Background Information

SHIELD IL Screening at BPS101 Schools is Currently on HOLD. Please check back to this page if announcements are made to re-open the program.

Following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as well as our state and local health departments, BPS101 implemented several layers of COVID-19 mitigation strategies to protect our students and staff during the 2021-22 school year. To add an additional layer, BPS101 has partnered with SHIELD Illinois (University of Illinois) to provide optional, weekly PCR screening testing to students in grades K-5. The tests will also be offered to all staff and District contractors/volunteers that are not fully vaccinated. This is a non-invasive saliva test that is conducted on-site during the school day. Families have a choice whether they want to participate and are being asked to indicate their interest by opting into the program. If you do not want to participate, there is no action for you to take at this time.

If you would like to be a part of this program by opting-in to weekly PCR testing for your K-5 students, please log in to the web-based PowerSchool portal (not the app) and click the “SHIELD Opt-In” link under “Quick Actions” on the homepage for each of your K-5 students that you would like to opt-in.

You may have heard about this program from parents that have students in other Districts across the state. Because of the popularity of this program, there was a backlog of applications from Districts applying to participate. We are happy that we are able to offer this to you now.

Given concerns about the Delta variant and the fact that the majority of our students are not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, the SHIELD program provides an additional layer of protection for our schools by helping us promptly identify and isolate positive cases. The program is being provided to families with no out-of-pocket costs—testing is covered by the State of Illinois and is completed during school hours (no appointments required).

Below are links to some general information and frequently asked questions about SHIELD testing. This page will continue to be updated as additional information becomes available.

General SHIELD Information

The SHIELD test is a free, non-invasive diagnostic test for the COVID-19 virus conducted by collecting a saliva deposit that provides results in 24 hours. More information is available at

SHIELD testing was developed at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and has a sensitivity rate of 97% and an accuracy rate of 99%.

Individuals should not eat, drink or chew gum within 60 minutes of providing a saliva sample.

Families will be notified of any positive test results directly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is SHIELD testing?

SHIELD is a free, non-invasive, saliva-based test created by the University of Illinois. More information is available at

Who will be participating in the SHIELD screening program?

Students in K-5 whose parents/guardians opt them into the program and any staff/volunteers/contractors that spend time in BPS101 buildings and choose to have their weekly test performed on-site.

This notice provides information about the SHIELD testing program to allow informed consent for students to participate in weekly testing. Once opted in to the program, if a parent/guardian would like to opt out a student, a parent/guardian must notify the District of their intent to do so in writing.

Will all students be pulled out of their room and tested together in a common area or each student be pulled out and tested separately?

On testing days, a SHIELD Illinois Certified contractor will be moving through the elementary schools, going from classroom to classroom with a rolling cart of supplies, testing the students in the hallway outside of their classrooms. The students from each classroom that have been opted in to SHIELD will be standing, 6-feet apart in the hallway, being tested at the same time. We have not started testing yet, so the exact format will be worked out as we progress through the program. However, this is our plan for now.

How do I opt my student into the SHIELD program?

If you would like to be a part of this program by opting-in to weekly PCR testing for your K-5 students, please log in to the web-based PowerSchool portal (not the app) and click the “SHIELD Opt-In” link under “Quick Actions” on the homepage for each of your K-5 students that you would like to opt-in.

What do I do if I don’t want my student to be a part of this program?

You do not have to do anything at this time. This is an opt-in program that you are not required to participate in. If you would like to be a part of this program by opting-in to weekly PCR testing for your K-5 students, please log in to the web-based PowerSchool portal (not the app) and click the “SHIELD Opt-In” link under “Quick Actions” on the homepage for each of your K-5 students that you would like to opt-in.

How often will students be tested?

We are arranging for SHIELD to test the students once per week. For now, the plan is to test east side schools on Tuesdays and west side schools on Wednesdays. This schedule is subject to change and missed tests will not be made up.

Where will the tests be performed?

A certified SHIELD screener will be traveling to each elementary school once per week. The screener will walk around the building stopping at each classroom to administer the tests in the hallway outside the classroom. This plan will create the least amount of disruption for the students that are being screened and for the classroom instruction. The tests take less than 5 minutes to be performed.

How will you be sure that the students won’t be eating or drinking prior to testing and affecting the accuracy of the test?

We leave the responsibility on the parents to communicate to their students not to eat or drink prior to their test. However, we will communicate with classroom teachers about the timing of the tests at their schools for them to help with the process. The exact timing of each test at each school will be estimated initially, and then fine-tuned as students enter/drop out of the program.

How are the samples taken?

Here is a VIDEO that shows an example of how the samples are taken.

How will I know if my student tests positive?

If the test is negative, you will not receive results. In other words, no news is good news. If the test is positive, SHIELD will contact you; in addition, a school nurse or administrator will contact you to discuss the next steps.

What should I do once I receive my student’s test results?

If your child’s test results are positive, please contact your child’s doctor immediately to review the test results and discuss the next steps. Your child may not return to school until they have received written clearance from the school nurse.

If your child’s test results are negative, this means that the COVID-19 virus was not detected in your child’s saliva (spit).

Tests sometimes produce incorrect negative results called “false negatives” in people who have COVID-19.  If your child tests negative but has symptoms of COVID-19, or if you have concerns about your child’s exposure to COVID-19, you should call your child’s doctor.

Who will receive my student’s test results?

In addition to you receiving your child’s test results, BPS101 and 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.

Will BPS101 accept negative results obtained through confirmatory PCR testing following a positive SHIELD test result?

Following the guidance of the Kane County Health Department, BPS101 will not accept outside/confirmatory PCR tests following a positive SHIELD test. This is based on the fact that the SHIELD Illinois saliva test is a laboratory-based nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT), which is considered the most sensitive test for detecting SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

According to SHIELD, the saliva testing has a sensitivity of 97% and a specificity of 99.8% to 99.9%, yielding very few false positives. Additionally, all positive samples are retested using the originally collected sample to further reduce the chance of false positives. High specificity combined with frequent testing makes the SHIELD saliva-based test extremely accurate.

Furthermore, the Illinois Department of Public Health states the SHIELD Illinois saliva test is highly reliable and does not require an additional confirmatory test when used as a primary diagnostic test.

Can I opt-in or out of SHIELD testing at any time?

Yes, families can opt their students into or out of testing at any time. The SHIELD Opt-in link will remain on the home page for each eligible student. You can choose to opt-in at any time. To opt-out of SHIELD, once you have previously opted in, parents/guardians will need to notify the District in writing.

If a student is considered a close contact to someone at school,  will they be allowed to stay in class if they have opted in for shield testing (Test to Stay Strategy)?

We are not offering “Test to Stay” for students at this time. We are moving in that direction and hope to do so in the future. But, for now, we are just doing the screening.

Will participant data be published?

Individual data will not be published. Positive cases will be reflected in aggregate in the District’s COVID-19 Metrics Dashboard.

How will the District protect the privacy of the participant’s information?

SHIELD Illinois uses a third-party collections and logistics team to collect the samples and disseminate the results. All parties are subject to confidentiality agreements. Identifiable information is kept to a minimum through the use of QR codes and barcodes. Individual results will be reported directly to parents and the District. Results will be available to school principals and nurses in order to connect with families whose students had a positive test result.

What happens if my student misses a screening test?

If a student misses a screening test the test will not be made up and the student will be tested on the next testing date, the following week.

Will this program replace other safety measures already in place at BPS101 buildings?

The SHIELD program will not take the place of our schools’ health and safety measures, which include wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, cleaning protocols, and regular washing of hands—mitigations that already make the risk of in-school transmission low. SHIELD screening is an additional tool that can help ensure that asymptomatic individuals do not come to our buildings and potentially transmit COVID-19 to others.

For more information about the University of Illinois SHIELD program, access the program FAQ here.

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