Surveillance Testing

SHIELD Illinois COVID-19 Testing at NIU

For the Spring 2021 semester, NIU is using 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 at the on-campus testing site in the Holmes Student Center. Samples are then transported to a network of lab partners who will process and return results to Northwestern Medicine, NIU and the individual who was tested typically within 24 hours.

Read more information on the science behind the saliva-based test.

Setting up your MySHIELD Account

NIU has been uploading testing rosters to SHIELD Illinois in phases as class rosters and modalities are finalized.

If you have any issues with your activation code or signing into the MySHIELD portal, please call SHIELD IL Help at 217-265-6059. They will not release results, but can assist you with account access issues.

If you have been selected for surveillance testing, you will need to activate your account with SHIELD in one of two ways: 

  1. If NIU has already provided your name to SHIELD, you received an email with your activation code prior to your test date. See "A" below.
  2. If NIU has not provided you name to SHIELD, you will receive an activation code from SHIELD after testing to access your results and check in at future testing appointments. Please see "B" below. 

Before Getting Tested

Participants should refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, tooth brushing, mouth washing and gum chewing for at least one hour before submitting your saliva sample at the test location.

While you line up outside the testing location, you should wear a mask and practice physical distancing.

Testing Frequently Asked Questions

Choose One:

If your name has already been uploaded by NIU to SHIELD, you were sent a message to your NIU email with your activation letter from MySHIELDIllinois (NO-REPLY@illinois.edu). Please search your mailbox for a message from that address (including your Junk, Clutter and Spam folders).

Step by Step

  1. Use the activation code that's provided in the email to enroll in MySHIELDIllinois using these instructions. The activation code is good for 30 days. If you get a message that their is a problem with your activation code, call the SHIELD IL Helpline to have it reset: 217-265-6059.

  2. Schedule your first testing appointment through the scheduling link provided by NIU or, if you know your required testing week, through the links on the NIU scheduling page. DO NOT schedule your test in the SHIELD portal ahead of time. While there is appointment scheduling available in the portal, the days and times do not accurately reflect our testing site, so NIU is using it for appointment check-ins only. Appointments must be made through the NIU scheduling system. 

  3. When you arrive for your test at the Holmes Student Center, check in for your test using the appointment feature in the MySHIELD portal. 

If you have any issues signing into the portal or creating an account, please call SHIELD IL Help at 217-265-6059. They will not release results, but can assist you with account access issues.

Step-by-Step Instructions (PDF)

If you search your mailbox and do not find an activation email from SHIELD, you will receive one after your first test. 

Step by Step

  1. Schedule your first testing appointment through the scheduling link provided by NIU or if you know your required testing week, through the links on the NIU scheduling page.
  2. When you arrive for your test, you will check in to the testing site through the SHIELD portal by scanning the QR code in the HSC. While there is appointment scheduling available in the SHIELD portal, the days and times do not accurately reflect our testing site, so NIU is using it for appointment check-ins only.
  3. After you test, you will receive a notification that your test results are ready (usually within 36-48 hours of your test) and an activation code for setting up your SHIELD account to access those results. The activation code is only good for 24 hours so it's recommended that you setup your account as soon as you receive the email. If you get any errors messages associated with your SHIELD IL activation code, please call the SHIELD IL helpline at 217-265-6059.
  4. Schedule future appointments through the NIU weekly appointments sent to you from CampusClear@niu.edu or through the NIU scheduling page.  

Step-by-Step Instructions (PDF)

Who is Required to Test?

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 students 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.

Appointments

Check your NIU email account for messages from CampusClear@niu.edu. During the week of Jan. 4, 2021, you will receive an email with the dates you are required to test and links to schedule your appointments. You will also receive an email one week prior to your test with a link to schedule your appointment if you haven't already. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: DO NOT use the appointment scheduler available in the SHIELD Illinois portal to schedule your COVID-19 tests. NIU is using Microsoft Bookings to manage appointments. You must book your appointments using the links provided to you by CampusClear@niu.edu via email for scheduling.

Cost

The test is free for students, faculty and staff required to participate.

Testing Location

Surveillance testing will take place in the Duke Ellington Ballroom on the east side of the Holmes Student Center. Students are required to have an appointment prior to arrival. Instructions on how to schedule appointments have been emailed to those who are required to participate in testing.

Testing Results

Test results will be typically be available within 24 hours of the test and communicated to Northwestern Medicine, NIU and the individual who was tested within 24 hours via the MyNM app and MySHIELDIllinois site.

Exemptions

You can request an exemption from testing if you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days prior to your scheduled testing date, or if you are a student who no longer lives on campus and has no face-to-face classes. Documentation will be required to process the requests, and the exemption can be revoked if a student’s housing status or course modality changes.

Request an Exemption from COVID-19 Surveillance Testing

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