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COVID Testing Update

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Sarah Watamura

COVID Coordinator

News  •

Dear DU Faculty, Staff & Students, 

Congratulations and thank you for a very strong return to the fall term! We have reached a 96% full vaccination rate, and our positivity is less than one-quarter of one percent (<1%), with very high and comprehensive testing. As planned, we will continue frequent testing through the month of September as this strategy helps us quickly identify and contact trace positive cases. Please use your badge at every door, every time. We are working on solutions to shorten lines – we understand this is a concern. In the meantime, please let the door close between people to be sure each person has active access. Without this step, we cannot verify that people inside our buildings are compliant with testing, have recent negative tests and have vaccination records on file with us. 

We have decided to maintain the frequent testing schedule at least through the end of September, despite our very low positivity, for the following reasons: 

  1. Case counts across the nation are high, and health care systems are strained. 

  1. Although vaccination significantly reduces the likelihood of a positive test, we are still seeing breakthrough cases. 

  1. Breakthrough cases may be completely asymptomatic, but can still be infectious, and therefore not likely to be detected without testing. 

  1. Positive cases are distributed differently than in prior terms; since September 4, 40% of cases have been undergraduate students, 50% have been graduate students, and 10% have been faculty and staff. 

In consideration of all these factors, testing will continue at weekly to biweekly frequency. Please check your individual testing schedule for your next required test on the “campus access status” link on the top left after you log into PioneerWeb. Please check frequently as testing requirements are subject to change. 

Important reminders about testing: 

  1. Nasal testing will be available on campus Monday-Friday only through September 24, if you prefer nasal testing, you may submit an external PCR test record to meet your testing requirement. 

  1. After September 24, you may submit an external PCR test record to meet your testing requirement in lieu of using available on-campus PCR testing should you prefer a nasal PCR test, or you have a more convenient testing location. 

  1. Once you have completed your first two tests on campus for fall term, you have the option to change your third and subsequent test dates if they are not convenient for you. To change your test date, simply test on a day prior to your scheduled test; this will also adjust your next test date automatically. 

  1. Once you are cleared for campus for the fall term on pioneerweb, you may always test ahead of your assigned periodic testing date, and we encourage you to do so to avoid coming to campus on days you are not regularly scheduled to do so (e.g., weekend days). 

  1. You may also test up to 48 hours after your scheduled test date without losing access to campus; once you are cleared for campus with your first two return tests, a pending test will prevent your campus access from being disabled; you needn’t worry if your result is not in within 48 hours of your required test date. 

  1. If you are newly on campus, you will need a negative test result before campus access can be granted; please plan ahead, testing can require up to 48 hours to get results. 

  1. To avoid invalid test results, please do not eat, drink, smoke or vape within 60 minutes of your saliva test; please also avoid drinking water for at least 30 minutes prior to testing. 

  1. If you have been identified as a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19, and you are fully vaccinated, you are required to monitor your symptoms daily and test on days 1, 5 and 9 following exposure; these test dates are *not* flexible and failure to follow this testing schedule will result in deactivation of campus access until you receive a negative test result. 

  1. SPIT site collection locations and hours are always listed here and currently include testing 7 days a week. 

  1. Individuals without verified full vaccination will be required to test more frequently and are required to quarantine following close contact. 

Thanks to everyone’s diligence we remain in Alert Level Green. We continue to closely monitor conditions on campus, in Denver and across the nation. We will provide an update to our testing requirements should they change in the upcoming weeks. We understand that testing presents some inconvenience, but it has helped us to enjoy vibrant in-person activity across campus. We appreciate your assistance as we work to stay together in all the ways that spark curiosity and learning, build connection, and serve the public good. 

As always, please direct your questions, suggestions and concerns to or the COVID Response Team information line at 303-656-7137. 


Sarah Watamura COVID-19 Coordinator