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Banner image featuring Students in an outdoor classroom on stanford campus. Matt Alan Cullen. Photo credit: Andrew Brodhead

COVID-19 Testing Program for Graduate and Professional Students, Via Color Genomics

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Who Should Be Testing  

Please note: Effective 7/19/21, if you are living on campus or coming to campus frequently this summer, you will no longer be required to participate in COVID-19 testing and Health Check after you complete the three action items listed below.

  1. Upload your COVID-19 vaccination documentation to the Vaden patient portal.
  2. Submit a Health Check attesting to your status as fully vaccinated.
  3. Continue testing and completing Health Check daily until you receive an email from services@stanford.edu confirming Vaden has verified that you are fully vaccinated and permitted to discontinue testing. You could receive this email up to two weeks after uploading your documentation, given vaccines generally take two weeks to be fully effective. After you complete these three steps, your Health Check badge will be green through August 27.

An important exception: If you complete steps 1-3 and then begin experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, you are required to take a Color Genomics test immediately and avoid contact with other people. Regardless of your vaccination status, you are still required to complete a Health Check if you experience symptoms, have a positive COVID test, or are exposed to household members who have tested positive. We ask for this information so we can take steps to limit viral spread. All information entered is secured and protected.

Unvaccinated students are required to continue weekly Color Genomics testing and daily Health Checks.

Category Description of Circumstances Testing Required?
Group 1 All graduate and professional students without Vaden verified vaccination status who are living on campus, whether or not they are taking classes, teaching, doing research, or engaging in any other campus activities Yes, you are required to register and test weekly with Color Genomics, and complete Stanford Health Check daily. The weekly testing window is from Sunday to Saturday. Please make an effort to separate your weekly tests by 3 days. 
Group 2 All graduate and professional students without Vaden verified vaccination status who are living off campus and who are coming to campus on a regular basis Yes, you are required to register and test weekly with Color Genomics, and complete Stanford Health Check daily. The weekly testing window is from Sunday to Saturday. Please make an effort to separate your weekly tests by 3 days. 
Group 3 Graduate and professional students who are living off campus and coming to campus infrequently (less than four times per month) Yes, you are required to register with Color in advance and submit a test on the day you come to campus. Also, you are required to complete Stanford Health Check on the day you come to campus, before you arrive.

*Students living in Stanford off-campus subsidized housing only need to test when visiting campus, but must submit the “request to opt out” form to reduce testing compliance notifications.
Group 4 Graduate and professional students who are living off campus and are not visiting campus at all NO. Please be sure you have submitted the “request to opt out” form so you do not receive testing compliance  notifications. 
Group 5 Coterm students Coterm students living on campus in graduate housing or off campus are required to comply with the graduate and professional student testing requirements described above. Coterm students living in undergraduate housing are required to comply with undergraduate testing requirements.
Group 6 Non-student partners and spouses living in Stanford housing Partners and spouses living with graduate students in R&DE assigned housing are eligible to test with Color. Please visit this page for more information.
Reproduction of the Color downloadable handout in JPEG format.
*Downloadable PDF

 

Planning Your Testing Routine to Comply with Our Weekly Requirement

All graduate students living on campus or coming to campus frequently are required to test weekly with Color Genomics. For compliance purposes, a week runs from Sunday through Saturday. To remain in compliance, you should therefore submit one test from Sunday-Saturday each week. Ideally, your tests are separated by 3 days as your schedules allow. This will help you monitor your health over a 7-day period, and help us monitor aggregate campus conditions on a weekly basis, which we then summarize on the Stanford COVID-19 dashboards.

  • Student athletes, clinical medical students and MSPA students should check with their administrative units for testing information.
  • Coterm students living on campus in Stanford graduate housing or off campus must comply with graduate and professional student testing requirements and are required to test with Color. Coterm students living in undergraduate housing are required to comply with undergraduate testing requirements.
  • Asymptomatic students in quarantine who have not tested positive should continue testing through the Color program. 
  • Students with mild symptoms who have not tested positive should continue to test through the Color program.
  • Students with high fever or other severe symptoms should contact Vaden Health Services or another healthcare provider for evaluation and testing.
  • Students who have tested positive for COVID in the past three months through a provider other than Color Genomics and Vaden should send a copy of their positive COVID test results (attached to a message with the subject line "secure: test results") to Dr. Robyn Tepper through the Vadenpatient portal. You will not be asked to retest for 90 days. The CDC does not recommend retesting within 90 days because reinfection is uncommon during this period and a positive PCR test without new symptoms more likely represents persistent shedding of viral RNA, rather than an active infection

Color Genomics Test Kit Sites and Hours

Once you have created your test account, visit a test kit site. Bring your Stanford University ID, which is required every time you pick up a test kit. 

Color Genomics How-to Videos and Diagrams

Tips for Stanford Students

  • Testing is provided at no charge to students.
  • If you have any trouble registering with Color, please submit a ServiceNow ticket.
  • Verily testing is no longer available to graduate and professional students.
  • Create your Color testing account using your primary Stanford email address (SUNet ID@stanford.edu). Alias emails will not be accepted. If you do not know your primary Stanford SUNet email or are not sure how to access it, please contact University IT Services & Support at (650) 725-4357 or by submitting an online ticket
  • You can pick up your kit early, but be sure to “Activate, Collect and Drop off” on the same day. For example, if you pick up your test kit on Monday, but do not want to use it until Wednesday, wait until Wednesday to activate the kit.
  • Students who wish to perform a Color self-swab test under the supervision of Vaden clinicians may schedule an appointment.

Test Type and Results

Image featuring "I wear a face coving" banner hung above stair case as students walk up. Kimberly Heng and Amol Singh. Photo Credit: Andrew Brodhead.

What type of test will be used? The Color COVID-19 Test is a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) assay that tests for an active infection of COVID-19. It is not an antibody or a PCR test. The student collects the sample using a self-administered nasal swab (anterior nares).

Why is Stanford utilizing nasal swab testing instead of saliva testing methods? Stanford is routinely evaluating emerging technologies for mass screening alternatives. At this time, we believe the nasal swab testing is the best match for our students. Although saliva testing is easier to collect, it may be difficult to collect from some students and may still pose an aerosol risk. There is a loss in sensitivity (10-50 times less) when using saliva than when using a nasopharyngeal swab. As such, patients with low viral loads may falsely test negative. 

What can I expected in terms of results? Color provides four types of results:

  • Positive for SARS-CoV-2. Positive indicates that SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) was detected in the patient’s sample. False positives are possible.
  • Negative for SARS-CoV-2. Negative indicates that SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) was not detected in the patient’s sample. False negatives are possible. 
  • Inconclusive result for SARS-CoV-2. Inconclusive indicates that the test results were internally inconsistent and cannot be classified as either positive or negative.
  • Unsatisfactory sample. Test could not be completed.

What happens if I test positive? If you test positive, you’ll be contacted by a Vaden clinician and provided with guidance particular to your situation. Vaden will also ask you to update your status on Stanford Health Check, offer you a confirmatory test, and initiate exposure notification for close contacts. If you do not hear from Vaden shortly, please call (650) 498-2336. If you are having severe symptoms, including difficulty breathing, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

How will isolation and quarantine work? Isolation is for students who test positive. To coordinate isolation housing and meal delivery service, the name of a student with a positive test will be shared with campus partners, such as Graduate Life Office (GLO) deans and Residential & Dining Enterprises (R&DE), on a confidential, need-to-know basis. Quarantine is for students who have not tested positive but were in close contact with someone who tested positive. If a student lives in an apartment that has a private bathroom, or lives in couples or families housing, they can quarantine in their apartment. Students who live in a shared apartment where they cannot quarantine can contact a Graduate Life Office dean to be assigned to a designated quarantine space. For both isolation and quarantine, Vaden as well as a Graduate Life Office dean will check in with the student daily. Our goal is to prevent the spread of disease and ensure students feel safe and supported. This will include carefully communicating with each student their individual timeline for quarantine/isolation. As needed, we will provide wi-fi, laundry, linens, meal delivery at no charge to students residing on campus, care kits, disability accommodations, and similar amenities and services to meet students’ daily needs.

Does the university share anonymized aggregate results with students, faculty and staff? Stanford has developed a dashboard to publicly display de-identified testing results.

Compliance 

What happens if a student does not meet Stanford's testing requirements? In order to maximize the health and safety of our community, we have put in place a protocol to support the required testing program.

Students are expected to follow all university public health requirements, which are university policies subject to accountability processes administered through the Dean of Students office as articulated in the Residence Agreement, Fundamental Standard and Office of Community Standards policies. 

Information about dining access with a red badge can be found here. Your green badge will be restored within 24 hours of taking your next test and completing a Stanford Health Check.

If I travel during the quarter, what should I do? Unvaccinated travelers returning from personal travel outside of California (including from international locations) must test before coming to campus. Further details may be found on the For Stanford Travelers page. 

Protecting Data

Who sees the results of my test, and what will Stanford do with my information? For students, individual test results will be available to the participating student, Color and the physicians working directly with Color, Vaden, Environmental Health & Safety, and limited other university offices to protect the Stanford community and prevent further spread of COVID-19 (such as for exposure notification, cleaning, isolation and processing the information). For example, when students on campus test positive for COVID-19, to coordinate isolation housing and meal delivery service, the name of the student with the positive test will be shared with relevant campus partners such as Graduate Life Office deans, and Residential & Dining Enterprises, on a confidential, need-to-know basis. In addition, laboratories must report all test results to public health authorities consistent with applicable laws and guidance; and Stanford must report positive test results to public health authorities, consistent with applicable laws and guidance. Further, if you miss one or more tests, a university appointed COVID lead or a staff member of the Dean of Students Office will be notified of that fact (but will not have access to your test results), and may contact you to help ensure compliance with campus testing requirements. In order to keep our community safe, Stanford takes the testing requirement very seriously. Depending on the level of non-compliance, a COVID lead may copy an academic advisor, principal investigator, academic department manager or school dean about whether a student tested but not the results of any test.

What will Color do with my information? Will my data be used for other Color testing programs, such as genetic testing? Color adheres to strict privacy and security controls, and complies with applicable data protection laws. You may view Color’s COVID-19 Terms of Service, Notice of Privacy Practices, COVID HIPAA Authorization, and COVID-19 Informed Consent to learn more. Color will test your sample for SARS-CoV-2 only, and will not use your data or sample for genetic testing without your express written consent. When you create your Color account, you agree to the Terms of Service only as applicable to the Color products or services that you select. Each time you activate and use a COVID-19 test kit, you agree to the terms and conditions specific to Color’s COVID-19 testing product and service. Therefore, the terms of service and additional provisions that relate to Color’s genetic testing services -- which are distinct from the COVID-19 Terms of Service -- do not apply if you are only using Color’s COVID-19 testing services. 

Does Color extract, share, or maintain genetic information from test samples? Color’s test involves the extraction of genetic information on the virus (viral RNA). Color does not sequence any patient DNA when performing the COVID test. 

  • Sample retention: Color does not retain COVID-19 samples long term. Color's policy and practice is to destroy all residual samples 7 days after the result is released. 
  • Data retention: Color is required by federal law (the Clinical Laboratory Improvements Act of 1988), the College of American Pathologists, and state regulatory requirements to retain lab data for at least 20 years. 
  • Data sharing: Results data and protected health information (PHI) is shared with the physician who authorized the test, and with public health agencies as required by federal, state, and/or local requirements. Color does not sell any of your PHI or test result data.

Questions?

  • Submit a ServiceNow ticket for questions about student testing compliance (red badges, missed tests, time away from campus).
  • Submit a ServiceNow ticket for questions about using Color products and services, including Color registration and test kit pick-up and drop-off locations.
  • For questions about viewing your results on the Color website, please email mycovidtest@color.com