Updated COVID-19 masking guidance
Dear students, faculty and staff,
Chicago and Cook County remain in the Low COVID-19 Community Level based on the number of new local COVID-19 cases, regional COVID-19 hospital admissions and COVID-19 hospital capacity. In addition, the federal Public Health Emergency for COVID-19 expires May 11 as we transition to a more endemic phase. Nationally, cases of COVID-19, deaths and hospitalizations have declined over 80% since January 2022. As we move into this new phase, we have tools to safely return to more normal operations.
The following tools remain available to protect ourselves and others:
- Vaccinate to decrease the risk of death or severe disease.
- Mask, particularly if you are ill.
- Test for respiratory viruses, like COVID-19 and flu, if you are sick, and talk to your doctor if you would benefit from treatment.
- UIC will continue to offer SHIELD Illinois on-campus saliva testing at the Chicago campus, at the regional campuses in Rockford and Peoria and at the Law School.
- Wash your hands often.
- Do not come to work or school if you are sick. Cover your cough and sneezes; use a mask if you are recovering from an illness and have a cough that lasts for a while.
- Wastewater testing on campus will continue to be utilized as an early marker of COVID-19 and respiratory virus transmission levels.
Masks are still very effective in protecting you from infection and are encouraged as needed. Masking requirements are modified on campus and at UI Health, effective Feb. 20.
Masking is encouraged but no longer required in classrooms, lecture centers, research labs, libraries and learning/success centers, the Counseling Center and on UIC shuttles and buses.
For UI Health:
Masking remains required in all clinical areas for staff, patients and visitors, but masking is optional in meeting rooms and the cafeteria. The Hospital & Clinics will provide additional guidance in a separate message to staff.
We encourage you to continue to report COVID-19 symptoms and exposures using the online reporting tool. If you are in doubt, stay home to protect co-workers, fellow students, friends and family. Your kindness and consideration of others in our community is appreciated.
Together we can safely transition to this next phase of managing COVID-19 while prioritizing our educational mission.
Robert Barish, MD, MBA
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs
Susan Bleasdale, MD
Chief Quality Officer and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Quality and Patient Safety