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D62 SHIELD Testing FAQs for Parents
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updated 10/25/21

What is SHIELD testing?

SHIELD is an innovative COVID-19 surveillance program created by the University of Illinois to reduce transmission of the COVID-19 virus. The saliva-based PCR test consists of depositing a small sample of saliva into a tube. The sample is sent out for analysis to test for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the COVID-19 virus. Note: Samples collected are not used for research purposes and are disposed of after results are confirmed. To learn more about SHIELD, visit

Is SHIELD testing mandatory for students?

No. However, when in moderate, substantial, or high levels of community transmission, SHIELD testing is encouraged for students who are not fully vaccinated and who also participate in extracurriculars and/or sports deemed as high-risk in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance.

How often will testing occur?

SHIELD testing will occur every other week beginning on November 1. 

The frequency of testing may vary depending on the level of virus transmission in our community.

Why should my child participate in SHIELD testing?

The SHIELD screening/testing program helps mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our schools and community by testing asymptomatic individuals who may have unknowingly contracted the virus and may be spreading it. It is a key strategy for maintaining in-person learning by minimizing community spread of the virus in our schools.

How do I enroll my child in the SHIELD screening program?

Your child(ren) will be automatically enrolled for SHIELD testing unless you choose to opt-out. Please click here to opt-out.

What if my child refuses to be tested during screening?

A student will not be forced to undergo testing but this will be noted and parents will be notified.

How will SHIELD testing be conducted?

Testing will take place at all District 62 schools. This does not include the Westerhold Early Learning Center. To expedite the process, testing may be done classroom-by-classroom via a mobile cart or in a common area of the building, such as the cafeteria. All testing will take place during the school day. Click here for a brief video overview of this process.

Who is doing the testing?

A third party, Visit Healthcare, will facilitate SHIELD testing.  

Why does SHIELD testing have to happen at school? Why not at home?

Testing must take place at school to ensure proper screening procedures are followed to obtain valid results.

Are there certain protocols that need to be followed in preparation for testing?

Individuals must refrain from eating or drinking for one hour before testing; eating/drinking too close to testing may produce an invalid sample or inconclusive result.

How much does the test cost?

SHIELD testing is provided at no cost to the school district or families.

When will results be available?

Samples will be picked up daily by a courier and transported to a CLIA-certified SHIELD Illinois lab. Results are generally available within 12-24 hours.

What if my school’s testing day falls on a holiday or school break? Will there be a make-up day?

No. If testing falls on a holiday or on a day when there is no school, there will be no make-up day. Testing will resume the following week.

How will I get my results?

If the test is positive, a District 62 school nurse or administrator will call the child’s parent/guardian. If the test is negative, parents/guardians will not be contacted. No news is good news!

If my child receives a positive test, do we need to take a second test?

According to SHIELD, “repeat testing after the initial positive test is neither required nor recommended. You should rely on your initial positive COVID-19 SHIELD test as definitive, isolate and consult with your health care provider or local health department with any questions or concerns.”

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

No. The school district does not send a copy of a student’s test results to their pediatrician. However, per state protocols, SHIELD Illinois is required to notify the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) of positive cases. 

Is there a way to opt-in if someone decides to opt-out? 

Yes, families may always opt in or out. We just need enough lead time to change their testing status with Shield so labels and test kits can be prepared a week ahead.  

In the case of a positive result, is additional testing required for close contacts to remain in school? If so, what is the protocol?                 Our contact tracing process would remain as it is today. Students who would have to quarantine as a result of close contact with a positive individual will need to be cleared by our contact tracer, and follow IDPH/Cook County Public Health expectations and guidelines.

How long is this going to take per classroom?                                 Once routine has been established, we anticipate it will take 5 to 10 minutes per class.

Are teachers expected to help with this?                                         SHIELD is working with a vetted 3rd party vendor, Visit Healthcare, who collects samples. District nurses and health clerks will also participate in collection oversight. The teachers’ only responsibility is to coordinate with the testing team so students arrive on time and minimize loss of instructional time.