Why do we have to do this?

The vaccination & testing requirements are part of a State of Illinois Executive Order (https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/resources/executive-orders/display.executive-order-number-20.2021.html). While this is not a law per se, the college is legally obligated to follow directives that are issued via Executive Order by the State of Illinois.

What happens if I'm not fully vaccinated by September 8th (when the Executive Order takes effect)?

If you aren't fully vaccinated by September 19th, 2021, and your MyStatus page says that you are required to participate, you need to get a COVID test every week until you are fully vaccinated. Currently, the college is offering on-campus SHEILD COVID testing multiple times every week; you can sign up for a testing appointment at https://c19.richland.edu/shield/preflight/

As long as you continue to test until you are fully vaccinated, you will be considered to be in compliance with the Executive Order.

If I upload my proof of vaccination, what are you going to do with it?

The college's COVID Case Coordinator is the only person who has direct access to your proof of vaccination information. After you upload it, the Case Coordinator has to look at the file you uploaded to make sure that you didn't secretly upload a screenshot from a Rick Astley video. The Case Coordinator verifies your document and puts a note in our COVID database -- the only thing we actually record is your fully vaccinated date (two weeks past your final shot). We don't retain any other information.

If you are a student, we delete your proof of vaccination after verifying the file & logging your fully vaccinated date.
If you are an employee, things are a little trickier. According to our lawyers, we are required to include your proof of vaccination in your employee medical record, so we have to hang on to the data for a while. The first thing we do is encrypt the file, which allows us to securely store your data for a little while. Periodically, Human Resources decrypts any pending files and prints a hardcopy (yes, we're old school, we know). Then, a member of the Human Resources staff transports the hardcopy to our storage vault & archives it in your medical file. The document stays locked in the vault with the rest of your medical file for the next 30 years (literally; that is the legal retention period for these documents). In the meantime, we destroy the encrypted digital file after the hardcopy is archived.

If I upload my COVID-19 test results from an external lab, what are you going to do with them?

See the previous answer for details on our data retention process; the only difference is that we use the date stamped on your test results to determine how long your results are valid for. As of Sept-02-2021, testing is mandated on a weekly basis, so your test results are valid for one full week after your testing date.

What if I have an ADA Accommodation or religious exemption for the COVID-19 vaccine?

You are definitely within your rights to refuse vaccination on ADA or religious exemption grounds (among other reasons specified in the Executive Order). However, per the Executive Order, any in-person higher education student or employee who claims a recognized vaccination exemption is required to participate in regular (weekly) COVID-19 testing. There is no exemption to the testing protocol.

What happens if I have to test, but I miss a week due to a personal emergency?

Stuff happens, and we completely understand that. If a serious situation prevents you from testing, please contact our COVID Case Coordinator at covidtesting@richland.edu and explain the situation.

If I test at the college's SHIELD site, what happens to my saliva sample?

Your sample sits in a plastic test tube rack at the testing site for a few hours. During this time, it is guarded by a member of our Campus Police department. At the end of the day, a medical courier drives the samples over to a regional hospital (Champaign, Bloomington, or Decatur, depending on where SHIELD tells us to deliver the samples). The staff at the hospital's testing lab process your sample and transmit the data over to PointNClick.com, which is the medical data processing company that SHIELD contracts with to store all of its patient information. If there are any positive test results, the staff at the regional hospital also send the positive test result data to our local health department. PointNClick notifies you that you have new test results available. The staff at the hospital laboratory destroy your sample per their standard protocols.

If I test at the college's SHIELD site, how do you know that I tested? What information does SHIELD send to you?

Every time we submit a batch of samples to SHIELD, they send the email addresses & Richland ID numbers for everyone who tested at the college's site on that particular day. At the end of each week, we use that data to figure out which unvaccinated students & employees failed to test during that particular week.