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What is 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 tests 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

How Will I Learn About My Test Results? 

  • 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 a pooled test is positive, every individual in the pool will receive a text notification, email, and a phone call, if necessary, to let them know that they need to return to the testing site as soon as possible for an individual retest.
  • If an individual COVID-19 retest 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.
  • If an individual COVID-19 retest 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). When you are new to the surveillance testing program, you'll 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 appointment is 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 timeslots - 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 text with the words "reschedule " (e.g. 'reschedule monday' or 'reschedulate 8/13').

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 to 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.) 


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: https://sites.broadinstitute.org/safe-for-school/lab-certifications-travel-information

CLIA and CAP certifications may also be accessed at the bottom of this page:  http://genomics.broadinstitute.org/products/clinical-research-sequencing


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.