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Taking Care of Ourselves & Each Other

 Cindy Lin and Temiloluwa F Babalola. Credit: Andrew Brodhead /

COVID-19 Testing & Health Check Guidance for Graduate and Professional Students

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In order to maintain a safe, open campus environment during the pandemic, Stanford is focused on efforts that help to identify and prevent the spread of COVID-19 at the earliest possible stages. COVID-19 vaccinations and symptomatic testing are crucial aspects of these efforts to support the health and well-being of our campus community. 

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 Testing Guidance

  • We strongly recommend that all students test whenever you are experiencing symptoms or are concerned about a possible exposure. Here’s more information.
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Rapid Test Kit Distribution

  • Rapid tests are available at the Arrillaga Family Dining Commons.
  • Each student can receive up to 8 rapid tests per month. 
  • To pick up rapid tests, you’ll need your Stanford ID and cell phone. You’ll be asked to scan a QR code while in line to display your pick-up authorization badge on your phone. Staff will check your badge before giving you the tests. If you don’t have a phone, a staff member will manually check your records to verify eligibility.
  • Rapid test kits are also available for purchase at many retail outlets and online. Most health insurance plans now also permit enrollees to obtain kits from some pharmacies at no additional out-of-pocket cost.
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Below you’ll find answers to the following important questions.

How do I get started with COVID testing on campus? 

Register for Stanford’s COVID testing program with our campus testing provider, Color. Color testing is provided at no charge to students. 

Create a Color testing account using your primary Stanford email address, Alias Stanford emails will not be accepted and you should use a different password than your SUNet ID password. 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. If you have any trouble registering with Color, please submit a ServiceNow ticket

Student-athletes should check with their administrative units for testing information and should ensure their athlete status is correctly reflected in Axess.

See more information on Color, the type of test provided, and possible test results here

I just arrived on campus, what are the arrival testing requirements?

Please view these arrival updates.

What should I do after traveling?

Please view these travel updates.

Where can I pick up and drop off Color test kits? 

  • Once you have registered with Color testing, visit test kit locations listed here

Students can pick up as many as four Color test kits at a time or pick up a test kit prior to the day they intend to use it. However, be sure to only activate one kit at a time and “Activate, Collect and Drop Off” on the same day. For example, if you pick up a test kit on Monday, but do not want to use it until Wednesday, wait until Wednesday to activate the kit. 

Please bring your Stanford University ID when picking up test kits. 

How do I activate my kit and self-swab? 

Color testing infographic.
  • Activate your test kit online at
  • "Activate, Collect and Drop Off" your kit all on the same day. 
  • You must activate your kit prior to the drop-off in order for your sample to be tested and to receive results from Color. 
    • For more assistance with kit activation and self-swab directions, see how-to videos and step-by-step diagrams (in multiple languages) by Color here

How often do I test and submit Health Check?

  • COVID test on Day 0 and Day 5 of arrival. We strongly recommend that you test whenever you are experiencing symptoms or are concerned about possible exposure. Here’s more information.
  • Submit Health Check if you have a positive test result.

What does a green or red Health Check badge mean?

Green Health Check badge example.

Your Health Check onsite access badge can have a status of green “CLEARED” or red “NOT CLEARED”, based on your adherence to the COVID testing policy and your reported health status. 

A green onsite access badge provides you full access to Stanford’s communal spaces on campus.

A red badge means you cannot access dining halls, dining spaces in Row houses, libraries, recreation centers, or other communal areas that require a green badge for entry. A red badge may lock you out of most campus buildings that require key card access, besides your residence hall. Students with red badges can still mask up and pick up food from dining halls; for more information see the R&DE COVID-19 Dining webpage.  

Please note campus employees such as dining hall staff and faculty DO NOT have access to change your badge to green. In order to change your onsite access badge to green, you must submit a COVID test. Your green badge will be restored within 4 hours of taking your next test and submitting a Stanford Health Check. 

For support with a red onsite access badge or missed COVID tests, submit a ServiceNow ticket

I have symptoms, should I test? 

  • Take a Color test immediately
  • While waiting for your test results, call Vaden Medical Services at 650.498.2336 if you need immediate medical advice
  • Keep away from others, and wear a face-covering around roommates, apartment-mates, and family members
  • Do not go into the dining hall, classes, and indoor gatherings
  • Rest in your room
  • Request academic support if needed via your Undergraduate Advising Director or, for grad and professional students, your program's student services staff person, faculty advisor, or director of grad studies
  • Review more specific guidance on the levels of exposure and symptomatic Color and rapid testing here. 

What do my Color test results mean? 

  • My test results were negative...
    • No further action is required. Continue to practice healthy campus behaviors and continue to maintain your testing cadence. 
  • My test results were positive… 
    • Immediately following a positive COVID-19 test result, all students should:
      • Complete Health Check to inform the university.
      • Send a copy of their positive COVID test results (attached to a message with the subject line "secure: test results") to the "Covid Medical Care Team" through
      • Submit a SNOW ticket.
      • Visit important guidance on isolation here
  • My results were inconclusive or unsatisfactory…
    • On the rare occasion that you receive an “unsatisfactory sample” or “inconclusive” result notification from Color you will need to repeat the test, immediately. 

I tested positive for COVID outside of Color testing, what should I do?

Students who have tested positive for COVID outside of Color testing should...

You will not be asked to retest through Color 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 active infection.

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Additional Questions & Support 

Student Spouses, Partners, & Children COVID Testing 

Spouses and partners who are living with students in R&DE-assigned housing are eligible to test at no cost with Color Genomics. Testing information is here. Vaccination resources are here. For testing information for children under the age of 18, please check in with the child's primary care physician. 

Data Collection & Privacy 

Learn more about COVID-19 data collection and protection here