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University of Illinois lifts vaccine requirement

Sean Crawford/NPR Illinois

The University of Illinois is ending its COVID-19 vaccination and testing requirements for those on its campuses. The decision is effective immediately.

The university president, Tim Killeen, sent a notice on Thursday reminding anyone who tests positive to follow CDC guidelines for isolating.

"If you do feel ill or have symptoms of COVID-19, we also strongly urge you to stay home from school and work to protect your classmates and colleagues," Killeen said.

The U of I had been requiring all students, faculty and staff to have their initial round of the vaccines or undergo regular COVID testing since 2021. The vast majority of those on campus had received their shots.

When the rule was originally issued, Killeen said it was necessary for allowing in-person instruction.

Gov. JB Pritzker lifted his vaccine mandate for higher education last summer, but the University of Illinois kept one in place for the fall semester.

At UIS, free SHIELD saliva testing will continue to be offered in the WUIS building from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Despite lifting requirements, the university maintains the ability to impose mitigation rules if needed in the future.

Face coverings are not required, but the U of I supports an individual's decision to use one.

All three campuses will conduct wastewater monitoring this semester in an effort to determine potential outbreaks.

"Through your efforts, the U of I System has set a high standard for safety during the pandemic and served as a model for the nation," Killeen said. "I am confident that with your help we will continue our vigilance against the COVID-19 virus."

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