DEKALB, Ill. (WCIA) — Beginning in January 2021, Northern Illinois University will begin to use the SHIELD COVID-19 test developed by the University of Illinois.

An on-campus testing site will be set up in the Holmes Student Center. Samples will then be sent to a network of lab partners who will process and return results to Northwestern Medicine, NIU and the person who was tested. University officials estimate results will typically be returned within 24 hours.

Students and staff moving into residence halls or returning from winter break will be required to take the test. It will not be required for students living in Greek housing or off-campus, but is strongly recommended for those with in-person or hybrid classes.

Earlier this month, Illinois State University announced it was also working with the University of Illinois to open a testing lab inside the Science Building on campus. The campus is currently awaiting approval from the FDA.

To date, the University of Illinois System’s three campuses have performed more than one million rapid, saliva-based tests since August.

Because of the SHIELD testing and monitoring program, students were able to return to campuses for a safe, hybrid learning environment while keeping positivity rates much lower than the state average. The seven-day positivity rates have held at less than half of 1 percent on the UIUC campus and about 2 percent or less at UIC and UIS.