Student Testing

student sitting in the saliva testing area

Before Every Saliva Test Appointment

1. Make an appointment before every test.
2. Get a new six-digit Registration ID at least an hour before every test.
3. No food or drink 10 minutes before testing
Water is OK.
4. Bring ID and Campus Pass
Bring your PolyCard or photo ID to the testing site in UU 221.
Bring a mobile device to show your green, blue or yellow campus pass.
5. Do not come to the testing site if you feel sick.
Campus Health and Wellbeing provides testing for students with any symptoms. Call 805-756-1211 to make an appointment. See COVID-19 Testing for off-campus testing resources.

What you need to know about testing

This page focuses on student testing. See Saliva Testing for more detail about the testing process and frequently asked questions.

Scheduling Your Testing Dates

Students who are required to test must do so every seven days.

University Union 221
Schedule an Appointment 
April hours
  • Regular hours are Sunday-Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • The testing site will be closed Sunday, April 17.

Be Prepared on Your Test Day

Bring to Your Appointment
  • Your six-digit Registration ID. You can only have one Registration ID number at a time, and you must get a new ID number at least an hour before each test. You will be asked to sign a medical consent.
    • Note: the Registration ID number is NOT the order/reservation number from the Cal Poly Ticket Office ( you will receive after making an appointment.
  • Your mobile device to show your green, blue or yellow campus pass.
  • If you are under 18, you will need your parent or legal guardian to complete a consent form. For more information, visit the Campus Health and Wellbeing website.
  • Don't eat or drink anything other than water 10 minutes before testing.
  • Testing will take about 10-15 minutes.
Entrance requirement
Face covering, green or blue daily symptom screener pass, and adhere to all public health guidelines throughout your appointment.
There are free, designated 30-minute zones at the top of the Grand Avenue parking structure. Use the Parkmobile app to obtain free parking in these spaces. This zone is only active Sunday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Requirement Questions

Who is required to test?

Required to Test

Currently enrolled students who are not fully vaccinated and have requested a medical or religious exemption are required to test in spring quarter.

Currently enrolled students who are partially vaccinated or who are in the process of getting vaccinated also will be required to test in spring quarter. Cal Poly's definition of “fully vaccinated” now includes a booster with the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine for eligible students effective Jan. 20. You will be considered fully vaccinated if you have completed your primary vaccines series and received a booster by Jan. 20. 

If you are not eligible for a booster until after Jan. 20, you will continue to be considered fully vaccinated until the date you become booster-eligible. Then you must either receive a booster to remain fully vaccinated or request an exemption and follow campus testing requirements.

An email will be sent to students once they are considered fully vaccinated and are no longer part of the required-testing group.

Not Required to Test

  • Students who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and have informed the university of their vaccination status. Students will need to continue testing until they are fully vaccinated.
  • Students who are taking virtual courses and services and have informed the university they are not accessing campus.
  • Students who had COVID-19 within the last 90 days. (Upload your test result on the COVID-19 Info tab of your Cal Poly Portal.)
  • Students on county-mandated isolation, quarantine, or quarantine in place for the duration of their order.

Do I need to continue doing my Daily Health Screening?

You will be required to continue to participate in daily health screenings. We strongly recommend that you continue with daily screenings to monitor your daily symptoms and keep those around you healthy too by accessing the screener tool on your Cal Poly Portal.

Do students who live outside SLO county and commute to Cal Poly to access campus need to participate in the campus testing program?

Yes, students who are accessing campus, are unvaccinated and have requested a religious or medical exemption are required to test every three days.


Scheduling Questions

How do I make an appointment?

Use this link to make an appointment before every test.

I have COVID-19 symptoms or feel unwell. Can I get still tested here?

Anyone who feels ill should not get tested via the Ongoing Testing Program. Students with symptoms should call Campus Health and Wellbeing at 805-756-1211.

Will I be charged for testing?

The saliva-based COVID surveillance testing is free to all campus community members. No insurance is required.

Does testing have to be done on campus?

Students who wish to comply with the university’s requirement for ongoing testing by using off-campus services may do so. Only molecular COVID-19 tests are accepted for compliance with this policy (not antigen or antibody tests).

It is your responsibility to provide evidence of a negative test if you are opting to use off-campus testing sites. You must upload proof of your test results via the COVID-19 Info tab of the student portal prior to your testing deadline. Keep records of all your test results.

What happens if I’m required to get tested and I miss an appointment?

Students who fail to make a testing appointment or do not show up at their scheduled testing time will receive a reminder email. Complying with your ongoing testing schedule, as listed in the COVID-19 Info tab in your Portal, is a factor that will be included in determining the color of your Campus Pass each day, along with completing the daily symptom screener. If it has been more than seven (7) days since your last asymptomatic COVID-19 test, you will NOT receive a green pass until you complete a COVID-19 test (and resolve any other issues that may be preventing the green pass).


About Saliva Tests and Results

What is surveillance testing?

Our approach to testing the Cal Poly community using a saliva-based surveillance testing method is known as public health surveillance, meaning large numbers of individuals are continually tested over time. The term "surveillance" is a public health term that defines the assessment of population health. Surveillance testing is not diagnostic testing and will require follow up to determine your individual result.

How do I get my test result?

Students will only be contacted within 24 hours (and no later than 48 hours) if immediate action is required on their part. Students will not be contacted if there is no follow-up required.

Why do I not receive a test result with the saliva-based surveillance test?

Surveillance testing is not diagnostic testing. Our saliva-based COVID surveillance test is not a diagnostic test, so results cannot be provided at this time. Once saliva samples are transferred from the test site to the Cal Poly SARS-CoV-2 Testing lab, sample IDs are confirmed, inactivated and pooled using robotic technology. If a pooled test result is negative, then all specimens can be presumed negative with the single test. However, students will not receive a notification with their results from a negative pool.

Samples in positive pools are individually re-tested. Further testing may be required to determine if an individual has COVID-19. Students will be contacted within 24 hours (and no later than 48 hours) if follow up is required. In either situation, a result will only be provided if a follow-up diagnostic test is performed.

What opportunities do I have to ask questions about this test?

You can direct any medical questions about saliva-based COVID surveillance testing to Campus Health and Wellbeing. Please email


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