SHIELD Testing FAQ
SHIELD Illinois, a screening and diagnostic testing that deploys the University of Illinois’ innovative PCR SHIELD at the school level. Unlike other rtPCR tests, the SHIELD test uses saliva (spit) which students drool into a small container. This specimen is labeled with a unique QR code specific to them.
Students, whose parents OPT-IN, will be screened weekly free of any cost, as well as receive supplemental screening should there be an outbreak.
Interested staff and students will be tested at school once a week by members of the PassportHealth team. Under the supervision of the District Health Services team, the specimens will be collected weekly. PassportHealth will deliver the specimens to the University of Illinois Laboratory at the Loyola Medical Campus.
All families will decide for their students and be requested to sign a consent to OPT-IN or OPT-OUT consent.
The best way to effectively reduce COVID-19 is to keep it from spreading. By identifying people who are presymptomatic and asymptomatic, then keeping them from others when they are capable of spreading the virus, the healthier our community will be. The more students tested, the better we can, in essence, create a “D71 bubble”. If you recall, this is the method used by sports teams to allow them to resume their seasons of play. Families with specific concerns about their student’s ability to participate in the weekly testing should contact their student’s school.
Yes. Shield Illinois supports a secure HIPAA-compliant information management system for tracking and reporting results.
Students whose parents OPT-IN to SHIELD testing will weekly check-in with collection staff, receive a small vial, then "drool" a small amount of saliva into the vial. The collection staff will then scan the student's QR code (containing information that will allow our D71 health service staff to follow up if necessary) and link it with the saliva provided. The vial with the sample is placed in a container which will be transported to the lab and the student returns to class.
The collection process is completed within a few minutes.
Students should not eat, drink, or put anything in their mouth one hour prior to taking the SHIELD test. This includes drinking, chewing gum, using mouthwash, etc. Saliva collected must be clear and free of other substances.
D71 staff will time the collection of samples to meet this requirement with as little disruption to the student's day.
Drink lots of water and if able, brush teeth one hour prior to the test.
Vials are marked to indicate the 1.5 mL needed. The collection staff will support the student during the process.
The test has gone through the rigorous review process of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) against an extensive set of well-established requirements/parameters. Authorization means that the SHIELD saliva test fulfilled all the requirements of the FDA before being authorized for use in CLIA Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act certified laboratories for COVID testing, specifically during public health emergencies such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.
There is no cost for students and staff. District 15 has received a state grant which allows for this important mitigation effort.
The location for testing will vary. The student will be out of the classroom for no more than 10 minutes.
The University of Illinois will provide all test results directly to District 71 through a secure portal. If your student’s results are positive, you will be contacted by the school nurse. You will not be contacted if your student’s results are negative. We have been told that PNC, the HIPPA-compliant information management system, is working to create a parent portal. We will keep you updated.
If your student’s test results are positive, you will be called and expected to pick your student up from school. The school nurse will guide you through the COVID-19 Illinois Department of Public Health quarantine protocol.
Again, if your student’s test results are negative, you will not be contacted.
If your student tests negative but has symptoms of COVID-19, or if you have concerns about your student’s exposure to COVID-19, you should call your student’s doctor, notify the school nurse, who will guide you through quarantine protocol.
Testing results will be viewable by District 71 Health Services staff, consistent with the Illinois School Student Records Act. District 71 will only share the following information in the manner described below:
- following up with the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Cook County Health Department, consistent with all other COVID tests. Test results, as well as identifying information (name, date of birth, address, sex, student identification number, email address, mobile phone, school, race, and ethnicity) are also shared in accordance with the Illinois Control of Communicable Diseases Code (77Ill. Adm. Code 690.200 (a)(5)). The purpose of this disclosure is to facilitate contact tracing and for reporting purposes.
- the University of Illinois, Preventive Health Partners, SC and Passport Enterprises, LLC: will manage the collection of the specimens, and connect the specimen with your student’s identifying information The purpose of this disclosure is to facilitate test processing and results, billing, contact tracing, and tracking of test usage.
No. The SHIELD test is not able to test for anything except specific COVID-19 markers.
Yes, though it is not able to identify particular variants. Only genetic sequencing can identify specific virus variants.