George Mason University


FAQs: Asymptomatic Surveillance Testing

Mason will randomly select members of the community to request that they participate in testing to help discover and track possible cases of COVID-19 spreading via carriers who display no symptoms.

If you participate in surveillance testing, there is an option in the Mason COVID Health✓™ check to indicate that the test was taken for surveillance purposes, meaning you will not get a yellow response limiting your access to campus. You should still get a green response allowing you to come to campus. 

How is the test is administered?

The testing is conducted via drive-through (employees and non-residential students) or walk-up for students who live on campus. The test is administered through nasal swabbing. You may temporarily experience slight nasal discomfort or bleeding from the nose.  

When will I receive my results?

Your sample will be sent to a certified laboratory for testing. Results are usually available within a few business days. Your test results and instructions, should you be positive for COVID-19, will be sent to you directly by test site staff. 

Who is included in the selection process?

All students in face-to-face classes, residential students, and those who answer “yes” in the Mason COVID Health Check✓™ when asked if they are returning to campus.  Selections are made based on a risk stratification and randomized selection process developed by faculty at the Volgenau School of Engineering and the College of Health and Human Services

How will I know if I'm selected?

You'll receive an email from the Safety, Emergency, & Enterprise Risk Management and Student Health Services team that is managing the on-site sampling.

When and where is the sampling conducted?

The sampling is conducted via appointment only, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., on the Fairfax Campus in the covered garage area of the Ángel Cabrera Global Center. 

Will I need to pay for the test?

No, the test is free.

I received a yellow or red response to my Mason COVID Health✓™ check, or I have symptoms of COVID. Should I still schedule a test?

No. Follow the instructions in the email response you received. If you have symptoms, please call Student Health Services at 703-993-2831, or your primary care provider, for an evaluation.  

I received a COVID-19 test recently. Should I still schedule a test?

If you had a test within the past 14 days because you are symptomatic or a close contact of a someone who was positive and your results are pending, don't come to campus. Follow instructions from your health care provider. 

If you had a test within the past 14 days that was negative, you are encouraged to participate, as your results may have changed since you were previously tested, even if it was only a short time ago. 

If you had a non-diagnostic test (for surveillance purposes) within the past 14 days and have not yet received results but have been selected again for surveillance testing at Mason, you may opt out of the test or you may opt in to get another test.

However, if you are a residential student, you should contact Housing and Residence Life. The randomized process for selecting individuals for surveillance testing means you may be selected more than once, including in back-to-back weeks.

I had a positive COVID-19 test within the last 3 months, and have already been cleared by my provider. Should I still schedule a test?

No, you should not schedule a test if you've tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 3 months. Please ensure you have been cleared by your health care provider before coming back to campus.

Residential students who have a documented positive COVID-19 test result in the last 3 months should request a medical exemption. Documentation will be required.

Call Student Health Services at 703-993-2831 if you have any questions. 

Could I be asked to participate in surveillance testing more than once?

Yes. Because the sampling is randomized, you may be selected more than once over the semester. Participation is mandatory for residential students, and voluntary for other members of the community.  You do not need to respond if you decline testing. 

I still have questions or need to reschedule my appointment. Who can I contact?
Covid testing through a car window

Mason employees and non-residential students will be tested via drive-through in the covered garage of the Ángel Cabrera Global Center on the Fairfax Campus. Residential students can walk to the site.