FAQs from August 13 Fall 2020 Briefing

Questions and Answers from the Aug. 13 Weekly Fall 2020 Briefing with Chancellor Whitney


Q. When will the PAC saliva testing site be open?
A. Aug. 17-21: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Effective Aug. 24: 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays.

Q. When will other testing sites open?
A. The temporary TRAC site is open only the week of Aug. 17 for student move-in. The Founders Residence Hall site opens Aug. 24

Q. When will I receive an email to schedule my recurring appointment for saliva testing?
A. You should have received an email Aug. 13 and Aug. 17 to schedule your recurring appointment.

Q. Do I need to be tested if I’m working/learning fully remotely?
A. No, you do not need to be tested unless you intend to visit campus and enter our buildings or work spaces; in those circumstances, please visit a testing site the day of your visit. Employees who work at off-site locations, such as Innovate Springfield, only need to visit a testing site if they are coming to campus for any reason.

Q. Does testing include UIC College of Nursing students, faculty and staff or UI System employees at UIS?
A. Yes, these individuals should follow UIS testing expectations.

Q. How are we enforcing testing?
A. If you miss your appointment, you’ll receive an email reminder. If you continue to be out of compliance after 24 hours of your scheduled time, that information will be shared with the Dean of Students (students) or Human Resources (employees). We’ll also cross reference the return-to-work plan with those who haven’t been tested.

Q. If it’s been a few days, and I haven’t received testing results, what should I do?
A. Log in to Banner and verify that the correct email is on file and check your email spam folder. The email will be from “donotreply@medicat.com”

Q. When do international students get tested?
A. They’ll submit saliva tests after their 14-day quarantine.

Q. Who is responsible for doing contact tracing in the event of a positive result?
A. We are partnering with Sangamon County Department of Public Health, and they’ll complete contact tracing.

Q. What should I do to prepare for testing?

  • Please update your email, address and phone number in Banner, because this info is used for testing and contact tracing.
  • Refrain from eating and drinking (even water), brushing your teeth or using tobacco 30-45 minutes prior to testing.
  • Bring your I-card to testing.

Q. What happens to my sample after it is tested?
A. All samples are driven to a UIUC lab each afternoon at 4 p.m. Samples are processed at the lab then destroyed following HIPAA and OSHA guidelines. No samples are kept and no DNA is stored or sold by the lab.


Q. Is the library open?
A. Hours are limited now, so check library.uis.edu before you plan to visit the library to check hours. The library will open for study hours after Labor Day. In the meantime, the library staff has created a map of outside areas for studying.

Q. What if I need to use a printer when the library is closed?
A. The library partnered with the Performing Arts Center to set up a printing station on the ground floor of the Public Affairs Center.

Q. Since the library has limited hours, how do I access the ITS Help Desk?
A. First, contact ITS to see if your question can be resolved virtually. If you do need to visit in person, come in the main door of the library into the airlock, and then head downstairs, or enter the library door closest to the parking lot and use the elevator.

Student Life

Q. Is the Student Leadership Center open?
A. Yes, the Student Leadership Center, including the SLC Conference room, will be available for use this fall with reduced seating.

Q. Will students have access to the Union game room, pool table and other items available for check out?
A. Yes, Student Life equipment will be available for check out. Equipment will be sanitized before and after usage.

Q. What are the guidelines for Registered Student Organizations (RSOs)?
A. Each Student Life staff member serves as a liaison to one of the categories of RSOs. Liaisons will be meeting with their RSOs at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15, to review guidelines and to answer students’ questions about their fall events. We are encouraging virtual and hybrid events and supporting on-ground events if they meet physical distancing and space guidelines.

Q. What about Welcome Week?
A. Planning for Welcome Week is still moving forward with lots of fun and innovative programming methods to engage students during their first week of school. Traditional events such as the Involvement Expo and the Foot in the Door Fair will take place virtually. We are implementing a new virtual help table to connect students with resources and campus information. For a full schedule of events, check out UISConnection and the Student Life website.

Volunteer and Civic Engagement

Q. Will there will be volunteer opportunities for students?
A. Yes, we are coordinating on-campus and virtual opportunities. Our office can provide info about community opportunities, but we won’t be coordinating or transporting students for off-campus volunteering.

Q. What about voter registration and education?
A. Information will be provided virtually for voter registration (dates in September and October) and election ambassadors.

Q. How can I find out more info about Volunteer and Civic Engagement?
A. Check UISConnection or call/email staff Monday through Thursday.

Q. Will the micropantry serve students this fall?
A. Yes, there will be 24/7 access to non-perishable items via the Student Union’s west entrance. We’re also seeking donations. Check the list of needed items on our website – we’re focusing on food – and put your donation in one of the bins located across campus.

Q. Will the full food pantry serve students this fall?
A. Yes, but the SAB 60A location will only be accessible to Volunteer Center staff. Students can order items online and identify availability for pick up. Pick up is at the south entrance of SAB via a brief handoff.


Q. What precautions are happening at TRAC this fall?

  • Students will swipe their own I-card as they enter.
  • Cardio equipment will be spread out 10 feet for more between machines, but this means the track is closed to running and walking.
  • Strength equipment is spaced out upstairs and downstairs to allow for the necessary physical distancing.
  • The downstairs fitness area will be designated for athletes until late afternoon with the upstairs areas open for our non-athletes from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. with the exception to close mid-afternoon for cleaning and disinfecting.
  • Like the rest of campus, masks are require while in TRAC with the exception of during strenuous exercising. We expect people to keep the mask with them while working out and wear it as they move around the facility.
  • Water fountains, with the exception of the bottle fillers, are turned off. You are encouraged to bring a full water bottle, and some will be provided.
  • During open gyms, basketball hoops will be limited to one person or a few with masks; each person will use their own ball.
  • Badminton, ping pong and foosball are all available with equipment being sanitized between users.
  • Fitness classes are limited to 10 people, and classes are also offered virtually.
  • Bikes will be available for weekly and daily checkout.
  • Virtual and individual intramural sports will increase while team sports will be postponed until the spring.
  • Outdoor adventure trips like canoeing at the Field Station and kayaking at Sugar Creek will still be offered, but our longer trips out-of-state are postponed.
  • Rec Park is a great outside resource. Check out putters and balls for the miniature golf course, or enjoy the tent there as a place to study or meet.
  • Large programs, such as Rec Palooza, will have to be rescheduled for the spring.
  • We are planning the Prairie Star 5K, both in person and virtual, during Welcome Week

Q. We’re not requiring masks when strenuous activity are happening, so how are we ensuring safety?
A. We’re following all public health guidance for fitness centers, including spreading out the machines 10 feet apart.

Diversity and Women’s Centers

Q. Is the Diversity Center and Women’s Center open?
A. Yes, hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Student support services will be available, sometimes in alternative formats.

Q. Can I hang out in that space?
A. The Women’s Center lounge will be closed to the public, but the Diversity Center lounge will be open for visitors wearing a face covering. Seating is arranged to meet distancing guidelines.


Q. Is the bookstore open?
A. Yes, the bookstore is open and is following best practices to ensure everyone’s safety. Follett has even gone so far as to quarantine books for a set period of time following the highest industry safety guidelines.

Q. Can I purchase books online?
A. We are strongly encouraging online book orders. There are three ways to get your books:

  • Have them shipped directly to you.
  • Pick them up at the pickup window (adjacent to the bookstore entrance behind the Sangamon Experience exhibit).
  • Use curbside pickup in the PAC teardrop

Q. Can I peruse the Bookstore in person for UIS gear, school supplies, etc.?
A. The bookstore retail space is open with limited hours and a max capacity of 16 (masks required, physical distancing enforced, and plexiglass in place to ensure customer and staff safety).

Hours Monday through Friday:

  • Bookstore pickup window: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • The bookstore retail space: 9 a.m.to 1 p.m.
  • Curbside pickup: 1-6 p.m.
  • Note: the bookstore (all operations) will close at 3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 28, and Friday, Sept. 4

Q. Is there still time for the faculty process for adoptions through Discovery?
A. Yes, and it is now connected to Canvas (previously Blackboard). If you have not already, please complete that ASAP. The earlier you do this the more access and better prices we are able to offer to our students.

Performing Arts Services

Q. Will the Sangamon Auditorium open for events this fall?
A. No, the auditorium will likely remain offline. If you have a ticket to an upcoming event, please keep them and watch for information about rescheduling.

Q. Is the Studio Theatre available for events?
A. Yes, we’ve upgraded the technology to accommodate live internet streaming and recording. It can be used for performances, large meetings, etc. for up to 50 people, although there is no post-production capability. There will be no fees to use this space this fall.