The University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) decided to start the spring semester with two weeks of online instruction because the omicron variant is fueling a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases across Illinois and the country.
In a letter addressed to the students, faculty, and staff, the institution emphasized supporting academic continuity by avoiding disruptions to students’ learning and coursework.
- Because the omicron strain is causing a significant increase in Illinois and around the country, UIC begins the spring semester with two weeks of online training.
- From Jan. 10 to 23, the first two weeks of sessions will be fully online.
- In-person classes are planned to resume on Jan. 24.
As of this writing, the following changes have been made for the spring semester:
- The first two weeks of classes, from Jan. 10 to 23, will be conducted entirely online. Health sciences colleges, labs, clinics, internships, and other classes that cannot be delivered remotely, including those that begin before Jan. 10, will be exempt.
- On Jan. 24, in-person classes are expected to resume. Face masks will remain necessary indoors on campus. In a subsequent message, an improved tool and protocols for contract tracing will be given separately.
- Before returning to campus, all students are required to take a PCR test.
- Students, instructors, and staff are encouraged to get a booster shot if they are qualified before returning to campus. Vaccinations are available on campus or at a nearby location.
The two-week period of online education, according to UIC, will allow students to acquire booster shots, settle in, and deal with any health issues without worrying about missing the start of the semester.
Other operations, including residence halls, student centers, cafeteria services, and libraries will remain open throughout these changes.
Campus re-entry testing
All members of the UIC community, including those who have been vaccinated, will be required to undergo re-entry testing prior to or upon returning to campus. On-campus saliva testing, as well as PCR testing, is necessary.
Prior to Jan. 24, students on or around campus can take advantage of free on-campus saliva testing for campus re-entry. On-campus testing centers are likely to be busy the week of Jan. 24.
Students who will not return to university until the following week should have a PCR test within 72 hours of returning to campus.
Ongoing testing requirements
To promptly identify and closely monitor the prevalence of illness in the community, additional COVID-19 saliva testing standards will be adopted.
Students, educators, and staff who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated and have a medical or religious exemption will continue to be required to test twice every seven days, 48 hours apart.
Beginning Jan. 5, regardless of vaccination status:
- Every seven days, all students, instructors, and staff in residential housing and the performing arts must take a test.
- Surveillance testing at UIC is strongly encouraged for all students, professors, and staff. Throughout the semester, specific units and departments will be notified through email on a rolling basis to engage in on-campus saliva testing.
- On-campus saliva testing is available to all students, instructors, and staff at any time.
- Proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the event will be required for attendance at in-person activities on campus. COVID-19 testing results are available in the MyChart account if they test on campus.
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