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CHAMPAIGN — Community colleges around the state now have access to federal funding to provide the University of Illinois’ saliva test for free.

Under an agreement between the Illinois Department of Public Health and Shield Illinois, the UI’s organization to market the test, community colleges can test their own students and staff.

They can also choose to become a community testing site to provide free tests to any Illinois resident, the UI System announced Monday.

The tests are being funded with money the state received through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act and the American Rescue Plan, according to the UI System.

Parkland College is looking into opening a testing site, spokeswoman Stephanie Stuart said.

“We are currently working with the Shield team to discuss the details of a saliva-based testing site at Parkland,” she said. “We don’t have details to share quite yet. … We’re in the planning stages.”

The tests from community colleges will be processed at authorized labs around the state, according to Monday’s announcement.

Five of the state’s 49 community colleges are currently community testing sites, and more are on the way, according to the UI System.

The UI’s test received FDA emergency-use authorization in February and has been used more than two million times at the system’s three campuses in Urbana, Chicago and Springfield.

In addition to the UI System, around 70 universities, colleges, schools, companies and government entities are using the test, according to the UI.

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