University of Arizona

COVID-19 Testing

for students and employees

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A technician prepares to draw blood from President Robbins, testing for COVID-19

If you are currently experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, stay isolated, self-quarantine and call to make an appointment with Campus Health Services or your healthcare provider.

register for testing

Sign in with your NetID and password and then see the testing options available to you.
See testing locations and hours. Mandatory testing is required for students and employees on campus.

Testing for Students & Employees

Students or employees who are symptomatic should stay isolated and contact Campus Health or their healthcare provider. 

Consistent with the University’s Test, Trace, Treat program and the terms of the Housing & Residential Life License Agreement Addendum, asymptomatic dorm students are required to have a weekly virus test and may be required to get tested more often if public health indicators warrant more frequent testing.

See mandatory testing information

All asymptomatic students who live off-campus, including fraternities and sororities, who will spend time on campus are required to get tested weekly. See mandatory testing information and testing locations and hours.

Sign up for virus testing

Employees who perform the certain job duties on Tucson Main Campus (including the UAHS) at least one day per week must get tested. See mandatory employee testing for details.

Asymptomatic employees who are concerned that they may have been exposed to COVID-19  have the opportunity to register for a virus test. See testing locations and hours.

SIGN UP FOR virus TESTING

Information about testing at remote locations is available on the testing locations and hours page.

Antibody tests determine whether a person has developed an immune response to COVID-19 infection or vaccination. The IRB-approved antibody testing research study for the State of Arizona is available for anyone in Arizona age 18 and older, including all University of Arizona students and employees, and allows for retests. Registration and appointments are required. If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you should wait a minimum of 14 days after your positive test before registering for an antibody test. If you have been vaccinated for COVID-19, you should wait a minimum of 14 days after receiving your second/final dose before registering for an antibody test.

See Antibody testing locations

Want to learn more about COVID-19 testing through the Test All Test Smart program? Watch the video of the Campus Update on Test All Test Smart webinar from September 2020.

Types of testing available

There are three types of tests that are being deployed during the pandemic as part of our Test, Trace, Treat plan – two that diagnose whether an individual is currently infected with the COVID-19 virus (“diagnostic tests”), and one that determines whether an individual has developed an immune response against the COVID-19 virus (“antibody test”). 

Antigen Testing

Used for: Diagnosing active COVID-19 infection
Results: Within 2 hours
Method: Self-administered nasal swab

Who can get tested:

Antigen testing is used when public health metrics require expedited results for a specific group (e.g. dorm move-in).

About the test: 

An antigen test is designed for rapid detection of the virus that causes COVID-19. Antigen tests are very specific for the virus but are not as sensitive as PCR tests. Negative results may need to be confirmed with a PCR test.

RT-PCR Testing

Used for: Diagnosing active COVID-19 infection
Results: Within 24-72 hours (depending on location)
Method: Nasopharyngeal swab or saline gargle

Who can get tested:

Asymptomatic campus housing residents, off-campus students and employees can complete one-time registration and schedule a test.

About the test: 

A real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test is a molecular diagnostic testing technique that detects the genetic material from the virus. The samples can be collected in a variety of ways including nasopharyngeal swab and saline gargle.

Antibody Testing

Used for: Immune response to COVID-19 infection or vaccination
Results: 10-15 working days
Method: Blood draw

Who can get tested:

Antibody testing is currently available for anyone in Arizona age 18 and older through the statewide antibody testing program, which is an IRB-approved research study. 

About the test:

An antibody test determines whether you have developed an immune response against COVID-19 infection or vaccination. The test is not used to diagnose an active infection.

Testing Results

If your test was done at a location other than Campus Health, your results will be available on the test results portal as soon as they are ready. If you were tested at Campus Health, visit their patient portal for your results. Learn more at COVID-19 Test Results.

Please note that you will not receive your results via an email or a text message. Instead you will receive notification that your results are available on a secure server.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please explore the FAQ to learn more about the different types of testing.

General Testing

Testing for the COVID-19 virus is an important component of the university’s overall reentry plan. Even if you don’t have symptoms of COVID-19, there’s a chance that you have been exposed and have the virus, but just not know it. By getting a COVID-19 test, you can help to make it possible for our university to gather the data needed to return to in-person learning, research, and on-campus activities as quickly and safely as possible.

A COVID-19 virus test determines if you currently have COVID-19. In contrast, an antibody test determines whether you have been exposed to COVID-19 in the past and have developed antibodies against the virus.

The university will offer testing at main campus locations as well as at other UArizona locations throughout the state of Arizona. See testing locations and hours.

If you test positive for COVID-19 and are instructed to isolate, you must isolate for the full 14 days, either in an isolation dorm or off-campus. Once you receive a positive COVID-19 test result, you cannot test out of isolation early and, if you live on campus, you will not be permitted to return to your on-campus residence until isolation is complete.

DCCs who are spending time on-campus or with UArizona students and employees may be eligible for testing. DCCs should complete the Designated Campus Colleague COVID Test Request to determine whether they are eligible for testing.

Note: Eligibility for testing does not guarantee that testing will be available at the DCC’s location.

DCCs are invited to get an antibody test through the IRB-approved statewide antibody testing research study. See locations & hours for more information.

You can contact us by phone or by email. The Call Center's phone numbers are 833-345-0246 (toll-free) and 520-848-4030. Phones are generally staffed Monday-Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM, Arizona time. You can also send an email with your questions to UACOVID-19Testing@Arizona.edu, and we will respond to you as soon as possible.

COVID-19 Virus Testing

The university currently uses two types of tests that diagnose whether an individual is currently infected with the COVID-19 virus:  PCR Saline Gargle (SG) test, which is considered the gold standard for detecting an active COVID-19 infection but takes time to produce results, and an antigen test, which is a diagnostic test designed for rapid detection of the virus. An antigen test produces results more quickly than a PCR test but also has a higher chance of producing a false negative result.

COVID-19 virus tests only detect active infections of the virus. A different type of test called a COVID-19 serology or antibody test is used to determine if you may have been infected with or exposed to the COVID-19 virus in the past.

Testing for the COVID-19 virus is an important component of the university’s overall reentry plan. Even if you don’t have symptoms of COVID-19, there’s a chance that you have been exposed and have the virus, but just not know it. By getting a COVID-19 test, you can help to make it possible for our university to gather the data needed to return to in-person learning, research, and on-campus activities as quickly and safely as possible.

If you are currently experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, stay isolated and make an appointment with Campus Health Services or your healthcare provider to get tested.

STUDENTS:

  • Students who live on-campus: Consistent with the University’s Test, Trace, Treat program and the terms of the Housing & Residential Life License Agreement Addendum, asymptomatic dorm students are required to have a weekly virus test and may be required to get tested more often if public health indicators warrant more frequent testing.
  • Students who live off campus, including fraternities and sororities, who spend time on-campus are required to get tested weekly. See testing locations and hours.

Pima County Health Department offers free diagnostic testing at many convenient locations. See testing locations and hours for more information.

EMPLOYEES:

Participants in the Test All Test Smart COVID-19 testing must sign a consent and authorization for the release of information. Copies of the forms are provided at the links below for your reference.

Students and employees who are tested at Campus Health will sign separate consents and authorization paperwork. 

Per the CDC, there are no confirmed reports to date of a person being reinfected with COVID-19 within 3 months of initial infection. Current data shows that a person who has recovered from COVID-19 may have low levels of virus in their bodies for up to 3 months after diagnosis. This means that if the person who has recovered from COVID-19 is retested within 3 months of initial infection, they may continue to have a positive test result, even though they are not spreading COVID-19.

The University of Arizona has limited capacity for each test type. Through dual testing (PCR and antigen on the same patient) we have shown good concordance of results for actively infected individuals.

Yes. Although antigen tests have more false negatives when used in the asymptomatic population, antigen tests appear to detect contagious individuals at a very high rate. Contagious individuals are the most likely to spread COVID-19.

The antigen test detects proteins (known as antigens) on the surface of the virus and is able to detect contagious individuals at a high rate. However, the antigen test is not as sensitive as the PCR test, which is able to detect extremely low levels of viral genetic material.

A positive antigen test result is highly accurate, but a negative antigen result does not rule out infection (which could be detected by PCR). Read more about the two types of diagnostic testing.

While there is no test with zero risk, the risk of transmission at the PCR Saline Gargle test sites is very low. Test takers cover their mouths and noses with their face coverings while swishing and gargling, all of the test takers are asymptomatic and the vast majority of the test takers are not infected (typically 97-99%).

 

If you may have been exposed, you should self-isolate until you get tested. Studies suggest that you should wait 5-7 days after exposure to get tested due to the virus’ incubation period (the time needed for the virus to replicate and be detected), which ranges from 2 to 14 days.

If you are symptomatic, contact Campus Health or your healthcare provider for a diagnostic test.

Asymptomatic students and employees who are concerned they many have been exposed to COVID-19 may schedule a diagnostic test on campus.

At this time, test sites offer only PCR Saline Gargle (SG) tests. See locations & hours for more information.

Test All Test Smart:

In addition to the uses described in the consent and authorization forms (see question above), aggregated and/or de-identified testing result data may be used, under certain scenarios, by university personnel responsible for COVID-19 planning, mitigation, and public health safety duties. Such uses include, but are not limited to, campus health monitoring, identifying potential outbreaks, and evaluating appropriate mitigation measures.

Campus Health:

For testing and patient services provided by Campus Health, in accordance with applicable state and federal laws, patients will be provided with Campus Health Service’s notice of privacy practices.

COVID-19 test results from the Test All Test Smart initiative are stored in HIPAA compliant systems with the university's strongest security and monitoring efforts in place.

This system must adhere to robust risk-informed auditing and reporting procedures as required by University policy and standards, “Information System Audit, Accountability, and Activity Review Policy,” and ISO-1100-S1 “Logging and Monitoring Standard.” Additionally, this enterprise system undergoes an annual risk assessment signed off by the Chief Information Security Officer to ensure continued attention to appropriate security controls.

Access controls are in place to ensure that only approved individuals, as required for test delivery and operations or according to individual authorizations, have access to the data. For additional information about the University of Arizona’s information security and privacy policies and procedures, please visit the University Information Security and Privacy page.

You can contact us by phone or by email. The Call Center's phone numbers are 833-345-0246 (toll-free) and 520-848-4030. Phones are generally staffed Monday–Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM, Arizona time. You can also send an email with your questions to UACOVID-19Testing@Arizona.edu, and we will respond to you as soon as possible.

COVID-19 Antibody Testing

An antibody test is a blood test that can confirm that your body's immune system has developed antibodies against the COVID-19 virus after you have been infected or vaccinated. Antibodies  help you fight off infections and can potentially protect you from getting the disease again.

Antibody testing is available for anyone in Arizona over age 18 through a University of Arizona IRB-approved research study. Researchers are interested in studying antibodies and immunity over time.

See Antibody testing locations

 

Antibody testing can help you learn about your immune status. Getting a test can confirm that you have been exposed to COVID-19 in the past and have developed antibodies against the virus. If you have been vaccinated, getting a test can confirm antibody response to the vaccine.

Antibody testing through the IRB-approved research study can also help researchers learn more and answer questions about COVID-19 and immunity, including: How long does immunity last? How many antibodies does it take to achieve protection against infection? How does age affect immune responses to infection or vaccination? How do symptoms after infection or vaccination correlate with antibody levels?

Most people who are infected by the virus make antibodies within a few weeks of infection. Most people who are vaccinated for COVID-19 make antibodies within a few weeks of being fully vaccinated. However, the amounts of antibodies vary among individuals, and a fraction of people make low or no antibodies. Low levels of antibodies might not be detected by this test.

If you have questions about you antibody test results, please contact the Testing Call Center for assistance: 520-848-4030.

In the absence of symptoms, it is unlikely for someone to have a positive antibody test and currently be infected.

An antibody test is a blood test that can confirm that your body’s immune system has developed antibodies against the COVID-19 virus after you have been infected or vaccinated. Antibodies help you fight off infections and can potentially protect you from getting the disease again. A COVID-19 virus test (for example, a PCR Saline Gargle or antigen test) determines if you are currently infected with COVID-19.

A positive test result indicates your body's immune system has developed antibodies in response to infection or vaccination. By itself, it does not indicate current infection. Testing positive for antibodies does not indicate lasting immunity to COVID-19.

Results from your test should be available 10 -15 working days after the test. You will receive an email to let you know when your results are available.

The presence of COVID-19 antibodies means that your immune system mounted a response against the virus after being infected or vaccinated.

Participating in the IRB-approved research study will help researchers continue to answer questions about COVID-19 and how long immunity lasts. We do not yet know the amounts of antibodies that are required to fully prevent subsequent infections. Because we still do not know enough about this virus, protection should not be assumed and you should continue to follow all applicable local, state, and federal public health guidance aimed at mitigating the spread of COVID-19, regardless of your test result.

For the safety of our team members, other participants and our community, individuals with active COVID-19 symptoms will not be included in the current antibody testing. All participants will be screened for symptoms before their appointment, and anyone showing symptoms will not move forward in the process.

We've partnered with the State of Arizona to provide antibody testing across the state.

Learn more

I have other questions. How do I find answers?

You can contact us by phone or by email. The Call Center's phone numbers are 833-345-0246 (toll-free) and 520-848-4030. Phones are generally staffed Monday–Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM, Arizona time. You can also send an email with your questions to UACOVID-19Testing@Arizona.edu, and we will respond to you as soon as possible.

Yes. If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you should wait a minimum of 14 days after your positive test before registering for an antibody test. If you have been vaccinated for COVID-19, you should wait a minimum of 14 days after receiving your second/final dose before registering for an antibody test. When you register for the IRB-approved research study you will be asked to provide you vaccination date(s), if applicable.

Questions?

UArizona Testing Call Center (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.):

Toll Free: 833-345-0246 | Local: 520-848-4030

email Us