COVID-19 testing is an important layer of the University’s COVID-19 Health and Safety 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.

When to test?

  • If you have COVID-19 symptoms such as a sore throat, cough, fever, congestion
  • If you were exposed to someone who has COVID-19
  • When you are asked to get tested by the University, the local health department, or your healthcare provider

Refer to the UW COVID-19 Public Health Flowchart for more guidance on testing, including repeat testing in specific scenarios.

Campus testing options

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.

Pick-up sites listed below will display signage indicating that antigen test kits are available and are staffed during business hours. Note that business hours will vary by location.

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
  • 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
  • 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
  • UW Medicine at South Lake Union, C Building, 850 Republican St – Pick up at front lobby reception desk

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.

For more information about the types of COVID-19 tests, refer to the CDC COVID-19 testing website.