UI announces new testing guidance for unvaccinated students, faculty, staff

Boxes+of+disposable+straws+sit+in+a+cardboard+box+at+the+ARC+Covid-19+testing+center+on+Feb.+1.+The+university+announces+new+testing+guidance+for+unvaccinated+students%2C+faculty%2C+and+staff.

Cameron Krasucki

Boxes of disposable straws sit in a cardboard box at the ARC Covid-19 testing center on Feb. 1. The university announces new testing guidance for unvaccinated students, faculty, and staff.

By Willie Cui, Assistant Daytime Editor

With the Friday COVID-19 vaccination deadline fast approaching, the University has announced new COVID-19 testing guidance for students, faculty and staff who remain unvaccinated after the deadline and will begin to implement the previously announced technology restrictions for students who are noncompliant with testing requirements.

In a Massmail released Tuesday, the University announced that starting Saturday, individuals who are not fully vaccinated and have an approved medical or religious exception will be required to test every other day.

Individuals who are not verified as being fully vaccinated with the University and do not have an approved exception will be required to test every other day until they become fully vaccinated.

University employees who are required to test under the new guidance won’t be required to do so “on their nonwork days or on remote days, if working a hybrid remote schedule,” according to the Massmail.

Some fully vaccinated individuals may also be required to test every other day if the University identifies them as being “in a location or group with increased cases.”

The Safer Illinois app will reflect these updated testing requirements starting Monday. 

Moreover, starting Wednesday, students who are required to test but are out of compliance with the testing requirements will lose access to a number of educational technologies, according to Chancellor Robert Jones.

“These restrictions won’t be implemented instantly,” Jones said at a University Senate Executive Committee meeting on Monday. “They won’t be triggered by a single missed test and the students who are potentially affected by this — who are out of compliance — will be notified automatically.”

These notifications will give noncompliant students “plenty, plenty, plenty of time to test and return to compliance” before the restrictions trigger, according to Jones. 

The University will also begin sending automatic email notifications to faculty and staff who are out of compliance with the testing requirements.

“I’m pleased to report that 92% of our undergraduate students and 95% of our graduate students are now fully vaccinated,” Jones said. “And I think that’s something we all can take great pride in.”

The University’s employee vaccination rates stand at 75% for civil servants, 92% for academic professionals and 90% for faculty.

Combined, these give “just under a 91%” overall vaccination rate for individuals on campus.

“That is something to be proud of because, I remind you, that’s about 28 points higher than the county and state level of vaccination, and 20% above the national average,” Jones said.

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