Covid-19 Testing

On-campus testing for COVID-19 is one of the many services Campus Health and Wellbeing provides to students. Please read the following guidelines below for additional information.

If you experience any of the following severe COVID-19 symptoms, please go to the nearest emergency room or call 911.

  • Unusual shortness of breath, unable to catch your breath or speak a full sentence
  • Blue lips or face
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Severe dizziness or lightheadedness

Symptomatic Testing Information

If you experience any the following symptoms or have been exposed within the last 14 days to somebody who is positive for COVID-19, please contact Campus Health and Wellbeing (CHW) at 805-756-1211 to schedule a telehealth appointment with a medical provider. For the health and wellbeing of others, please call first before visiting the campus health center.

  • Feeling feverish or chilled
  • Cough that is new or worsening
  • Recent decrease in sense of smell or taste
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle aches or body aches
  • New or unusual fatigue
  • New or unusual headache

Exposure is defined as being in close contact with someone at a distance of less than 6 feet for 15 minutes or longer. This includes contact with:

  • Someone who has COVID-19 and is exhibiting symptoms
  • Someone who has no symptoms (asymptomatic) but is confirmed by laboratory testing to be COVID-19 positive

If you are instructed to visit the campus health center, please remember to wear a face covering, stay at least 6 feet apart from others, and wash your hands regularly with soap and water.

Asymptomatic Testing Information

Campus Health and Wellbeing also offers COVID-19 testing appointments for students who will need to fulfill the university’s one-time testing requirement before accessing campus for the first time. (see below this section for additional information).

To schedule a COVID-19 testing appointment, visit CHW's website

For the health and wellbeing of others, please do not visit the campus health center to receive a test without an appointment. If visiting the campus health center for your scheduled test, please remember to wear a face covering, stay at least 6 feet apart from others, and wash your hands regularly with soap and water.

Testing Requirement 

Based on guidance from San Luis Obispo County health officials, Cal Poly is requiring all students who live and participate in on-campus activities to provide a negative test result for COVID-19 before they arrive on campus. This includes students living on campus and students living off-campus who visit the university campus for any reason, such as labs, classes, and services. To regularly assess the health status of our community, students may be tested again by university medical officials during fall quarter.

  • Students must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days (72 hours) before arriving on campus. Although this is the university's preferred timeframe for testing, students may submit their test results if they have taken a test within one week before arriving on campus.  

  • Additional on-site testing may be required based on data from the initial results. These strategies are supported by our infectious disease experts. In all circumstances, students and their supporters must comply with local public health guidelines (e.g., wear face covering, practice physical distancing). 

Who Needs to complete this requirement?  

Please be sure to verify the average turnaround time for receiving test results, as laboratory processing and reporting times vary greatly. 

  • Students living on campus are required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result prior to arrival on campus. This applies to students who choose to live on campus at any point during the academic year. 

  • Students living off campus who plan to be on campus for any reason (e.g., class, lab, services, work) must present a negative test result for COVID-19 before participating in any on-campus activities.  

  • Students living off campus in the San Luis Obispo community and not visiting campus for any reason are strongly encouraged to test for COVID-19 before returning to the area.  

  • Parents and supporters who are helping their students move in do not need to complete a test but will need to have their temperature taken before entering the residential building. Anyone who has a temperature higher than 100.3 degrees will not be allowed to enter a residential building. All visitors are asked to wear a face covering in public, practice good hand hygiene, and stay six feet apart from those who don’t live with you. 

  • Faculty and staff are not required to complete a COVID-19 test. Campus Health and Wellbeing currently offers on-campus testing for students only. Faculty and staff who are interested in getting tested should visit the "Where to Get Tested" section further down on this page for additional information. 

Baseline Testing Assessment

Students living on- and off-campus who plan to participate in campus activities such as classes, work, and services are required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result before coming on campus, or by the first day of class on Sept. 14, whichever comes first.

This form of asymptomatic screening helps to establish and assess the prevalence of the pandemic within a large group of people. This is an important measure to implement with several thousand students arriving in the community. Additional on-site testing may be required based on data from the initial results.

Ongoing Screening and Surveillance Testing

This methodology tests sample groups of the student community on a routine basis, both residential students and those living off-campus enrolled in face-to-face classes.

A special focus will be placed on off-campus students engaging in structured organizations like fraternities and sororities, student-athletes, and band.  Students who are in a group that requires further testing will be directed by Campus Health and Wellbeing for further instructions. Any pass obtained from their COVID self-screening tool will change to deny them access to classes or campus facilities until they have completed additional testing.

Types of Tests Accepted 

Viral or diagnostic test results are acceptable. This includes molecular and PCR Please note – antibody and antigen (also known as rapid diagnostic) tests do not fulfill the testing requirement. 

Where to Get Tested 

Outside of San Luis Obispo County

  • If you live outside of the area, please contact your family healthcare provider to determine the testing options available to you.  
  • In addition, you may also have access to testing through a local urgent care facility, pharmacy, or community testing sites in your area. Please be sure to verify the average turnaround time for receiving test results, as laboratory processing and reporting times vary greatly.  

In San Luis Obispo County

  • If you can’t get tested prior to arriving in San Luis Obispo, please visit one of the several testing locations available within the county. The closest public testing site to Cal Poly is SLO Vets Hall.  
    • Please note - county testing locations are by appointment only. The hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.  
    • Out-of-state students: Please use your Cal Poly mailing address when registering for an appointment. If you don't have a local mailing address yet, please use 1 Grand Avenue, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407. 
  •  If you have insurance, please have your insurance card available when you register at the county testing sites. You will not be charged a co-pay, but your insurance will be charged. If you don't have insurance, you won't be charged if you choose to use one of the public testing locations in San Luis Obispo County. Testing may not be free at urgent care centers or primary care physicians. 

Self-testing kits

Several private companies have been approved to provide ‘self-testing kits’ under Emergency Use Authorizations from the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), including Pixel by LabCorpVitagenePicture by Fulgent Genetics; and LetsGetChecked. Insurance can be billed for these tests during the online ordering process. Please note that a minimum of 5-6 days should be allowed to cover the time needed to receive the kit in the mail and then to receive results.

How to Complete COVID-19 Test Verification 

FOR RESIDENTIAL STUDENTS

To complete your final housing check-in requirement, please check your Cal Poly e-mail and complete the COVID-19 test verification process before your scheduled move-in date.  

Upon receipt of the email, please have a digital record of your test results ready to upload. Preferred file types are .pdf, .tiff, .png or .jpg. Answer the questions that are prompted and make sure all documents have uploaded before closing your session. This will be the fastest way for your test results to get verified. Your results will be reviewed and verified by Cal Poly medical professionals to ensure your privacy.

Once you have submitted the correct documentation, you will receive a COVID-19 Screening Pass by way of email that will allow you to check-in.  

If any student is found falsifying information, they may be subject to conduct sanctions, including possible suspension or expulsion from the university.  

If you have not taken a COVID-19 test prior to your move-in date, please report to Campus Health and Wellbeing (Bldg. 27at least one hour prior to your scheduled move-in time to get tested. You will not be able to check in to your residence hall without verification that you have taken a test. Please follow these instructions: 

  1.  Park in the bottom level of the Grand Avenue parking structure. 

  1. Walk to Health Services (Bldg. 27) to get tested. No appointments are necessary.  

  1. After you get tested, please move your car to your designated parking lot to proceed with check-in. 

FOR STUDENTS LIVING OFF-CAMPUS

Students living off-campus in the community will receive a communication with unique instructions on how to complete the COVID-19 test verification process. Please stay tuned for more information.   

Clarifying Test Responses

Listed below are the status options that you can choose from in the test verification system. Students will be asked to select one of the following:

I have a negative test result within the past seven days

  • You were tested for COVID-19 and results were negative. 

  • Action: Please upload your results and proceed to your scheduled move-in.

I have taken a test but do not yet have the results

  • You were tested for COVID-19 but are waiting test results. 

I have recovered from COVID-19 and will upload my positive test result

  • You tested positive within the last 90 days and have recovered. 

  • Action: Please upload your positive test results and proceed to your scheduled move-in. 

I have not yet been tested

  • You have not taken any COVID-19 screening tests. 

  • Action: Please report to Campus Health and Wellbeing (Bldg. 27at least one hour prior to your scheduled move-in time to get tested. You will not be able to check in to your residence hall without verification that you have taken a test. 

I previously had COVID-19 and do not have a test result

  • You previously tested positive but have no documentation to verify your positive test result. 

  • Action: Please report to Campus Health and Wellbeing (Bldg. 27at least one hour prior to your scheduled move-in time to get tested. You will not be able to check in to your residence hall without verification that you have taken a test. 

My test results are inconclusive or I’m not sure how to interpret them

  • Your test results may not provide a result that will allow you to proceed with your scheduled move-in.

  • Action: Please report to Campus Health and Wellbeing (Bldg. 27at least one hour prior to your scheduled move-in time to get tested. You will not be able to check in to your residence hall without verification that you have taken a test. 

My recent test was positive within the last 10 days

  • You took a COVID-19 screening test and the results are positive. 

  • Action: If you have recently received a positive COVID-19 test result, please do not travel and do not proceed to move-in. You will be required to isolate by county health order. Please contact your local public health office and Campus Health and Wellbeing for further guidance at 805-756-1211. 

Local Public Health Guidelines 

During the school year,  students and their supporters must comply with local public health recommendations in all circumstances to slow the spread of COVID-19. This includes on-campus activities and off-campus activities. Local public health recommendations include: 

  • Wear a face covering over your nose and mouth when in public 

  • Stay six feet apart from others 

  • Stay home when you’re sick 

  • Avoid in-person gatherings with people who don’t live with you 

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water 

Questions and Support 

Please contact Campus Health and Wellbeing at health@calpoly.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If I’m traveling from out of state, should I wait to get tested when I arrive in San Luis Obispo?

If at all possible, get tested in your local area prior to moving. Please be sure to verify the average turnaround time for receiving test results, as laboratory processing and reporting times vary greatly.  

San Luis Obispo County has several testing sites and urgent care facilities offering testing. Please see this list of testing sites in San Luis Obispo County

Please see the following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations on travel here

Is there a cost to getting a test? 

The test is free if you choose to use one of the testing locations in San Luis Obispo County. 

If you have insurance, please have your insurance card available when you register at the county testing sites. You will not be charged a co-pay, but your insurance will be charged. If you don't have insurance, you won't be charged if you choose to use one of the testing locations in San Luis Obispo County. Testing may not be free at urgent care centers or primary care physicians. 

I don’t have any symptoms and have been practicing personal protection and physical distancing. Do I still need to get a test?

Yes, students living on campus and students living off-campus who visit the university campus for any reason, such as labs, classes, work, and services, are required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 7 days before arriving on campus. 

Parents and supporters who are helping their students move in on-campus or in the community do not need to complete a test, but are asked to follow local public health advice and personal protection requirements (e.g., wearing face coverings, physical distancing)

What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?

Isolation separates people who are infected with the virus from people who are not infected. People who are in isolation should stay home until ​cleared by a medical professional. In the home, anyone sick or infected should separate themselves from others by staying in a specific “sick room” or area and using a separate bathroom (if available). ​

Quarantine keeps someone who might have been exposed to the virus away from others. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from their state or local health department.

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