Spring COVID-19 Strategy and Important Updates

NIU’s fall COVID-19 testing programs were effective in helping to mitigate the virus’ spread. Over the last several months, new data and testing options have become available that have informed our testing strategy for the spring semester.

Beginning the first week of January, NIU will start to use the SHIELD Illinois COVID-19 Test developed by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The saliva-based COVID-19 test is a non-invasive test that simply requires an individual to deposit a saliva sample into a provided vial. Samples are then transported to a network of lab partners that will process and return results typically within 24 hours. There is no charge to students or employees required to be tested.


All surveillance testing will take place on-campus in the Holmes Student Center’s Duke Ellington Ballroom. NIU will follow all CDC guidelines for using the space as a testing center, including using in-room HEPA filters and assigned entrances and exits.


Free Testing Available for Employees on Dec. 22

Testing infrastructure and logistics are being worked out now for the January launch. On Tuesday, Dec. 22, NIU will conduct a trial run as part of our preparation process. We are seeking up to 120 employees who would like to be tested for free of charge. If you are interested in participating and helping us prepare, please complete the form by no later than 7 a.m. tomorrow, Dec. 16.


Who is Required to Test Starting in January?

The following groups are required to participate in surveillance testing:

  • NIU Housing students: Students who live on campus will be required to test prior to moving back in.  Both residence hall and Northern View apartment residents will be tested every other week (bi-weekly) throughout the semester.
  • In-person class participants: Students, faculty, instructors or graduate assistants participating in classes that are entirely held in person will be tested every four weeks.
  • Employees who work in residence halls: Employees in these areas will be tested every four weeks.
  • Child Development and Family Center (CDFC) employees: both students (weekly) and staff (every four weeks) who work in the CDFC.
  • HR employees – Those who conduct civil service tests will be tested every four weeks.
  • Student-athletes and select Athletics staff: Schedules vary as required by the NCAA and MAC.

Additional information and instructions will be emailed to surveillance participants in the coming days and weeks.

Free Testing Available Jan. 11 and 12 for Any Employee or Student

For employees and students not required to test, NIU, the Illinois Department of Public Health and the DeKalb County Health Department plan to partner again to offer our community free, drive-thru testing in January. Testing is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 11, and Tuesday, Jan. 12, and more information will be available the first week of January. Off-campus students will be strongly encouraged to participate.


Working from Home

The university continues to closely monitor COVID-19 conditions and restrictions in Illinois. Employees who are able to work from home should continue to do so. As always, supervisors should continue to be thoughtful, patient and flexible in leading their teams during this challenging time. 


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