In-person classes, surveillance testing
Jan. 5, 2021
I hope that you have had an enjoyable winter break and have found time to both relax and recharge. I’m emailing you because you are scheduled to teach a face-to-face class this semester and, as such, you are part of the COVID-19 surveillance pool. You will be required to complete a COVID-19 test every four weeks.
This semester, NIU is using the SHIELD Illinois COVID-19 Test developed by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The saliva-based test is non-invasive and requires an individual to deposit a saliva sample into a vial that will be provided to you. Samples are then transported to a network of lab partners that will process and return the results, typically within 24-48 hours. This test is free for you and your students.
All students, faculty and graduate assistants participating in classes that are held entirely in person will be tested every four weeks. Surveillance testing will take place on-campus in the Holmes Student Center’s Duke Ellington Ballroom. NIU will follow all CDC guidelines and recommendations for using the space as a testing center.
NIU colleges have identified classes where physical distancing or mask wearing is a challenge, and we will prioritize participants in those classes for testing during the first week of classes, starting Jan 11. Of course, if you are teaching such a class, we might not have testing results available before your class meets for the first time, so we ask that you maintain social distancing and mask wearing for the first week of class. If that is impossible, we ask that you conduct your class remotely for the first week. If you have any questions about your class, please contact your department chair.
We also will follow new public health guidelines that have shortened the quarantine duration in the event of exposure. NIU employees and students who have been exposed to COVID-19 will now be required to quarantine for 10 days, instead of two full weeks. However, employees or students who are symptomatic or have tested positive for COVID-19 will continue to be required to isolate for 14 days.
If you are scheduled to teach face-to-face this semester but you decide to change to a hybrid or remote modality, please let us know by filling out this form. By alerting us to the change in modality, we can remove your students and you from our surveillance testing system.
Thank you again for your attention to these matters. I wish you the best, and I’m confident in your success this semester.
Executive Vice President and Provost