already announced that about two-thirds of classes for the upcoming semester will be delivered online, with the remaining third either meeting online or in a hybrid format.
The last day of in-person instruction will be Nov. 20, with the remainder of the semester and final exams provided in alternate delivery methods, Jones said.
Mandatory testing will begin for faculty and staff Aug. 10 and for students Aug. 16, Jones said. Anyone currently on campus has been encouraged to start testing immediately.
Verification will be handled largely through the UI’s “Safer in Illinois” app, the use of which will be expected of all students, faculty and staff.
An updated version of the app will be available for download Aug. 16 when students begin returning to campus, according to William Sullivan, director of the Rokwire initiative behind the UI’s app.
UI spokeswoman Robin Kaler said the app will be used to indicate on mobile devices whether someone is clear to enter a building — for example, whether they failed to test or because of positive infection and quarantine status — without disclosing private health information.
Plans have been made for monitoring entry to each campus facility, which will vary by building, Kaler said.
A team of wellness support associates will serve as monitors at building entrances and classrooms, with the team expected to be in place on time for the first day, she said.
A different protocol, still being developed, will be followed for campus visitors, she said.
The app will also alert users to when it’s time to get tested and how to access results, Kaler said and those who don’t use it will still be required to verify their status.
“If you don’t use the app, there will be a less-convenient method for you to show ... to that associate at the door,” she said.
Among other requirements for UI students, faculty and staff is online COVID-19 training, regardless of whether they will be on campus. The training must be completed by Aug. 24, Jones said.
Parkland College, which is shifting as much instruction as possible online, won’t be requiring testing for its students coming to campus in fall.
“Parkland College is following guidance issued by the Illinois Community College Board and the Illinois Department of Public Health in our return to campus planning, which does not include a required test,” spokeswoman Stephanie Stuart said. “The college does require daily symptom monitoring prior to any faculty, staff or students coming to campus.
“The college is not operating its own testing operation, but we are very encouraged by the growing availability of testing in our community and at the university,” she said.
Stuart also said Parkland is emphasizing the availability of the state-sponsored drive-thru testing site in the Market Place Mall parking lot and through health care providers for its community, and will continue to reevaluate its protocols “as new guidance and expanded testing and technology become available.”