COVID-19 testing is an important layer of the University’s COVID-19 Prevention Plan. Proactive testing for COVID-19 infections is an essential part of how we keep our community safe and healthy. In addition to wearing masks and keeping your vaccinations up to date, get tested if you feel sick or were exposed to someone who tested positive.

The UW offers students and personnel several no-cost options for coronavirus testing, including both PCR and rapid antigen test options. Read guidance on when to get tested and how to select a PCR versus rapid antigen test.

Campus testing options

Husky Coronavirus Testing program

Husky Coronavirus Testing is a voluntary research study that provides COVID-19 PCR testing for members of the UW community. Tests are administered through test kits that you can take at the staffed kiosk stations or take at home. The program is powered by the Seattle Flu Study team — the group that was the first to report community spread of COVID-19 in the United States.

For more information and to enroll, visit the Husky Coronavirus Testing page.

Rapid antigen tests

As part of a broader COVID-19 testing strategy, UW is making FDA-authorized, over-the-counter rapid antigen self-test kits available to UW students and personnel at no cost. Distribution and use of these kits is not part of any research study, including the Husky Coronavirus Testing program.

Pick-up sites listed below will display signage indicating that antigen test kits are available, and be staffed during business hours. Note that business hours will vary by location. Units that utilize rapid antigen tests to support their operations can order them with a budget number from the UW Clean and Safe Storefront.

Rapid antigen test pick-up locations

Seattle campus

  • Willow Hall, 4294 Whitman Ln NE – Pick up at Willow Desk
  • Lander Hall, 1201 NE Campus Pkwy – Pick up at Lander Desk or in front lobby (HCT dropbox)
  • Poplar Hall, 1302 NE Campus Pkwy – Pick up at UW Food Pantry, Room 210
  • Magnuson Health Sciences Center – Pick up at Classroom Services Office, T-291, or 4th floor T-wing lobby by the overpass bridge (HCT dropbox)
  • UW Tower – Pick up at security desk, 1st floor
  • The HUB – Pick up at the Information Desk or next to Starbucks near the food court (HCT dropbox)
  • UW Medicine at South Lake Union, C Building, 850 Republican St – Pick up at front lobby reception desk or HCT dropbox

Tacoma campus

Bothell Campus

Other locations

  • Friday Harbor Laboratories, 620 University Rd – Pick up at front desk
  • Pack Forest, 9010 453rd St E – Pick up at conference office
  • Olympic Natural Resources Center, 1455 S Forks Ave – Pick up at admin desk, front office
  • Arizona Primate Center – Pick up in breakroom

Other testing options

The following COVID-19 testing options are available from other providers:

Which test is right for you?

There are two main types of COVID-19 test: PCR tests and rapid antigen tests. PCR tests are highly sensitive, and the results are very reliable, meaning that false negative and false positive results are uncommon. Rapid antigen tests are less sensitive than PCR tests and may return false negative results when a person is not yet showing symptoms or is in the first few days of their infection. Antigen tests return results much faster than PCR tests (most in just 15 minutes).

PCR tests are best for early diagnosis of infection, even when a person does not yet have any symptoms. Rapid antigen tests are best for identifying individuals with symptoms and in high-transmission settings.

To learn more about the difference between PCR and rapid antigen tests and when each is most appropriate, visit the COVID-19 Tests page on the UW Environmental Health & Safety website.