FAQs from August 20 Fall 2020 Briefing

Questions and Answers from the Aug. 20 Weekly Fall 2020 Briefing with Chancellor Whitney


Q. Why are we seeing an uptick in COVID positivity rates on campus?
A. It is normal to experience an uptick in numbers now that our testing program is underway – we expected it. Based on experiences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the positivity rate should level out after a couple cycles of weekly testing. By identifying positive individuals early, they can isolate and stop the spread of infection to others. It is imperative that we know about positive cases immediately and that everyone complies with contact tracing and tracking efforts.

Q. I’ve been tested, but have not received my email notice within the expect 24- to 48-hour timeframe. What should I do?
A. Check your email junk folder for an email from noreply@medicat.com. You can also access the portal directly: go.uis.edu/patientportal. If we are aware of a delay in turnaround time for results beyond 48 hours, the Testing Team will send a message to campus.

Q. Can guests or community members come to our sites to be tested?
A. Not at this time. We’re prioritizing testing of our campus community.

Q. Can UIS students who are learning remotely go to UIC or UIUC for testing if those campuses are closer to their homes?
A. Not at this time, because our health systems are not linked and processes/expectations are different on each campus.

Q. Who should I contact to change my appointment time?
A. Email Bethany Bilyeu to change your scheduled time.

Q. How will testing compliance be enforced?
A. The UIS Testing Team has a list of individuals who are on campus regularly, intermittently and those who are fully remote and will compare that with those who visit the testing site. The Dean of Students will address cases of students found non-compliant, and HR will do the same for employees.

Q. Will weekly case numbers be posted on the website?
A. Yes, currently we are posting them on the Fall 2020 FAQ page, but beginning Aug. 26, we’ll begin posting daily and 7-day rolling positivity rates for the campus: uis.edu/covid-19/testing/

Q. How do faculty know that their students are complying with testing?
A. We are cross-referencing appointment attendance with registered student lists. We’ll follow up with the individual and the Dean of Students if they do not quickly become compliant.

Q. How quickly is Facilities Services being identified about positive cases?
A. Chuck Coderko and team are notified promptly after we receive each day’s testing results and working as quickly as possible to attend to areas that need special cleaning. The goal is to disinfect areas before others enter the space.

Q. How are we ensuring students enter and leave classrooms with social distancing in mind?
A. Faculty can encourage students to not crowd at the door. The Communications team also created a series of videos that are being shared widely on social media and on the website, and this topic is included. Additionally, classes were scheduled with this in mind to help decrease foot traffic in hallways in passing periods.

Q. If I identify my status on campus as “intermittent” in the testing registration process, how should I approach testing?
A. You should stop in to a campus testing site as a walk-in when you do visit campus. You may do so on the same day you are attending class or conducting business. You need not wait for your results.

Q. How far in advance of testing should I refrain from eating/drinking?
A. Please refrain from eating, drinking (even water), brushing teeth or using tobacco 60 minutes prior to participating in saliva testing.

Q. What should an employee do if they receive a positive test result?
A. Please leave work immediately if working in the office, and immediately let your supervisor know about your absence. Employees also should immediately reach out to HR regarding leave options and guidance for returning to work.

Q. What should supervisors do if they find out an employee tested positive?
A. Please immediately contact HR while maintaining confidentiality for the employee. We need to know whether to close off an area and/or clean as soon as possible.

Q. What should a student do if they receive a positive test result?
A. Please coordinate with Health Services immediately. In most cases, they will be reaching out to you to discuss the need to isolate and determine if you have roommates who need to quarantine. Please answer your phone!

Q. Would we ever “shut down” the university based on a specific COVID positivity rate?
A. UIS will never completely cease operations. We may pivot our approach from on-campus learning – short term or long term – if it is warranted to protect the safety of our campus community. We are watching our positivity rates and other factors daily to help us make the best decisions possible about mitigation strategies, which could include limiting access to certain parts of campus or implementing temporary restrictions. And yes, this could include a few days of mandated remote learning.


Q. What are the different types of class delivery this semester?
A. There are four ways students are learning:

  1. Online: These courses, many offered online pre-pandemic, offer pedagogy specific for online learning. Fully online students also have specific e-tuition and fees.
  2. Remote: These courses were on-ground pre-pandemic but are now being offered virtually. They are coded and billed like on-ground classes.
  3. Blended: These courses balance remote and on-ground learning.
  4. On ground: Some courses are being offered fully in person on campus.

Q. Will student fees increase if their classes are now provided remotely?
A. No, we worked very hard to ensure that tuition and fees remain as expected, because students should not be penalized, especially during this challenging time.

Q. What resources are available for faculty to assist preparation for remote learning this semester?
A. Workshops for faculty this summer focused on blended and remote learning; 240 faculty participated in summer professional development, and system funding was available for course redevelopment. UIS online teaching experts also created websites with faculty resources.

Q. What resources are available for students to assist preparation for remote learning this semester?
A. A variety of new resources were created for students including a virtual orientation experience and materials, remote learning modules imbedded in Canvas, and ITS-hosted weekly student sessions on using technology to learn.

Q. Are offices that are very important to students – Registrar, Financial Aid, etc. – resuming regular hours?
A. There will be more of a physical presence now that students are returning to classes, while balancing the safety of our campus community. Also, we are considering and implementing ways to make some of our processes that required face-to-face interactions more conducive to remote learning/working.