What is the SHIELD test?

SHIELD is a saliva-based, non-invasive COVID-19 test that simply requires an individual to deposit a saliva sample into a provided vial at the on-campus testing site in West Wing Corridor: W167. Samples are then transported to a network of lab partners who will process and return results to Richland Community College and the individual who was tested, typically within 24 hours.

How do I contact SHIELD with an account access issue?

If you have any issues signing into the SHIELD portal or creating a SHIELD account to access your test result, please call SHIELD IL Help at (217) 265-6059. They will not release results but can assist you with account access issues.

Questions about Richland’s surveillance testing program, exemptions and scheduling issues should be directed to covidtesting@richland.edu.

 What happens when a student does not participate in testing as required?

If you miss your testing appointment for a week, the following will happen:

  • You will receive an email to your Richland student email account and a text notifying you that you have missed the mandatory appointment. You will have two business days to reschedule for testing.
  • If you are a student employee, your Richland supervisor will be notified that you are not allowed to work on campus until you have completed your test and are deemed compliant in the following week.

Where is the testing site?

SHIELD testing takes place in West Wing Corridor: W167. Parking is available in Parking Lot A. The testing site is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays weekly from 9am to 1pm. You must be on the SHIELD testing roster to test at this location.

How much does this test cost?

During the summer semester, the test is free for students, faculty and staff required to participate.

What if I don’t have any symptoms? Do I still need to test?

Yes. SHIELD testing is only for those who are not having symptoms. Many people may be positive but not have symptoms (asymptomatic) and could spread the virus. Testing will help us reduce the potential for spread.

Can I get tested at a different site and provide you with those results?

No. You cannot test off-site. If you are having scheduling issues, please contact us at covidtesting@richland.edu. If you don’t have the ability to schedule an appointment online, you can come to the testing site and we will assist you.

I was already tested once. Why do I have to test every week?

SHIELD testing will be administered weekly over the course of the semester. This allows Richland to make inferences about the level of spread in the campus population, especially as people may be asymptomatic.


Who is required to participate in SHIELD testing?

The following groups should participate in SHIELD testing:

  • Students and faculty who participate in face-to-face classes, labs or clinicals on campus
  • Employees who work on campus
  • Student staff that work on campus
  • Heartland Tech Academy employees
  • Not required to test (at least initially): visitors, fitness center, corporate training

I don’t teach any face-to-face classes. Why did I receive a message about participating in SHIELD testing?

The rosters for surveillance testing of face-to-face classes are pulled based on the modalities listed in MyRichland. If the modality listed for your course is in-person, hybrid or hyflex, you and your class are included in SHIELD testing because that information tells us that you are on campus holding in-person classes semi-regularly. You can help us have the best and most up-to-date information by updating your class modality information with your dean.


How do I schedule my SHIELD testing appointment?

  • Beginning Monday, April 12, sign up for an account on www.richland.edu/shieldtest.
    • Richland Community College Agency Code for Employees: rcc-j13to8uw
    • Richland Community College Agency Code for Students: rcc-oedg7var
      Richland students & employees: you must use your Richland email address when you register for your account. Heartland Technical Academy employees should use their HTA email address. 
    • Once you have an account, schedule your appointment at www.richland.edu/shieldtest The appointment will take about 15 minutes.
    • When it is time for your appointment, come to the on-campus testing site in West Wing Corridor: W167. The staff at the testing site will confirm your appointment & step you through the process.
    • Please Note: There are some restrictions on eating, drinking, and smoking before your test. See the note below for additional information.
    • After you have submitted your sample, it will be sent to the SHIELD testing lab. You can keep track of the results by logging in to www.richland.edu/shieldtest
  • If your test is negative (healthy), our systems will send a confirmation message (letting you know that we have cleared you to be on campus).
  • If you test positive, it is important to notify the college as soon as you receive the positive result. Complete the self-reporting form at www.richland.edu/coronavirus/selfreport and isolate until you receive further instruction from the Richland’s COVID-19 support team.
    • If you need to reschedule your appointment for any reason, please do so at www.richland.edu/shieldtest
    • After your first test is complete, continue to schedule appointments every week at www.richland.edu/shieldtest
    • If you get any errors messages associated with your SHIELD IL activation code or have trouble logging in to your account, please call the SHIELD IL helpline at 217-265-6059.
  • If you don’t have the ability to schedule an appointment online, you can come to the testing site and we will assist you.


How can I prepare for my test?

  • Stay hydrated up until an hour before your test. Dehydration makes it harder to produce the saliva you need for test.
  • However, for ONE HOUR before your test, you must not eat, drink, smoke, brush your teeth, use mouthwash or chew gum.
  • Also on the day of your test, please avoid any artificially-colored energy drinks that may affect the color of your saliva.

What health and safety precautions are being used at the testing site?

The testing site follows the CDC guidelines and recommendations to reduce the spread of COVID. Universally masking is enforced at all times, except during the saliva collection itself, in which case each patient is more than 6 feet apart, utilizing floor markings to promote distance between patients, sanitizing all surfaces routinely as well as pens and clipboards, and providing and promoting the use of hand sanitizer, as well as participants’ time in the office.

Should I go to my SHIELD testing appointment if I’m not feeling well?

No, if you are not feeling well you should immediately self-quarantine, complete the COVID-19 Screening Checklist and call your medical provider. Please also notify covidtesting@richland.edu that you will not be reporting for SHIELD testing.


How do I receive my test results?

You will access your test results through your MySHIELD Illinois account. You will receive a notification via email from SHIELD when your test result is ready. You will access your test result through you MySHIELD Illinois account.

If this was your first time testing, you will also receive an activation code from SHIELD to setup your user name and password to access your test results

What happens if my SHIELD test result comes back positive?

If you test positive, it is important to notify the college as soon as you receive the positive result. Complete the self-reporting form at www.richland.edu/coronavirus/selfreport and isolate until you receive further instruction from the Richland’s COVID-19 support team.

You will also receive a call from the Macon County Health Department for contact tracing. It is important to answer this phone call and follow all instructions to ensure the health of yourself and others.

My test was invalid or rejected. What does that mean?

If you receive an invalid or rejected test result, it means that the sample you provided was non-optimal and could not be put through the testing process or could not produce appropriate data to determine whether or not you are infected with the virus. If you receive an invalid/rejected test result, you will be required to retest within 48 hours of your original test date. Before your next test, please be sure to refrain from eating, drinking, smoking tooth brushing, mouth washing, or for at least 1 hour prior to submitting your saliva sample. For best results, it is recommended that you hydrate during the morning and retest in the afternoon.

Do I have to self-quarantine while I wait for my test results?

No. After your SHIELD test, you can continue your regular activities while you wait for results. You should immediately self-quarantine if you start to not feel well while you are waiting for results.

I’m having trouble accessing my SHIELD Illinois account to view my test results. What should I do?

If you get any errors messages associated with your SHIELD IL activation code or have trouble logging in to your account, please call the SHIELD IL helpline at 217-265-6059.


Do I have to participate if I’ve previously tested negative for COVID-19?

Yes. A negative test result only means that you did not have COVID-19 at the time of testing or that your sample was collected too early in your infection. You could also be exposed to COVID-19 after the test and then get infected and spread the virus to others. For these reasons, you will be called to test several times this semester.

I’ve received one of the COVID-19 vaccines. Do I still have to participate in SHIELD testing?

If you are fully vaccinated, SHIELD testing is not required. However, it is recommended. The preliminary research indicates vaccinated individuals can spread the Delta variant, if contracted.

Do I have to participate if I previously tested positive for COVID-19?

No, if you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days, you are exempt from testing until those 90 days pass. Please email covidtesting@richland.edu and provide documentation of your positive test date. Once 90 days pass, you will receive information about scheduling a test.

If you tested positive more than 90 days ago, you will not be exempt from testing.

What should I do if I need an exemption?

You can request an exemption from testing if you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days prior to your scheduled testing date or if you are a student that is 100% online with no face-to-face classes. Documentation will be required to process the requests, and the exemption can be revoked student’s course modality changes.

Your Privacy

Who is collecting the saliva samples?

College and support staff who have been trained and certified to facilitate shield testing procedures collect samples on campus. The supervisor lead is Erin Spanberger our campus COVID-19 Case Coordinator.

Who is testing the saliva and what happens once the Covid test is complete?

Our local testing site is located at St. Mary’s Hospital. Once samples are delivered they are responsible for disposal of all samples.

How do we know the samples won’t be used for other purposes?

We’re happy to advise that SHIELD Illinois technology enforces systematic security access controls which protects electronically collected participant information and results data from unauthorized access or harm.

What mechanisms are in place to protect our right to privacy?

All information collected is confidential, secure, and shared with participants via their shields account.

How are we protected from 3rd party access to personal information without authorization?

Mandatory privacy training, periodic security awareness, and procedural physical safeguards are in place help to mitigate the risk of SHIELD Illinois authorized personnel from mishandling or abusing of samples for purposes other than reporting mandated data to the state health department.

Is there anything in writing for test takers that states how a 3rd party can use our samples, information, and limitations as to their access or dispersal of information?

Unauthorized (3rd) parties aren’t allowed to use samples or access personal info of SHIELD Illinois participants.

Additional questions? Email covidtesting@richland.edu.