Testing, Tracing and App FAQs

General

Yes, COVID testing is currently available for students with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, as well as students with close contact exposure to individuals with confirmed COVID-19.

Random surveillance testing is provided (and will be required for some starting the week of October 19).   

Our overall planning is guided by recommendations of our medical experts with consideration of the Ohio Department of Health, the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance. And as has been stated many times, planning may evolve due to any number of factors, whether based on evolving science or proven effectiveness for a particular setting. Our testing and tracing efforts are under continuous review and modification based on the evolving scientific evidence and public health recommendations.

Importantly, we work in close partnership with our local and regional health departments as well as the Health Collaborative of Greater Cincinnati.

And as has been stated many times, planning may evolve due to any number of factors, whether based on evolving science or proven effectiveness for a particular setting. Our testing and tracing efforts are under continuous review and modification based on the evolving scientific evidence and public health recommendations.

It's important to stress here that testing capacity is essentially elastic now that we've seen improvements in the national availability of testing materials.

So, while we currently have overall capacity to test every student residing in University Housing each week (between our diagnostic center, UC Health and vendors we contract with for testing), we can quickly expand such capacity if and as needed now that we've seen improvements in the national availability of testing materials (About 5,000 is the size of our student population residing in University Housing.)

UC students, faculty and staff may also receive testing from their own physicians, at locales like The Little Clinic, via health departments and more. Via the established public health networks, UC should receive (in time) any positive test results of any student with a local address or who is a resident of any locale within the State of Ohio no matter where students might choose to be tested in the local area or state. Reporting of confirmed cases tested in the wider community to the university does not take place in real time. It would all depend on the interplay between outside testing sites, the health department and then to the university. If someone is associated with UC and tests positive (outside of campus, UC Health, etc.) that should either be caught at the time of testing or in the contact tracing process. CHD has a person dedicated to just such matters on behalf of UC.

Testing for those exhibiting symptoms that may be related to COVID-19 or who may have been exposed to the virus is available at UC’s Testing Center at Commons Edge North, 57 W. Daniels Street. It is by appointment only by calling UHS at 513-556-2564.

University Health Services can also arrange for testing at the UC Health Uptown Campus, 3120 Burnet Avenue (East Campus), which is by appointment only.

Wild Health Laboratory of Lexington, Kentucky, is conducting strategic surveillance testing on campus. Strategic surveillance testing will be provided weekly (on Tuesdays) by Wild Health from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., at the TUC Cinema. Their clinical professionals will collect a sample from a swab placed very gently in the lower part of the nose known as the nasal sample. It’s quick, easy and free. The entire testing experience requires less than 5 minutes.

Students may also choose to participate in strategic surveillance testing provided by Hamilton County Test and Protect, which will come to campus weekly (on Mondays, Oct. 19-Nov. 23, 1-6 p.m.) in the banquet room at Stratford unit No. 16, 2634 Stratford Avenue (west side of Clifton Avenue). This testing is open to all. Please note that Test and Protect will ask for insurance information; however, if a student’s insurance does not cover the test, there will be no charge to the student. Also note that, currently, Test and Protect performs nasopharyngeal sampling, which makes use of long-handled swabs.

UC is using the highly sensitive viral test known as a PCR.  

In addition, at the Testing Center, UC uses the BD Veritor System, which provides test results within 15 minutes, and is used with anyone with symptoms. Those without symptoms will have a PCR test.

For students opting to fulfill the random testing requirement on campus, strategic surveillance testing is provided weekly (on Tuesdays) by Wild Health Laboratory of Lexington, Kentucky. Their clinical professionals will collect a sample from a swab placed very gently in the lower part of the nose known as the nasal sample. It’s quick, easy and free. The entire testing experience requires less than 5 minutes.

Anyone with a pending test result should be even more careful than usual to avoid exposing someone else to possible viral transmission. As always, a negative test does not protect you from acquiring the virus, and the same key preventative measure of social distancing, facial coverings, hand hygiene and surface sanitizing, and staying home when sick must be followed.

The BD Veritor System provides test results within 15 minutes and can be used with anyone with symptoms. Those without symptoms will have a PCR test, with results available within 72 hours.

Testing results for those participating in random surveillance testing are generally available within 72 hours of the test.

Anyone with a pending test should be even more careful than usual to avoid exposing someone else to possible viral transmission. As always, a negative test does not protect you from acquiring the virus, and the same key preventative measure of social distancing, facial coverings, hand hygiene and surface sanitizing, and staying home when sick must be followed.

This is a rare occurrence and will depend on the clinical circumstance.  Most often, the test will be repeated.

In accordance with the Faculty Senate Resolution on Class Attendance and Participation during COVID-19, faculty are encouraged to be flexible with attendance policies and other aspects of supporting academic progress – particularly for students in isolation and quarantine.

Faculty are encouraged to think beyond traditional definitions of attendance and support and provide students with opportunities to make up missed work or do commensurate work. This will allow for a positive student learning experience and a commitment to delivering exemplary instruction. An incomplete grade may be awarded in the event of a student illness, which will provide an opportunity for a student to work with faculty to complete coursework after the semester concludes.

Quarantine applies to exposed individuals who do not have symptoms of a disease but need to be separated for a period of time to be observed for symptoms. Quarantine generally lasts 14 days.

Isolation applies to infected individuals or those with presumed infection who need to be isolated to prevent the spread of virus to the community. Isolation generally lasts 10 days.

If instructed to quarantine, it's recommended that students in University Housing return to their permanent homes to do so. If that is not possible due to extenuating circumstances, UHS, Student Affairs and UC Housing will work with that student to provide appropriate accommodations for the quarantine or isolation period. They may continue their classes remotely. Meals will be delivered by Food Services (meal plan required). UC Housing may not be available for all quarantined or isolated students.

If isolation is recommended, it is preferred that students in University Housing isolate on campus in special accommodations provided for this purpose. If a student opts to go to their permanent home to isolate, they will be given CDC resources explaining how to do this as safely as possible.  

This recommendation stems from both clinical experience and research. Quarantine or isolation is very difficult for some students, and most ultimately opt to go home to be more comfortable and for increased emotional and psychological well being.  

If isolating or quarantining on campus, a student will receive outreach from a member of the UC Housing team to assess the student's needs, situation and explain the process for temporary relocation.This will include

  • Students will be offered transportation to and from quarantine or isolation housing on campus or at the Hampton Inn.
  • Students receive recommendations on what to bring with them to quarantine or isolation as relates to bedding, clothing, toiletries, schoolwork material, laptops, chargers, etc.
  • Information on meal options, via UC Food Services, as well a laundry service is reviewed.
  • This initial conversation is followed up with an email to the student containing their quarantine or isolation room assignment along with a listing of "what to bring" for their quarantine or isolation stay.
  • UC's Division of Student Affairs periodically calls students in UC quarantine and isolation seeks to determine how those in quarantine and isolation are doing, how students might be staying active and engaged, physical activiites, in contact with family and friends, etc.
  • Resident education staff also provide UC quarantining and isolating students with their cell phone numbers to allow for immediate access and assistance.

All testing will be HIPAA and FERPA compliant. Contact tracing will be FERPA compliant and the contacts will not be informed of the student's identity.

  • Currently, the student’s health insurance plan will be billed for symptomatic and exposure testing.
  • There is no cost for testing for those students selected for/participating in the random surveillance testing program carried out by Wild Health Laboratory.
  • Students opting to receiving testing by the Hamilton County Test and Protect will be asked for insurance information; however, if a student's insurance does not cover the test, there will be no charge to the student.  

See the Hamilton County Health Department's site for testing sites available in Hamilton County.

Students may also choose to participate in strategic surveillance testing provided by Hamilton County Test and Protect, which will come to campus weekly (on Mondays, Oct. 19-Nov. 23, 1-6 p.m.) in the banquet room at Stratford unit No. 16, 2634 Stratford Avenue (west side of Clifton Avenue). This testing is open to all. Please note that Test and Protect will ask for insurance information; however, if a student’s insurance does not cover the test, there will still be no charge to the student. Also note that, currently, Test and Protect performs nasopharyngeal sampling, which makes use of long-handled swabs.

UC posts aggregate data of confirmed COVID-19 test results. No personal data is shared.

UC students, faculty and staff may also receive testing from their own physicians, at locales like The Little Clinic, via health departments and more. Via the established public health networks, UC should receive any positive test results of any student with a local address or who is a resident of any locale within the State of Ohio no matter where students might choose to be tested in the local area or state.

Required surveillance testing

Surveillance testing refers to testing of a random sample population to determine the frequency of COVID-19 in that population. The purpose of this testing program is to allow the university to monitor and address real-time trends, and to make timely decisions on intervention and response.

Our overall planning is guided by recommendations of our medical experts with consideration of the Ohio Department of Health, the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance. And as has been stated many times, planning may evolve due to any number of factors, whether based on evolving science or proven effectiveness for a particular setting. Our testing and tracing efforts are under continuous review and modification based on the evolving scientific evidence and public health recommendations.

Yes.  

Random sample testing is conducted by Wild Health Laboratory of Lexington, Kentucky. Their clinical professionals will collect a sample from a swab placed very gently in the lower part of the nose known as the nasal sample. 

This is quite different from the long-handled swabs that have previously been used for testing known as nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs. Nasal swabs are rapidly replacing this method due to improved patient comfort and nearly comparable results.

The university will partner with our public health colleagues at the City of Cincinnati Health Department and experts in the College of Medicine to review and interpret results.

Since the spring term, the University of Cincinnati has used a combination of both required and voluntary strategic surveillance testing. Starting the week of October 19, the university will expand its required strategic surveillance testing program among students as another means to monitor trends and promote good health.

When invited to participate in random sample surveillance testing, students who reside in UC Housing, students who attend face to face or hybrid classes on campus, and students who work or conduct research on campus are required to receive testing unless they receive an exemption.

Others are encouraged to receive testing in order to help keep our campus safer.

  • Residential students living in UC Housing
  • Students attending face-to-face classes or hybrid classes on the Uptown Campus
  • Students who work or conduct research on campus

For students participating in face-to-face campus activities, getting tested can be an easy but an incredibly consequential way to make sure we're each doing our part to keep our community safe and healthy.

Voluntary participation in testing will still be an option for students who don't meet the above criteria or who are not selected for required testing in a given week.

And, testing for those exhibiting symptoms that may be related to COVID-19 or who may have been exposed to the virus will still be available through University Health Services.  

Each Thursday, students will be notified via their university email account that they have been selected for testing the following week. Testing will be performed by Wild Health Laboratory every Tuesday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. in the TUC Cinema. Students will be required to schedule online prior to testing, using the link in the email invitation. The message will include instructions for scheduling testing, as well as contact information for University Health Services if they have questions. 

Students without symptoms and without any known exposures are strongly encouraged to participate in pop-up testing by Hamilton County Test and Protect, which will come to campus weekly (on Mondays, Oct. 19-Nov. 23, 1-6 p.m.) in the banquet room at Stratford unit No. 16, 2634 Stratford Avenue (west side of Clifton Avenue). This testing is open to all. Please note that Test and Protect will ask for insurance information; however, if a student’s insurance does not cover the test, there will be no charge to the student. Also note that, currently, Test and Protect collects nasopharyngeal samples.

Students may also opt to be tested by off-campus providers, such as private physicians, Kroger’s Little Clinics or a variety of locales offered by the Hamilton County Health Department. See the Hamilton County Health Department's site for testing sites available in Hamilton County.

Students who are exhibiting symptoms or who are thought to have experienced exposure should contact the UHS Testing Center located at Commons Edge North, 57 W. Daniels Street. Testing is conducted by appointment by calling UHS at 513-556-2564.

At the Testing Center, students with symptoms may be have an antigen test using the BD Veritor System, which provides test results within 15 minutes. Negative tests are confirmed with PCR. Those without symptoms will have a PCR test, with results available within 72 hours.  All PCR testing at the Testing Center is performed by UC Health.

Those with symptoms or who are thought to have experienced exposure can also contact University Health Services to arrange for testing at the UC Health Uptown Campus, 3120 Burnet Avenue (East Campus), which is by appointment only.

There are several ways students can be tested:

  • If you receive an invitation for required strategic surveillance testing, click on the link in the email to schedule with Wild Health. Testing will take place every Tuesday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., in the Cinema in TUC.
  • You may choose to be tested at the Hamilton County Test and Protect pop-up test site, which will be in the banquet room of Stratford unit No. 16 every Monday from 1 – 6 p.m. weekly (on Mondays, Oct. 19-Nov. 23, 1-6 p.m.) in the banquet room at Stratford unit No. 16, 2634 Stratford Avenue (west side of Clifton Avenue). This testing is open to all. Please note that Test and Protect will ask for insurance information; however, if a student’s insurance does not cover the test, there will be no charge to the student. Also note that, currently, Test and Protect collects nasopharyngeal samples.
  • Alternatives for testing also include other testing locales offered by the Hamilton County Health Department at its testing sites, at Kroger’s Little Clinic, private practitioners, etc. You will be required to show your test result from an outside site within one week of receiving the invitation to be tested.
  • Students who are exhibiting symptoms or who are thought to have experienced exposure should contact the UHS Testing Center located at Commons Edge North, 57 W. Daniels Street. Testing is conducted by appointment by calling UHS at 513-556-2564. At the Testing Center, students with symptoms may be have an antigen test using the BD Veritor System, which provides test results within 15 minutes. Negative tests are confirmed with PCR. Those without symptoms will have a PCR test, with results available within 72 hours.  All PCR testing at the Testing Center is performed by UC Health. Those with symptoms or who are thought to have experienced exposure can also contact University Health Services to arrange for testing at the UC Health Uptown Campus, 3120 Burnet Avenue (East Campus), which is by appointment only.

Questions can be addressed to COVIDHelp@uc.edu

There are a few reasons why students may be able to request an exemption from required testing at UC:   

  • A student is currently in quarantine or isolation.
  • They have a disability that would preclude them from having the test done. 
  • They prefer to be tested by another source within a week, before or after, their assigned time. Note that UC will not reimburse for testing done at alternative facilities. Students must share the results with UC. 
  • They are currently sick and unable to get to the testing facility. 
  • They have a sincerely held religious belief.
  • They have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days. 

Unless a student receives an exemption from required testing, failure to respond and obtain a test may result in loss of access to university spaces and services.

The exemption form can also be accessed from the University Health Services home page.

Unless a student is exempted from required testing, failure to respond and obtain a required test may result in loss of access to university spaces and services.

Upon receiving notification, students will have one week to obtain required testing. The easiest, fastest (and free) means for testing is to participate in the UC-provided strategic surveillance testing event held subsequent to student notification.

Alternatives for required testing include on-campus testing offered by Hamilton County Test and Protect, by community providers, e.g., other testing locales offered by the Hamilton County Health Department, Kroger’s Little Clinic, private practitioners, etc.

If they have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days, they may submit an exemption form. Please note the following:

  • Lab documentation noting positive test results of a positive PCR or antigen test will be accepted.  90 days after the test results, you will be added back into the university's testing program.
  • Antibody testing is not accepted. Many who were using the antibody test are moving away from it due to questions about its utility and based on the evolving knowledge base around the virus. UC uses a highly sensitive viral test known as a PCR.  Positive antigen tests are also accepted.

The university will partner with our public health colleagues at the City of Cincinnati Health Department and experts in the College of Medicine to review and interpret results. Students will be informed of their results and appropriate actions to be taken if positive.

Certain activities or classes may be canceled if COVID-19 virus is detected frequently among randomly selected students. All decisions will be made in partnership with the local health department and epidemiology and infectious disease consultants within the university.

All student testing and contact tracing records are to be protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act ("FERPA") and in accordance with the University's Data Governance and Classification Policy. The COVID-19 positive individual's contacts will not be informed of the positive individual's identity.

A medical note will be provided.

There will be no charge to students participating in required random surveillance testing conducted by Wild Health Laboratory.

Hamilton County Test and Protect will request insurance information; however, if a student's insurance does not cover the test, there will be no charge to the student.  

Contact tracing

When someone tests positive for the virus, it is critical that the University trace the contacts they have had with others to limit the spread of the virus. 

It is important to identify anyone who has had close contact with an individual confirmed to have COVID-19, so that guidance and education about quarantine can be provided.

All student testing and contact tracing records are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act ("FERPA") and in accordance with the University's Data Governance and Classification Policy.

 

COVID-19 rates will be closely monitored, and any closure decision would be made in partnership with local health departments and epidemiology and infectious disease experts from the University.

 

An interdepartmental team of faculty, staff and students. The Cincinnati Health Department will also conduct contact tracing.

Public health contact tracing guidelines, as published by the CDC, will be followed.  

Everyone is highly encouraged to participate.  The University relies on each and every community member to do their part to help keep the campus safe and open for living,  learning, and working.  Students will be required to participate if they come to campus or live on campus.  Entrance to certain buildings will be limited to those who can show that they have been cleared to move about campus.

UC COVID Check App

The app is a way to make sure that everyone is as safe as possible to come to campus, classes and activities on a daily basis.

Members of the campus community are asked to complete a brief Daily Health Check, based on CDC guidelines to receive a Green Pass to come to or move about campus.  The UC COVID Check app also has self-reporting capabilities.  

It helps ensure that anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 does not interact with the campus community. The app also helps us identify and care for those in need and make informed decisions to protect our campus community.  

Faculty, staff, students and visitors to campus.  

Students  are required to use the app if they come to campus or live on campus, but every member of the campus community is encouraged to participate to help keep everyone safer. The university relies on each and every community member to do their part to help keep the campus community healthy. Following a soft launch, beginning Monday, September 21, 2020, a Green Pass from the Daily Health Check is required to enter campus dining centers and the Campus Recreation Center.  

Faculty may also request to see a Daily Green Pass from students before allowing classroom or lab entry.

A web-based survey, REDCap is available for individuals who do not want to use the app. A Green Pass can be given if you complete the Daily Health Check using REDCap.  

If you have symptoms, you will receive a call and/or email within 24-48 hours from our case investigators, who will provide guidance on next steps.

If further action is deemed necessary, such as testing or contact tracing, the case investigator will obtain necessary details like onset dates of symptoms, close contacts, etc. The name of any individual reporting symptoms will not be shared in the contract tracing process.

Remember that if you maintain strict social distancing and remain at least 6 feet away from others, you will not likely be exposed to any infectious virus. The exception to this is roommates who share a sleeping space. Roommates sharing a sleeping space will require quarantine.

The UC COVID Check app is available for download in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

A web-based survey, REDCap is available for non-app users. If you experience technical trouble with the app, please contact the IT@UC Help Desk.  

Yes.  

Your information will be used to help keep you and others safe. Privacy will be pursuant to FERPA and in accordance with the University Data Governance and Classification Policy.