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.
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. While there is no single, accepted testing strategy for institutions of higher education, there is consensus that testing programs can play an important role in reducing the risk of COVID-19. Please continue to check this website as we update our testing policy. If you have questions about COVID-19 testing that aren't answered here, please call the COVID Questions line at 215-703-2335 or email COVIDtesting@drexel.edu.
Starting in January, Drexel will require screening COVID-19 testing of asymptomatic, on-campus students on a regular basis, as well as testing for those students and faculty/staff in Phase I-IV at the start of term. You'll 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 will be able to schedule their test through the web-based version of the Health Checker.
- All students 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 testing at the start of the winter quarter/spring semester, followed by weekly surveillance testing starting the week of January 25. You will be assigned a designated testing day, and schedule a time each week during your designated day following a prompt from the Drexel Health Tracker. For those moving in, COVID-19 testing will be required prior to receiving your room key.
- 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.
- Drexel employees in return Phases I-IV must receive testing at the start of the winter quarter/spring semester; employees in Phases I-IV will also have the opportunity to be tested every other week throughout the winter term, once baseline testing is complete.
- Drexel students living off-campus and only taking remote classes can also schedule a COVID-19 test Monday through Friday, even if they are without any symptoms and feel well. This is especially encouraged for students with three or more roommates. If you are an asymptomatic Drexel student, you can schedule your COVID-19 test through the Drexel Health Checker app. You will be asked for information required by the local health department. 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. All test results received outside of Drexel Student Health must reported through the Health Checker App.
- Testing at Drexel for asymptomatic/non-exposed Drexel community members in the groups above will be available at the following locations:
- Race Hall Learning Terrace (3300 Race Street)
- Queen Lane Satellite (2900 W Queen Lane, Classroom C9)
- New College Building (245 N 15th Street, Room 1103)
- We encourage ill or exposed Drexel students to take advantage of testing available through Student Health. Currently, all symptomatic students and those known to have been exposed to an infected individual are urged to call Student Health at 215.220.4700 immediately to be assessed. Appointments are made for testing as deemed appropriate. Testing for symptomatic or exposed students takes place at the Student Health Center, 3401 Market Street.
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 monitor symptoms daily using the Drexel Health Checker.
If you are an on-campus student or return phase I-IV employee:
You must download the Drexel Health Checker app. If you are a student, you will be notified about your designated testing day. You can schedule your weekly COVID-19 test through the app (see below, "How to Schedule a Test"). Students and employees without smartphones will be able to schedule their test through the web-based version of the Health Checker.
If you have symptoms AND have had a COVID-19 exposure:
Start isolation now, and schedule a test 24–48 hrs after 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 have symptoms but do NOT have a known COVID-19 exposure:
Start isolation now, and schedule a test 24–48 hours after 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 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 a student with no symptoms and no known exposures and are not participating in routine surveillance testing, you can still schedule a test on Mondays and Wednesdays (see above, Who can get a COVID-19 test at Drexel?). If you have multiple roommates and/or share communal spaces (like a bathroom), we recommend you get tested periodically.
- 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 and Student Health we perform nasal PCR testing. A PCR test using a nasal swab currently has fewer false negative results than many other diagnostic tests.
All COVID-19 testing on campus will take place at Student Health Services, 3401 Market Street (symptomatic or exposed students), and three main Philadelphia locations for screening testing of asymptomatic students and employees: 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. Drexel students tested through our Drexel screening testing sites (Race Hall, Queen Lane Satellite, Center City Satellite) conveniently receive their results through a HIPAA-secure portal in the Drexel Health Checker app. To view your results, go to “MORE” and select “Test Results”. Students tested through Student Health at Drexel will receive their results through their MyTowerHealth patient portal. For questions regarding test results, contact 215-703-2335 or email COVIDtesting@drexel.edu.
Starting in January 2021, the app will be used as part of all COVID-19 screening testing at Drexel. In preparation for enhanced COVID-19 student and employee surveillance testing, 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 app. If they do 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 were tested through the Student Health Center (3401 Market Street) and have not received your results within two days, please call the Student Health Center at 215.220.4700.
If you get tested through a non-Drexel service, you should 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.
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 COVID-19 safety precautions, like mask-wearing and social distancing.
If you are a student or employee who has had a COVID-19 exposure, 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 app 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 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 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. Student Health 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 Contact Tracing team.
If you test positive for COVID-19, Student 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 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. Depending on your exposure, you will likely be asked to quarantine for at least 7 days or simply to monitor your health using the Drexel Health Checker and notify Student 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 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 the Drexel Testing Site at Race Hall, 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, and a team member from the testing site will call you with your results and further instructions.
- If you receive a positive COVID-19 test result through the Student Health Center at Drexel, a medical provider will reach out with your test result and further instructions. If you do not receive results within two days of testing, please call Student Health 215.220.4700.
- If you were exposed to someone who tested positive, contact the Student Health Center by phone (215.220.4700) or through the Drexel Health Checker app to receive further instruction.
Faculty and staff
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 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 App to schedule my test?
No. Please report your symptoms through the App and call Student Health Services at 215-220-4700. if you are unwell or have been exposed to COVID-19. You must be seen by Student Health for evaluation and testing.
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?
Results should appear in your Drexel Health Checker App within 24 hours of completion of testing.
How will I get my results?
Employees who get testing outside of Drexel will need to provide documentation of their test result to WorkNet in order to return to work.
Students who have testing via the Student Health Center will usually receive their results via the Drexel Health Checker. To view your results, go to “MORE” and select “Test Results”.
If you didn't schedule your test through the Health Checker app, you will receive your results via email. Students who have testing done outside of Drexel Student Health will need to provide documentation of their test result to Student Health before they are cleared for campus activities.
Who is required for mandatory weekly testing?
Students living in Residential Housing (dorms), ACC and API properties and graduate and undergraduate students in face-to-face classes are required to complete mandatory weekly testing.
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, students not in mandatory testing are able to schedule weekly 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.
Failure to comply with weekly testing will result in disciplinary action as follows*:
- 1st missed test: An admonishment letter will be emailed to your Drexel email account. This letter serves as your first notice of non-compliance and will remain in your disciplinary file.
- 2nd missed test: A registration hold will be placed on your student account.
- 3rd missed test: Reported to Student Conduct for further disciplinary action.
*Note: This refers to the number of tests missed overall, not consecutively.
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 you 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?
Yes, you will still be required to participate in mandatory weekly testing.
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.
Drexel University expects students to follow all COVID-19 policies and procedures, including (but not limited to) those outlined in the Dragon Pledge as well as 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 January 11, 2020