FAQs - Testing
Tufts has implemented a comprehensive coronavirus (COVID-19) testing program across all four of our campuses for the fall semester. Effective testing will allow us to slow the spread of the diseases on our campuses by allowing us to identify those who have COVID-19, arrange for their isolation from others, assist them in receiving the care they need, and begin the contact tracing process. It will also provide the university with information about any spread of the disease on our campuses to help inform decisions about campus operations. Our comprehensive testing program is part of a broader effort to protect the safety of members of the university and our host communities.
Please find here some of the most frequently asked questions—and answers—about the university’s testing program.
What should I do if I receive a positive test result from a physician or entity outside of a Tufts testing facility?
If you receive positive test results from your primary care physician or another entity outside of Tufts, please provide official documentation of your positive test result for our health providers. Please ensure the uploaded documentation specifies your name, date of birth, what type of test was performed, test result, and test date.
Individuals who test positive are removed from surveillance testing for 90 days following a positive test. At the end of 90 days, you will receive an email inviting you back into the testing protocol.
If you were coming to campus regularly at the time of your positive test or onset of symptoms, contact the Jumbo Health Center at email@example.com or 617-627-0467 so that a clinician can evaluate your individual circumstances and notify anyone at Tufts with whom you have had close contact; you may leave a voicemail with your name and contact number if it is off-hours. Your personal information will remain anonymous.
More information about testing is available in the Testing at Tufts resource.
If I’ve received the vaccine for COVID-19, do I need to continue with routine surveillance testing?
Even if you have received the vaccine, you will be expected to follow all current University public health safety protocols—including continuing to wear masks in public spaces, wearing appropriate PPE (goggle, N95s, etc.) in patient care settings, following social distancing guidelines, and practicing proper hand hygiene. In addition, you will continue in the mandatory routine weekly COVID-19 surveillance testing after you are vaccinated. It is not yet known whether the vaccine protects you from transmitting the virus to others (although you remain asymptomatic). In addition, the duration of immunity remains unknow in all populations.
How do I schedule my routine COVID-19 tests?
Tufts has developed the CampusKey test scheduling app to make it easier for students, faculty and staff to schedule their regular weekly or twice weekly tests. The app also enables the university to schedule the 18,800 required tests per week while balancing traffic flow and minimizing queuing at the testing centers.
Students who have completed their arrival testing and have been cleared from quarantine will receive an email inviting them to download and start using the app. Faculty and staff who have been identified by their school or division as needing to participate in routine/surveillance testing will receive an email letting them know about the frequency of their testing and providing instructions on how to download and use the app. Students should not download and use the app to schedule your tests until they have been cleared from arrival quarantine and are invited to do so.
Learn more about the CampusKey app here: https://access.tufts.edu/campuskey.
If you have trouble installing or using the app, please send an email describing the issue to CampusKey@tufts.edu. Due to the volume of testing, scheduling updates may not be done by email.
Is Tufts providing face masks to students?
All Tufts students are provided face masks or coverings should they need them, but students may also use their own. More details about how to get Tufts-issued face masks or coverings has been provided to students before their arrival on campus.
What should I do if I develop symptoms for COVID-19 before I come to campus?
If you develop symptoms before your scheduled arrival on campus, you should promptly be evaluated by a medical provider to arrange testing, and you must inform us immediately if your test is positive by reaching out to the Health Service (617-627-3350). We will work with you on a plan to come to campus after you have been cleared by your medical provider.
Individuals previously diagnosed with COVID-19 infection confirmed by molecular diagnostic testing (PCR) may continue to have detection of viral RNA for several weeks. Students who have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 or been diagnosed with COVID-19 within 6 weeks prior to their arrival on campus should contact the Health Service. We will ask to review your laboratory report and medical documentation supporting the fact that a healthcare professional cleared you from isolation. We will advise you on when you should re-enter the testing program based on the date of the diagnosis.
Who has been selected to participate in routine (i.e., surveillance) testing on campus?
Deans’ offices and division leadership teams have identified which faculty and staff should be integrated into regular testing based on their individual responsibilities (including teaching, research, and student support work) in line with their units’ planning for the return to campus. Testing schedules, i.e., weekly or twice a week, are determined by the nature and frequency of their interaction with residential students and the general public in the course of their responsibilities at Tufts. Only faculty and staff who have been identified by their school or division leadership as needing to participate in surveillance testing will be able to register to use the CampusKey app to schedule their weekly or twice a week tests. If you have questions about why you were or were not added to the testing program, please contact your supervisor, or your department, division or school leadership.
All students who choose to take classes on campus this fall will be regularly screened and tested. Students who are studying remotely and living off-campus in Medford or Somerville have the option of participating in the testing program. The frequency of the routine/surveillance tests is based on where the students live (on- or off-campus) and how they are taking classes (in-person or remotely).
To learn more about testing at Tufts, visit https://coronavirus.tufts.edu/testing-at-tufts.
Will there be faculty and staff-only testing times?
On the Medford/Somerville campus, 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. each weekday will be reserved primarily for testing of faculty and staff. (Beyond limited exceptions, students will not be able to schedule their tests during this time.)
As a student, what testing will I need to do upon arrival on campus this fall?
All students who choose to participate in the fall semester in person will be regularly screened and tested for the COVID-19 virus. The first step will be to test all students when they arrive on campus. This is called onboarding testing.
On the date of their move in, students living on-campus will be required to arrive at a testing site to complete their COVID-19 test. Prior to arriving at Tufts, students living off-campus will need to register for an arrival date with the Office of Residential Life and Learning so they can schedule the first COVID-19 test that will begin their official testing regimen.
More details about the return to campus for students on the Medford/Somerville and SMFA campuses is available on the Student Life website. More information about onboarding testing is available in the Testing at Tufts resource.
Where will my confidential information be stored?
This information varies by campus. Please visit the Testing at Tufts resource for the specifics about where an individual’s information will be securely stored.
Is it possible for the testing process to produce an incorrect negative result in some people who have COVID-19?
It is possible for the test to produce an incorrect negative result in some people who have COVID-19. Students who test negative but have symptoms of COVID-19 or concerns about exposure to COVID-19 should contact Health Service, and employees should contact their healthcare provider, to determine if they should be retested or take other actions. More information about testing is available in the Testing at Tufts resource.