COVID-19 FAQ | IL Vaccination Mandate for Colleges

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. Symptoms include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. The virus that causes COVID-19 primarily spreads between people in close contact when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. You might also get the virus if you touch something with the virus on it, and then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes. 


The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated.  Find your vaccine at or call 312 746 4835. Learn more at 

What should I do if I test positive?

If you test positive for COVID-19, you most likely have an active COVID-19 infection and can give the virus to others. Isolate and do not come on campus.  

Email right away if you test positive or develop COVID-19 symptoms and provide the following information:

  1. Your name
  2. Your vaccination status (fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated, not vaccinated)
  3. The date you tested
  4. The last date you were on campus
  5. The date your symptoms, if any, started
  6. The date you were exposed, if known
  7. Circumstances of the exposure, if known

How long should I isolate/quarantine if I test positive?

(Reviewed 2/7/2022)

For students, faculty, or staff with a positive test:

Individuals who tested positive should isolate, meaning stay home and away from others until it has been:

  • At least 5 days since their symptoms first appeared (or for asymptomatic individuals, from their test date)


  • At least 24 hours with no fever (without using fever-reducing medications) and improved symptoms, whichever is longer.

You can attend on-campus classes on days 6-10 provided you wear a well-fitted mask at all times while indoors and socially distance.

What should I do if I have been exposed?

(reviewed 9/12/2022)

For students, faculty, or staff identified as close contacts:

Students, faculty, or staff with close contact to a person testing positive for COVID-19 are:

  • Required to mask for 10 days after the exposure occurred (date of exposure is day 0).
  • The individual may stay in school, regardless of vaccine status, as long as they remain symptom-free AND the individual can always maintain masking through day 10.
  • It is best practice, though not required, to test on day 5 after exposure and follow isolation guidance if the test is positive.
  • Notify about the exposure

If you develop symptoms after the exposure, do not attend any on-campus classes or activities. Schedule testing and quarantine while awaiting test results.

What should I do if I have symptoms of COVID-19? 

Testing is required for students, faculty, or staff with symptoms consistent with COVID-19, regardless of their vaccination status or if they have a known exposure. Isolate and do not come on campus while waiting for the test result. If a rapid/Ag detection test is negative but there is a high clinical suspicion of COVID-19 (you are symptomatic), confirm with a PCR test, ideally within 2 days of the initial Ag test.  

Even if you test negative, ensure it has been 24-hours with no fever (without fever-reducing medication) and with improved symptoms before returning on campus. 

Vaccination Requirements

Up to date COVID-19 vaccination is highly recommended for all students, faculty, and staff.

“Up to date” means a person has received all recommended vaccines & boosters when eligible. Staying up to date on COVID vaccines is the best way to protect yourself and others from variants.

Are masks required on campuses?

(Updated 9/12/2022)

Beginning Monday, September 12, and until further notice:

  • Masks are recommended but optional in classrooms, labs, student resource centers, the library, and all other spaces across campus.
  • Unvaccinated and immunocompromised individuals are advised to continue wearing a well-fitted mask indoors if social distancing is not possible.
  • Students attending externship should follow health and safety guidelines in place at their site.
When should I test?  

Anyone, including people who are fully vaccinated, should consider getting tested: 

  • If you develop symptoms 
  • after an exposure or  
  • before joining indoor gatherings with others who are not in your household. 

A positive test result means that you have an infection and should avoid indoor gatherings to reduce the risk of spreading disease to someone else. 

A negative test result means that you may not have an infection. Repeating home self-tests with at least 24 hours between tests will increase the confidence that you are not infected. 

Ask your healthcare provider if you need help interpreting your test results. 

Find out more about testing and testing sites here: 

What guidelines should I follow when planning travel?  

All travelers should follow Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance and protocols for  domestic  and  international travel during the COVID -19 pandemic. These guidelines include recommendations to delay travel until travelers are fully vaccinated as well as protocols for travelers who are unvaccinated. Follow the links above for the most current guidelines.  

In addition, under the  Chicago Travel Advisory, unvaccinated travelers should be tested for COVID-19 before and after travel from any state on the advisory list and should quarantine upon arrival in Chicago. For domestic travel, the quarantine and testing recommendations do not apply to fully vaccinated travelers.  

Information Resources

Where do I get accurate and trusted information about coronavirus?

Have Questions? Email 

Primary Resource:  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  (CDC) 

Chicago Resource:  Chicago Department of Public Health  (CDPH) 


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