Testing Positive for COVID-19

The University has been working closely with the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District (CUPHD) since this pandemic began, and we have plans and processes in place to help maximize safety and minimize the spread of COVID-19.

If you are a student, faculty or staff member and you test positive for COVID-19, there are processes that you need to follow:

Students

Test Result Notification

Students participating in the on-campus testing program will be notified of results from an on-campus test via email through the McKinley Patient Health Portal. It is critically important that you check your university email account daily and access your results in the McKinley Patient Health Portal upon receiving notification of test result availability. Safer Illinois app users can also see results through the app.

Contact Tracing

In the event of exposure or testing positive for COVID-19, students, faculty and staff will typically be contacted within 24-48 hours by CUPHD (using a phone number that begins with 217-531-XXXX) or University Housing, Private Certified Housing and Certified Greek Housing. Follow-up contact tracing calls may come from 312-777-1999. The university recommends adding 312-777-1999 as a contact in your phone. You may also receive a call or text message from the university. You must respond immediately.

Isolation or quarantine as directed by CUPHD, University Housing, Private Certified Housing and Certified Greek Housing is mandatory. If you do not follow this guidance, you will be in violation of state law. Students, faculty and staff who fail to comply with these public health directives could be subject to disciplinary action. Students can face immediate suspension for isolation non-compliance.

Isolation

If you test positive, please go to your local place of residence (residence hall room, apartment, etc.) and self-isolate, limiting your contact with others immediately. When you are contacted, you and university staff or CUPHD will coordinate to find a place where you will isolate. If you would like to go to your permanent residence to isolate, you will work with CUPHD or university staff to determine whether it is safe for you to do so.

Isolation as directed by CUPHD, University Housing, Private Certified Housing and Certified Greek Housing is mandatory. If you choose not to follow this guidance, you could be subject to student discipline.

You should not leave your residence/isolation location after receiving a positive test result until you are notified you can do so by CUPHD.

Learn more about returning to campus after quarantine and isolation.

Courses and Absences

If you receive a positive test, you will need to email your instructors and let them know you will be absent from class. You do not need to share any specific health information with them.

If you are in remote courses, you may continue to attend class online if you are able.

Student Resources

You can use the OSF OnCall Connect program that provides information, support and guidance at no cost to you.

The Student Assistance Center (217-333-0050; helpdean@illinois.edu) is also available to help you understand university policies and procedures and connect you with resources, whether related to COVID-19 or other challenges that you may be experiencing.

Employees (faculty and staff)

Test Result Notification

Employees participating in the on-campus COVID-19 testing program will be notified of results from an on-campus test via email through the McKinley Patient Health Portal. It is critically important that you check your university email account daily and access your results in the McKinley Patient Health Portal upon receiving notification of test result availability. Safer Illinois app users can also see results through the app.

Contact Tracing

If you test positive, you should avoid contact with others immediately. You will be contacted within 24 hours by the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District (using phone number 312-777-1999) to provide specific isolation guidance and to collect information for contact tracing.

The university recommends adding 312-777-1999 as a contact in your phone. An effective contact tracing program is critical to minimizing the spread of COVID-19.

Text messages for faculty/staff who test positive

If you are a faculty or staff member and you test positive for COVID-19, the university will send you a text message shortly after your test is processed. The message will look like this:

  • This is the University of Illinois COVID-19 SHIELD TEAM 30. Your most recent COVID-19 test is positive. You must immediately isolate and are not permitted to work or attend any in-person activities. Champaign-Urbana Public Health District (CUPHD) will contact you within 24 hours to discuss isolation guidelines and contact tracing. You are legally obligated to answer their call. The call will come from a 217-531-XXXX number. You may also email CUPHD at coronavirus@c-uphd.org to indicate windows of time during regular business hours you are available to take their call and to ask any questions. Please remain isolated in your residence. You need to call the confidential IHR COVID-19 hotline at 217-300-9005. IHR will explain the benefits available to cover your isolation period. Please reply Y to confirm you have read this message and are immediately isolating. Researchers at the University of Illinois are studying the way COVID-19 behaves in people over time. They would like to collect saliva and nasal swabs every day for two weeks and track symptoms. If you are interested in participating in this research, please visit this link to share your contact information. This is an automated message.

Please remember to respond Y to the message to indicate you have taken steps to immediately isolate. 

CUPHD has asked employers to help identify workplace close contacts to assist CUPHD in their contact tracing efforts. As such, when an employee tests positive, Illinois Human Resources (IHR) will then work with the unit to determine if there are other employees who meet the close contact threshold.

Once work close contacts have been identified, IHR will inform them to quarantine on a presumptive basis. IHR will also be providing the work-related close contact information with CUPHD, who will then confirm next steps. 

For questions about text messages for faculty and staff, please call the confidential IHR COVID-19 hotline at 217-300-9005.

Isolation

Isolation as directed by CUPHD is mandatory for employees. If you choose not to follow this guidance, you could be subject to discipline through Illinois Human Resources.

If you test positive, you will be provided information about where to isolate.

You should not leave your home/isolation location after receiving a positive test result until you are cleared by CUPHD.

Notify Illinois Human Resources and Your Unit

Employees who receive a positive test are required to notify Illinois Human Resources by calling 217-300-9005. Illinois Human Resources will provide information about paid leave options, as well as collect information that will help ensure we take any necessary cleaning or sanitation steps.

You must inform your unit of your absence, but you do not need to share specific health information. IHR will only provide information necessary to take any appropriate safety actions.

If you are doing remote work, you may continue to work if you are able.

Employee Resources

You can use the OSF On Call program that provides information, support and guidance at no cost to you.

Quarantine and Isolation Information

CUPHD will provide individuals with specific information about how to quarantine or isolate depending on the individual’s specific situation. The university’s Quarantine and Isolation page has basic information and guidance about quarantine and isolation.



Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the lead health authority when it comes to returning to campus?

You may have sought health advice from your physician, local public health agency, or another health resource but as you prepare to return to campus the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District is the lead public health for our community.

What happens if someone who is fully vaccinated tests positive for COVID-19?

As a general university policy, fully vaccinated individuals are not required to continue the testing program to maintain compliance and building access. However, fully vaccinated individuals will still have full access to on-campus testing, and they may choose to continue testing if they develop symptoms or as an extra layer of comfort. If someone is fully vaccinated and then tests positive (this only happens in a small percentage of people, according to the CDC), they will be contacted about isolation from the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District. Read more information about testing positive for COVID-19 here.

I am a student who tested positive and returned home to my permanent residence for isolation. What steps do I need to do to move back to campus? Into the residence halls? Greek house? Apartment?

Your first step is to receive clearance from the Champaign Urbana Public Health District to return to campus.

  • If you live with University Housing, once you return to campus, you need to take a COVID-19 test prior to returning to your on-campus residence. You do not need to wait for results.
  • If you live off campus, you need to consult the management for your housing to see if there are any additional steps you need to take to return to your housing.

Learn more about returning to campus after quarantine and isolation.

What happens if I test positive again? My doctor told me that I should retest for 90 days, because I could test positive again.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign requires all students, faculty and staff, including those who have previously tested positive and isolated, to continue their COVID-19 testing schedule out of an abundance of caution. You may test positive again; this is normal, and will not affect your building access. We will monitor your test results and inform you if we believe you to be reinfected.

Additional Resources


Testing Positive Updates