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Banner image featuring Temiloluwa F Babalola and Cindy Lin within the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute. Photo 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 surveillance testing is a crucial aspect of these efforts to support the health and well-being of our campus community. 

All Stanford students with an on-campus presence are required to participate in surveillance testing at their assigned cadence. Testing cadences are determined by multiple factors, including your vaccination status, the frequency that you are on campus, as well as current infection rates and the state of public health in our local communities. 

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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, SUNetID@stanford.edu. 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?

All students joining the campus community for the first time, whether that be moving into on-campus housing or arriving on campus for class, are required to submit a COVID test on Day 0 and Day 5 of arrival. After two negative results, you are required to continue with surveillance testing at your assigned cadence. See “How often do I test?” for cadence information. In addition, if you arrive to on-campus housing the weekend of Jan. 1-2, take an arrival-day rapid test provided by the university. Details about this process will be emailed to students in advance. Plan to remain masked, including around roommates, until you take this test. We are focusing these rapid tests on those arriving Jan. 1-2 due to the short turnaround time before classes begin Jan. 3.

What should I do after traveling?

Please view these travel updates.

I’m a graduate student staying on campus and not traveling during winter break. Will I need to take an “arrival-day” test?

No. The rapid arrival-day tests are intended for students who travel, and who arrive on campus the weekend of Jan. 1-2. Otherwise, take two Color tests within one week -- either over the first week of the quarter or, ideally, during the last week of December (to allow more capacity in Color’s system as traveling students return).

I will be living or working on campus during the winter break. Is Color testing required during that time?

For the weeks of Dec. 20 and Dec. 27 – the “winter close” in which most university offices are closed – Color testing will be available but optional. Expect longer turnaround times around Christmas and New Year’s Day. Check this web page for details. Meal delivery will be provided for students who are required to remain in isolation/quarantine spaces during the winter break.

Where can I pick up and drop off test kits? 

  • Once you have registered with Color testing, visit test kit locations listed here
  • Interactive campus map of pick-up and drop-off locations here

Students can pick up as many as four 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 color.com/covid/activate

"Activate, Collect and Drop Off" your kit all on the same day. 

You must activate your kit prior to drop-off in order for your sample to be tested and to receive results from Color. 

Students who wish to perform a Color self-swab test under the supervision of a Vaden clinician may schedule an appointment

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?

Vaccinated graduate and professional students with a regular on campus presence

  • COVID test on Day 0 and Day 5 of arrival and once per week thereafter. Please make an effort to separate your weekly tests by three days. 
  • Submit Health Check if you miss a weekly test and submit a new one, have a positive test result, or have been exposed to high-risk close contacts who have tested positive. 

Unvaccinated graduate and professional students with a regular campus presence

  • COVID test on Day 0 and Day 5 of arrival and twice per week thereafter. Test once within each testing window, Sunday-Tuesday and Wednesday-Saturday. Please make an effort to separate your tests by three days. 
  • Submit Health Check daily.

All graduate and professional students with an infrequent on-campus presence (less than once per week)

  • Submit form for infrequent campus members linked, here.  
  • COVID test on the same day you come to campus, at least once in the week you are present. 
  • Submit Health Check the same day you come to campus, have a positive test result, or have been exposed to high-risk close contacts who have tested positive.

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 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 24 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
  • Prepare to move to a temporary isolation space. Not everyone is moved.

What do my test results mean? 

  • My test results were negative...
    • No further action is required. Continue to practice healthy campus behaviors, wear a face covering, and continue to maintain your testing cadence. 
  • My test results were positive… 
    • Professional medical staff will be reaching out to you as soon as possible, generally between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. While you wait, please review your immediate next steps and important positive COVID test protocol 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 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.

Have you tested positive in the past 3 months?

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.

How do I inform the university of my time away from campus and COVID testing?

Students who expect to be away from campus for a duration of 7 days or more, are required to notify the university by submission of a Temporary Absence Report in order to remain in compliance with the testing policies. 


Additional Questions & Support 

  • Submit a ServiceNow Ticket for questions about student COVID compliance, including red onsite badge access, missed tests, and 90 day testing exemptions.
  • Submit a ServiceNow Ticket for general COVID-19 campus inquiries, including Color registration, student services and policy. 

Student spouses, partners and 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 and Privacy 

Learn more about COVID-19 data collection and protection here