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OIS NEWS - 12/22/2020

Self-Quarantine FAQs for the UIC International Community

Please see below for a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to UIC self-quarantine recommendations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These recommendations apply to individuals newly arriving or returning to campus from locations outside the state of Illinois, including international locations.

These FAQs were updated on Friday, Jan. 15 and are subject to change. For complete details on UIC’s COVID-19 response, please visit today.uic.edu/coronavirus.

General Information

What does it mean to self-quarantine?
People in self-quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from their state or local health department. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that individuals in self-quarantine only leave for essential services.

How are the UIC self-quarantine guidelines different from the CDC guidelines?
UIC public health experts have recommended slightly more conservative quarantine guidelines than the ones released by the CDC on Dec. 3, 2020. These recommendations are based on the conditions at UIC and the surrounding communities. In general, UIC students and employees may physically visit campus after ten days of quarantine if they are asymptomatic, produce a negative COVID-19 result based on a test taken seven days or more past exposure/travel, and continue to monitor and/or report symptoms up to 14 days past exposure/travel. Asymptomatic individuals who do not take a COVID-19 test (testing is strongly encouraged if at all possible) must quarantine for 14 days past exposure/travel. UI Health employees and students on clinical rotation may have additional options for managing their self-quarantine timeline. Please contact your supervisor or department for details. Students entering UIC Housing must still produce a negative COVID-19 test prior to move-in. Please contact housinghealth@uic.edu for details.

Where can I find more information about UIC self-quarantine guidelines, saliva testing on campus, the UIC COVID-19 reporting tool, and UIC Healthcheck?
On Dec. 17, 2020, UIC released updated campus COVID-19 guidance which includes important information and tools for all students and employees that plan to physically visit campus this spring. The update includes:

  • Updated campus self-quarantine guidelines referenced above.
  • How to schedule saliva testing and view saliva test results through MyChart.
  • Introduction of UIC’s new reporting tool for tracking COVID-19 exposures and positive test results obtained outside of UIC hospitals, clinics, or testing centers.
  • Details on the mandatory UIC Healthcheck tool and UIC Daily Pass badge for campus visitors.

Considerations for Entry to the U.S.

Will I be required to self-quarantine upon arrival to campus?
In most cases, yes. Students and scholars arriving to campus from outside the U.S. or from states that are on the City of Chicago Travel Order must quarantine for up to 14 days (please see above for more information on UIC quarantine guidelines) from the time of their arrival to campus. This requirement is not based on an individual’s immigration status but rather their location prior to arriving to campus. Those arriving to campus directly from locations within Illinois or U.S. states not included in the City of Chicago Travel Order are not required to self-quarantine prior to visiting campus.

Entry to the U.S. is prohibited for individuals who have been present in certain countries for the past 14 days. As I am from one of these countries, I will spend 14 days in another country before entering the U.S. Does this count as my self-quarantine?
No. You will still be entering the U.S. from another country and therefore will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days before visiting campus.

Do I need to present a COVID-19 test result when entering the U.S.?
In most cases, yes. Beginning Jan. 26, 2021, all air passengers entering the U.S. from a foreign country must present documentation of a recent negative COVID-19 test or proof of recent recovery from COVID-19. For more information on this requirement, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

Will I be quarantined by federal or local government when arriving to the U.S.?
No, self-quarantining is done on your own and is not enforced by the federal, state or city governments. However, incoming UIC residence hall students must complete a self-quarantine period and produce a negative COVID-19 test prior to moving into their assigned residence hall accommodation for the spring 2021 semester. Find additional information below regarding self-quarantine for campus housing residents.

When is the latest date I can arrive to the U.S. and complete my self-quarantine?
UIC will begin the spring 2021 semester online and reintroduce in-person instruction as soon as local and campus health authorities allow. If you are enrolled for in-person or blended classes which will eventually require physical presence, you must be enrolled full-time by the end of the add/drop period on Jan. 22, 2021 and it is ideal for you to enter the U.S. before the spring semester begins on Jan. 11, 2021. You may be allowed to enter the U.S. after Jan. 11 in certain circumstances but please communicate your situation with OIS so that we may appropriately advise and support your entry. All new F-1 and J-1 students physically entering the U.S. for the first time must enter and check-in with OIS no later than 30 days past the program start date listed on your I-20/DS-2019. Your period of self-quarantine should be initiated immediately upon arrival in Illinois.

How should I notify the Office of International Services that I have arrived at UIC?
International students and scholars who physically enter the U.S. must complete an Immigration Check-In with OIS as soon after arrival as possible. The Immigration Check-In can be completed virtually and does not require you to physically visit our office. International students can find the virtual check-in instructions here. All others can email ois@uic.edu to request instructions. Please note that OIS, and many UIC offices, will be closed for winter break beginning at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020 and reopening at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.

On and Off-Campus Housing Considerations

I plan to live in UIC Campus Housing. Where should I self-quarantine?
UIC residence halls open for the spring semester at noon on Jan. 9, 2021. Quarantine accommodations will be available for incoming UIC residence hall students (i.e. students with a signed contract to live in a UIC residence hall for spring 2021) in the Single Student Residence (SSR) located on west campus. Incoming residence hall students who plan to arrive to UIC prior to Jan. 9 should contact UIC Housing at minimum 14 days prior to arrival to secure self-quarantine accommodation in SSR. There is limited availability of rooms prior to Jan. 9 and students will be charged the UIC Interim Campus Housing daily fee.

I plan to live off-campus in private accommodation. Where should I self-quarantine?
If it is not possible to move directly into your private accommodation and safely complete your self-quarantine there, you will need to arrange for temporary accommodation. OIS is reaching out to hotels near UIC’s Chicago campus and has confirmed that the Marriott, Holiday Inn, Hyatt Place Chicago (hotel style rooms) and Hyatt House Chicago (apartment style rooms) will be open and have availability for arriving students and scholars. Individuals are responsible for making their own reservation and paying for their stay (please mention you are affiliated with UIC to see if the UIC rate is available to you). This information is accurate as of the posting of these FAQs and subject to change.

What are my options to obtain food and other essentials during self-quarantine?
Incoming UIC residence hall students completing their self-quarantine in SSR can participate in the Boxed Meal Program at an additional charge. Additionally, students in SSR have the option to arrange for grocery and essentials delivery via Instacart. Students self-quarantining off-campus can also utilize Instacart along with other common delivery services such as MercatoJewel and Whole Foods.

Completing Self-Quarantine

What should I do if I develop COVID-19 symptoms during my self-quarantine period?
Visit the CDC website for a review of common COVID-19 symptoms. If you develop any of these symptoms during your self-quarantine period and are a UIC student, contact Student Health Services to speak to a medical professional. Students in Chicago can call (312) 996-2901, in Rockford call (815) 395-5870 and in Peoria call (309) 672-4977. Scholars should contact their personal medical provider (i.e. your doctor) or University Health Services at (312) 996-7420. Your doctor can give you guidance on treatment and testing options. Continue to isolate yourself until you doctor says it is safe to be around others. If you do not have an established doctor in the U.S., you can search your insurance company’s website for a physician or urgent care facility that is in the Chicago area.

What should I do at the end of my self-quarantine period?
If you have not developed any COVID-19 symptoms after 7 days of self-quarantine, you may take a UIC COVID-19 Saliva-Based Test offered to UIC students free of charge at multiple campus locations. If the result (generally available in two days) is negative, you may end your self-quarantine period on day 10 and continue to monitor symptoms until day 14. If it is absolutely not possible to obtain a COVID-19 test, you may still end your self-quarantine on day 14 if your remain asymptomatic. For incoming UIC residence hall students, a negative COVID-19 test is required before you can move into your assigned accommodation for the spring semester. More details on that process can be found here.

Who should I contact if I still have questions?

  • For questions about general UIC COVID-19 safety plans and policies, including testing programs and contact tracing, visit today.uic.edu/coronavirus.
  • For general health and COVID-19 specific medical guidance for students, contact Student Health Services at University Village (312) 996-2901.
  • For questions about general health care coverage or coverage related to COVID-19, contact CampusCare (for students enrolled in the UIC student health benefit program) or your private health insurance provider (for students or scholars covered under a health insurance program of their own choosing).
  • For questions about UIC Campus Housing self-quarantine accommodations or COVID-19 policies, contact Campus Housing or (312) 355-6300. 
  • For all other questions related to international student or scholar arrival support, contact the Office of International Services at ois@uic.edu or (312) 996-3121.
  • If you will attend one of our branch campuses, such as the UIC College of Medicine at Rockford, please email ois@uic.edu so we can assist you in obtaining location-specific guidance.