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AU's COVID-19 Testing Procedure

Frequent testing will be an essential piece of protecting the health and safety of our campus and broader community from the spread of COVID-19. Evidence has mounted in favor of frequent testing as part of an integrated approach to controlling the virus on college campuses, along with hygiene and physical distancing practices, contact tracing, and containment measures.

COVID testing will continue through the summer as we work to ramp up on-campus activities safely and continue our surveillance testing. AU community members with a campus presence will test once per week regardless of vaccination status. If you are not yet vaccinated, the daily self-screening form must be completed on any day you come to campus. For community members who are vaccinated, you no longer need to fill out the form. These steps, along with the updated airflow systems in our buildings that meet all CDC requirements, will continue to help keep our community safe. Please note that the campus buildings with reduced heating/cooling services in support of our cost savings will remain in this mode during the summer.

This test will be provided free of charge. The mandatory requirements of the testing plan, and how it applies to different members of our community, are in the Health and Safety Directives: Mandatory COVID-19 Testing and summarized below.

Who Tests and When

American University students, staff, faculty and contract workers with a presence on campus must participate in regular testing to screen for COVID-19. How frequently you are tested will depend on how often you are present on campus.

Below are the categories and frequencies of testing.

Testing Locations

  • Asymptomatic students can receive a test at the Student Health Center's designated test site at Constitution Hall on East Campus(see schedule).
  • Students who are experiencing symptoms should make an appointment at the Student Health Center by calling 202-885-3380 or scheduling online (AU login required).
  • Students with confirmed exposure will receive information from their Covid Care Coordinator.

Students can also test through your health provider, or at local testing sites in Washington, DC; Maryland; or Virginia.

Testing Schedule

Students with symptoms or known exposure

Residential students

  • Test: Twice a week, at least 48-72 hours apart
  • You are Category 1. This includes students living in Emergency/Critical Needs housing and students participating in the Mid-Semester Residential Experience.

Off-campus students, on campus weekly

  • Test: Once a week
  • You are Category 2. This includes students coming to campus one day or more a week to attend in-person classes, work in research laboratories, or engage in on-campus employment.

Off-campus students, on campus less than weekly

  • Test: On the same day that you come to campus; your presence on campus will then be authorized for seven days.
  • You are Category 3. This includes students living in the DC metro area who occasionally access the campus to utilize study space or athletics facilities.

Athletes

  • Test: Based on NCAA requirements
  • Student athletes are Category 4. Specifics will be shared with athletes according to their particular circumstances (competing or training, any heightened requirements by leagues, etc.)

Testing Locations

  • Asymptomatic faculty and staff can receive a test at Constitution Hall (East Campus)(see schedule), or via their health provider or local testing sites in Washington, DC; Maryland; or Virginia.
  • AU does not provide testing on campus for symptomatic or exposed faculty or staff. If you have symptoms or have known exposure, you must be tested through your health provider or local testing sites.

Testing Schedule

Faculty or Staff with Symptoms or Known Exposure

Campus Presence, Residential

  • Test: Twice a week, at least 48-72 hours apart
  • You are Category 1. This includes staff living in University-controlled housing, as well as their domestic partners.

Campus Presence, Weekly

  • Test: Once a week
  • You are Category 2. This includes anyone on campus one or more days per week, such as faculty members conducting in-person classes or working in on-campus laboratories, or staff or contractors performing work in residence halls, classrooms, labs or offices.

Campus Presence, Less Than Weekly

  • Test: On the same day that the initial physical presence occurs; your presence will then be authorized for seven days.
  • You are Category 3. This includes any faculty or staff with an occasional need to be on campus, such as periodically using research facilities or offices on a non-weekly basis.

Testing Locations

  • Asymptomatic contract workers can receive a test at the Bender Arena lobby (see schedule) via their health provider, or at local testing sites in Washington, DC; Maryland; or Virginia.
  • AU does not provide testing on campus for symptomatic or exposed contract workers. If you have symptoms or have known exposure, you must be tested through your health provider or local testing sites.

Testing Schedule

Contract Workers with Symptoms or Known Exposure

Contract Workers, on campus weekly

  • Test: Once a week
  • You are Category 2. This includes anyone on campus one or more days per week, such as staff or contractors performing work in residence halls, classrooms, labs or offices.
  • No need for smartphone or tablet. Simply bring an ID.
  • You will receive a nasal swab to screen for active COVID-19 (antigen nasal swab).
  • Results will be provided in 30 minutes directly to the contract worker as well as to the contract agency.

About the Test

  • What: Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) saliva test, which tests for active infection
  • Who: All students (asymptomatic and symptomatic); asymptomatic faculty and staff. AU does not provide testing for faculty/staff with symptoms.
  • How to prepare: You cannot have anything to eat, drink, or chew 60 minutes prior to testing. This includes brushing your teeth, chewing gum, taking medications, smoking or vaping.
  • What to bring to your appointment: If you have a smartphone or tablet, please bring your device to your appointment so that you can register to receive your test results. If you do not have a mobile device, there will be a device available for you to register onsite.
  • How/when you will receive results from AU-provided testing: They will be emailed by the provider to the address you’ve registered; results should come within 72 hours (and, after March 1, it will take around 24 hours). Please monitor your email.

Vaccination Information

In partnership with District Urgent Care, free vaccines will be available on campus to the AU community starting June 2. Vaccines will be provided in Constitution Hall East Campus to all AU students, staff, faculty, contract workers, immediate family members, and neighbors (ages 18 and older) in the community around campus who wish to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. For more information, please see the page about on-campus vaccination.