University to Suspend COVID-19 Surveillance Testing, Contact Tracing, Dashboard on April 3

The email cited decreasing use of COVID-19 resources, as well as the end of the federal public health emergency on May 11, as reasons for the decisions.


A University-produced flyer on the door of the Social Science Research Building shares “COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines,” including social distancing.

By Anu Vashist

Effective April 3, the University will suspend COVID-19 routine surveillance testing, contract tracing, and its case monitoring dashboard according to an email announcement from Executive Vice President Katie Callow-Wright to the University community on March 23.

“As part of our evolving response to COVID-19, the University is taking steps that reflect the growing integration of COVID-19 testing and care into regular healthcare services,” the email read. “These steps are consistent with the relatively low levels of cases we have seen this academic year, along with steady decreases in our community’s use of many COVID-19 resources, including asymptomatic testing.”

The email also cited the federal government’s plans to end the national public health emergency on May 11 as justification for the University’s changes in COVID-19 precautions.

The email noted that although routine surveillance testing will no longer be offered, COVID-19 testing will remain available to symptomatic individuals through their healthcare providers, pharmacies, and other testing centers.

Symptomatic testing is available at UChicago Medicine to individuals who already have a MyChart account; UChicago Forward’s symptomatic testing page directs others to the City of Chicago’s COVID testing page for alternative testing locations.

Isolation-in-place will continue for students living on campus that have tested positive. However, people who test positive for COVID-19 will not be required to report their cases to Temporary alternate housing will remain available for their roommates.

The COVID-19 dashboard, which has been updated weekly to track COVID-19 case numbers and positivity rates since the start of the 2020-21 school year, will also be shut down. The positivity rate from March 14, 2023 to March 21, 2023 was 4 percent, according to the dashboard.

The email said individuals who had been exposed to or tested positive for COVID-19 are to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) exposure and isolation precautions. Individuals displaying symptoms of respiratory illness should get tested and wear a mask around others until they are asymptomatic, Callow-Wright wrote.

UChicago Medicine, which still requires masking in clinical spaces and has restrictions on visitors, will maintain separate guidelines.

“The University will continue to monitor disease trends through UChicago Student Wellness, UChicago Medicine, and with partners at the Chicago Department of Public Health. We will remain prepared to take additional measures if necessary,” the email read.