COVID-19 Testing

Because the majority of COVID-19 transmissions occur from people who don't know they are infected, symptom checks are insufficient to detect infections. Warning people that they are infected as early as possible reduces opportunities for transmission and keeps our community safe, in combination with other measures to reduce spread (masks, frequent hand-washing, and physical distancing).

Brandeis University has engaged the Clinical Research Sequencing Platform (CRSP) at the Broad Institute to provide fast, free, painless high-frequency testing of asymptomatic community members who come to campus. Tests are for asymptomatic, healthy community members only. Community members who are experiencing symptoms should contact the Health Center (for students) or their primary care provider (if they are faculty or staff). Anyone exhibiting symptoms at a testing site will be turned away. 

All Brandeis community members who come to campus will be required to submit samples for testing at the following frequency:

Visits to Campus Testing Frequency
Residential students or staff Once every 84 hours
3+ visits per week 2 times per week (every 3-4 days)
1-2 visits per week 1 time per week
Less than once per week Every visit

Scheduling a Test

Brandeis community members who reside on campus or commute to campus should sign up for tests as indicated above. Testing sites are located at the Shapiro Admissions Building and at the Heller School. You may select your test location in the scheduling tool in the Campus Passport portal.

Upon logging in the first time, you will be asked to give consent to be a part of the testing process.

Community members who do not consent to be tested will not be allowed to come to campus.

You will receive reminder notifications about your scheduled date and time. Upon completion of a test, you will be prompted to schedule your next test based upon your selected campus visit frequency. If you are an off-campus student, or faculty or staff member, you can always change your testing frequency requirements based upon your actual visits to campus. Completion of the Daily Health Assessment will help determine your suggested testing schedule. Tests should be completed every 3 to 4 days (twice a week) for those commuting to campus 3 times a week or more.

Rescheduling or Canceling a Test

If you are unable to make your scheduled testing time, log back into the Campus Passport portal to reschedule or cancel your scheduled test. If you are unable to make your scheduled testing time, but can drop by during another time during the day, the testing sites are able to accommodate walk-ins. Do not miss a test date just because you are running late for your scheduled time.

Missed Tests

If you miss a test that you were scheduled to take, you will receive a notification to reschedule the test for the following day. Your campus passport will go from yellow to red if you are outside of the 84 hour testing range. Upon submission of a testing sample, your passport will change from yellow (or red) to green.

Residential students will receive reminders on the day that their testing window will be expiring and when their testing window has expired. They will have 24 hours to schedule a test and submit a sample at a testing location. Once 108 hours have elapsed since the last test was taken (without an approved exemption), the case will be referred to the Dean of Students Office for conduct proceedings.

Each manager is expected to monitor compliance with these requirements for their staff, based upon on-campus work schedules and attendance. Participation in this high-frequency testing program is a crucial part of our campus health and safety operations. It is a privilege to live and/or work on campus, and with this privilege comes the responsibility of excellent health citizenship. Failure to comply with testing requirements will result in loss of on-campus privileges and may also result in disciplinary action, as outlined in the Student Handbook and the Phase 2a Scaling Up Guide.

What to Expect

All testing participants must arrive at the testing site wearing their mask or face covering. Upon arrival, participants will be asked to show their Campus Passport. The Passport must be green, yellow, or blue to gain admittance. This ensures that all testing participants have completed and passed the Daily Health Assessment and can enter the testing site free from the onset of new symptoms.

Participants can then proceed to the check in tables where they will receive a bar-coded sample tube with their name and date of birth on the label. Participants are encouraged to double check this information each time they check in so that they can access their test results without difficulty the next day. They will be directed outside to a designated testing area to self-collect the sample in the lower nasal openings (anterior nares) under the guidance of trained observers/medical personnel. Participants will then submit their sample at the collection table. Participants are asked to immediately check their Campus Passport to ensure that their sample collection has been properly marked in the Passport Portal by the testing staff. Physical distancing will be maintained throughout the collection procedure. We anticipate this will take a maximum of 5 minutes to complete.

You may view step-by-step pictorial instructions (pdf) for sample collection to familiarize yourself with the procedure.

Collected samples will be delivered to the Broad Institute, where they will be tested for the presence of COVID-19.

Test Results

If Your Test Result is Negative

Within 24-72 hours after sample collection, you will receive an email from CareEvolve (the test ordering/results portal used by the Broad Institute) instructing you that your negative test result is available. The first time you receive this email, you will be instructed to set up an account with CareEvolve. Please take note of your username and password, as logging into this portal is how you will be able to access your test results all semester long.

If your test is negative, it is very unlikely that you have the virus at this time. You will need to continue to practice physical distancing, wearing a mask, frequent handwashing, and following any applicable federal, state or local orders related to COVID-19.

If Your Test Is Inconclusive

Approximately 1% of all samples cannot be processed for one reason or another. This could be because there was too much solid collected on the swab, not enough cells were collected during swabbing, the swab being inserted in the tube upside down, a lab error, or a host of other reasons. These results will be returned to the medical provider who ordered the test (the Occupational Health Specialist for faculty or staff; the Medical Director for students), who will contact the participant asking them to come back to the testing site to retest (or drop by the Brandeis Student Health Center, if the participant is a student). Inconclusive test results are not emailed to participants.

If You Test Positive for COVID-19

The thought of testing positive to COVID-19 can feel daunting. Brandeis is committed to providing support to all of our community members who are faced with a positive result.

Brandeis is required by law to report a positive result to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. A medical provider will call you to provide more information and instructions and to ask about your close contacts. Positive test results will not be emailed to participants. You will be required to remain in isolation for up to 14 days if you test positive, or, if you become ill, until 72 hours after your symptoms resolve.

Your test results will be stored in a secure location and are only accessible by authorized personnel.

FAQs: Testing Positive

Daily Health Assessment

Regardless of your testing schedule and how recently you took a test, faculty, staff and students arriving or living on campus will have to fill out a Daily Health Assessment. If you have a known exposure to or are displaying symptoms of COVID-19, or if you were instructed to stay home by the Daily Health Assessment, you must consult the Health Center (if you are a student) or your medical provider. In these cases, stay home, even if you have been scheduled for the test. This testing program is NOT intended for symptomatic participants.