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COVID-19 Testing Information

Spring 2021 Semester COVID-19 Testing Plan

Wheaton College COVID-19 testing plan for this term includes a robust, community-wide surveillance testing program as well as timely testing for symptomatic, or COVID-19 positive patients and their close contacts. This plan is critical to Wheaton College’s ability to continue on-campus instruction and residence throughout the spring semester. 

We are closely monitoring COVID-19 testing technology as it evolves, looking for options that are reasonably priced, show quick results, and are easy to use.

I have already had COVID-19, do I still have to be tested on a weekly basis?

All undergraduate students will need to participate in an entry test. You can be excused from weekly surveillance testing If you can provide evidence of having had a positive COVID-19 test that was taken no more than 90 days prior to your move in date. You will have to resume weekly testing once 90 days has passed from your positive COVID-19 test date.

I have received the COVID-19 vaccination, do I still have to be tested on a weekly basis?

The COVID-19 vaccination is not 100% effective so, we are requiring students who have been vaccinated to participate in the weekly testing program. 

If I have COVID-19 symptoms and am tested weekly, what should I do? 

The weekly surveillance testing is for asymptomatic individuals. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please contact 630-752-5072 to schedule an appointment at Student Health Services for a free provider visit and free COVID-19 test.  We think it is important that all students with symptoms are evaluated due to the unpredictable nature of this virus so we can quickly contain the spread of COVID-19 on-campus.

How long does the testing process take? Is it a big hassle?

At other universities that have implemented a saliva-based testing program, the duration of the testing process from start to finish takes roughly five minutes. At the beginning, we can expect that it will take slightly longer; as we adjust to the process over time, the duration should shorten and take very little time out of your day.

I’m under 18. What am I supposed to do?

Any students under 18 years of age must have their parents sign and return the minor consent form that was emailed to them. Contact shs@wheaton.edu if you need another copy of the form.

Diagnostic saliva test with medical assistance
(Primarily for athletes, students with symptoms, and close contacts of positive cases)

About this test  

Shield Illinois was developed by the University of Illinois. Test subjects will schedule an appointment to provide saliva in a test tube, while being overseen by Wheaton College staff. Results are returned within 24-48 hours. For more information on the science behind this test please go to the U of I website.

The Process for Shield IL Testing

Step 1: Before you arrive for testing, pre-register

  • You will need to create a MyShield Account before coming for your first test. You received an email that was sent on 12/29/20 to your my.wheaton.edu account, with instructions and your unique activation code that will expire after 30 days. For assistance with this process or if you have been locked out of your account, call Shield IL Help at 217-265-6059, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 
  • Disregard the appointment calendar in the MyShield Account. It is NOT accurate.
  • International travelers: You will need to be in the United States to complete the activation process.

Step 2: Having symptoms? Have you been told that you are a “close contact”?

  • Call Student Health Services (630-752-5072) for a special appointment with a health care professional.

Step 3: Not having symptoms but have been told that you need this type of testing?

  • Appointments are required, so schedule an appointment for testing at the King Arena Lobby testing site.  
  • Regular hours will be Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. (check the scheduling site for options before February 8th)

Step 4: Prepare for the test

  • IMPORTANT: You must refrain from eating, drinking, brushing your teeth, using mouthwash, chewing gum, and using tobaccos for at least one hour before submitting your saliva sample at the test site.
  • Bring your Wheaton ID and cell phone (if you have one)

Step 5: Arrive for testing at the King Arena lobby testing site

  • Enter through the West doors directly to the King Arena lobby and enter the queue for testing (please do not use these doors if you are not being tested.)
  • Bring your Wheaton ID, wear a mask or face covering at all times over your nose and mouth, and maintain at least six feet of distance from others. 
  • While waiting in line, open your MyShield account to indicate the time that you have arrived. You can do this by going to MySHIELDIllinois - Find a Doctor (uillinois.edu) and select the SHIELD Wheaton site, and choose the date and time closest to when you have arrived.

Step 6: Taking the test 

  • At check-in, you will present your Wheaton ID to locate your patient record and scheduled visit.
  • You will be asked to verify that your address and phone number are correct. This number will be used if you test positive or for contact tracing.
  • The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) requests that we ask each person’s race and ethnicity. You may choose not to answer these questions, in which case the response “unknown” will be recorded.
  • You will be asked to state your date of birth (DOB). Your DOB will be written on a barcode and that barcode will be placed on a vial.
  • You will be given a vial to take to an orange mark on the floor in the saliva station. Remove the cap of the vial and dribble/drool saliva into the tube until you have filled the tube with one mL of saliva. Once complete, replace the cap and take the vial to the collection station.
  • At the collection station, a staff member will confirm that the test is complete. You may be instructed to return to a saliva station until the vial is sufficiently filled. Once complete we will scan the vial while you hold it up, and then you will be directed to insert the vial into a rack.
  • You will be offered a paper copy of a COVID-19 Test Fact Sheet for Patients. If you do not wish to take a paper copy, an electronic copy is available.

Step 7: Getting your test results

  • Test results are typically available within 24 hours and can be found in your MyShield patient portal. Due to the direct patient notification process, you may learn of your positive result prior to Student Health Services receiving the result. 
  • If you receive a positive result and have not yet been contacted by Student Health Services, please email covidnurse@wheaton.edu and/or your coach right away. Student Health Services will be in contact with you to give further isolation instructions. To protect the campus community please stay in your current residence and have a friend or roommate get a meal ticket from an RD to get you a grab and go meal if applicable.

Surveillance saliva test self-administered

(For all on-campus undergraduates and graduate students; on-campus faculty and staff who interact with students for extended periods of time)

About this test

SafeGuard is used by local schools to monitor the prevalence of COVID-19 infection in asymptomatic community members. Schools are then able to respond quickly to isolate, contact trace, and quarantine to stop further spread of the virus. Wheaton College is requiring that all on-campus undergraduates provide a saliva sample, on their assigned testing day each week. For more information about the science behind this test click here.

The Process for SafeGuard Testing

Step 1: Get supplies

  • Undergraduates: At move-in check-in, you will be given a bag with the supplies you need to do your self-administered test. This will include with a unique barcode associated with your Wheaton College student ID, vials, baggies, and straws.. You will sign a consent for testing at this time.
  • Graduates/Faculty/Staff: Sign up for testing. You will be contacted via email when your supplies are ready for pick up from Student Health Services.
  • Need more supplies? Submit a request at least five business days before you use your last vial. You will be contacted via email when your supplies are ready for pick up from Student Health Services.

Step 2: Put your test day on your calendar for the semester so you don’t miss!

  • Missing your weekly test will result in your being removed from on-campus activities so…don’t miss!
  • The schedule for undergraduates is organized by where you live.
    • Monday- Fischer
    • Tuesday- Smith Traber
    • Wednesday- MacEvans, Williston, Off Campus
    • Thursday- Saint Elliot, Terrace
    • Friday- College Ave, Houses, Michigan, Crescent
  • ROTC students will be tested on Monday and Thursday
  • Athletes who did not do a weekly test in the King Arena lobby, will need to submit a SafeGuard test on the day indicated by where they live
  • The schedule for graduate students, faculty, and staff is whichever day you choose, Monday through Friday - as long as you are consistent.
  • If your schedule makes it difficult for you to test on your scheduled day, email covid.test@wheaton.edu to request a preferred day. This change is only allowed once a semester.

Step 3: Testing day

  • IMPORTANT: You must refrain from eating, drinking, brushing your teeth, using mouthwash, chewing gum, and using tobaccos for at least one hour before submitting your saliva sample. Please plan accordingly.
  • Move-in: You will take your first sample at check-in as your entry test. You will need to quarantine in your room, until you are notified by email of your result, whether positive or negative. You may grab and go meals from Bon Appetit and take back to your residence while waiting for your results.
  • Each week: On your scheduled test day we recommend that as soon as you wake up, before you put anything in your mouth that you:
    • Wash your hands
    • Drool into the vial, using the included straw
    • Discard the straw
    • Close the vial lid tightly and seal it in the plastic baggie
  • Find the nearest drop box location to deposit your sample on your assigned day by NOON.
  • The test drop off boxes are located in the following places: Anderson Commons, Armerding Hall, Billy Graham Hall (Barrows Auditorium Entrance), CPO, Fischer, King Arena Lobby, McManis/Evans, North Harrison Hall, Smith/Traber, and Williston.

Step 4: Getting your test results

  • When you deposit your sample by NOON (Monday – Saturday), your test results should be returned before midnight that same day.
  • Wheaton College contact tracers will notify you with isolation and contact tracing instructions if you have a positive result. You will NOT be notified if your result is negative. No news is good news!!


Questions? Covid.test@wheaton.edu