Update on COVID-19 Asymptomatic Testing Program

Dear Campus Community,

Supporting the health and safety of our community is the most essential part of the university’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. We are writing today to update you on the COVID-19 asymptomatic testing program for the UMass community, which now includes free testing for all students living in the Amherst area.

The asymptomatic testing program for COVID-19, conducted at the Public Health Promotion Center (PHPC) at the Mullins Center, is designed to mitigate community spread through the early detection of infection. Unlike some earlier tests for COVID, the test is not uncomfortable and there is no charge for testing. We are writing to describe an update to the testing strategy for members of our campus community.

We have updated some of the testing protocols for members of our campus community, so please review closely:

For Students

  • Students who reside on campus are required to be tested twice a week. In addition, off-campus students coming to campus for face-to-face classes, research labs or work are also required to be tested twice a week.
  • Undergraduate students who live in the Amherst area and are not coming to campus for classes are strongly encouraged to get tested twice a week.  We ask that you take us up on this offer for free testing.
  • Graduate students who live in the Amherst area and are not coming to campus for classes are strongly encouraged to get tested weekly. These students also have the option to be tested twice a week.

Please note that the Amherst area is defined as Amherst, Hadley, Sunderland, Belchertown, Pelham, Shutesbury and Leverett.

For Faculty and Staff

  • Faculty who are teaching or conducting research on campus are required to be tested weekly.
  • Clinical faculty who are working in healthcare facilities or University Health Services staff who are providing in-person healthcare are required to be tested twice weekly.
  • Staff who regularly work on campus are required to be tested weekly.

Scheduling Your Free COVID-19 Test

To schedule your arrival testing appointment follow these steps:

  1. Visit the Campus Health Hub and select “Book an Appointment” (NOTE: If you receive a message that says: Currently you are not registered as part of the program”, click the link that says Please Fill Out This Form, then fill out the form. You may now book your appointment.) 
  2. Click “Walk-In at Mullins Center or Drive Up at Mullins Center”
  3. Choose the date and click next
  4. Select an appointment

For students getting tested twice weekly, we recommend a Monday/Thursday or Tuesday/Friday testing schedule. If you have any of the symptoms in the Daily Symptom Checklist, DO NOT come to the Public Health Promotions Center at the Mullins Center for testing. 

How to do the Daily Self-Check

The Daily Self-Check should be conducted before coming to campus or leaving a residence hall each day.

Students will access the Campus Health Hub  conduct their Daily Self-Check, and if you have a symptom of COVID-19, text SYMPTOM to 413-944-8562.

You’ll receive a link to self-schedule an appointment for symptomatic COVID-19 testing on the UHS Patient Portal. Login or create an account, click the APPTS tab, and follow instructions to schedule your appointment. When it’s time for your appointment, go to the UHS Respiratory Clinic. For more information, visit umass.edu/uhs/covid-19-testing.

 Employees will continue to use the My UMass App Daily Checklist or printed daily checklist, and if they have any of the symptoms should follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Stay home and call your supervisor
  • Step 2: Call or email the COVID-19 HR Response Team at 413-687-2283 or COVID19HR@umass.edu.

Information about the daily screening will remain private. The data is not stored on the app.

Please Note: Testing is NOT a substitute for prevention measures. Even with increased participation in the campus asymptomatic testing program, you must still continue to follow federal, state, local and university guidance around physical distancing, wearing face coverings, washing hands frequently, conducting a daily symptom checklist to report your health status, and staying home if you experience COVID-like symptoms.

In addition, we want to emphasize that on- or off-campus gatherings, such as parties, are known to be a significant source of community transmission. By declining to host or attend gatherings where social distancing is not possible, you are helping protect the most vulnerable among us. This is essential to fighting the spread of COVID-19.

 If you have any specific questions, you may direct them by email to testing@umass.edu.

We want to thank everyone for your cooperation to date in scheduling and completing COVID tests at the Public Health Promotion Center. So far, we have completed over 30,000 tests for more than 9,500 unique individuals. Testing is free, fast and critically important in our efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Your participation in the program is an essential component of our campus COVID-19 response plan. We are all in this together and appreciate your time and commitment to getting tested regularly.

Sincerely,

Co-Directors of the Public Health Promotion Center (PHPC)
Jeffrey Hescock, Executive Director of Environmental Health and Safety
Ann Becker, Public Health Director