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Banner image featuring Students in an outdoor classroom on stanford campus. Konadu Abena Amoakuh. Photo Credit: Andrew Brodhead

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

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Who Should Be Tested (Policy Effective 3.15.2021)

Category Description of Circumstances Testing Required?
Group 1 All graduate and professional students 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 twice weekly with Color Genomics, once in each test window, and complete Stanford Health Check daily. Testing windows are 1) Sunday to Wednesday and 2) Thursday to Saturday. 
Group 2 All graduate and professional students who are living off campus and who are coming to campus on a regular basis Yes, you are required to register and test twice weekly with Color Genomics, once in each test window, and complete Stanford Health Check daily. Testing windows are 1) Sunday to Wednesday and 2) Thursday to Saturday. 
Group 3 Graduate and professional students who are living off campus and coming to campus infrequently (less than twice a week) Yes, you are required to register with Color in advance and submit a test by 4 p.m. 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 planning to come to campus in spring quarter 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.
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.

Color Test Windows

TEST WINDOW 1 TEST WINDOW 2
Sunday Thursday
Monday Friday
Tuesday Saturday
Wednesday  
At least once within each test window: activate your kit, and then collect and drop off your sample by 4 p.m. the same day  to remain in compliance. 
JPEG reproduction of the Color guidance document.
*Accessible downloadable PDF

 

Planning Your Testing Routine to Comply with Our Twice Weekly Requirement

All graduate and professional students living on campus or coming to campus frequently are required to test twice weekly with Color Genomics. For compliance purposes, a week runs from Sunday through Saturday. To remain in compliance, you should therefore submit one test in the window from Sunday-Wednesday and one test in the window from Thursday-Saturday each week. Ideally, your tests are separated by 3 days as your schedule allows. For example, you might test on Monday and Friday, or Tuesday and Saturday. 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.
  • 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.
  • You can start testing with Color Genomics as soon as March 15. Verily testing will no longer be available to graduate and professional students after March 19.
  • 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.

  • If you miss the 4 p.m. Wednesday or Sunday test window, you will receive an email notification from the university and your Stanford Health Check onsite access badge will be red. Some Stanford locations require a green badge for entry. 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 you miss one or more tests, a university appointed COVID lead or a staff member of the Dean of Students Office may contact you to help ensure compliance with campus testing requirements. 
  • After three missed tests, you will be subject to a Dean of Students administrative review for a Campus Compact violation and you will lose access to Stanford locations that require a key card for entry, except your campus residence. These locations include departmental buildings and labs. Your access will be restored within 24 hours of taking your next test and completing a Stanford Health Check.

If you will be away from the university campus temporarily, please let us know by completing this form, which will pause automated testing reminders during your absence. Testing compliance messages you will receive (should you miss a test without notifying us of your absence) will also prompt you to provide this information. We expect few students to lose access to shared spaces; our observation is the vast majority of students are doing everything they can to test on schedule and contribute to the overall health and safety of the university community.

If I have been vaccinated for COVID-19, am I still required to comply with student testing requirements? Yes. These requirements apply to everyone, regardless of your COVID-19 vaccination status.

If I travel during the quarter, what should I do? If you plan to travel more than 150 miles away from Santa Clara County’s borders, pick up Color testing kits before you leave so that you are prepared to resume testing twice weekly upon return. You are required to take your first test immediately upon return, submitting your sample to one of our 24-hour drop-off sites. You are required to take a second test five days later. While you await the results of your first and second tests, you may leave your residence for medical care, to pick up meals if you have a Stanford Dining meal plan or if you have groceries or prepared food delivered, and for solo outdoor exercise. If you share an apartment with other students, please discuss your travel plans prior to departure. Roommates can request short-term, alternative housing by completing this form.

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.

Accessing Your Verily Test Results

Can I still access my Verily test results after March 19? Your Healthy at School account will no longer be available to login or schedule an appointment. However, you can still view your previous COVID-19 test results via the PWN Portal. Refer to an email received from PWNHealth (covid19@pwnhealth.com) informing you that your results are ready. Follow the instructions on that email to log into the PWN portal to view your test results. If you cannot find a results email from PWNHealth, call the PWN call center at (888) 362-4321 and request that PWN resend a results email to you.

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