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RPS 205 Offers Free COVID-19 Tests

Rockford Public Schools will offer students access to free COVID-19 tests starting Monday, Oct. 25. Our goal is to provide a safe learning environment for students and staff and stop the spread of COVID-19. The University of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford will provide a quick, saliva-based COVID-19 test for students, called SHIELD Illinois. The rtPCR test is used across the state at universities, schools and businesses to help safely return to in-person activities. At this time, students are not required to participate in COVID-19 testing.  
Current protocol: Unvaccinated students who are identified as a close contact to someone with COVID-19 must quarantine. Starting next week, students who participate in weekly SHIELD testing may not have to quarantine. 

Students who have COVID-19 symptoms are currently directed to leave school and isolate from others until they test negative for COVID-19. With SHIELD Illinois, now students can take a test either at school or within RPS 205 instead of visiting a doctor’s office, immediate care facility or pharmacy. We hope this allows students to stay in school and limit interruptions.  

How the SHIELD test works: Participating students will be asked to spit or drool into a small plastic tube. The test looks for three genes of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, or COVID-19. A positive test identifies COVID-19 ahead of symptoms, plus any new variants.

Access a COVID-19 test:  Unvaccinated RPS 205 students can take a test through SHIELD Illinois at any RPS 205 testing site from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the specified days. Students must not eat or drink for at least one hour before the test. Any lipstick or balm must be removed. 

Test locations: SHIELD tests are available 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the locations noted below, starting Monday, Oct. 25.: 

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Auburn HS East HS Guilford HS Barbour Eisenhower MS
  Lincoln MS Jefferson HS Kennedy MS Flinn MS
  RESA MS Marshall MS Roosevelt West MS

Test results: A student’s parent/guardian will be notified of their test results. Individuals who test positive must quarantine and follow guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health. For more information, visit


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  • COVID-19