Masking and COVID-19 updates – UIC Today

Dear students, faculty and staff,

In alignment with Chicago and Illinois, UIC recognizes the significant decrease in levels of COVID-19 transmission in the community and will lift the indoor mask requirement for some public settings on campus, effective Tuesday, March 1.

Because of these factors and the low level of COVID-19 transmission in Chicago, the following masking, event and testing changes are detailed below:

Masking 
While we are easing some mask restrictions, we want to remind you that masks continue to be a useful tool in the prevention of COVID-19. In settings where masking is optional, it is a choice based on personal assessment of risk when to unmask. An individual may be protected from recent infection or vaccination and choose not to wear a mask. Some individuals may be immunocompromised and will continue to choose to wear a mask even after vaccination. If you are unsure of your personal risk from COVID-19, speak with your doctor. The use of masking is encouraged and supported and should be respected by all members of the UIC community.

Masking remains required in:

  • Classrooms, lecture centers, research labs and the libraries.
    • Instructors/lecturers may take off their mask to lecture when greater than 6 feet from the audience/students.
  • Health care settings, such as the hospital, outpatient clinics, dental clinics, saliva testing sites and vaccination sites.
  • UIC shuttles and buses.
  • Counseling Center for initial visits; masks can be optional after assessment by the counselor if needed for ongoing meetings.

Masks should not be removed to eat or drink in areas where masking is required.

Masking is recommended but will no longer be required in:

  • Campus recreation centers, student centers or residence halls.
  • Performing arts educational settings; students and instructors may unmask for performances when compliant with weekly testing. Audiences for performances are recommended to wear a mask.
  • Offices, hallways, lobbies, lounges or other areas in buildings.
    • During one-on-one meetings in private offices, the individuals should discuss masking in advance and decide if one or both parties will wear a mask.

In-Person Events
Requirements for in-person, university-sponsored events have been updated:

  • Event organizers must continue to follow the COVID-19 university event guidance, including registering all events and encouraging attendees to wear masks if they choose.
  • Eating and drinking is permitted at university-sponsored events on or off campus, outside of health care, research or instructional settings.
    • Seated areas for eating should be available to allow individuals who continue to mask at events to unmask while eating at a distance from those outside their household or social group.
  • Event attendees will no longer be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the event.

Testing
On-campus saliva testing will continue to be offered; however, some individuals are no longer required to participate in mandatory testing.

  • All unvaccinated students, faculty and staff who have a medical or religious vaccination exemption and all partially vaccinated students, faculty and staff are still required to test twice per 7-day period, 48 or more hours apart.
  • All students, faculty and staff in residential housing who are vaccinated will no longer be required to test. These individuals are encouraged to utilize surveillance testing as needed.
  • Students in performing arts will continue to test weekly to allow for unmasked educational performances.
  • Student-athletes should continue to follow testing directives from UIC Athletics.

Please remember, there are multiple tools available to each of us in the fight against COVID-19, including masking, testing, vaccination, and preventive and treatment medications.

Thank you for your continued perseverance and understanding during the many peaks and valleys of COVID-19. We will continue to follow the health data to make any necessary changes to protect our community and allow for the most optimal learning environment.

Sincerely,

Michael Amiridis
Chancellor

Robert Barish, MD, MBA
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs

Susan Bleasdale, MD
Chief Quality Officer and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Quality & Patient Safety

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