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What Do I Do When It’s Time to Test?

When you are to be tested, you will come into an on-campus testing site and tap/swipe your ID card.

At the Medford or Boston testing sites, please be sure to look at the screen before swabbing to confirm the system is ready for you.

The tap will automatically print a label for the tube that will contain your cotton swab. You will be able to swab your own nose. When you are done, you will drop your swab into the tube (swab-end down) and place the tube in a box for the next shipment to the Broad Institute. (A video of the testing process is available here.)

Surveillance Testing Locations

For testing site locations and their up-to-date hours, please refer to the testing site calendar.

How Will I Learn About My Test Results?

Test results are usually returned within 24 hours.

  • If your pooled test produces a negative result, you will receive an email and a text letting you know that your results are available in the confidential Tufts testing portal, where you may log in to obtain your test results, which will say “NO FOLLOW-UP TESTING NEEDED”.
    • After your first pooled negative test, you will receive an email inviting you to create an account to log in and view results. This email will be sent to your Tufts email address. If you don’t see it, check to see if it was sent to your junk or spam folder.
  • If your individual COVID-19 test produces a negative result, you will receive an email letting you know that your results are available in the confidential Tufts testing portal, where you may log in to obtain your test results.

What happens if the pool is indeterminate (including positive and inconclusive)?

If a pooled test is indeterminate, every individual in the pool will receive a text notification, email, and a phone call (when needed) to let them know that they need to return to the testing center as soon as possible for an individual retest.

What happens if my individual test is positive?

If an individual COVID-19 test is positive, a healthcare clinician/provider will call and give you instructions for appropriate next steps and care, including beginning isolation and initiating the contact tracing process (described in more detail on the isolation and contact tracing pages).

How Are My Routine Surveillance Tests Scheduled?

  • When you're first entered into the routine surveillance testing program (e.g. if you're new to coming to campus), you will receive an email with your testing cadence (e.g. 1x/week). You will not be assigned an initial appointment. Please complete your first COVID-19 test the next day your testing site is open, then continue testing at your expected cadence.
  • If you are on the Grafton campus, no appointments are scheduled - please continue testing at your expected cadence.
  • If you are on the Boston or Medford/SMFA campus, after each test, you'll receive a text and email with the date of your next testing appointment. There are no appointment time slots - you can walk in any time on the date of your appointment. If you need to change your appointment date, you can reply to the SMS text with the words "reschedule " (e.g. 'reschedule monday' or 'reschedule 8/13'). You can learn more about interacting with the SMS scheduler here.

What is Pooled Testing?

The Boston and Medford testing sites use pooled testing. Pooled testing combines samples from up to ten (10) individuals and performs a COVID-19 PCR test on that group. If the results of the pooled test indicate that any of the samples are positive, follow-up individual retests are given to each individual in the pool. The individual test will identify any people in the pool who are positive, and those people will be asked to isolate and begin the contact tracing process.

Pooled Testing infographic - in pooled testing, if one pool triggers a positive response, individual samples are taken to ID who triggered the response, and then household members are quarantined and tested

Testing Provider: Broad Institute

The Broad Institute is providing surveillance/routine testing for all campuses. Test results should be available within approximately 24 hours of receipt of the test at the Broad Institute.  

Broad Institute certification:
Some countries, including Hong Kong, require ISO 15189 accreditation or equivalent recognized in the place where the laboratory is located. CRSP is not ISO 15189 accredited but is CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited, which is considered the equivalent.

For the institute’s address, license numbers and CLIA certificate, visit:

CLIA and CAP certifications may also be accessed at the bottom of this page:

Pooled Test Type: PCR Diagnostic Assay

The test being used is the CRSP SARS-CoV-2 Real-time Reverse Transcriptase (RT)-PCR Diagnostic Assay. This is a safe, high-quality, real-time RT-PCR test intended for the qualitative detection of nucleic acid from the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) in nose swabs collected from individuals who may have contracted the virus. Testing is limited to the Clinical Research Sequencing Platform at the Broad Institute, which is certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA), 42 U.S.C. §263a, to perform high complexity tests.  

Note: Tufts is not providing antibody/serological testing. 

Exposure Risk for Test Providers

We are minimizing risk of exposure to the people providing the tests in the following ways: 

Tufts has partnered with Brewster Ambulance Service to provide the clinical support for our COVID-19 testing program. Brewster’s teams of licensed EMTs, paramedics, and nurses receive advanced training in putting on and taking off personal protective equipment (PPE). The clinicians directly monitoring the testing wear N95 respirators, eye protection including a face shield, gloves, gowns or impermeable coveralls, and disposable gauntlet-style sleeves. Other staff in the testing facilities assisting with administrative duties and support functions wear a minimum of a surgical mask, eye protection, and gloves. Brewster has comprehensive doffing and disinfection procedures to minimize or eliminate workplace infections for testing staff.

Dedicated clinical staff, including infectious disease physicians from Tufts Medical Center, will be properly equipped and available at the testing site to manage the program as well as provide their expertise for creating a safe environment for students, faculty and staff as they return to campus.

The university is engaging with Cataldo Ambulance.