Last update: 11 May 2022
Academic Year 2021–2022 Plans
These FAQs respond to common questions about the 2021-2022 academic year. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any additional questions you have after reading.
Questions regarding MASKS
Are masks required to be worn on campus?
Per the current Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines, Aurora University will adopt new masking requirements as of Monday, April 4, 2022. All students, faculty, staff, and visitors to campus are required to wear a mask only in the following locations:
- Surveillance testing locations*
- AU Wellness Center
- Athletic training treatment rooms
In addition, members of the AU community are expected to wear masks at the request of individuals when meeting in the personal work or living spaces of those individuals.
Any member of the AU community who prefers to continue to mask in places where masking is not required is welcome and encouraged to do so.
*Please note that we will not be offering on-campus surveillance testing during the summer months.
Are the mask requirements different for those who are unvaccinated?
The mask requirements outlined above apply to all regardless of vaccination status. Unvaccinated students and employees will continue to be expected to participate in weekly testing.
In addition to wearing a mask in the locations listed above, what other practices help to reduce the spread of COVID-19?
All members of our campus communities should continue to practice health-promoting behaviors such as hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette. In addition, students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to perform daily health screenings for infectious illnesses, including COVID-19.
As a reminder, the Illinois Department of Public Health recommends masking for 10 days following exposure to COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status (additional guidelines regarding testing, quarantine, and related measures may vary based on vaccination status).
Those with signs or symptoms of infectious illness should stay home and refer to the FAQs related to quarantine and isolation. (See “Questions regarding COVID-19 SYMPTOMS, including QUARANTINE AND ISOLATION PROTOCOLS” section below.)
Questions regarding VACCINATIONS
Are students and employees required to be vaccinated?
In accordance with Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s Executive Order, all students and employees must receive the first dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series or a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine by 19 September 2021, and the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine within 30 days following administration of their first dose in a two-dose vaccination series.
Who is subject to Governor Pritzker’s Executive Order?
Employees subject to this order are those who are employed by, volunteer for, or are contracted to provide services for the university and are in close contact (fewer than 6 feet) with other persons on campus or in a campus-affiliated building or location for more than 15 minutes at least once a week on a regular basis.
Students subject to this order are those who are enrolled in credit-bearing or non-credit-bearing coursework at AU, either on campus or at an affiliated off-campus location. Students who complete their coursework exclusively remotely are not subject to the order.
These definitions apply at all locations where any in-person AU activities may occur, even if it is not the main campus location.
How do I submit a proof of COVID-19 vaccination?
What options do I have if I am not willing to receive a vaccine for medical or religious reasons or due to personal convictions?
You may apply for an exemption to the requirement.
How do I request an exemption from the vaccination requirement?
The form to request an employee exemption is located here. The form to request a student exemption is located here. All requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and those requesting an exemption will be notified in a timely manner of the status of each request.
What kinds of vaccines are acceptable?
Any COVID-19 vaccine authorized for use by the FDA or by the World Health Organization will be accepted, including the Johnson & Johnson (or Janssen) vaccine, and the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.
How do I know if I am “fully vaccinated?”
You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks following either the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine or the second dose of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.
Are the vaccines safe?
COVID-19 vaccines were developed using science that has been in existence for decades. COVID-19 vaccines are not experimental. They went through all the required stages of clinical trials. Extensive testing and monitoring have shown that these vaccines are safe and effective. COVID-19 vaccines have received and continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history.
Are the vaccines effective?
COVID 19-vaccines are effective. They can keep you from getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. (Learn more about the different COVID-19 vaccines). COVID-19 vaccines also help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19. Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
How much does it cost to be vaccinated?
The U.S. government is providing the COVID-19 vaccine free of charge to all people living in the United States, regardless of their immigration or health insurance status. As a vaccine recipient, you cannot be charged for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Where can I get a vaccination?
To find a vaccine site near you, visit vaccines.gov.
If I was previously diagnosed with COVID-19, or tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, do I need to be vaccinated?
Yes, you are still required to be vaccinated even if you were previously diagnosed or tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. However, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine after having been diagnosed with the virus.
Are students and faculty in 100% online programs subject to the vaccine requirement?
Students and faculty who participate in fully online programs and do not plan to be on any of our university campuses are exempt from the vaccination requirement.
If my request for an exemption to the COVID-19 vaccination requirement is granted, what policies and protocols must I follow?
Unvaccinated individuals will be required to participate in weekly surveillance testing throughout the academic year. In addition, unvaccinated individuals may not participate in travel, study abroad, or mission trips.
Unvaccinated residential students on the Aurora campus who are instructed to isolate or quarantine will be strongly encouraged to leave campus (i.e., go home) for the duration of the quarantine or isolation. If a student must stay on campus, the student will be provided with access to a private room, including a bathroom, microwave, and refrigerator. The student will not be able to leave the room (except for medical care) until cleared by Health Services; meals will be delivered to the room during this time.
Questions regarding SURVEILLANCE TESTING
Does AU require regular surveillance testing for any students or employees?
In accordance with Governor Pritzker’s Executive Order, students and employees who have not provided documentation that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are subject to weekly COVID-19 surveillance testing beginning 19 September 2021.
I submitted a copy of my vaccination card and am still receiving messages about surveillance testing. Who do I contact to confirm that my vaccination card was received?
Please email email@example.com to confirm that your vaccination card was received and that you have been removed from the weekly surveillance testing list. Employees with a similar concern should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are there exemptions from the testing requirement, such as for those who requested exemption from the vaccination requirement?
Any student or employee who is subject to the Executive Order and who is not fully vaccinated, regardless of the reason, must undergo weekly testing.
I am unvaccinated. What do I need to do to comply with the weekly testing requirement?
Unvaccinated students must seek testing off campus and submit written documentation (paper or electronic copy) of such testing. On-campus surveillance testing will not be offered during the summer months.
What is required in order to provide proof of weekly testing?
Weekly evidence of off-campus testing from an off-campus testing facility, such as a pharmacy or medical clinic, will be accepted, as will the results from at-home self-test kits. Proof of testing can be submitted as follows:
- Students on the Aurora campus, including Orchard Center, who secure testing off campus must submit documentation of testing to email@example.com by noon each Friday.
- Students on the George Williams campus who secure testing off campus must submit documentation of testing to Yvette Howard at firstname.lastname@example.org by noon each Friday.
- Students on the Woodstock Center campus must submit documentation of testing to Michelle Kowalski at email@example.com by noon each Friday.
- Employees at any campus who secure testing off campus must submit documentation of testing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can I find an off-campus testing location?
Testing is often available at local pharmacies, clinics, and other locations and will typically require an appointment. Your local health department can help you locate testing sites or you could locate testing through the Illinois Department of Public Health.
What type of tests for COVID-19 are acceptable?
Tests must be viral tests that have Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA or be operating per the Laboratory Developed Test requirements by US CMS. There are two types of viral tests currently available: nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT), including PCR tests, and antigen tests. At-home tests and self-test kits will be accepted.
What happens if I receive a positive result during weekly surveillance testing?
Students and employees who test positive should immediately isolate at home and follow any isolation orders as directed by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Employees and students may also contact the COVID Line (630-844-7500) or TimelyCare (timelycare.com/au or timelycare.com/gwc) for further instruction.
What are the consequences if I am unvaccinated and do not participate in weekly surveillance testing?
Failing to participate in on-campus testing or submit documentation of off-campus testing will be considered a violation of the university’s “Failure to Comply” policy, as defined in the A-Book, our student handbook.
Questions regarding COVID-19 SYMPTOMS, including QUARANTINE AND ISOLATION PROTOCOLS
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever (100.4 °F or higher), cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.
When should I seek emergency medical care?
Seek emergency medical care if you experience any severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, and or pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone.
What should I do if I am experiencing COVID-like symptoms?
If you are sick, stay home. Contact your supervisor and/or your instructors and notify them of your absence. This is the appropriate and responsible practice regardless of whether you may have contracted COVID, the flu, a common cold, or any other communicable. If you are running a fever, please do not return until you are fever-free for 24 hours. If you are experiencing other symptoms, please do not return until the symptoms begin to subside.
Who should I contact if I have questions regarding quarantine and isolation?
AU’s COVID line (630-844-7500) will continue to operate from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, to assist students who need guidance regarding a positive COVID test, COVID-like symptoms, or a COVID exposure. In general, AU will follow the recommendations of the Illinois Department of Public Health regarding isolation and quarantine.
What should I do if I am instructed to quarantine or isolate?
- Stay home or in the designated AU alternate quarantine/isolation site.
- Stay away from people you live with, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19.
- Use a separate bathroom if available.
- Avoid contact with other members of the household and pets.
- Don’t share personal household items, like cups, towels, and utensils.
- Wear a mask when around other people if able.