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 is now 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. All UW community members who will be at a UW campus or facility, especially those who will be there at least once a week, are strongly encouraged to enroll, including:

  • Students
  • Faculty and other academic personnel
  • Staff

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 (~20 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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When and where testing will take place

Enrollment is now open.

In-person testing sites are located at the UW Club building and the ground floor of the Odegaard Undergraduate Library building on the Seattle campus. To ensure proper physical distancing, testing is by appointment only.

Testing for UW Bothell, UW Tacoma and South Lake Union is conducted through self-test kits delivered to participants. An in-person site at South Lake Union will be set up in the future, 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 before the start of the autumn quarter on Sept. 30 — 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.
  • 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 get tested?

For the health and safety of the UW community, we strongly encourage everyone to sign up, however, this study is completely voluntary. It is up to you if you would like to participate, and you can leave the study at any time without any penalty. The University of Washington will not be notified whether or not you decide to participate in the study.

The UW’s interpretation of Washington state law is that mandatory testing, such as a condition of employment or a housing contract, is not permissible under current conditions. However, we hope everyone who will be at a UW campus or facility regularly will enroll and participate in the program in order to protect their health and the health of the community.

Is there a cost?

No, Husky Coronavirus Testing is offered free of charge to UW students, staff, and faculty and other academic personnel.

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

Our research study uses anterior nasal swabs for sample collection. These swabs are less invasive than most used for COVID-19 testing and only reach the front part of your nose. Participants may experience mild discomfort such as tickly or runny nose, watery eyes or sneezing. For the safety of our staff, participants will swab themselves. The swab is inserted into the nostril until you feel some resistance, which is normally about an inch. You should swab vigorously around the inside of each nostril for 5 seconds each.

How long will it take to receive my results?

It normally takes the lab 24-48 hours to process and return test results, although it can sometimes take longer than that.

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 (EH&S) 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?

UW Environmental Health & Safety 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.

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

When should I get re-tested?

If you come into contact with someone who is experiencing symptoms or receives a positive COVID-19 test result. Additionally, if you attend gatherings with 10 or more individuals, particularly if they are inside and without masks.

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 rate of becoming infected more than once is not understood. If you were to develop symptoms again, we recommend repeat testing. You can also enroll anytime 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?

No, the daily check in message does not replace the symptom attestation that UW employees still need to complete each day they will be at a UW facility. Check with your supervisor if you are unclear on how and where to complete your attestation.

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 those who need to know will be able to access to your data: the Seattle Flu Study research team, UW Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S), and local and state public health departments. 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 will be 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 we report certain conditions (including COVID-19) 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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