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U of I to require vaccinations again this fall; UIS will announce mask policy next week

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The University of Illinois system will require those on campuses this fall to be vaccinated for COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing.

The University System President Tim Killeen made the announcement in an email to students and staff Tuesday. It’s similar to the policy in place last year.

“As we prepare to return to our universities this fall, University of Illinois System leaders continue to think first and foremost about the safety of all of you and the surrounding communities amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “Throughout the pandemic, measures we have taken to mitigate against the virus that causes COVID-19 have made our three universities among the safest places to be. These measures – particularly vaccination – remain our best protection.”

Two weeks ago, Gov. J.B. Pritzker lifted his vaccine mandate for higher education.

University of Illinois students and staff must complete the one or two dose COVID-19 vaccination series. Booster shots are optional.

Mask polices will depend on the campus. UIS will have an announcement next week, according to Chancellor Janet Gooch. She said once finalized, a Zoom meeting with the campus community will be held.

The U of I at Urbana-Champaign will not require masks except in healthcare settings, like COVID-19 testing sites and the McKinley Health Center.

The University of Illinois joins schools like Northwestern University that have kept their vaccine requirements.

It remains uncertain if the Springfield campus will offer testing on-site, as it has since the fall of 2020. That had been credited with allowing in-person classes to continue during the pandemic and prevent major outbreaks. Saliva testing ended in recent weeks.

“Our leadership team is working diligently to determine the best approach for moving forward with on-campus testing for the fall semester,” Gooch added.

Emily Hays of Illinois Newsroom contributed to this report

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