COVID-19 Testing, Reporting and Contact-Tracing
You play a crucial role in your own health, the health of members of the Drexel University community and the health of the City of Philadelphia during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Testing programs play an important role in reducing the risk of COVID-19. Drexel has established large-scale testing strategies, informed by our past testing experience, published literature, current public health guidelines, and the experience of other higher education institutions. Please continue to check this website as we update our testing policy for unvaccinated members of the Drexel community. If you have questions about COVID-19 testing that aren't answered here, email COVIDtesting@drexel.edu.
Drexel requires screening COVID-19 testing of unvaccinated on-campus students and employees on weekly regular basis. Students and employees who are fully vaccinated and have uploaded proof of vaccination in the Drexel Health Checker are not required to undergo weekly testing.
All students moving into Drexel Residential Housing and Greek Housing are required to receive gateway testing prior to moving in. Testing must be done at our campus testing site on the day of move in.
You can schedule a test and confidentially access your test results through the Drexel Health Checker. Make sure you download the Drexel Health Checker app in advance. Students and employees without smartphones can schedule their test through the web-based version of the Health Checker. All test results will also be received through a secure email link.
See Testing Locations and Hours for more, or email email@example.com with questions or concerns. Individuals with previous COVID-19 infection will not be eligible to complete surveillance testing for 3 months after their positive test. All individuals must still report any COVID symptoms using the Drexel Health Checker.
Any Drexel student or employee:
You must download the Drexel Health Checker app. If you are enrolled in mandatory testing and live in Drexel Housing, you will be notified about your designated testing day; otherwise, you can schedule a test at any available time. You can schedule your weekly COVID-19 test through the app (see below, "How to Schedule a Test"). Students and employees without smartphones can schedule their test through the web-based version of the Health Checker.
If you have symptoms AND have had a known COVID-19 exposure (regardless of vaccination status):
Start isolation now, and schedule a test upon the start of your symptoms by calling Student Health at 215.220.4700 (if you are a student) or, if you are an employee or staff member, by contacting your primary care provider. Employees/staff members should also email COVID19health@drexel.edu to notify Drexel.
If you are unvaccinated and have symptoms but do NOT have a known COVID-19 exposure:
Start isolation now, and call Student Health at 215.220.4700 (if you are a student) or, if you are an employee or staff member, contact your primary care provider. Employees/staff members should also email COVID19health@drexel.edu to notify Drexel.
If you are not fully vaccinated and have a known COVID-19 exposure but have NO symptoms:
You must start quarantine. Students should notify Student Health of their exposure to obtain further directions. If you are an employee or staff member, you should also contact your primary care provider and notify Drexel by emailing COVID19health@drexel.edu.
If you are fully vaccinated and have a known COVID-19 exposure but NO symptoms:
Vaccinated individuals will need to obtain COVID testing 5 days after they experience an exposure, whether they are experiencing symptoms or not. You are not required to quarantine. However, you should continue to monitor your health and contact Student Health if you start to show symptoms. Wear a mask when around other people for 7 days after an identified exposure.
- Download or log into the Drexel Health Checker app.
- To schedule a testing appointment, select the Calendar button.
- Select the date you want and then press the “Schedule” button.
- You will be asked to complete the COVID-19 Registration Form, select from available testing locations and appointment times. You can access your calendar to see your confirmed appointment.
- To cancel an appt, select the green confirmed button and then select cancel appt. Once you cancel your appt, click “ok.” You are required to input a reason for cancelling the appt.
- You can also share an iCAL appointment that can be save to your person phone or your computer.
View the visual directions: How to Schedule A Drexel On-campus COVID-19 Testing Appointment [PDF].If you have questions about scheduling your test or using the app, please email COVIDtesting@drexel.edu.
Two types of COVID-19 diagnostic tests are currently available in the United States. PCR tests detect viral RNA (genetic material from the virus). Antigen tests, also called rapid diagnostic tests, detect specific proteins on the surface of the coronavirus. At Drexel University we perform nasal PCR testing. A PCR test using a nasal swab currently has fewer false negative results than many other diagnostic tests.
All Drexel COVID-19 testing will take place at three main Philadelphia campus locations: the Library Learning Terrace (next to Race Street Residences) in University City; the New College Building in Center City; and the Queen Lane medical campus in East Falls.
Testing at Drexel uses the mid turbinate swab technique, which typically causes less discomfort than other forms of respiratory tract testing.
A testing team member may administer the swab test, or you may be asked to do it yourself—the results in either case should be the same. You may experience mild discomfort as the swab is administered. The process takes less than 30 seconds to collect a sample from both nostrils.
If you’re asked to administer the swab yourself:
- Open the wrapper carefully, being sure to only touch the handle of the swab, not the tip.
- Insert the swab into one nostril and make a circle around the inside of the nostril four times, gently scraping the side of the nostril (you are trying to collect the secretions on the inside of the nostril).
- Insert the same swab into the other nostril and gently scrape it around the inside four times.
- Insert the swab tip first into the provided tube. Once the tip of the swab touches the bottom of the tube, break off the swab handle at the top of the tube and screw the cap onto the tube.
- Hand the tube to the testing staff member.
To see more about sample collection techniques, watch this video from the University of Michigan.
You should receive your test results within 24-48 hours. Individuals tested through our Drexel testing sites conveniently receive their results through a HIPAA-secure portal in the Drexel Health Checker. To view your results, go to “MORE” and select “Test Results”. Effective May 17, 2021, in addition to being able to access your test results securely through the Drexel Health Checker, all individuals tested for COVID-19 at Drexel will receive an email containing directions on how to securely access your test result. Note that the email will come from "Drexel Diagnostic Laboratory <firstname.lastname@example.org>" and the subject line will be Test Result. Receiving and accessing your test result through a secure email will allow you to conveniently print your results in case you need the information for travel or other situations. For questions regarding test results, contact 215-703-2335 or email COVIDtesting@drexel.edu.
In order to easily schedule tests and receive results, please make sure you have downloaded the app.
If you don’t receive your results
If you have not received your test result within 24-48 hours of getting tested, please reach out to us. No news does not mean good news.
If you were tested at the Drexel Testing site at Race Hall, the Queen Lane campus or the New College Building in Center City, your results will be available through the Drexel Health Checker. If they are not, please call 215.703.2335 and leave your name and contact number. A member of our testing team will call you within 24 hours with your test results.
If you get tested through a non-Drexel service, you should report your test results through the Drexel Health Checker. Log in and tap “More” until you see the option to enter a test result.
What your test result means
A negative test result means that the test used did not find detectable levels of genetic material from the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus (which causes COVID-19) in your sample. This does NOT mean you’re 100% safe!
- People infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus sometimes test negative—especially early on. Not finding something doesn’t mean it’s not there.
- You could also have become infected in the time since you went in for your test.
You must always continue to practice applicable COVID-19 safety precautions.
If you are a student or employee who has had a COVID-19 exposure, AND you are not fully vaccinated, you must quarantine for a total of 7 days after the date of last exposure, regardless of negative test. You will be directed to schedule a test on day 5 of your quarantine and if the results are negative, you will finish out a total of 7 days quarantine and then be able to return to class/work on the 8th day. However, you must continue to actively monitor your symptoms via the Drexel Health Checker for an additional 7 days. In any case, you will be given instructions on when and how to return to normal activity by our Student Health Contact Tracing team or Employee Health. If you are fully vaccinated, you do not need to quarantine, but should continue to monitor your health and start isolation if you begin showing symptoms.
If you develop new symptoms of COVID-19, regardless of a recent negative test result you must still record this on the Drexel Health Checker, quarantine away from others, and plan to get tested again (see above under “When to Schedule a Test.")
If your test result is negative AND you’ve had no known exposure, but you have COVID-like symptoms, you likely have a non-COVID respiratory illness. Continue to stay home until your symptoms to improve. Continue to practice strategies to help decrease spread of respiratory illness.
A positive COVID-19 test result means the test found detectable levels of genetic material from the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus (which causes COVID-19) in the sample you provided. If you test positive, you will need to enter isolation for at least 10 days from the date of your positive test—or, if you were already in quarantine/isolation with COVID-19 symptoms, you must continue to isolate for at least 10 days from the start of those symptoms.
If you test positive, you must self-isolate regardless of whether you develop symptoms. You can have COVID-19, and possibly spread it to others, without ever showing symptoms. You will also be contacted by the Student Health/Employee Health Contact Tracing team to identify where you were exposed and confidentially notify your contacts that they have had an exposure. See Contact Tracing for more information.
Drexel can help you self-isolate and monitor your symptoms safely. The Contact Tracing Team will contact you to provide health guidance and assist with quarantine or isolation arrangements. Learn more about isolation and quarantine—and resources Drexel can provide—here.
Do not simply return to normal activity after 10 days. You must be cleared by our Student Health/Employee Health Contact Tracing team.
If you test positive for COVID-19, Student Health/Employee Health—in conjunction with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health—will contact you to try to identify where you may have been exposed to the infection and will work to confidentially alert additional contacts who may have been exposed. Your contacts need to know so they can monitor their health and avoid exposing other, and they may need additional resources to help them and their contacts stay safe. Contact tracers will never reveal your identity and diagnosis.
If you have been in contact with a member of the Drexel community with a confirmed case of COVID-19, a member of our contact tracing team will call you and provide instructions. If you are not vaccinated and you find out from another source that you have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19, you should also report this to Drexel—see "Reporting a COVID-19 Case or Exposure" below. If you are not vaccinated and have been exposed, you will likely be asked to quarantine for at least 7 days; if you are vaccinated, you will likely be asked to monitor your health using the Drexel Health Checker and notify Student Health or Employee Health if you experience symptoms. It is important to the health of others and our Drexel community that you answer the phone when a contact tracer calls you.
Contact tracing is vital for public health and safety. Working with the contact tracing team is a health requirement for all Drexel University employees and students. When you receive a call from 215-895-2001, please answer the phone. Failure to participate in contact tracing may result in disciplinary action by the University.
Reporting a COVID-19 Case or Exposure
It is imperative that the University is aware of any exposure risk to members of the Drexel community. Whether you are on or off campus, you must inform Drexel if you receive a positive COVID-19 test result or if you are NOT vaccinated and are notified that you have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
- If you get tested through a non-Drexel service, you can report your test results through the Drexel Health Checker app. Log into the app and tap “More” until you see the option to enter a test result. Student Health will contact you if you record a positive test result.
- If you receive a positive COVID-19 test result through one of the Drexel Testing Sites, a member of the Contact Tracing Team will follow up with you. If you do not hear from them, contact our COVID Questions hotline, 215.703.2335.
- If you were exposed to someone who tested positive, and you are not fully vaccinated, contact the Student Health Center by phone (215.220.4700) or through the Drexel Health Checker app to receive further instruction.
Faculty and staff
Unvaccinated faculty and staff should report any exposure to COVID-19, even if they are not working on campus. Faculty and professional staff who are diagnosed with COVID-19, or who are not fully vaccinated and were exposed to someone who tested positive, should contact email@example.com and provide their name and phone number. A member of our health and safety team will contact you, provide guidance and continue to monitor your symptoms until you are cleared to return to work. All faculty and staff should contact their own health care provider if they have symptoms of COVID-19.
Reporting COVID-19 safety protocol concerns and violations
If you know of a recent situation in which people in the Drexel community may have been exposed to COVID-19, especially due to a health and safety violation, please visit the Drexel Compliance Hotline site at www.drexel.ethicspoint.com and click the button under "For COVID-19 Questions or Concerns." Your report will be received and investigated by the Drexel Compliance Program Services team. You can remain anonymous and provide information that helps prevent the spread of COVID-19.
COVID-19 Testing FAQs
I feel ill and think I may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Do I use the Health Checker to schedule my test?
No. Please report your symptoms through the Health Checker and call Student Health Services at 215-220-4700 (if you are a student), or email firstname.lastname@example.org and contact your health care provider (if you are an employee), if you have symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19.
What type of COVID test will I have?
We use the nasal swab PCR test. Please visit our COVID-19 Testing page for more information concerning testing. Often, students are most comfortable performing their own test under clinical supervision at our sites. We are here to guide you concerning the most comfortable way to have your test done.
How long does the testing process take?
After you register through the App correctly, it should take no longer than 10-15 minutes to be tested at the site.
How long does it take to get test results and how are they reported?
You should receive results within 24 hours of completion of testing. You can access your test results securely through the Drexel Health Checker. In addition, all individuals tested for COVID-19 at Drexel will receive an email containing directions on how to securely access your test result. The email will come from "Drexel Diagnostic Laboratory <email@example.com>" and the subject line will be Test Result. Receiving and accessing your test result through a secure email will allow you to conveniently print your results in case you need the information for travel or other situations.
Who is required for mandatory weekly testing?
Students and employees who are not fully vaccinated are required to test weekly. Students who are not fully vaccinated and are living in Drexel Residential Housing are required to test twice a week. You will schedule a time following a prompt from the Drexel Health Checker.
If you are living in Residential Housing, you will be notified of your designated testing days. You must receive a COVID-19 test on campus on your designated testing days to remain in compliance and avoid conduct charges.
If you have been fully vaccinated, and uploaded proof of vaccination in the Drexel Health Checker, you are not required to participate in weekly testing. To provide proof of vaccination, please upload your vaccination information in the Drexel Health Checker under “More” -> “Vaccine Records.”
How often can I schedule a COVID-19 screening test?
Asymptomatic students in required or open testing programs can schedule no more than one screening test per week at this time.
Can I participate in weekly testing if I do not fall into the groups required for mandatory testing?
Yes. Regardless of vaccination status, students and employees not in mandatory testing are able to schedule regular or one-time COVID-19 testing under “Open Testing” schedules.
I live off campus and do not fit any category for mandatory weekly testing. Can I still get a screening COVID test?
Yes. Slots are set aside each day for “open testing” for students who want to be tested. These are available on a limited basis.
Do I need to pay for my COVID-19 screening test?
No—screening tests are no cost to students and employees.
What are the consequences of missing my mandatory testing?
The University views non-compliance with the mandatory testing requirement as posing a substantial risk to the health and safety of our campus community. As a result, your access to campus buildings, including your residential facility, may be turned off until you fulfill your testing requirement. Additionally, failure to comply with the testing program may result in a referral to Student Conduct and/or additional interim measures, up to and including an interim suspension from campus and immediate loss of housing. More information will soon be available regarding non-compliance with testing among unvaccinated employees.
What are the steps I need to take if I fail to schedule or show up for my required test?
If you miss your scheduled time, you may be able to still be tested on your assigned day. However, if you miss your scheduled day, you will need to schedule an appointment through the Drexel Health Checker for your assigned testing day the following week.
If I have received the COVID-19 vaccines do I still need to participate in weekly testing?
No. Fully vaccinated students, faculty, and professional staff are not required to participate in weekly testing. However, if you have symptoms of COVID-19 you must notify Drexel, and follow other isolation and quarantine protocols including testing. Per CDC guidelines, individuals who are fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine after exposure to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, unless the vaccinated person is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. However, vaccinated individuals will need to obtain COVID testing 5 days after they experience an exposure, whether they are experiencing symptoms or not.
What if I tested positive for COVID-19 in the past?
If you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days, you will be exempt from testing for 90 days from the date of your positive test. You will need to upload a copy of your positive result to the Drexel Health Checker and enter the date of your positive test.
Can my spouse be tested through Drexel’s surveillance/screening program?
No; only students and employees of Drexel University are eligible for COVID-19 screening tests.
I am having trouble scheduling a COVID-19 test. What do I do?
We are continuing to expand testing, especially at our satellite sites. You will see more availability over time. If you need to get testing and cannot, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I arrange for testing before I travel?
Students that require testing for travel, please call Student Health to arrange testing, 215-220-4700.
Drexel University expects students and employees to follow all COVID-19 policies and procedures, including all guidance from Drexel Student Health and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. Any student who does not follow these standards will be subject to charges from the Drexel Student Code of Conduct, such as Failure to Comply with sanctions up to and including ban or suspension from campus.
Updated September 8, 2021