SHIELD Illinois is the University of Illinois saliva-based COVID-19 test which they have made available to K-12 schools, colleges and universities, companies and the public across the state.
The SHIELD Illinois Story (video)
- SHIELD testing in District 50
- SHIELD Illinois
- SHIELD your students, staff, and school
- FDA issues authorization to expand saliva-based tests used at University of Illinois
Woodland District 50 SHIELD Testing - Q & A Session, August 2021
Frequently Asked Questions
Woodland School District 50 has partnered with the University of Illinois to test School District 50 students, teachers, and staff members on a voluntary basis for COVID-19 infection through use of the SHIELD Test, the saliva PCR test developed at the University of Illinois. The SHIELD Test is FDA-authorized and has been safely and effectively administered more than 3,000,000 times since September 2020.
District 50 piloted SHIELD Testing during summer school. Over the course of the two-week trial period, we collected more than 850 student samples. These samples were analyzed at a lab the same day they were collected and, even though SHIELD promises results within 24 hours, we regularly received our daily results in the early evening of testing day. The results and feedback from our summer school staff, nurses, administrators and families was overwhelmingly positive, leading us to expand that pilot to District-wide testing beginning after Labor Day.
Why has SHIELD Testing been added to Woodland’s back to school plans this year?
The SHIELD test is an FDA-approved, fast, and reliable resource that we can begin utilizing immediately, free of charge, to assist us in planning a safe return to in person instruction. Because of its ability to identify the virus before any symptoms develop, SHIELD testing supports our current classroom relocation and contact tracing procedures. Due to its reliability and validity, individuals testing regularly at school who remain asymptomatic will be able to remain in school if they have been identified as close contacts of an individual who has tested positive for the virus. SHIELD Testing will help reduce the amount of time and number of individuals that may need to quarantine if identified as a close contact.
As a resource, the SHIELD test supports the layered approach that Woodland has taken related to mitigation since the pandemic more than a year ago.
How is the test administered?
Your child will receive a free diagnostic test for the COVID-19 virus conducted by collecting saliva (spit). The SHIELD test is non-invasive and simple to administer. Students simply drool into a single-use vial provided by SHIELD. The test is analyzed in a laboratory and we are sent results within 12-24 hours. The entire testing process takes 1-2 minutes to administer. The SHIELD test has a Sensitivity Rate of 97% and a Specificity Rate of 99%; these numbers mean that it is very unlikely that the test will yield a false negative or a false positive result. The SHIELD test is reliable in identifying the COVID virus even in currently asymptomatic individuals.
How often will Students be tested?
Students will be tested 1 time per week. We also have the ability to test students who are identified as a close contact to a positive case, or students who begin showing symptoms outside of the normal testing schedule. This may look slightly different at each school. For example, in the younger grades, the test will actually be administered in the classroom from a testing cart. While in the older grades at Middle School, students will stop by the testing location on their way to Health or PE class.
What happens if someone tests positive?
Woodland will receive results of your child’s test and will notify you separately of any positive result through the Health Office. The Illinois Department of Public Health (“IDPH”) will also receive your child’s test results, consistent with IDPH guidance and the Illinois Control of Communicable Disease Code.
- If your child’s test results are positive, please contact your child’s doctor immediately to review the test results and discuss next steps. You may not send your child back to school without a note from your child’s doctor that indicates your child is no longer positive for the COVID-19 virus.
- If your child’s test results are negative, this means that the COVID-19 virus was not detected in your child’s saliva (spit).
Is there a cost to the families for this test? Is there a cost to the district?
- No, this is provided at NO COST to the family or the school district.
- This is made possible through a partnership with the University of Illinois and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and the cost is covered through Federal Funding.
Who should participate in SHIELD Testing?
Everyone is encouraged to participate in this non-invasive test because the more participants we have the better it will help in maintaining a safe learning environment for all. Weekly SHIELD testing is recommended for all unvaccinated staff and students, but even vaccinated individuals may need to be tested during the school year due to exposure as a close contact or COVID19 symptoms. If a vaccinated individual has symptoms, they will still require testing. This test is safe and effective for all ages, and we recommend it regardless of vaccination status. The more data we have, the more we know about the impact of COVID19 on this learning community.
What if someone does not want their child to participate, can they opt-out?
Yes. There will be an opt-out form in Skyward Family Access. If you are allowing your child to participate in SHIELD testing, no further action is required. If you do NOT want your child to participate in SHIELD testing, you must complete the opt-out form. If you opt-out, you will not be eligible to participate in Test to Stay with SHIELD testing, you will have to quarantine if you are identified as a close contact.
Will we be able to opt out of Shield testing at a later date if it becomes something with which we are uncomfortable?
Yes, families may choose to opt out of the voluntary SHIELD program at any time.
Will fully vaccinated individuals be required to quarantine if identified as a close contact of someone that has tested positive and we have opted out of SHIELD testing?
Current guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health states that a fully vaccinated individual - whether participating in SHIELD testing or not - would not need to quarantine as a "close contact" as long as that individual remains symptom-free during the 14-day quarantine period.
Will Woodland’s SHIELD Testing Program offer a Test to Stay Option?
The Illinois Department of Public Health developed a Test to Stay program with the goal of keeping students in the classroom. Students who participate in the weekly SHIELD Testing program will be eligible to Test to Stay (only for contacts that occur in school).
This means that if there is a positive case, and a student is identified as a close contact, they can Test to Stay if:
- They are a current participant in SHIELD Testing
- They are NOT showing any COVID19 symptoms
- They have continued to wear a mask while in school
If eligible for Test to Stay, the student would participate in additional testing on days 1, 3, 5, and 7 and they will not have to quarantine as long as they do not produce a positive test result.
Watch this Video from the Lake County Health Department for more information about Test to Stay.
Can I have my child “opt in” to testing if we have originally decided not to participate?
Yes - our student rosters will be updated with SHIELD on Fridays. As we are new to this process, we are still not sure which day of the following week the new student's QR code will appear in our roster; parents just need to know that if "opting in" once the year has started, it will still be the following week before the student would be allowed to participate.
I don’t want my child to participate in SHIELD testing unless she becomes a close contact.
Originally, we were told that participating in this program under these circumstances was not allowed. Given the many changes to quarantine status that we have received recently, we are still awaiting clarification from the Lake County Health Department for permission to have asymptomatic close contacts participate in testing in lieu of quarantining at home.