Student Testing

student sitting in the saliva testing area

NEW –Testing Sites Close June 11

The ongoing COVID-19 testing sites at the Performing Arts Center and Poly Canyon Village are now closed.

  • Over the summer, Campus Health and Wellbeing will continue to provide testing for students with symptoms or who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

  • Anyone needing asymptomatic testing should look to community resources; see the “Off-Campus Testing Resources” section of the COVID-19 Testing page.

Before Every Saliva Test Appointment


1. Make an Appointment
People without appointments may not be admitted. This is different from your six-digit code, which you also need (see next step).
2. Get Your Six-Digit Code
Register at least 60 minutes before each testing appointment for your Saliva-Based COVID Surveillance Testing Registration ID. Bring this code with you.
3. No Food or Drink 10 Minutes Before Testing
Water is OK.
4. Bring a photo ID to the testing site

Information for Fully Vaccinated Students

Beginning May 6, students who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can ask to be exempted from Cal Poly's on-going testing program if they choose to share their vaccination records with Campus Health and Wellbeing. The change is based on updated advice from public health authorities. The CDC considers an individual fully vaccinated two weeks after a final dose of vaccine (one dose for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine plus two weeks; two doses for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines plus two weeks).

  • All students — whether they are required to test for COVID-19 or not — can upload their vaccination records through the COVID Info tab of the Cal Poly Portal once they have received their final dose. (Be sure to upload the record through the COVID-19 Info tab and not through the Health and Counseling Portal.)
  • Once the vaccination record is verified through Campus Health and Wellbeing, a student will see "Exempted" as their testing status on the COVID-19 Info tab of the portal.
  • Students who have lost their vaccination record card should contact the Public Health Department in the county in which they received the vaccination to request a copy. 
  • Students who are receiving the COVID-19 vaccine through Campus Health and Wellbeing's Student Vaccination Clinic on campus don't need to upload their records — their testing requirements will automatically update two weeks after their final dose.
  • All students should continue to follow their testing schedule until their portal tab updates to confirm they are no longer required to test.
  • Fully vaccinated students can still access asymptomatic testing on campus through the testing sites through the end of spring quarter. Students should also seek symptomatic testing through the Health Center on campus if needed.

 

What you need to know about testing

This page focuses on student testing. We have a general Saliva Testing page that goes into more detail for those who want to learn more about the testing process.

Scheduling Your Testing Dates

Students who are required to test must follow their personalized testing schedule outlined in the COVID-19 Info tab of their portal. Tests are scheduled seven days apart (starting May 13, 2021).

Schedule your tests here

Performing Arts Center Hours

Performing Arts Center: Main Lobby (Bldg. 6)
8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday
The PAC testing site will be closed Monday, May 31.
The last day of testing at the PAC site is Friday, June 11. The PAC testing site will be open from 8 a.m. to noon that day.

Poly Canyon Village Hours

Poly Canyon Village: Aliso Conference Room (171A)
10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday-Thursday
Closed Friday
Starting May 30, the PCV testing site will only be open Sunday, May 30, and Sunday, June 6, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Your Six-Digit Registration ID

Saliva-Based COVID Surveillance Testing at the PAC and PCV
You can only obtain one Registration ID at a time and you need a new ID number 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 (tickets@tickets.calpoly.edu) you receive after making an appointment.
The test is offered at no cost; no insurance is required.

Be Prepared on Your Test Day

Bring to Your Appointment
  • Your six-digit Registration ID.
  • Your mobile device to show your green campus pass.
  • A water bottle (if you have one) to aid in giving your sample
  • Don't eat or drink anything other than water 10 minutes before testing.
Entrance requirement
Face covering, maintain physical distance of 6 feet from others, green daily symptom screener pass, and adhere to all public health guidelines throughout your appointment.
Parking
There are free, designated 30-minute zones in the Grand Avenue and Poly Canyon Village, Village Drive parking structures.

 

FAQs

Requirement Questions

Who is required to test?

Required to Test

Currently enrolled students who meet any one or more of the criteria below are required to participate in the testing program.

  1. Lives in university housing
  2. Is enrolled in face-to-face courses
  3. Works on campus
  4. Participates in research on campus
  5. Uses any on-campus service (except the Health Center)
  6. Lives in the same household or congregate living facility (meaning a group housing facility, such as a dormitory or fraternity/sorority house) with a Cal Poly student who meets any of the criteria listed as 1 through 5 above.

Members of Fraternity and Sorority Life, student-athletes and Cal Poly Band members will be contacted directly by Campus Health and Wellbeing for group testing.

Not Required to Test

Students who do not meet the criteria for testing as defined in the amended Presidential Order. Students do not need to request an exemption as you will automatically be exempt from the testing program.

  • All students living outside of SLO County who are taking virtual courses and services.
  • Students who had COVID-19 within the last 90 days.
  • Students on county-mandated isolation, quarantine, or quarantine in place for the duration of their order.
  • Starting May 6, 2021, students who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

For additional information on testing requirements, visit the Testing Compliance page.

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.

Does getting vaccinated exempt a student from the ongoing testing requirements?

Beginning May 6, students who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can ask to be exempted from Cal Poly's on-going testing program if they choose to share their vaccination records with Campus Health and Wellbeing. The change is based on updated advice from public health authorities. The CDC considers an individual fully vaccinated two weeks after a final dose of vaccine (one dose for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine plus two weeks; two doses for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines plus two weeks).

All students — whether they are required to test for COVID-19 or not — can upload their vaccination records through the COVID Info tab of the Cal Poly Portal as soon as they have received all necessary doses of their vaccine. Students who are receiving the COVID-19 vaccine through the Campus Health and Wellbeing's Student Vaccination Clinic on campus don't need to upload their records — their testing requirements will automatically update two weeks after their final dose. All students should continue to follow their testing schedule until their portal tab updates to confirm they are no longer required to test.

Fully vaccinated students can still access asymptomatic testing on campus through the testing sites through the end of spring quarter. Students should also seek symptomatic testing through the Health Center on campus if needed.

What if I choose not to participate?

Failure to comply with ongoing COVID-19 testing will result in loss of Cal Poly technology services, including portal access, email, and Canvas. Access will be restored once a student completes a COVID-19 test. Please read the COVID-19 Presidential Order regarding ongoing testing and safety protocols.

Are there exemptions for the ongoing testing requirement?

Students who do not meet the criteria for testing as defined in the amended Presidential Order are exempt from ongoing testing. Students do not need to request an exemption as they will automatically be exempt from the testing program.

All students are strongly encouraged to participate in ongoing testing, even if they do not meet the criteria for required testing. Regular testing is a step that each member of the Cal Poly community can take to promote greater public health in the campus community.

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

Per a Cal Poly Presidential Order, students who meet any one or more of the criteria below are required to participate in the ongoing testing program.

  • Lives in university housing
  • Is enrolled in in-person classes
  • Works on campus
  • Participates in research on campus
  • Uses any on-campus service (except the Health Center)
    Lives in the same household or congregate living facility (meaning a group housing facility, such as a dormitory or fraternity/sorority house) with a Cal Poly student who meets any of the criteria listed above.

Get more information on the Order and the Exemption Process.

Review the information about this and how to schedule COVID tests in the content at the top of this page.

How will Cal Poly let exempt students know they are automatically excluded from the policy?

Students will receive more information about the notification process in the coming weeks. Notifications will not be through the student portal but from a separate system that we have been using to manage testing and other COVID-support and responses. While you may be exempt from the university policy, we encourage you to get tested regularly in your local area.

I have submitted a request for an exemption. Am I required to test?

If you believe that you should be exempt or have submitted a request for an exemption, please review the Presidential Order for more information. All current requests are pending. To qualify for an exemption, a student must be enrolled in a completely virtual course schedule and meet an exemption listed below or as otherwise approved by Campus Health and Wellbeing. Reasons for exemptions include:

  • Student has a documented condition that makes participating in testing not possible or contrary to medical recommendations. Documentation regarding the condition must be on file with the Disability Resource Center.
  • Student has tested positive for the coronavirus within the last 90 days, as certified by Campus Health and Wellbeing.
  • Starting May 6, 2021, students who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

If your request does not meet these requirements, you should participate in the ongoing testing program until your request has been reviewed and accepted.

 

Scheduling Questions

How do I make an appointment?

Use this link to make your appointments. Make sure to get a new six-digit Registration ID at least an hour before every appointment.

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

Anyone who feels ill or has had close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 should not get tested via the Ongoing Testing Program. Employees should all your medical provider for further guidance. Students 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 first receive a reminder email. Disciplinary warnings with possible future suspension and sanctions may follow should students not comply with ongoing testing requirements.

How do I cancel or reschedule a testing appointment?

Complete this form to cancel your appointment. If you need to reschedule, first cancel your appointment — using this same form — and schedule a new appointment. The link to cancel is also posted on the appointment page of the Cal Poly Ticket Office website.

 

About Saliva Tests and Results

Why is Cal Poly transitioning to saliva-based surveillance testing?

The university is implementing the saliva-based program because it is faster, more efficient and easier than nasal swab testing and will allow us to administer significantly more asymptomatic tests — strengthening our ongoing effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our campus and local communities. It will yield a quicker turnaround than the nasal swab testing because the saliva samples are processed in our on-campus lab.

This screening is offered for free to the campus community members as a preventative measure to more quickly identify and isolate asymptomatic individuals. This comprehensive ongoing testing initiative is one of several prevention initiatives in place to mitigate the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

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. Public health surveillance is the “ongoing, systematic collection, analysis and interpretation of health-related data with the purpose of preventing or controlling disease or injury, or of identifying unusual events of public health importance.”

However, we know that it has historical and social connotations that can be triggering for underrepresented and BIPOC communities. This term is being explicitly used for the purpose of defining how we will measure the prevalence of COVID-19 illness throughout our broader campus community.

Surveillance testing is not diagnostic testing and will require follow up to determine your individual result. Visit this CDC webpage for more information on different types of testing, including diagnostic and surveillance testing.

How does the test work?

This saliva program tests for the presence or absence of the SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA in saliva to identify if someone is infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Once the sample is transferred from the test site to the Cal Poly SARS-CoV-2 Testing lab, sample IDs are confirmed, inactivated and pooled using robotic technology. Pooled samples are analyzed using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) to identify the presence or absence of the SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA (ribonucleic acid). Samples in positive pools are individually re-tested with the same protocol.

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.

What does it mean if SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) is detected in the sample I provide?

Your sample will be tested in a pool of specimens from several students. Pooled testing, also known as group testing, is a procedure where individual specimens (e.g., urine or blood) are combined into a pooled specimen to test for a binary response (e.g., positive or negative HIV status).

If your sample pool has a positive test result, it is possible that someone in the pool of specimens has COVID-19. Further testing may be required. In order to minimize potential exposure, you will be directed to isolate if positive. Your healthcare provider will work with you to determine how best to care for you based on the test results along with medical history and your symptoms.

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.

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.

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 health@calpoly.edu. If you have questions about the testing program and registration, please contact the COVID-19 Help Center at covid-help@calpoly.edu.

Note: Avellino Labs only has results available via each individual's patient portal for nasal swab testing conducted through March 5. Please do not call Avellino with questions about the saliva-based surveillance testing program.

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