UI recommends masks as campus COVID-19 positivity rate hits all-time high

Student+places+their+COVID-19+PCR+testing+vial+in+a+container+at+the+testing+center+at+the+ARC+on+Feb.+1%2C+2021.+On+Sunday+the+University+addresses+the+increased+COVID-19+cases+via+Massmail.+

The Daily Illini File Photo

Student places their COVID-19 PCR testing vial in a container at the testing center at the ARC on Feb. 1, 2021. On Sunday the University addresses the increased COVID-19 cases via Massmail.

By Royal Shrestha, Assistant News Editor

On Sunday evening, the University sent out a Massmail regarding the increasing number of positive cases seen in Champaign County.

Although it stopped short of requiring masks, the University “is strongly recommending that everyone wears a high-quality face covering in classrooms” for the next few weeks, noting that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed Champaign County as “high” for COVID-19 Community Levels. 

According to the University’s SHIELD testing data, although over 92% of all students and staff are fully vaccinated, the COVID-19 positivity rate at the University reached 20.44% last Wednesday — an all-time high.

The University previously sent two Massmails before the start of the semester on July 26 and Aug. 11 lifting many COVID-19 restrictions. 

Unvaccinated individuals are required to test at the sole on-campus COVID-19 testing site located at the Illini Union. All other testing locations have been closed.

Unlike previous semesters, testing hours at the Illini Union are only on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and it can take up to 48 hours for the processing and showing of results. 

Students can also pick up one take-home antigen test provided by the University every day. However, these results do not count toward the weekly testing for unvaccinated students.

According to the Aug. 11 Massmail, the University is using digital means to monitor COVID-19 testing compliances and so students no longer have to show building access, which has been removed from the Illinois app.

Students can expect course modalities to remain the same despite the current wave of positive cases and receive further updates during this critical time period of when cases are at an all-time peak, the Sunday Massmail said.

 

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