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COVID-19 Testing Program for All Undergraduates

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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 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.

Undergraduates, please note the change from twice weekly to once weekly testing, effective July 19. The weekly testing window is Sunday to Saturday.


Group 1

All undergraduates without Vaden verified vaccination status who are living on campus, whether or not they are working, studying, or engaging in any other campus activities. Yes, you are required to register and test once weekly, once in each test window, 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 undergraduates 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 once  weekly, once in each test window, 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

Undergraduates without Vaden verified vaccination status who are living off-campus and coming to campus infrequently (less than four times per month). Yes, you are required to submit a Color Genomics 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 in Stanford off-campus subsidized housing only need to test when visiting campus, but must submit the “temporary request to opt out” form to reduce testing compliance notifications.   

Planning your testing routine to comply with our weekly requirement

All undergraduate 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.

Color Genomics test kit collection 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

Image file featuring a reproduction of theUndergraduate Student Guide for COVID-19 Testing with Color Genomics in jpg format.


Important Information 

Image featuring COVID_Corona, Tresidder Memorial Union (459 Lagunita Dr) in a circular cut out with a Palo Verde outline. Photo Credit: Andrew Brodhead.
  • Testing is provided at no charge to undergraduates.
  • These requirements apply to everyone, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status. 
  • If you have any trouble registering with Color, please submit a ServiceNow ticket.
  • Student-athletes will use different protocols and should follow the instructions from their administrative units.
  • Testing for non-student partners and spouses living in RD&E-assigned housing is available. Here is more information.
  • Asymptomatic students in quarantine should continue testing through this program.
  • Students with mild symptoms may continue to test through Color.
  • Students with high fever or other severe symptoms should instead 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 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.
  • Verily testing will no longer be available to students after June 12, 2021.
  • You can still access your Verily test results. Your Healthy at School account is no longer 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 ( 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.
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Registration and Compliance FAQs

How do I register for testing?

Create your Color testing account using your primary Stanford email address (SUNet 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.

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 you miss two 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. You may be subject to a Dean of Students administrative review and referral to the Office of Community Standards.

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.  All students will be required to test twice weekly with Color Genomics for the first four weeks of summer quarter, and then vaccinated students will no longer be required to test if the prevalence of COVID-19 on campus and in the Bay Area remains low. We strongly recommend COVID vaccinations to all students living on campus this summer and will require vaccinations this fall. You can learn more on our vaccination FAQ page. 

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.  

Magan Juarez RN and Carmel De La Vega RN sort through covid kits. Photo credit: Andre Brodhead

Test Type and Results

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 expect 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 quarantine and isolation work? 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 Residence Deans (RDs) and Residential & Dining Enterprises (R&DE), on a confidential, need-to-know basis. Meal delivery will be at no charge to students residing on campus. 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. We ask students who live in a shared apartment where they cannot quarantine to contact a Residence Dean to be assigned to a designated quarantine space. Students who test positive will be relocated by the RD to a designated isolation space, and Vaden as well as the Residence Dean will check in with the student daily. As a reminder, isolation is for students who test positive; quarantine is for students who have not tested positive but may have been exposed. 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, care kits, disability accommodations, gender-neutral bathrooms, and similar amenities and services to meet students’ daily needs.

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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 the Dean of Students office 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.

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

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.


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 Color registration, services and test sites.

For questions about viewing your results on the Color website, please email