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Testing Common Questions

These questions supplement What You Need to Know: Testing, where you can find more information.

Questions will be added and updated throughout the fall. If you can't find the answer to your question, please submit a question or email returntocampus@mail.wvu.edu.

Are nasal swab tests as accurate as the more intense tests?

Yes. These tests have been proven to be accurate while also being less invasive.

Can I quarantine in my residence hall room?

Yes, if you're asked to quarantine because you are a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19, follow these steps to quarantine in your residence hall.

How do I reschedule my COVID-19 test?

If you need to reschedule:

  • Log back into myhousing.wvu.edu.
  • Select COVID-19 Testing.
  • Select Continue.
  • Select Schedule an Appointment at the top of your confirmation page.
  • Follow the prompts to cancel and reschedule your appointment.

If you missed your appointment, please call Shared Services at 304-293-6006 for assistance. You will not be able to reschedule using the instructions above.

How is it not against HIPAA for people to be notified if someone tests positive?

Students, faculty and staff will be notified privately by the local health department if they test positive. Those identified as a close contact will be notified they have been exposed, but no personal, identifying information will be given.

WVU Student Health and WVU Medical Management are also notified of positive cases during the contact tracing process in order to aid in medical care and initiate cleaning and disinfecting processes.

How long will it take for test results to come back? How can I check them?

You should receive your test results within three to five days, depending on lab workload.

For step-by-step instructions for viewing your results, see:

Related questions:

How often will employees and students get tested?

In addition to testing symptomatic individuals across our campus, WVU is sample testing certain groups of students, faculty and staff to quickly assess and limit the potential spread of COVID-19.

Individuals who may be asked to participate in sample testing include students with in-person classes, those living in residence halls and University Apartments, those participating in athletics, those in the performing arts, specific faculty and staff populations and random samples of students and employees — regardless of whether they have a known exposure or are showing symptoms of COVID-19.

Some of these groups (e.g., student athletes, resident assistants and residence hall coordinators) may be asked to complete testing on a weekly basis based on their potential exposure to COVID-19.

Learn more about sample testing.

Faculty and staff who work on campus and would like to be tested more often can choose to schedule a COVID-19 test weekly at myhousing.wvu.edu.

Free community testing is offered each Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Student Rec Center.

How will the University force students to stay home if they're not tested but still want to use campus facilities?

When it comes to public access to facilities, we will monitor as best as we can and enforce Student Health and Safety Policies, but this is really where personal accountability comes in; we need our community to follow our guidance and not step foot on campus if they haven’t been tested for COVID-19 and received a negative result.

How, when and where will tests for COVID-19 be conducted? Will I have to pay for them? How will I learn the results?

Since WVU completed its Return to Campus testing, we have been increasingly focused on testing anyone who reports symptoms of COVID-19, students who have been identified as close contacts of positive cases, and those living in residence halls or are involved in activities that may lead to a higher risk of spread (for example, activities involving singing or instrument playing or physical contact and athletics).

The University anticipates conducting between 2,000 to 2,500 tests a week.

For more about our ongoing testing, the testing procedure and how results are communicated, see What You Need to Know: Testing.

Related questions:

I am a sufferer of allergies and sinus issues. Will that affect the test results for COVID-19?

WVU's testing providers (Quest Diagnostics and QLabs) will perform a nasal live-virus, anterior swab test, which is less invasive and results in less discomfort than sampling from other upper respiratory anatomical sites. The presence of other symptoms should not affect the test results.

I missed my COVID-19 testing appointment. How do I reschedule?

Please call Shared Services at 304-293-6006 for assistance.

I think I was exposed; can I request a test?

Check What to Do If: You May Have Been Exposed to COVID-19 for guidance.

I was tested for COVID-19 and haven't received my results within 5 days. What do I do?

Quest Diagnostics

Quest Diagnostics provides testing for WVU Morgantown students. For assistance accessing results from Quest Diagnostics, please contact Shared Services at 304-293-6006 or SharedServices@mail.wvu.edu.

Customer care agents will be available:

  • Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

QLabs

QLabs provides testing for WVU Morgantown employees. If you're trying to access results from QLabs, we ask that you attempt to use the Qlabs website for testing results in an alternate web browser, and double-check that you are entering the number correctly, with QL at the beginning of the number. If you still cannot access your results, please call WVU Medicine Student Health at 304-285-7200.

I've already had COVID-19 and recovered. Am I now immune to the virus? What if I still test positive or exhibit new symptoms?

At this time, we do not know if someone can be re-infected with COVID-19. Data to date show that a person who has had and recovered from COVID-19 may have low levels of virus in their bodies for up to 3 months after diagnosis. This means that if you have recovered from COVID-19 and are retested within 3 months of initial infection, you may continue to have a positive test result, even though you may not be spreading COVID-19.

People who have tested positive for COVID-19 do not need to quarantine or get tested again for up to 3 months as long as they do not develop symptoms again. People who develop symptoms again within 3 months of their first bout of COVID-19 may need to be tested again if there is no other cause identified for their symptoms.

Until we know more, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all people, whether or not they have had COVID-19, continue to take safety measures to avoid becoming infected with COVID-19 such as wearing a mask, washing hands regularly and staying at least 6 feet away from others whenever possible.

If I’m completely online and don’t plan to be on campus ever, do I need to take the COVID-19 test? And if not, how can I be sure I won’t be charged the $250 fee?

No, you will not be required to take a COVID-19 test if you won’t be on-campus this fall. You will not receive a $250 fee if you are not required to take a test and do not take one. However, we are recommending that all WVU students who will be in Morgantown should take advantage of the free COVID-19 testing to help minimize community spread within Monongalia County. If you are charged a $250 fee inappropriately, please contact Shared Services at 304-293-6006.

If my class schedule is all online but I plan to work on/hang out on campus, do I need to get tested?

Yes, anyone who plans to be on campus this fall in any capacity is required to be tested for COVID-19 and receive a negative result prior to physically being on campus.

If one student in a class tests positive, will all students in the class have to quarantine?

Only those who have been within close contact of a person who tests positive will be asked to quarantine. A close contact includes:

  • Having been within 6 feet of someone diagnosed with COVID-19 for a period of at least 15 minutes in any environment, regardless of the use of face coverings or masks; or,
  • Living in the same household as a person with COVID-19
  • Caring for a sick person with COVID-19
  • Being in direct contact with secretions from a person with COVID-19 (e.g., being coughed on, kissing, sharing utensils, etc.)

Related questions:

Is it true that if you have a common cold or very recently had a cold that you can test positive for COVID-19?

The CDC says there is a chance that antibody testing may produce a positive result if you have antibodies from another virus from the coronavirus family, such as the common cold. Some milder coronaviruses can cause illnesses like the common cold, while others cause more severe illnesses like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

The COVID-19 viral test (which will be used to test WVU faculty, staff and students) tells patients whether they have a current infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

What are the chances that a test could result in a false positive?

False positives are rare. The test only indicates infection at the time of testing. Students, faculty and staff will be asked to monitor conditions and consult with Student Health or their provider if they develop symptoms.

What are the University's overall COVID-19 test results?

We're providing updated WVU System test results every weekday.

What consequences do faculty and staff face if they do not get tested and complete the education module within the established deadlines?

Faculty and staff will be subject to disciplinary actions until they get tested and complete the education module. These actions include (but are not limited to) being placed on an administrative leave without pay and/or being placed on administrative leave while using annual leave.

What consequences do students face if they do not get tested and complete the education module within the established deadlines?

Students will be subject to a $250 fine and may face disciplinary actions in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct. Students will have an opportunity to provide information about any extenuating circumstances that may apply. Consequences will be based on the specifics of each student’s situation and may include but are not limited to: increased education on public health risks, written warning, removal from class, probation, suspension and/or expulsion from the University. Please review the Student Health and Safety Policies for more about initial and subsequent testing requirements.

What does “nasal live-virus” mean?

This means that the sample to be tested will be collected from your nose. WVU's testing providers (Quest Diagnostics and QLabs) will perform a nasal live-virus, anterior swab test, which is less invasive and results in less discomfort than sampling from other upper respiratory anatomical sites. Your test result will indicate that at the time of testing, you were either positive or negative for COVID-19. More information can be found on the CDC Testing site.

What happens if a student or employee tests positive for COVID-19?

Students, faculty and staff with a positive test result will be notified by the local health department.

Morgantown students, faculty and staff with a positive test result will also be notified by the Student Health Services clinic. Students can refer to our What to Do If ... pages for more about what to expect. Representatives from the local health department will conduct a case investigation for all positive cases and initiate contact tracing.

The University will assist with contact tracing and also work with local health departments to determine if there is a need to decontaminate a specific facility or implement any additional mitigation measures.

Testing information regarding patients is regulated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guidelines and will be kept confidential.

What is the current rate of hospitalization for students?

Hospitalization rates of our students who have tested positive are low at this time; however, there have been numerous research studies that show there are potential long-term effects — particularly to the heart — for those that have COVID-19. It's also important to note that we are seeing more symptomatic students and some have been evaluated in the emergency room and do have more severe symptoms. It's important, for the safety of our students and community now and in the future, that we take measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 to others. The University continues to have a firm commitment to prevent hospitalizations. We must consider that some of our campus community, including students, may be at higher risk due to pre-existing conditions, as well.

What protocols should faculty, staff and students follow while waiting for test results?

You should quarantine until you receive your test results. Wear a mask and avoid contact with others to the furthest extent possible. You should not be on campus for class or work.

What should employees expect after testing positive for COVID-19?

Employees will be contacted by their local health department and will be instructed to isolate. They will be encouraged to contact their primary care provider for additional care information.

What should students expect after testing positive for COVID-19?

WVU Student Health and Student Life will work with the student to ensure they follow proper isolation protocols. Students living in residence halls who test positive will be moved to newly renovated Arnold Apartments for isolation. Check these step-by-step guides for detailed information about what to do if:

Where should I go if I want to be tested?

Free community testing is offered every Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Student Rec Center. No appointment is necessary. For more, see Testing: Students or Testing: Employees.

Other free testing opportunities are available through West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources partnerships. To learn more about upcoming testing opportunities, visit the Free COVID-19 Testing site.

If you're experiencing symptoms or think you've been exposed to COVID-19 ... Students should contact WVU Student Health or contact your primary healthcare provider. Employees should contact WVU Medicine or your primary healthcare provider.

Why do I need to be tested when I arrive on campus?

It's important that WVU establishes a baseline of disease prevalence on campus. The best way to do this is testing when students, staff and faculty return to campus. This will allow the University to monitor trends throughout the year as testing continues.

Why were some students asked to be testers?

The University has provided WVU's health professions students with an opportunity to participate in a community service project to work alongside experienced medical personnel to collect anterior nasal swab specimen for COVID-19 testing in exchange for community service hours. This is a voluntary opportunity for students to gain community experience in the healthcare field. Volunteers will be outfitted in full PPE at N95 mask level, trained on technique and fit tested for mask use prior to duty days. They will be supervised by trained, medical professionals.

Will COVID-19 testing be free?

Yes, the COVID-19 test is free.

If you need to have symptoms evaluated by a physician, the physician visit will be billed to your insurance.

Will testing be free for temporary employees?

Yes. Testing will be free for all employees who will be working on campus.

Will the University test new hires for COVID-19 as they come on board?

Any new hires who will be working on campus, including those working in a hybrid capacity, will be required to complete a COVID-19 test.

With recent COVID-19 test shortages being reported, how can WVU ensure that they will have enough tests for students, faculty and staff?

The University’s testing partners (Quest Diagnostics and QLabs) have contractual agreements with WVU that were procured at the beginning of the summer. We have secured the number of tests needed to serve students, faculty and staff as they return to campus this fall and to provide ongoing testing throughout the semester.