Message from UIC COVID-19 Contact Tracing and Epidemiology Program (CCTEP)
Friday, August 19, 2022
Dear students and faculty of UIC,
The late spring and summer seasons in the city of Chicago and at UIC brought a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in contrast to the brief respite we experienced last summer. This wave was partially attributed to the highly infectious and rapidly spreading Omicron variants of concern, BA.2.12.1 and BA.5, which have comprised the majority of identified cases in the United States since May. At this time, the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 community risk level remains high.
As we begin to welcome our UIC community members back to class for the Fall 2022 semester, we would like to remind you of the following to keep yourself, colleagues, and your loved ones safe:
- Masking: Remember, masking is required on UIC’s campus in classrooms, lecture centers, research laboratories, libraries, UIC shuttles and buses, learning/success centers, and health care settings.
- We strongly encourage you to mask in other settings such as offices, hallways, lobbies, lounges, student centers, etc. to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 transmission.
- Masks should be adequately thick, well-fitted, and cover your nose, mouth, and chin. To maximize protection, consider utilizing a higher quality mask, such as a KN95 or wearing a disposable mask under a cloth mask (double masking).
- The CDC recommends masking indoors in public in communities designated at high risk for COVID-19.
- Testing: You should consider testing before you return to campus, to minimize any spread of COVID-19 on campus whether for orientation or for the first day of classes. This is especially important for people who are traveling from different states or countries.
- Campus saliva testing is quick, convenient, and no appointment is required. Please be sure to check the saliva testing website for hours of operation and locations.
- While PCR tests are most reliable, COVID-19 self-tests are easy to use, produce rapid results, and can be found in many pharmacies and online.
- COVID-19 self-tests allow for testing at home and can produce rapid results; however, repeat testing is desirable if you will be attending a gathering.
- If you test positive using a COVID-19 self-test, or test positive off campus, please be sure to report to us.
- Vaccination: Get vaccinated if you are not already. If you are eligible for the booster, consider scheduling it now.
- COVID-19 vaccines are essential in reducing your risk of severe COVID-19 illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19; boosting increases that protection. This is particularly important for older adults and those who are immunocompromised.
- Reporting: Please report to us if you develop symptoms of COVID-19, test positive utilizing an off-campus resource, or have a known exposure to a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 positive person.
- Remember, you should stay home if you have any symptoms of COVID-19, no matter how mild. Our team will assist you by providing tailored public health testing and monitoring guidance and determining when it is safe to return to campus.
As our team has transitioned to increasingly email driven operations (rather than telephone-based), we ask that you monitor your UIC inbox closely for any communications from our team (firstname.lastname@example.org). For information about our program, its hours of operation, and helpful COVID-19 resources and travel considerations we invite you to visit our website. Of particular importance as we approach the start of the fall semester is to periodically visit the campus isolation and quarantine guidelines web page, all as any changes will be communicated on this site.
We look forward to continuing to serve you all this school year.