SHIELD COVID-19 Tests | 21-22

  • Q: What is SHIELD testing?

    A: SHIELD is an innovative, saliva-based test created by the University of Illinois. You can read more about it at

    District 25 will use SHIELD testing only for screening asymptomatic individuals. (Updated 8/30/21)


    Q: How often will testing occur?

    A: Our plan calls for testing students one time each week, beginning September 27, 2021 (Updated 9/17/21).  Our operational partner, Med-Call, will develop a schedule for testing for each building. We will evaluate how our testing protocol is going and may determine at some point that more or less frequent testing is needed.


    Q: When and where is the testing?

    A: All testing will take place at each of our nine schools during the school day. For a SHIELD testing schedule, please see the letter (linked here) sent out on September 23, 2021, to all families. Classes will have assigned times on their testing day. (Updated 1/19/22)


    Q: Who is doing the testing?

    A: The district is working with an operational partner, Med-Call, to handle the testing implementation and ensure proper steps are being followed.


    Q: Will SHIELD testing be required? How can I enroll my child or myself (for staff) into the SHIELD testing program?

    A: No. Testing will be offered but not required for all individuals. The enrollment period is now closed for the SHIELD testing program in District 25.


    Q: Will only unvaccinated individuals participate in testing?

    A: Those who are fully vaccinated typically do not need to be tested. However, the CDC recommends that anyone with any signs of symptoms of COVID- 19 get tested, regardless of vaccination status. (Updated 8/19/21)


    Regular testing is also recommended for a vaccinated person working or living in high density/congregate settings. Testing is not recommended for people who have recovered and are within 90 days from symptom onset or previous positive test, but testing should resume once the 90 days has passed.


    Q: Can I opt my child in to be SHIELD tested for when they are a close contact, only, thus opting them out of being tested weekly?

    A: No, in order to guarantee a student's participation in the SHIELD testing program when they are a close contact, they must already be an opted-in participant. We are working with a 3rd party provider, and that provider needs time to get a student entered into the program. We cannot guarantee that someone could be entered in time in order to test-to-stay. (Updated 1/11/22)


    Q: Can I unenroll my child from SHIELD testing?

    A: Yes. If your child is currently enrolled in the program and you would like to unenroll your child out of the SHIELD testing program, click here and fill out the form.


    Q: Are negative COVID-19 home tests accepted to clear a student from isolation?

    A: No, we are not able to accept negative covid-19 at home tests. COVID-19 tests must be administered by an approved testing facility. (Updated 9/9/21)


    Q: How will I know the results of my child’s SHIELD test?

    A: You will not receive a notification for a negative test. If your child tests positive, the result is sent to District 25 and you will be contacted by a building administrator or designee.


    Q: When will results be available?

    A: Samples will be transported to a SHIELD Illinois lab by the operational partner each day. Results will be available within 24 hours, generally the next day.


    Q: Will my child’s pediatrician get a copy of the results?

    A: The school district will not send a copy of your child's test results to their pediatrician. Per state protocols, IDPH automatically receives notice of a positive case.


    Q: What happens if I as a parent believe my child received a "false" positive? Is there a way to retest and "prove" negative?

    A: No. The Cook County Department of Public Health informs us that the SHIELD test has greater than 98% sensitivity and specificity.  A high rate of specificity means a test has very few false positives.


    If a student is asymptomatic, and they test positive, the CCDPH informs us that we are to accept the positive result. (Updated 9/1/21)


    Q: Will the District still provide the BinaxNow testing if my student is symptomatic?

    A: No, we will only use the BinaxNow for symptomatic staff members. We will review this once we get further into the school year. (Updated 8/19/21)


    Q: Why does the testing have to happen at the school? Why not at home?

    A: Testing must take place in school due to CLIA protocols and to ensure that test takers are not eating or drinking prior to testing. IDPH states “at home antigen tests are not recommended for meeting criteria to return to school at this time; only testing administered by either school staff or laboratory personnel is acceptable.” However, a family may do an at-home test while participating in a telehealth appointment with a doctor & having the doctor verify the results that are submitted to the school. (Updated 9/24/21)


    Q: Why can’t the subject eat or drink one hour prior to testing?

    A: The test developers say that doing so may provide an invalid sample or inconclusive result.


    Q: Will all SHIELD testing be a spit test? Will a nasal swab be used without a parent knowing?

    A: All SHIELD testing will be a saliva/spit test. (Updated 9/1/21)


    Q: How much does the test cost?

    A: Effective July 14, 2021, Shield testing is free to all Illinois school districts for students and staff.