Loyola University

Loyola University Chicago to Use COVID-19 Saliva Test Following Spring Reopening

With classes being held remotely, the campus of Loyola University Chicago has been quiet recently.

“I don’t really see many people, the ones I do see, we’re staying safe,” said Caleb Dalfiume, a senior studying psychology.

“Pretty empty right now. Normally it’s definitely a little bit lively especially with finals next week,” said Julianne Beaulieu, a junior studying social work.

“I actually haven’t been in any of the buildings since March just because I haven’t felt the need to go into any of the buildings," said graduate student Caitlyn Knor. "None of my classes have met in person."

But in the spring, Loyola said up to 10% percent of undergraduate courses will be offered in person. The university wants to make sure everyone on campus is safe and healthy, which is why students will be tested weekly for COVID-19.

"I think it's great," Dalfiume said. "I personally wished they would have done it this semester, because I know a lot of people are worried about going home to their parents and stuff."

Loyola is partnering with SHIELD Illinois to administer the saliva-based COVID-19 testing method, which was was developed by the University of Illinois. Undergraduate students at Loyola will have to take the saliva test twice a week.

Faculty, staff and graduate students will be tested once a week.

"I think it's going to be a good thing for everyone to get tested before they come on campus," said graduate student Sana Khan, who is working toward a masters degree counseling.

If students choose not to comply, Loyola said they won't have access to campus buildings, and their ID cards will be deactivated. In order to reactivate the cards, students must receive two negative test results.

"I have to take a class on campus next semester, so I'm happy to know everyone around me is going to be tested and held to a standard," Beaulieu said.

Many students told NBC 5 they support the university's plan.

Khan is taking the virus seriously and hopes others will too. She and her family contracted the coronavirus in April.

"It was one of the scariest times of my life, because I knew I was going to be fine, but like my parents who had like underyling conditions it was taking them longer to get better," she said. "I definitely don't want to go through that again, and I don't want to see anyone else go through that with their loved ones too."

The saliva testing at Loyola begins on Jan. 11. The testing method developed by the University of Illinois has been adopted by 10 universities in other states, including Indiana, Wyoming and Wisconsin.

Contact Us