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U Of I Officials: Urbana Students Cannot Get Tested For COVID-19 At UIC Or UIS

COVID-19 testing site at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

URBANA — Coronavirus testing sites at the University of Illinois’ Chicago and Springfield campuses will not be available to students who are enrolled at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, according to U of I spokeswoman Robin Kaler.

Recent social media posts from U of I students suggest that some were under the impression that they could access testing on other campuses during winter break.

But Kaler confirmed with Illinois Newsroom that this is not the case.

The news comes as many students have left the Urbana campus to return home for the remainder of the fall semester, which will be fully online once classes resume on Nov. 30. According to the University of Illinois Division of Management Information, about 69% of all Illinois-based students that are enrolled at the Urbana campus are from Will, Cook, DuPage and Lake Counties, which include the city of Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. Roughly 1% of Illinois-based students are from Sangamon County, where Springfield is located.

An outdoor coronavirus testing site at the University of Illinois at Chicago, as seen in August 2020. Christine Herman/Illinois Newsroom

Kaler said in an email that the only people from the Urbana campus who can access testing at the Chicago or Springfield testing sites are faculty, staff and graduate students who are working or researching on those campuses. That access will continue going forward. To find out whether one is eligible for testing in Chicago, Kaler suggests contacting UIC’s COVID-19 testing team to inquire. 

Celeste Mora, an Urbana undergraduate student from Chicago, had been looking forward to the peace of mind that comes with getting tested regularly. She was hoping to visit the Chicago campus to get tested once home for winter break.

“I think a lot of UIUC students were banking on the free COVID testing at UIC to stay safe and keep their families safe throughout these next two months at home,” she says. “I think it would’ve been a great resource to offer UIUC students an even better way to ensure that we can all be back on campus in the spring.”

Mora said she had previously sent an email to Chicago’s testing team — and they informed her she would be able to get tested. Mora also said she had friends from the Urbana campus who were previously able to get tested.

In response to questions about whether it is possible Urbana undergrads could have accessed testing at UIC in the past, Kaler said in an email: “An undergraduate student could be a part of a Chicago-based project or could have slipped through the system as UIC was ramping up its testing program.”

According to Kaler, the Chicago and Springfield campuses were not designed with the capacity to accommodate Urbana students.

Urbana students can still get tested at campus sites in Champaign-Urbana, which will remain open — with the exception of some holiday closures — through the rest of the fall semester and over winter break.

Jose Zepeda

Jose Zepeda

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