Spring 2021 Requirements

The university will continue to refine and update testing efforts as needed as they are a critical component of a safe and healthy campus community. Testing programs are carried out across campus to help the university monitor and address real-time trends and prevalence and make timely decisions on potential intervention and response. 

Any and all practices and policies delineated here at this time are subject to revision and updates.

Summary of Spring Term testing options 

  • Throughout the Spring Semester 2021, required testing will be conducted among students residing in University Housing and for those students coming to the Uptown Campus for academic, research, work or other activities.  
  • During Spring Semester 2021, both required (and voluntary) mitigation testing can be fulfilled by the campus community four days each week, stating January 25. Testing will take place Mondays and Tuesdays in the basketball courts on the lower level of the CRC; Wednesdays (by Hamilton County Test and Protect) at Stratford Heights; and Fridays (also by Test and Protect) in UC Health's Addiction Sciences Division building. Theses locales offer testng that is free, fast and easy for the UC community.
  • Testing for symptomatic or exposed students will again be available at UHS Testing Center. This testing is available by appointment only by calling (513) 556-2564. 

Spring Term return to campus testing required 

Testing consists of the highly sensitive viral test known as PCR. Results will be back within 48-72 hours. While students await their test results, they are required to follow state and university public health protocols related to mask wearing, enhanced social distancing, hand hygiene and more. 

All students began Spring Semester with a UC COVID Check App “Yellow Pass.”  On January 5 when the COVID Check App status of all UC students  turned "Yellow," it signified limited access to campus facilities until students complete (and receive results from) the free, fast Return to Campus COVID-19 testing to be offered on campus thru Jan. 24.  

As students await their test results, they retain their "Yellow Pass" on UC’s COVID Check App. The "Yellow Pass" means: 

  •  Students are required to participate in enhanced social distancing, within their UC Housing rooms or apartments until their test results are back. (Again, test results will be back within 48-72 hours.) 
  • Enhanced social distancing means that students will be able to leave their rooms only as needed to obtain carry-out food, use the common-area use restroom facilities or other essential purposes, e.g., obtain medicine, go for a doctor’s appointment, etc. Students are not be able to have guests in their rooms while awaiting their test results. 
  • Students with a UC meal plan are able to take advantage of food service carry out vs. eating in the dining halls. There are multiple locations on campus for carry out.  
  • Students are not be able to physically access libraries, Tangeman University Center, the Campus Recreation Center until the "Yellow Pass" period is past and a negative test result moves them to the "Green Pass" designation on the COVID Check App. Both the libraries and the CRC have online offerings for those still on "Yellow Pass" designation. Restrictions related to the "Yellow Pass" will also require students to participate in carry-out food options on campus vs. dining in.
  • If your Return to Campus COVID test is negative, your COVID Check App will turn to a "Green Pass," and you will receive notification at your UC email regarding your negative test result. 
  • If your Return to Campus COVID test is positive, your COVID Check App will immediately turn to a "Red Pass" as results return from Wild Health Laboratories. You will subsequently be personally contacted by a member of UC’s health care response team to provide you additional information and next steps regarding isolation. Contact tracing processes will then be followed.

If you are planning to move back into University of Cincinnati housing and stay from that point forward, then you must schedule your test for that same day and practice enhanced social distancing in your residence hall (with a 'yellow pass') until your test results are in. Or you may also choose to come and get tested within 3 days of your scheduled move-back day and either return home or stay in a local hotel to await the results.

Register for Return to Campus COVID testing

  • Spring Semester students who are non-residential but who take part in on-campus activities on Uptown Campus can also make an appointment for free, on-campus COVID-19 testing. Plan to get tested before any on-campus activities you might be planning – whether that’s a class, lab, work, research, exercise, dining or recreation. Once tested, you will receive results within 48-72 hours. Negative test results will be emailed. Once you have a negative test result in Return to Campus testing, your “Yellow Pass” will transition to “Green,” removing the campus access restrictions. If your Return to Campus COVID test is positive, your COVID Check App will immediately turn to a "Red Pass" as results return from Wild Health Laboratories. You will subsequently be personally contacted by a member of UC’s health care response team to provide you additional information and next steps.

Exemption process

If a student wishes to be considered for an exemption to required move-in / move-back COVID-19 testing, the deadline to apply for a potential exemption is one week before a student’s move-in / move-back reservation date.  

 Unless a student receives an exemption from required testing, failure to obtain a move-in / move-back test will result in a UC COVID Check App ‘red pass’ and a directive to quarantine until on-campus testing is completed. Please allow up to 72 hours for processing of any exemption request.

Exemptions from required move-in / move-back testing may be granted based on the following: 

  •  A student is currently in quarantine or isolation. 
  • They have a disability that would preclude them from having the test done.  
  • They are currently sick and unable to get to the testing facility.  
  • They have a sincerely held religious belief. 
  • They are under the age of 18 on the day of the test. (Residents of University Housing under age 18 on the day of the test must call University Health Services at (513) 556-2564 to schedule a COVID-19 test with permission from a legal guardian.)
  • They have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days. (Only positive PCR or antigen tests, collected within 90 days of the student's move-in/move-back date, will qualify for an exemption. Antibody test results will not be accepted.)
No other previous COVID-19 tests or test results from other providers can be substituted for the on-campus, move-in/move-back testing. Due to the short turn around time between test collection and residence hall move-in/move-back, negative test results from outside providers will not be accepted in lieu of on-campus testing. Do not submit negative test results for exemption, as this will delay your ability to move in on the scheduled date. 

Importantly, requiring students to test on campus decreases the time and distance between test completion and move-in. Test results can change from one day to the next and controlling for the timing and well as the type of test increases the probability that we can quickly identify positive cases, provide support for students and limit exposure to others in the residential population. 

If you have received a COVID-19 vaccine

The infectious disease experts in UC’s Academic Health Center recommend that students who have received a COVID-19 vaccine still participate in required testing. Thus, COVID-19 vaccination status cannot serve to exempt students from required testing. This is due to the following:

  • Vaccine efficacy was studied for prevention of disease only, not infection or viral transmission after infection.
  • Thus, It is still an unknown as to whether a vaccinated individual can still be infected and asymptomatic, and if so, be infectious.
  • There here is no cross-reactivity between vaccine and a PCR test, i.e. being vaccinated cannot lead to a false positive COVID-19 test by PCR. (It can by some antibody tests.)

The university will continue to require quarantine of vaccinated individuals after exposure.

As more research and studies regarding vaccination and post-vaccination infection are addressed, the Academic Health Center infectious disease may revisit this recommendation.

Consequences for failing to participate in move-in/move-back testing

If a student does not participate in and complete their initial testing appointment upon move-in / move-back, they will not be permitted to move into their assigned room or apartment in University Housing. They will be directed to quarantine at home, in place within the residence hall or in a university-designated quarantine assignment until testing is completed, with an interim measure issued by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards (SCCS).

If a student does not reschedule a testing date within 48 hours of their initial appointment, they will be reported to the SCCS for failure to comply with a University Policy. The SCCS office will contact the student via email with a reminder to schedule a testing appointment within 24 hours or face additional consequences.

If a student fails to either show up for their second scheduled testing appointment or respond to a reminder to reschedule their initial appointment, they will receive a RED pass, directed to quarantine at home or in a university-designated quarantine assignment, and a report will be made to SCCS for non-compliance. 

The SCCS office will conduct a procedural review to determine whether the student has a qualified reason for failure to complete the required test and, in the absence of an exemption or extenuating circumstance that prevented compliance, the student will be found responsible for failure to comply under the Student Code of Conduct and sanctioned to removal from University Housing without refund.