A majority of students frequenting campus are cooperating with Loyola’s surveillance testing requirement, according to university officials.
Loyola uses the SHIELD Illinois saliva-based test to examine asymptomatic members of the Loyola community in an effort to control the spread of the virus on campus, according to its website.
The compliance rate among students is between 70 to 80 percent as of March 21, according to Associate Vice President for Facilities Kana Henning. The compliance rate among faculty and staff is higher, averaging 80 to 90 percent.
Henning said the university deactivates IDs for those who repeatedly don’t comply with the surveillance testing requirement until they become compliant. In addition, they lose access to Loyola buildings. Also, students may be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution whereas staff members and faculty may be referred to their supervisors.
“Different people fall out of compliance and receive warnings or lose building access at different times, for a variety of reasons, but the non-compliance rate has steadily decreased since we launched the program in January,” Henning said. “It’s our goal to reach 100 percent.”
Every person visiting a Loyola campus must participate in surveillance testing, according to Loyola’s website. The number of tests per week depends on how often the individual comes to campus.
The university tracks the number of people visiting campus each week by monitoring badge swipes and Wi-Fi connections, Henning said. They determine the surveillance testing compliance rate by comparing the number of visitors to the total tests administered.
The university has administered more than 50,000 COVID-19 tests spring semester, with a majority of those being FDA-approved saliva-based tests, according to Henning.
Henning said she believes surveillance testing has been effective in reducing the spread of the virus at Loyola because they’ve been able to detect positive COVID-19 cases among asymptomatic individuals who would’ve gone undetected if it weren’t for the surveillance testing requirement.
There have been approximately 228 confirmed COVID-19 cases this semester, as of March 25, according to Loyola’s COVID-19 Testing Dashboard.
During the procedure, participants are asked to fill a vial with saliva, according to Loyola’s website. After doing so, a staff member checks whether the vial has been filled properly. Once the vial is filled with enough saliva, participants remove the funnel from the vial and insert a cap. Before leaving the testing site, participants get the vial scanned by a staff member and place it in a rack.
As per the guidelines, all participants are required to wear a face covering at the testing site before and after the procedure. Everyone is also asked to keep at least 6 feet of distance between themselves and others.
All participants can expect to see their results on the MyShield PatientPortal, a website for the testing program, within 24 hours of the test. Appointments can also be scheduled on the site.
Surveillance testing is offered at all Loyola campuses at no cost, according to Loyola’s website. At the Lake Shore Campus, the testing sites are located in the Damen Student Center room 244 and Mundelein Auditorium room 140. Testing is available at Maguire Hall room 160 at Water Tower Campus and Cuneo Center room 120 at the Health Sciences Campus.
Henning said there have been some instances of students not complying with the guidelines, including not wearing masks, not social distancing and moving furniture at Damen Student Center and Information Commons. She said it’s important the Loyola community follows all of the university’s health safety measures to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks.