FAQs from July 30 Fall 2020 Briefing

Questions and Answers from the July 30 Weekly Fall 2020 Briefing with Chancellor Whitney

Q. Why did you select Lower Level PAC and FRH as our two locations for testing sites?
A. Both locations provide entries and exits to facilitate traffic flow and physical distancing, and they house appropriate data ports conducive to the testing process.

Q. Could one of the testing sites be outdoors?
A. This option was considered, but outdoor testing sites would have to be shut down in inclement weather, and extreme temperatures could compromise samples. Creating appointment times at our indoor locations should help facilitate movement and reduce the number of people in one place at one time to create appropriate physical distancing. Also, all people waiting for testing should wear a face covering.

Q. Is both Health Services’ and campus-wide testing free?
A. Yes.

Q. How will students be accommodated if they arrive on a Friday night and can’t be tested on campus prior to checking into their living space?
A. Residence Life and International Student Services will work with students to accommodate their individual needs for arrival and testing.

Q. Will UIS announce testing and positive case numbers, and will those numbers be rolled into state numbers?
A. Yes, all testing will roll into the IDPH database to be included in state numbers. We’re currently reporting positive cases each Thursday, but we’re considering how to best share new info and with what frequency. Urgency could necessitate increased frequency, and transparency is always top-of-mind.

Q. Is there a threshold that would trigger another campus shutdown, shelter in place, or another major change in operations?
A. We’re still evaluating what that threshold is, and this planning may evolve as we learn more about the spread and treatment of COVID-19.

Q. What are testing guidelines for visitors and guests?
A. Right now, we can only test those with a University ID. Visitors and guests will be required to maintain proper physical distance and wear face coverings.

Q. How long is a test considered valid before one needs to retest?
A. Testing is only a result at one point in time. We hope to test people weekly, so we continuously collect data.

Q. If a student tests off-site, how do they provide this documentation?
A. Students or employees will be able to upload their test into their patient portal account.

Q. Are there any changes in protocol or communication to commuter students about testing?
A. Commuter students should be tested weekly, whether on campus or via an outside vendor. If we receive feedback that we are missing a large group of people based on testing site hours, we’ll consider how to amend the process to capture that data and accommodate those individuals.

Q. Do employees need to take break time or paid time off for testing?
A. Employees will be allowed to test during their regular work hours and will not have to use their break time or paid time off.

Q. Why is the nasal swab still the preferred test for symptomatic students via Health Services?
A. We already have a relationship and courier system set up for nasal swabs through Health Services, so we’re maintaining that relationship. However, both the nasal swab we use and the saliva test are PCR tests – considered the gold standard in testing right now.

Q. When students are tested initially, will they wait until they receive their results to move in?
A. No, they will go ahead and move in, but results could be available within 24 hours. We’re using this opportunity to begin the process.

Q. How accurate is the new saliva testing?
A. The false positive rate is well below the FDA threshold, so it’s very valid test.

Q. Is it possible for testing to be mandatory?
A. We’re exploring having every on-site student and employee test weekly. This includes discussions with shared governance groups, labor unions, etc. Most are expressing a very sincere interest in safety, including testing.