UI will not check COVID-19 building access or require face masks for fall semester

A+SHIELD+worker+hands+over+an+empty+tube+for+COVID-19+testing+at+the+State+Farm+Center+on+Oct.+9%2C+2020.+The+University+sends+out+a+Massmail+on+Tuesday+regarding+mask+and+testing+guidelines+for+the+upcoming+fall+semester.+

The Daily Illini Photo File

A SHIELD worker hands over an empty tube for COVID-19 testing at the State Farm Center on Oct. 9, 2020. The University sends out a Massmail on Tuesday regarding mask and testing guidelines for the upcoming fall semester.

By Willie Cui, News Editor

The University will no longer check building access status in the fall semester and will not require face coverings in most campus spaces, according to a Tuesday morning Massmail.

“Building Access status will no longer be active for the fall 2022 semester in the Illinois app or the Boarding Pass,” said Chancellor Robert Jones in the Massmail. “You should not ask anyone to prove their vaccination or testing status.”

The University will still require students, faculty and staff to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or obtain a medical or religious exemption.

Individuals who do not have a verified COVID-19 vaccination record will be required to test once a week at a COVID-19 testing site on campus, according to the Massmail.

“Testing compliance will be monitored and those out of compliance may face student or employee discipline,” Jones said.

The University also said that unvaccinated individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 will not need to test for 90 days after their initial positive test.

Additionally, masks will still be required in healthcare facilities such as testing sites, McKinley Health Center and the Counseling Center.

Minutes before the University’s announcement, the UI System President Tim Killeen sent a separate Massmail announcing the UI System’s guidelines for COVID-19 in the fall.

Killeen stated that students, faculty and staff at UI System universities “will be required to be vaccinated against the virus” during the fall semester, and those who are not vaccinated will be required to test for COVID-19 on their campuses once per week.

Beyond that, additional requirements such as masks will be left up to each university to decide, Killeen said.

“Decisions about masking and any other additional requirements will be made by each university based on local conditions and requirements in their communities,” Killeen said. “Look for further guidance from your university.”

As of Tuesday, the University of Illinois at Springfield will not require mask wearing in most of its indoor spaces “as long as social distancing can be maintained,” while the University of Illinois at Chicago will continue to require masks in its indoor spaces as well as on UIC shuttles and buses, according to a UIC Massmail sent out on Tuesday morning.

To date, Champaign County reported a seven-day rolling average of 55.8 daily cases per 100,000 people and five deaths from COVID-19 in the past month, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

 

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