If you are currently experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, please stay home and follow the instructions for what to do if you feel sick.

You can spread the coronavirus even if you have no symptoms — so for your health and the health of our community, you’re encouraged to enroll in the Husky Coronavirus Testing program.

Tests for the virus that causes COVID-19 are administered at in-person testing sites and through a test you can take yourself 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. If you have questions, please review our testing FAQ. You can also email huskytest@uw.edu or call 206-616-2414.

Enrollment for UW students, faculty and staff remains open

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Who should enroll

To make this program effective and protect our community, it’s important that as many people as possible enroll. Any UW students and employees within ~30 miles of a campus can enroll. UW students and employees who will be at a UW campus or facility at some point – and especially those who will be there at least once a week – are strongly encouraged to enroll, even if they have been fully vaccinated.

The program is voluntary and available to these groups on the Bothell, Seattle and Tacoma campuses. You need a UW NetID to participate and must either work or attend classes at least once per month — either remotely or in person — and live within commuting distance (~30 miles) of the Bothell, Seattle or Tacoma campus.

Medical and health sciences students participating in clinical activities are welcome to participate in Husky Coronavirus Testing, but will also need to continue to follow specific clinical testing protocols. Student-athletes should continue to participate in UW Athletics’ testing program. UW Medicine clinical personnel should continue to follow in UW Medicine’s testing protocol.

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What happens when you enroll

If you choose to participate in Husky Coronavirus Testing:

  • You’ll complete a baseline questionnaire about your demographics, contact information and housing situation. You may be asked to visit a test center on-site to be tested as soon as you enroll.
  • You’ll get a daily e-mail or text message asking you to fill out a short questionnaire (< 2 min) about whether or not you feel sick or may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Questionnaires extend for the during of the participation in the study (up to the full school year).
  • Based on need and risk, we may ask you to be tested for COVID-19 on occasion throughout the academic year, either at an on-campus test center or by a kit that we mail to your house. This would happen if you are feeling sick. We may also request you to get tested even when you do not feel sick to detect COVID-19 in people without symptoms and to improve our understanding of how COVID-19 circulates in the community.

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When and where testing takes place

You will be offered testing in each of the following scenarios:

  • You report new COVID-19 symptoms or a high-risk exposure on your daily check-in.
  • You are selected for random testing.
  • You are a student living with four people or more, including students in on-campus housing and Greek chapters – in this instance, you’ll be offered testing at the time you enroll.

Please note that if you are offered testing, appointments are available within a 48-hour period. We do not schedule testing more than 48 hours in advance.

In-person testing is conducted at the UW Club building and the ground floor of the Odegaard Undergraduate Library building on the Seattle campus, and at UW Medicine’s South Lake Union SLU2 Administration Building.

  • UW Club: M-F from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sat. from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • SLU: M-F from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

To ensure proper physical distancing, testing is by appointment only. Appointments are made via your daily check-in or if you are randomly selected as part of community testing. The UW Club is not fully accessible to all; please note any access needs you have on the appointment form so we can provide you with appropriate support.

Testing for UW Bothell and UW Tacoma is conducted through self-test kits delivered to participants and special in-person testing sites may also be established during events such as housing move-in and in response to cases detected in a shared living or working space.

Additionally, if you only work or attend classes remotely, or if you have health or mobility limitations preventing you from visiting a test center, you may be offered a test kit to be completed at home and returned to the laboratory in the mail.

UW Medicine’s clinical operations and UW athletics programs have their own testing programs, which will continue.

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Overview of the program

The Husky Coronavirus Testing program tests for current coronavirus infections — not antibodies from past infections —  and is organized into four main components.

  • Return-to-campus testing: All students, faculty and staff planning to be on a campus or at a UW facility are encouraged to enroll in the testing program — especially those who will be there at least once a week and/or who live in shared housing, such as on-campus housing, fraternities and sororities. This way we can identify anyone who contracted COVID-19 at home, and we can provide proper support and self-isolation options. Testing is conducted based on your answers to the enrollment questionnaire, and those at lower risk – such as those who only come to a campus sporadically or who don’t report having any symptoms – are less likely to receive a test in this phase.
  • Community testing: A subset of UW community members enrolled in the program will be selected to be tested each week, with an emphasis on those who who have more contact with others, such as essential workers and students in on-campus, Greek or communal housing. With a goal of approximately 1,000 participants each week, this system will help detect asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic cases so that we can provide support and the community members who test positive know to self-isolate in order to avoid infecting others.
  • Symptomatic testing: All program participants will receive a daily e-mail or text message asking about symptoms. If you reply that you have symptoms or that you think you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you’ll be eligible to receive a test.
  • Rapid response testing: If someone in a shared living or working environment receives a positive test, we can respond with broader testing for anyone in that environment who may have come into contact with them, with the goal of stopping further spread.

Tests are processed at the Brotman Baty Institute and the program is being conducted as a research study with the approval of UW Research’s Human Subjects Division.

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Frequently asked questions

Do I have to participate?

Husky Coronavirus Testing is a voluntary program. For the health and safety of your friends, family members and fellow Huskies, we strongly encourage everyone to sign up, especially if you come to a UW campus or facility at least twice per week. You can disenroll at any time without any penalty. The University of Washington will not be notified whether or not you decide to participate in the study.

Is there a cost?

Husky Coronavirus Testing is free for UW students, staff, and faculty and other academic personnel, regardless of insurance status.

Does everyone who enrolls get a test?

Everyone who enrolls is offered a test shortly after completing the enrollment questionnaire. Additional tests are conducted based on your responses to the daily check-in. If you are at higher risk – such as coming to campus frequently or living in group housing – you may be invited to test more frequently.

If you’d like to get tested outside of Husky Coronavirus Testing, a number of options are available. Please see “I want to get tested for COVID-19, where can I go?” for more information on other testing opportunities.

How can I get tested?

Begin by enrolling in Husky Coronavirus Testing at seattleflu.org/uw/start. If you are a new enrollee, you will receive an invitation to sign up for your first test shortly after enrolling.

If you are already enrolled in Husky Coronavirus Testing, you may be selected for a test after submitting your daily check-in if:

  • You are symptomatic;
  • You had a “high risk” exposure;
  • You attended a community gathering;
  • You are selected for community testing.

If you are selected for a test, you will be prompted to schedule an in-person testing appointment or order an at-home test kit. Please make the appointment as soon as possible.

We can only offer testing once every 3 days, at most. To ensure more accurate results, your testing invite may be delayed if you report a high risk exposure in the last 2 days or attending a community gathering in the last 24 hours.

Should I still get tested if I've been vaccinated for COVID-19?

Once you are vaccinated, please continue to participate in Husky Coronavirus Testing by completing your daily check-ins. You should still get tested for COVID-19 if you receive a community testing invite, develop any symptoms or have a high-risk exposure.

The vaccine will help prevent you from getting sick with COVID-19, but this protection is not 100%, and we do not know if the vaccine will prevent you from spreading the virus to others.

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine will not cause you to test positive using the viral COVID-19 tests in Husky Coronavirus Testing.

What is community testing? Why should I participate?

Beginning in January 2021, the Husky Coronavirus Testing offers community testing for people who live on campus or who come to campus at least twice per week. Community testing helps us understand how COVID-19 is spreading so the UW can use the most current information to make health and safety decisions.

For community testing to be effective, we need everyone who receives an invitation to make their appointments, even if you have no symptoms! If you are selected, please follow the instructions in your text or email notification to schedule a test, or to receive a home testing kit.

What kind of swab is used for this test? Can I swab myself?

When you receive a test through our program, you will swab yourself. We use shorter nasal swabs, which look like Q-tips, that only reach the front part of your nose. You may have mild discomfort such as a tickly or runny nose, watery eyes or sneezing. The process lasts just 5 seconds per nostril.

How long will it take to receive my results?

It normally takes 24-72 hours to process and return test results after the lab receives your sample. If your results are not available to you after 72 hours from the lab receiving your sample, please contact us.

How can I access my test results?

You will get an email or a text that includes your barcode information and a link to the online results portal after you completed an in-person testing appointment or after the lab has received your at-home testing kit. You can input your barcode and date of birth at seattleflu.org/results to view your results.

What happens if my test result comes back positive?

Stay home and self-isolate from others for 10 days since your test date. If you are experiencing symptoms, stay home for 10 days from when your symptoms started and 24 hours after your symptoms resolve. Do not go to work or class. If you live in a residence hall, notify residence hall staff who will help facilitate your self-isolation.

UW Environmental Health & Safety will reach out to you for follow up. They will ask standard questions to support your isolation and to prevent transmission on campus and among University community members. They will contact UW employees and/or students you may have been in contact with recently, and provide public health guidance. The local health department may also reach out to you with similar questions. For more information, see “What to do if I have confirmed COVID-19?

What happens if my test result is inconclusive?

If your test result is inconclusive, it is treated like a positive test result.

Stay home and self-isolate from others for 10 days since your test date. If you are experiencing symptoms, stay home for 10 days from when your symptoms started and 24 hours after your symptoms resolve. Do not go to work or class. If you live in a residence hall, notify residence hall staff who will help facilitate your self-isolation.

UW Environmental Health & Safety will reach out to you for follow up. They will ask standard questions to support your isolation and to prevent transmission on campus and among University community members. They will contact UW employees and/or students you may have been in contact with recently, and provide public health guidance. The local health department may also reach out to you with similar questions. For more information, see “What to do if I have confirmed COVID-19?

Who will be informed of my test result?

The UW will not use information from this program to discipline individuals. UW Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) will be informed if you are positive to perform contact tracing and assist with any quarantine needs. Public Health — Seattle & King County (Seattle and Bothell campuses) or Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department (Tacoma campus), along with the Washington State Department of Health are informed of COVID-19 test results to provide assistance and perform contact tracing, if needed.

When should I get re-tested?

When you test positive for COVID-19, there is a possibility that you will test positive again, even when you are not infectious. If you test positive for COVID-19, you can get re-tested through Husky Coronavirus Testing beginning 90 days after your positive test result per CDC guidelines. If you experience new symptoms and/or exposures within 90 days then you should contact a healthcare provider for further evaluation.

What if I have already tested positive for COVID-19?

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 10 days, please follow the instructions in the “What do I do if I have confirmed or suspected COVID-19?” Q&A.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 prior to that, we still encourage you to enroll in Husky Coronavirus Testing. Currently, the likelihood of becoming infected more than once is not well understood. If you were to develop symptoms again after 90 days, we recommend repeat testing. You can also enroll any time during the year if you develop symptoms or decide you’d like to enroll.

Does the Husky Coronavirus Testing’s daily text message about symptoms and exposure replace the attestation UW employees complete each day before working in person?

UW employees still need to complete the daily attestation before in-person work at a UW facility, even if they are enrolled in Husky Coronavirus Testing. Check with your supervisor if you are unclear on how and where to complete your attestation.

I am not getting "daily check-in" texts. What should I do?

We are currently troubleshooting daily check-in text issues with specific mobile providers. If you are not getting the texts, please complete your daily check-in by email or by visiting seattleflu.org/uw/start.

How long does the Husky Coronavirus Testing program last?

This study is slated to run through the academic year, from September 2020 until June 2021.

What is the goal of the study that powers Husky Coronavirus Testing?

The goal of the study that powers the Husky Coronavirus Testing program is to monitor for new cases of the novel coronavirus in the UW community. This will allow the UW to provide support to individuals who test positive, as well as to better understand transmission among the community, including symptomatic and asymptomatic cases. The findings from this study will help to inform the development of new systems to help prevent the spread of pathogens on college campuses and other educational facilities.

Who has access to my data? How will my information be shared?

Your privacy is extremely important to us. Only the Seattle Flu Study research team, UW Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S), and local and state public health departments will have access to your data. These groups will follow privacy rules and regulations and will use your information only for public health and research purposes. No data directly linked to you will ever be made publicly available. To protect access to your results, you will be given a personal barcode.

All study information is protected in a secure, confidential manner with industry standard encryption. We will also store aggregated information separately from your personal information in order to understand trends in how coronavirus is spreading.

Washington State law requires that all notifiable conditions including COVID-19 be reported to local health jurisdictions and the Washington State Department of Health. If your sample tests positive for one of these conditions, these organizations and/or UW EH&S will likely contact you to ask you additional questions. They will keep your information private. The UW and local and state health agencies also publicly report the number of positive tests for COVID-19, however these statistics do not contain personally identifiable information.

The UW will not use information from this program to discipline individuals.

I have more questions - who do I contact?

We would be happy to discuss your questions. Please send us an email at huskytest@uw.edu or call 206-616-2414.

 

Husky Coronavirus Testing is powered by the Seattle Flu Study team with the support of the Brotman Baty Institute.

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