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Loyola University Chicago is proud to partner with SHIELD Illinois to administer its saliva-based COVID-19 test method that was developed by the University of Illinois. Having a robust, community-wide surveillance testing program is critical to Loyola’s ability to resume reduced on-campus instruction and residence in the spring semester.

Please review this information carefully to prepare yourself for the COVID-19 testing program at Loyola’s three Chicagoland campuses.

About the SHIELD Illinois COVID-19 Test

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 an on-campus testing site. Saliva samples are then transported to a network of lab partners who will process the sample and return results to both Loyola and the individual who was tested within 24 hours.

For more information on the science behind the saliva-based test, please click here.

What is Surveillance Testing

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), testing of asymptomatic students, faculty, and staff should increase the timeliness of outbreak detection and response by rapidly identifying and isolating COVID-19 cases that would have otherwise gone undetected without testing. The SHIELD Illinois saliva-based test is highly accurate and quick to administer, allowing Loyola to test its community widely, thereby optimizing our infection control measures.

Please note that this surveillance testing is for asymptomatic individuals. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please contact Dial-A-Nurse at (773) 508-8883 for instructions on visiting our Wellness Center for testing.

Who Must Get Tested

Loyola students, faculty, and staff who plan to spend any time on Loyola property during the spring 2021 semester will need to participate in our surveillance testing program. Testing sites will be conveniently located on all three Chicagoland campuses. 

Testing Frequency

Testing is required for anyone who intends to be on campus, based on frequency. Undergraduate students should submit for testing twice per week, with at least one day between tests, if they plan to spend two or more days on campus each week. Graduate students, professional students, faculty, and staff should submit for testing once per week if they plan to spend more than one day on campus each week. For those who visit intermittently (one day per week or less), we ask that you submit for testing upon your arrival each time you visit campus. Although the results will not be available for 24 hours, positive cases will initiate contact tracing to determine any potential close contacts when on campus. 

Loyola will monitor a number of factors—frequency of visits to campus, cohort “hot spots,” etc.—that may trigger more frequent testing. If it is determined that you must submit for more frequent testing, you will be notified via email. Please visit this website frequently for updates.

If your schedule is flexible, we ask that Loyolans whose last name begins with A-K should submit for testing on Monday and/or Thursday. If your last name begins with L-Z, please try to submit for testing Tuesday and/or Friday. Doing so will help us manage flow and reduce both wait times and density at our sites. If your schedule does not align with the recommended days, please still test whenever you’re able.

 

Compliance

If you do not follow Loyola’s testing protocol and plan to access University property, you will lose your building access privileges until you have received a negative result from one of Loyola’s tests. Repeated failure to comply will also be considered a violation of the LUC Community Standards and will result in a referral to your supervisor/chair (employee) or the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution (student). Please note that if you are a residential student, access to your assigned residence hall will always be maintained.

Cost

The surveillance test will be administered for free.

Checklist Before First Test

Loyola’s testing sites will be available beginning January 11, 2021. If you plant to spend any time on Loyola's campuses this spring, please review our Return to Campus Checklist.

Scheduling Your Visit

You will use your MyShield patient portal to schedule your testing visits. You can also sign up for multiple visits at the same time. It is important that you are scheduled because it will facilitate a smoother check-in process so that your patient record can be associated with your test. However, if you arrive for testing without a scheduled visit, you will still be permitted to test—under those circumstances, you will be asked to step aside, log into your MyShield portal, schedule your visit for the time you are there, and then step back up to the check-in table.

Arriving for Your Test

You should refrain from eating, drinking, brushing your teeth, using mouthwash, chewing gum, and using tobaccos for at least one hour before submitting your saliva sample at the test site.

Bring your Loyola ID, wear a mask or face covering at all times, and maintain at least six feet of distance from others.

The Testing Process

  1. As you enter the testing site, you will be asked to show your Loyola health app indicating that you have completed the consent form. You will also be asked if you have scheduled a visit. If you have not, you should step aside and schedule a visit in MySHIELD (accessible through the Loyola health app). If your consent form is signed and you have scheduled an appointment, you may proceed to a check-in station.
  2.  At the check-in station, you will be asked to present your Loyola ID to locate your patient record and scheduled visit.
  3. Next, you will be asked to verify that your phone number is correct. This number will be used if you test positive or for contact tracing. You must respond to contact tracing calls at this number or risk disciplinary action.
  4. You will be asked to verify that your address is correct by confirming your street name (eg, Do you still live on Sheridan?).
  5. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) requests that we ask each person’s race and ethnicity. You may choose not to answer these questions, in which case the response “unknown” will be recorded.
  6. Your DOB will be written on a barcode and that barcode will be placed on a vial. You will be asked to verify that your DOB is recorded accurately on the vial.
  7. Next, you will move to the saliva station. There, you will dribble/drool saliva into the tube until you have filled the tube with one mL of saliva (past the bottom of the label on the vial). There is no need to spit into the tube. There may be bubbles when you produce your sample—just make sure that your saliva reaches the bottom of the label. Once complete, take the vial to the collection station.
  8. At the collection station, you will hold up your vial so that a staff member can confirm that the volume of saliva is sufficient and there are no particles in the saliva. If there is not enough saliva, you will be instructed to return to a saliva station until the vial is sufficiently filled. If there is enough saliva, you will remove the funnel from the vial and place a cap on the vial. A staff member will scan the vial while you hold it up, and then you will be directed to insert the vial into a rack.
  9. You will be offered a paper copy of a COVID-19 Test Fact Sheet for Patients. If you do not wish to take a paper copy, an electronic copy is available.

Test Results

Test results are typically available within 24 hours and can be found in your MyShield patient portal.

Please review our Positive Diagnosis Protocol for more information about contact tracing, isolation, and quarantine.

Testing Sites and Hours

Testing locations will be available at all three campuses: Lake Shore, Health Sciences, and Water Tower. 

Lake Shore Campus:

  • Damen Student Center Room 244 (Sr. Jean Room)
  • Mundelein Auditorium Room 140

Health Sciences Campus:

  • Cuneo Center 120 – Faculty Dining room

Water Tower Campus:

  • Maguire Hall 160


Unless announced otherwise, testing hours for all locations are:

Monday-Friday: 6:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Sunday: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  

Testing Dashboard

Please visit our COVID-19 Testing Dashboard for the latest information about the health of the Loyola community.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is surveillance testing? Why is Loyola University Chicago doing it?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), testing of asymptomatic students, faculty, and staff should increase the timeliness of outbreak detection and response by rapidly identifying and isolating COVID-19 cases that would have otherwise gone undetected without testing. The SHIELD Illinois saliva-based test is highly accurate and quick to administer, allowing Loyola to test its community widely, thereby optimizing our infection control measures.

What are the benefits of surveillance testing?

The SHIELD Illinois saliva test is a highly accurate way of testing asymptomatic individuals. Community-wide surveillance testing gives Loyola the ability to identify positive asymptomatic individuals quickly and immediately start contact tracing to prevent the spread of the virus within the Loyola community.

Have other colleges and universities around the country used surveillance testing to slow the spread of COVID-19 successfully?

Members of the University’s emergency response teams have studied for months what works effectively at other institutions, and we’ve learned that with good execution of two key areas, cases and outbreaks of COVID-19 can be managed. Those two areas are:

  • Aggressive testing of asymptotic students, staff, and faculty
  • Compliance with mask-wearing, distancing, and other basic mitigation

I’m excited to enroll in Loyola’s testing program. What steps should I take to start?

Loyola’s testing sites will be available beginning January 11, 2021. To be eligible to receive your first saliva-based test, there’s a brief checklist to follow. You can find details about this under the Checklist Before First Test section. 

Is a consent form required even if I don’t plan to visit campus this spring?

If you do not plan to visit campus at all in the spring 2021 semester and will not need testing, you do not need to complete the consent form. Please be aware that if your plans change and you do come to campus, you should submit for testing upon arrival.

What happens if I forget to sign my consent form? Can I still get tested when I come to campus?

Yes, you can still come to campus. Please come to the testing site upon arrival at campus. Your first visit to a testing site will take longer than normal, as you will need to complete your consent form and register your MyShield account before you can be tested. Staff members can walk you through these steps at your first visit. However, we prefer that you complete your consent form now to help us anticipate and manage volumes at our testing sites.

What happens if I do not sign the consent form?

In the interest of assisting you in the event of a COVID-19 positive result and protecting others who you may have exposed, the consent form is required for Loyola to receive your test results. Without signing the consent form, you will not be tested (since we will not have access to the results).

What happens if I forget to test?

If you do not follow Loyola’s testing protocol and plan to access University property, you will lose your building access privileges until you have received a negative result from one of Loyola’s tests. Repeated failure to comply will also be considered a violation of the LUC Community Standards and will result in a referral to your supervisor/chair (employee) or the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution (student). Please note that if you are a residential student, access to your assigned residence hall will always be maintained.

If I only visit campus periodically and don’t need to test every week, will I still be able to access campus buildings?

Any Loyola faculty, staff or students may access campus buildings if testing protocols are followed. Testing is required for anyone who intends to be on campus, based on frequency. If you are on campus:

On Campus Frequency
Testing Frequency
Less than once a week
You should submit for testing upon arrival each time you visit campus. Although the results will not be available for 24 hours, positive cases will initiate contact tracing to determine any potential close contacts when on campus.
Once a week
You should submit for testing upon arrival each time you visit campus.
For any frequency greater than once per week
Undergraduate students should submit for testing twice a week, with at least one day between tests.

Campus access is monitored for compliance. Non-compliance will result in a denial of building access. Building access is granted to those who meet the surveillance testing protocols. If your plans change and you do come to campus, please be aware that you will not be able to access any buildings—besides the building where the testing is taking place—without testing upon arrival. If people in that particular cohort do come to campus, we’ll ask them to test upon their arrival; in those cases, they would complete the consent form. Although the results will not be available for 24 hours, positive cases will initiate contact tracing to determine any potential close contacts when on campus.

How long does the testing process take? Is it a big hassle?

At other universities that have implemented a saliva-based testing program, the duration of the testing process from start to finish takes roughly five minutes. At the beginning, we can expect that it will take slightly longer; as we adjust to the process over time, the duration should shorten and take very little time out of your day.

I am graduating in December 2020 and will not be on campus after graduation. Do I need to enroll in the testing program?

Congratulations on your graduation! If you will not be on campus post-graduation, you do not need to complete the consent form or submit for testing. 

Will the saliva test cost me anything?

No, testing will be free for all Loyola students, faculty, and staff (as stated on the COVID-19 Testing Program website). The consent form is intended to be broad, capturing other potential instances of COVID-19 diagnostic testing that may be required in the treatment of an individual (most applicable to students who visit the Wellness Center). This would not apply to faculty and staff as they do not receive treatment at the Wellness Center. 

I’ve received a positive result for COVID-19 within the last 90 days, and the CDC recommends I don’t take another test until that 90-day window is over. Will my campus access be restricted during this time?

People who have tested positive should not re-test for 90 days from the date of their positive test. You should provide documentation of your positive test to COVID-19Testing@luc.edu

I’ve previously tested positive for COVID-19 and may have protective antibodies. Do I need to participate in surveillance testing?

Yes, people with antibodies should still be tested. The CDC does not recommend any changes in behavior for persons who have been infected with COVID-19 since the science community doesn’t yet know what level of antibodies/cell-mediated immunity is protective and for how long.

I have been administered a COVID-19 vaccine. Do I need to participate in surveillance testing?

We ask that Loyolans who have been administered a COVID-19 vaccine participate in surveillance testing until two weeks have passed since your vaccine booster shot. While there are antibody responses after one dose of vaccine, the neutralization of virus isn't optimal according to preliminary vaccine trials.

Do I need to pay for parking if I am only coming to campus to get tested?

While we are not requiring you to come to campus just for testing, you are welcome to. During the semester, normal parking rates will apply. Please visit the Campus Transportation website for more details. At both the Fordham Garage and the Main Parking Structure, the first 30 minutes of parking are free when you pull a daily parking ticket.

I’m not planning to come to campus for any reason other than testing. Is that allowed?

Yes, you are welcome to visit campus for testing, even if you have no plans to access campus buildings for any other reason. Some institutions call this “ad hoc testing.”

I am living in the residence halls and will be in quarantine at move-in at the start of the spring semester. Should I still test during this time?

Yes, you must test during move-in quarantine. During your quarantine period, if you test positive, we will want to be sure that we can monitor your health and provide you with services from our COVID Care Coordinators.

I’m under 18. What am I supposed to do?

Any students under 18 years of age should have their parents electronically sign the e-consent form.