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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

COVID-19 Testing at Drexel

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 at the start of term. Housing and Residence Life will provide details of when to schedule your test.

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.

Who can get a COVID-19 test at Drexel?

  • All unvaccinated students (including those granted medical or religious exemptions) living in Drexel-affiliated housing or buildings connected to campus properties regardless of the operator, or who work in research labs or take face-to-face classes, including simulation labs, must undergo weekly surveillance testing. You will schedule a time each week following a prompt from the Drexel Health Checker. If you are living in Residential Housing and are not fully vaccinated, you must test on campus twice a week. You will be assigned testing days. You must receive a COVID-19 test on your designated testing days to remain in compliance and avoid conduct charges.
    • Unvaccinated, on-campus employees—faculty, professional staff, and post-docs—will also be enrolled in weekly testing.
    • If you have been fully vaccinated, and provided proof of vaccination to Drexel, you are not required to participate in weekly testing. To provide proof of vaccination, please upload your vaccination information in the Drexel Health Checker.
    • Students in co-op or special programs with remote or away clinical rotations will receive guidance and expectations for testing from their respective colleges and schools.
    • All Drexel students and employees, regardless of vaccination status, can schedule a COVID-19 test through the Drexel Health Checker. You will be asked for information required by the local health department. Walk-in hours are also available at Race Hall for symptomatic or exposed individuals. If you have a COVID exposure, you should check in with Student Health (215.220.4700) to know when testing is most appropriate.

    Individuals with previous COVID-19 infection will not be eligible to complete surveillance testing for 3 months after their positive test.

    Where to get a COVID test at Drexel

    Drexel University administers COVID-19 testing at the following locations and times.

    Race Hall Learning Terrace
    3300 Race Street
    Monday–Friday: 9 am–5 pm
    Wednesday walk-in hours: 5 pm–7:30 pm

    Queen Lane
    2900 W Queen Lane, Classroom C8
    Wednesday: 9 am–5 pm
    Friday: 9 am–1 pm
    (Days and hours subject to change by month)

    New College Building
    245 N 15th Street, Room 1103
    Tuesday: 1 pm–6:30 pm
    Thursday: 11 am–5 pm

    If there are no appointments available at any of our testing sites, there are other locations around Philadelphia where you can obtain testing: Philadelphia COVID testing sites. Test results received outside of Drexel Student Health must reported through the Health Checker App.

    Email contacttracing@drexel.edu with questions or concerns.

    When to schedule a test

    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 (regardless of exposure or vaccination status):

    Isolate yourself, report symptoms through the Health Checker, and schedule a test within 24 hours. Employees/staff members should also email COVID19health@drexel.edu to notify Drexel.

    If you have a known COVID-19 exposure but have NO symptoms:

    • If you're fully vaccinated: Return to normal activity (remember to wear a mask around others!) but schedule a test on day 5 after your last exposure.
    • If you’re not fully vaccinated: Quarantine for the first 5 days after last exposure and monitor for symptoms. Schedule a test on day 5.

    For more, see What to Do if You Feel Sick. Students should notify Student Health (215.220.4700) 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.

    How to Schedule a Test

    1. Download or log into the Drexel Health Checker app.
    2. To schedule a testing appointment, select the Calendar button.
    3. Select the date you want and then press the “Schedule” button.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.

    Testing: What to expect

    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.

    Receiving testing results

    You should receive your test results within 24-48 hours. All students and employees who test through Drexel COVID testing sites will receive notification of test results through the Drexel Health Checker app (go to “MORE” and select “Test Results”), as well as an email notification that results are available. The email notification will request more information from you to enable you to access your confidential test result on your computer or phone. For questions regarding test results, contact 215.703.2335 or email COVIDtesting@drexel.edu.

    Drexel Health Tracker 'Test Results' panel

    In order to easily schedule tests and receive results, please make sure you have downloaded the app.

    If you have not received your test result within 24-48 hours of getting tested, please reach out to us at 215.703.2335. No news does not mean good news.

    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

    If you test negative

    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 5 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 be able to return to class/work. However, you must continue to actively monitor for symptoms via the Drexel Health Checker and always wear a mask around other people for a full 10 days after exposure. If you are fully vaccinated, you do not need to quarantine, but should get tested 5 days after exposure, wear a mask for 10 days, 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, separate yourself 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.

    If you test positive

    A positive COVID-19 test result means the test found detectable levels of genetic material from the SARS-CoV-2 virus (which causes COVID-19) in the sample you provided. If you test positive, even if you are vaccinated and have no symptoms, you will need to enter isolation for at least 5 days from the date of your positive test. You can have COVID-19, and possibly spread it to others, without ever showing symptoms. Drexel contact tracing will notify you when you can return to class/work.

    You should notify Drexel of a positive test result by emailing covidtracing@drexel.edu (if you are a student) or covid19health@drexel.edu (if you are a Drexel employee). 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 students 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.

    In most cases, you will be allowed to leave isolation and return to campus if you do not have symptoms after 5 days of isolation; if you do have symptoms on day 5, you will likely be asked to isolate for another 5 days. In all cases, you must be cleared by our Student Health/Employee Health Contact Tracing team before returning to campus activities.

    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, separate yourself from others, and plan to get tested again (see above under “When to Schedule a Test.")

    Contact Tracing

    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 5 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.

    Students

    • 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. In addition, please email covidtracing@drexel.edu to report your 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 covid19health@drexel.edu 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 covid19health@drexel.edu and contact your health care provider (if you are an employee), if you have symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19. For more, see What to Do if You Feel Sick.

    Who is required for mandatory weekly testing?

    Students and employees who are not fully vaccinated are required to test weekly. 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 day 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.”

      Can I still get tested if I do not fall into a mandatory testing group?

      Yes. Regardless of vaccination status, students and employees not in mandatory testing are still able to schedule regular or one-time COVID-19 testing under “Open Testing” schedules. You can schedule a test through the Drexel Health Checker--see our testing locations and times here.

      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.

      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 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.

      Do I need to pay for my COVID-19 screening test?

      No—screening tests are no cost to students and employees.

      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 covidtesting@drexel.edu.

      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. For more on COVID-19 and travel view Drexel's COVID-19 Essential Travel Guidance page.

      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 March 9, 2022