COVID-19 Testing and Schedule

Last updated: January 22, 2021 at 10:34 AM

Brandeis University is a part of the Broad Institute’s Safe for School Program, which provides fast, free, and painless high-frequency testing of asymptomatic community members encamps. 

To identify and quickly contain any potential COVID-19 spread, the university also has strict community tracing protocols. More information on this process, and what’s expected from members of the Brandeis community, can be found on the Community Tracing page.

Testing Eligibility

Surveillance testing at Brandeis for the presence of COVID-19 is for healthy, asymptomatic members of the Brandeis community only. Anyone exhibiting any kinds of symptoms or illness will not be permitted to enter the testing site; they must contact the Student Health Center (for students) or their primary care provider (if they are faculty or staff). 

Only current Brandeis students, staff, faculty, and other affiliates or appointees are eligible to participate in this testing program. We are unable to provide testing for spouses, children, roommates, relatives, friends, or others unless they are employed by or enrolled at Brandeis.


All Brandeis community members who come to campus will be required to submit samples for testing at the following frequency, which is reflected in each community member’s Campus Passport Portal:

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)

Self-Administered, Unobserved Testing

Brandeis has transitioned our COVID-19 sample collection process to a slightly different procedure than the one used during the fall 2020 semester. 

What's Changing

What’s Not Changing

This new procedure of submitting samples collected in the privacy of your home or car, rather than at a testing site, should reduce the time participants spend at the collection site, reduce the number of sample collections performed onsite to keep the sites further de-densified, and make the testing experience even faster.

How It Works

  1. The first time you come to a collection site (or when you return to campus), you will be given a tube and swab for sample collection onsite as usual. 
  2. You will also be given a baggie with a tube, swab, and direction card inside to take home with you. You should immediately schedule the next time to drop off your sample through your Campus Passport (unless you come to campus less than twice per week).
  3. When it is time to submit your next sample, you should follow the instructions in the bag, and collect your sample shortly before your appointment: You should ONLY collect your samples on the day they will be submitted, NOT before. The procedure of gently swabbing each nostril before placing the cotton swab in the collection tube is the same as it was at the supervised collection sites. Instructions in the baggie show how to collect the sample.
  4. Samples should be brought back to a testing site during testing hours. When you provide a sample you must:
    • Arrive at the testing site wearing your mask or face covering.
    • Show your Campus Passport. The Passport must be green, yellow, orange, or blue to enter the building. 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. You must schedule appointments to drop off your test to maintain a green or yellow passport.
  1. The registration staff will inspect the swab and affix a label to the tube. If there is apparent mucus or blood on your sample, the staff will ask you to recollect a sample at the testing site, which can be done in the usual way at one of the sample collection tables. When a clean sample has been collected, you will submit it to the collection desk.
  2. When the sample is submitted, the collection site staff will give you a new testing kit for next time.
  3. Collected samples will be delivered to the Broad Institute in Cambridge, where they will be tested for the presence of COVID-19, just as they have been before.
  4. Once collection is complete, those living on or coming to campus frequently should schedule an appointment for the next sample submission to keep your Campus Passport up to date. Those who only come to campus occasionally should keep the test kit in a safe place, then collect the sample the same day that you schedule your next submission, typically the next time you are on campus.

Consent for Testing

Those who have never tested before will be asked to give consent to be part of the testing process in the Campus Passport portal.  You will not be able to schedule a test until you have given consent.

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 dates and times. Upon completion of tests, you will be prompted to schedule your next tests based upon the campus visit frequency you indicated in your Passport. 

Off-campus students, or faculty or staff members can always change their testing frequency requirements based upon their 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 Sample Submission

If you are unable to make your scheduled sample submission time, log back into the Campus Passport portal to reschedule or cancel. If you are unable to make your scheduled submission time, but can drop off  the sample another time during the day, the collection sites are able to accommodate walk-ins. Do not skip submitting your sample just because you are running late for your scheduled time.

Missed Submissions

If you don’t drop off a submission on the day you are scheduled to, you will receive a notification to reschedule the submission for the following day. If you already collected your sample and can’t get to a collection site before it closes, ask for a new collection kit to collect a fresh sample when you arrive the next day. Your campus passport will go from yellow to red if you are outside of the 84-hour testing range. Upon submission of a sample, your passport will change from yellow (or red) to green.

Residential students will receive reminders on the day that their submission window will be expiring, and again 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 submitted (without an approved exemption), the case will be referred to the Dean of Students Office for conduct proceedings.

Community Responsibilities

Each manager is expected to monitor compliance with these requirements for their staff, based upon on-campus work schedules and attendance. If you are a manager and would like to request a report of compliance for your employees, please email

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. 

Test Results

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.

 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. Brandeis is required by law to report a positive result to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

More Information about Testing Positive

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 Result 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 was inserted in the tube the wrong way, there was 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.

When to Stay Home

Regardless of your testing schedule and how recently you took a test, everyone (faculty, staff and students) coming to or living on campus must fill out a Daily Health Assessment. If you have a known exposure to someone who tested positive, 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. 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.