Testing, Quarantine & Symptom Monitoring
We continue to use RT-PCR testing as a powerful tool to quickly identify and isolate individuals who test positive for COVID-19. The mandatory testing protocol contains current information on testing requirements, test types and test frequency.
Testing dates are assigned via testing group. Once you have completed the 2 steps for Fall 2021 return (vaccination record or exemption, first test completed) you will be able to view your testing group and associated schedule, as well as compliance by logging into PioWeb and selecting the “campus access status” link.
PCR tests are available on campus to meet campus testing requirements. From Sept. 6 through Sept. 24, 2021, we will offer both nasal swab and saliva PCR tests. Beginning Sept. 25, we will offer only saliva PCR testing for the remainder of the fall term. Saliva testing is available 7 days a week starting Sept. 4. Please be sure to check for updated hours and locations before traveling to campus to test.
Saliva tests are available through our SPIT Lab, an ongoing research lab at DU that allows us to quantify viral load and quickly screen for variants on campus — tools that are extremely useful in understanding and containing viral spread.
Types of COVID-19 Tests
Nasal swabs that are analyzed via polymerase chain reaction—also known as nasal swab PCRs—are highly accurate and results are typically available within two days.
Saliva testing offers a less invasive method for detecting the virus that causes COVID-19, and will be DU's primary testing option for Fall 2021. While newer and not yet FDA ”emergency use authorized,” we compared saliva-testing results to nasal-swab results this past year, and they matched in 98 percent of nasal results. Unlike nasal swab testing, we can process saliva tests on campus, allowing for results in less than 8 hours. It is also self-administered at multiple locations on campus without an appointment.
The Health & Counseling Center uses rapid antigen testing for symptomatic individuals to provide a presumptive diagnosis at point of care. These tests are followed up by PCR testing to confirm diagnosis.
Last year, everyone on or coming to campus was required to complete a daily log of individual symptom monitoring. Though we're suspending that requirement for vaccinated individuals for the 2021-22 academic year, everyone is still expected to monitor their symptoms, promptly test if they experience any COVID-19 symptoms, and then self-quarantine until receiving a negative test result. This means staying in your room if you are a residential student or off-campus otherwise. You should continue to self-quarantine until you receive a negative test and are fever-free for 24 hours without medication and with symptoms improving. We expect an increase in viral and bacterial infections other than COVID-19, such as flu, but symptomatic individuals still must test for COVID-19 and self-quarantine to prevent spread.
As set forth in the Symptom Monitoring Protocol, individuals who are not fully vaccinated and who have access to campus buildings are still required to log into PioWeb and complete the daily symptom tracker on the top left. Daily reminders are sent to the preferred email address on file.
As part of symptom monitoring, individuals also must answer whether they have traveled out of Colorado and whether they have been in close contact with someone positive or presumed positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. Depending on their answer to the symptom survey, individuals are advised whether to return to campus, and if not, what steps to pursue (e.g. self-quarantine, see their medical provider).