A mandatory student testing program begins at Texas A&M on March 23, which is meant to quickly isolate students, slow the spread, and increase our odds for in-person events, graduation ceremonies, The Big Event, and other student activities.

Students required to get a COVID-19 test include:

  • Students living on campus -> should test 3/23-25
  • Student employees working on campus -> should test 3/25-29
  • Students in courses which are only offered in-person -> should test 3/29-4/2

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is testing required for students living on campus?

  • The goal of widespread testing is to identify as many individuals as possible who have COVID-19 or who are carrying SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes it. Students who test positive can then isolate, which prevents them from spreading the virus to others. This ultimately reduces the disruption to campus and potential spread within the community; it will not capture everyone who is or will become infected throughout the spring.
  • Students who know their own infection status can take important steps to prevent passing the virus on to others.
  • A large proportion of coronavirus infections occur in people who do not feel sick (either because they have only mild symptoms akin to allergies, because they will never develop symptoms, or because they just haven’t felt sick yet). However, people without symptoms can still spread the virus. Since people who don’t feel sick are less likely to go get tested, widespread campus testing encourages everyone to test and find out their current infection status, whether or not they feel sick.
  • After each holiday and break we have experienced a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases both locally and nationally. Since some Texans may not be utilizing masks as an effective barrier against SARS-CoV-2 as diligently as before, experts expect an increase in infections to follow the St. Patrick’s day holiday.
  • COVID-19 is an infectious disease, and a laboratory test only tells you about infection at that moment. A negative test in the past does not imply that you will not get COVID-19 in the future. Widespread campus testing reminds and encourages everyone to test and find out their current infection status, whether or not they feel sick.
  • Testing helps to ‘flatten the curve’ so that important resources, like hospital beds and access to EMS, nurses, and doctors, can continue. The number of COVID-19 cases remain at an all-time between-surge high and are anticipated to rise. We can blunt the surge through early detection and management of cases.

Do I need to register?

  • Yes. Every student who is either required to test or who elects to test must complete the online process at a current COVID-19 Health Survey:
    • Be sure to complete the Health Survey before arriving at the test site,
    • Access your Health Survey link through the link provided in your Howdy portal.
    • If you have not participated in the Texas A&M Student Testing Program in the past, you will also complete your Registration Form.
    • The whole process takes less than 10 minutes.
    • Come hydrated!
  • Your unique and individualized link to your secure portal is available through your Howdy portal.

Why are tests required if I don’t have any symptoms?

  • A large percentage of people infected with coronavirus do not feel sick, especially young adults. In part, this is because:
    • Most people have only mild symptoms (often confused with allergies or a ‘hangover’),
    • Approximately 20-50% of people who are infected don’t ever feel sick, some remaining complete asymptomatic, even though they can pass the virus on to others, and
    • Every infection begins without symptoms, usually for about the first 3-5 days. Even if an infected person doesn’t feel sick yet, virus is available to be spread, and scientists think most transmission occurs during this stage.
  • People who have the virus but don’t feel sick still spread virus. Since people who don’t feel sick are less likely to go get tested, widespread campus testing encourages everyone to test and find out their current infection status, whether or not they feel sick.
  • Proactive testing and isolation reduces the overall number of people with COVID-19 and limits spread in our community, which alleviates burden on area hospitals, helping to ensure that everyone can access essential resources and services.
  • People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms, and it can take 2-14 days for symptoms to even start showing. Often, symptoms of COVID-19 may be similar to other respiratory and non-respiratory conditions. Texas A&M students have reported feeling the following during the initial stage of COVID-19:
    • seasonal allergies (for example: congestion, runny nose, headache, scratchy or sore throat)
    • migraine headache
    • ‘hangover’
    • ‘overdoing it’
  • Many individuals do not have any symptoms at all. This means that people can be infected with the virus and not even know it and could be spreading it to others without realizing. A COVID-19 test is the only way to find out if someone has been infected with the virus.
  • Keep in mind that the symptom list is diverse, and symptoms may be mild. If these symptoms have a sudden onset or manifest to a degree that is not normal for you at the time, you might have COVID-19 and should be tested.
  • Most people (especially young adults), have mild symptoms. However some (even young adults) experience severe illness, will end up hospitalized, and some will not recover. When a high number of infections occur, a high number of hospitalizations and deaths is expected to follow.
  • Timely testing allows for cases to be quickly identified and isolated (even those who are asymptomatic) and facilitates contact tracing to effectively reduce the amount and the spread of virus on campus. This enhances the health and wellbeing of all and helps us have a greater chance of being able to finish the spring semester with in-person activities.

What happens if I don’t want to get tested?

  • All on-campus residents, student employees, and students who are enrolled in a course requiring face-to-face engagement are required to test during the designated testing window during March 23-Apr 2.
  • Failure to comply may result in disciplinary action.

I do not live on campus. Can I still get a test?

  • Yes. Texas A&M strongly encourages every student, faculty, staff, and contract worker to test frequently (e.g. weekly voluntary testing).
  • You will use the same registration process and all the same testing sites.

I am not a student. Can I still get a test?

  • All faculty, staff, students, and contracted workers at Texas A&M in Bryan-College Station are eligible and encouraged to test frequently and may access free testing at any of the Texas A&M Test sites.
  • Members of the public are not eligible for the Texas A&M Test.

Am I required to take my test on campus?

  • Yes. You are required to take the Texas A&M Test, which will be offered for free in several locations.
    • No appointments are required, and you can walk up to a testing site anytime during testing hours.
    • Be sure to complete the required COVID-19 Testing Program Health Survey before arriving at the test site,
    • Access your testing online form through the link provided in your Howdy portal.
    • The whole process takes less than 10 minutes.
    • Come hydrated!
  • If you are already isolating, do not leave isolation to take a test.
  • If you are already sick, have signs of COVID-19, think you might have COVID-19, or have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, get your test at a campus Curative kiosk or the A.P. Beutel clinic.

What if I am out of the B/CS area right now and will not be returning until after April 2?

You will need to get tested at one of the TAMU testing sites within 48-hours of returning to campus.

What is the Texas A&M Test?

  • The Texas A&M Test is a COVID-19 PCR test that analyzes your saliva for the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19. A PCR test is the gold-standard test for detecting the presence of the virus.
  • A confirmatory test will be conducted if you test positive on the Texas A&M Test, since it is not a diagnostic test for COVID-19 and has not been authorized or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Information on this process is provided in your Testing Portal when you complete your online Health Survey.

I have already tested positive for COVID-19. Do I still need to test?

  • If you tested positive prior to January 1, you are required to take a COVID-19 test during your testing window of March 23-April 2.
  • If you tested positive (by PCR or Antigen test) on or after January 1, 2021, you may be exempted from testing, as long as you comply with the following.
    • You must still complete your Health Survey online and Report or upload your test results, as follows.
    • You must have a laboratory report form or medical record documenting a PCR test or Antigen test with a positive result since January 1, 2021.
    • Acceptable documentation is a copy of the laboratory report form that includes the date the specimen was collected, the result, your name & date of birth, the specimen ID, and the name, phone number, and contact information for the test provider for verification purposes.
    • If you received a positive test result from a Texas A&M Test (saliva test) since Jan 1, 2021, you simply need to report this when you complete your Health Survey during your Spring testing window.
    • If you tested at any location other than the Texas A&M Test (saliva test), you must report and upload your test results into your Health Survey.
    • If you previously uploaded your qualifying positive test result to the Texas A&M Student Testing Program, such as during a prior testing BLITZ, you must complete your Health Survey but you do not need to re-upload your test result.
    • If you do not have a copy of your results, you are always entitled to a copy of your results or medical record. You may always contact your healthcare provider, testing site, or laboratory for a copy.
  • The CDC has recommended that reinfection during the first 90 days is uncommon in individuals who test positive and then recover. However, this information evolves as more is learned about the virus, immunity, and variant strains of the virus. For more information, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/duration-isolation.html.
  • Everyone is encouraged and allowed to test, even if not required to do so at this time.
  • If you have recently tested positive (i.e. <10 days) or are currently isolating, do not leave isolation to take a test.

What documentation is required to show proof that I have met the testing requirement?

  • Students who test using the Texas A&M Test (saliva test) during the designated testing window will automatically meet the testing requirement, will receive results through their testing portal, and do not need to upload saliva test results.
  • Students who test at Curative or Beutel must
    • Complete the Health Survey and
    • Report & Upload test documentation into the COVID-19 Testing Program portal
  • Tests from off-campus providers will not be accepted.
  • Antigen test results will not be accepted.
  • Even if you have tested negative recently or anytime in the past, you must test during the testing window of March 23-April 2.
  • COVID-19 is an infectious disease, and a negative test in the past does not imply that you will not be infected in the future.

What documentation is required to show proof that I have already had COVID-19?

  • If you have received a qualifying positive test result since Jan 1, 2021, you are still required to register, complete your Health Survey and indicate you have previously tested positive.
  • If you have received a qualifying positive test result since Jan 1, 2021, you are permitted to exempt from testing, as long as
    • You have a laboratory report form or medical record documenting a PCR test or Antigen test with a positive result since January 1, 2021.
    • Acceptable proof is a copy of the laboratory report form; not a screenshot of an email or a forward of an email.
    • Acceptable documentation includes the date the specimen was collected, the result, your name & date of birth, the specimen ID, and the name, phone number, and contact information for the test provider for verification purposes.
  • If you received a positive test result from a Texas A&M Test (saliva test) since Jan 1, 2021, you simply need to report this when you complete your Health Survey during your Spring testing window.
  • If you have already reported your qualifying positive test result to the Texas A&M Student Testing Program, you simply need to report that you have done so when you complete your Health Survey during your Spring testing window.

Can I get an antibody test to prove I’ve already had COVID-19 and be exemptd from testing?

  • No. Proof of a prior positive COVID-19 test (PCR test or Antigen test) since January 1, 2021, will be accepted as the only exemption to the Spring testing event.
  • No. An antibody test result is not accepted, since it does not provide information about when you may have had the virus.

Who will see and have access to the information I upload to the COVID-19 reporting portal?

  • The link you receive to the COVID-19 Testing Program portal is unique to you, and you should not share it with others. If you share your link, you will be giving others access to your testing record and portal information.
  • The portal is managed by Texas A&M and is compliant with security policies.
  • Only authorized personnel with a legitimate business need will be allowed to access the documentation. Authorized personnel include the Department of Residence Life, Human Resources, and the COVID-19 Operations Center at Texas A&M.

Who do I contact if I have issues uploading information to the COVID-19 reporting portal, or if I have other questions about testing or the portal?

  • Instructions about the Texas A&M Test, what to do once you receive your test result, and instructions on where/when to find your test results are provided in your Testing portal when you complete your online Health Survey.
  • If you cannot find your answer here, you may send an email to covidtest@tamu.edu.

What if I am a student employee and I live on campus? When should I get tested? Do I have to get tested twice?

  • You do not need to test twice during the return to campus testing period.
  • If you fall into multiple groups that are required to test, you should test at the first opportunity. In other words, test during the earliest testing window that applies to you.

Do I have to test if I have been vaccinated for COVID-19?

  • Individuals who have been vaccinated can still become infected with COVID-19 and can still spread the virus.
  • You will have the opportunity to report your vaccination status during your Health Survey.

I haven’t received my test results. Where can I find them?

  • Instructions about the Texas A&M Test, what to do once you receive your test result, and instructions on where/when to find your test results are provided in your Testing portal when you complete your online Health Survey.
  • If you take the Texas A&M Test,
    • your result should be available within the first 1-2 business days;
    • your result will be accessible within your Testing Portal as soon as it is ready;
    • a notification will be provided to your email address once the result is available in your record.

If test positive but later test negative, does that mean my positive result was a ‘false positive’?

  • Since COVID-19 is an infectious disease, and infection is only over a short period of time – usually 5-10 days, it is perfectly normal to have a negative test result and a positive test result within a few days of each other.
  • A PCR test will detect when there is enough virus that the test will be able to find and replicate the coronavirus RNA. Sometimes when you have very little virus (early in your infection or later when you are recovering) the test result will be negative simply because there is only a small amount of virus (too little virus for the test to pick it up).
  • Everyone can expect to test negative at within the first day of being exposed or infected. If you have been part of contact tracing, you are urged to test on approximately day 5, instead of rushing out for your test right away, so that your test has the right opportunity to detect if virus is actually present.
  • Everyone can expect to test negative at some point after their infection, although the number of days that a person will test positive is specific to each individual.
  • You can learn more about the virologic and immunologic aspects of coronavirus infection here.