K-12 Schools

SHIELD Illinois helps keep kids safe at school.

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IDPH Funded COVID-19 Testing for School District.

Complete the SHIELD Illinois Interest form

More Information about the SHIELD Illinois test and process


Tests performed over the last year

SHIELD Illinois is the premier testing partner for educational settings in the state of Illinois. The covidSHIELD test has been performed more than 6 million times worldwide over the past year and has helped numerous schools return to safe, in-person instruction.

Through an agreement with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), our test is free to all Illinois K-12 public schools outside the city of Chicago. And through agreements with Midwest Coordination Center and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), our test is free to K-12 non-public schools throughout Illinois. The IDPH also provides funding for testing at public universities and community colleges across the state.

SHIELD Illinois has worked with its school partners to develop collection strategies that require very little time and staffing.



Want to learn more? Fill out our short questionnaire and a member of our team will schedule an introductory meeting

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the University of Illinois’ role in the SHIELD program?

SHIELD Illinois is a COVID-19 screening testing program and infrastructure designed to help safely open schools, protect workplaces, and save lives. This specific test was designed by University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign researchers and was supported by the university’s leadership team. Our mission as a land-grant institution is to use our capabilities and resources for the public good by deploying this method of targeting, testing, and informing beyond the U of I System to the entire state of Illinois.


What does it mean to be operating under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)?

The test has gone through the rigorous review process of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) against an extensive set of well-established requirements/parameters; authorization means the covidSHIELD saliva test fulfilled all the requirements of the FDA before being authorized for use in CLIA-certified laboratories for COVID testing, specifically during public health emergencies such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.


Are you testing for anything else? Is my sample held or DNA tested?

The covidSHIELD test only targets specific COVID-19 markers and is not able to test for other communicable diseases, substances, or DNA. Once testing is completed, test specimens are safely and permanently destroyed by being placed in biohazard containers, securely stored, and incinerated by hazardous materials personnel.


Who sees the patient’s results?

This is an important question. Only you or your parent/guardian, the lab and the ordering physician have access to an individual’s test results. By law, positive test records are also reported to the relevant public health department(s) for contact tracing. If an organization is set up to receive results for their constituents (e.g., a school or an employer), then their assigned administrator will have access to those patients’ results. This is only done with patient consent.


What does SHIELD stand for?

The test developers came up with this name to evoke the concept of putting a protective shield around the University of Illinois campus.

K-12 Partner Information Meeting

To learn more about how SHIELD helps schools across the state of Illinois, watch one of our recent informational presentations. 


Find a nearby testing location

Find a community testing site where anyone can get a free SHIELD Illinois COVID-19 test.