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?

Mason is moving to a saliva test to increase our testing capacity from 1,000 tests per week to a goal of 10,000 per week by March. Samples will be analyzed at SciTech at the College of Science’s Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine CAP/CLIA certified laboratories.

When will I receive my results?

Turnaround time for results should be an average of 2 business days or less.

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.

Where is the sampling conducted?

We are expanding to five testing sites for random, surveillance testing across our campuses:

  • The former first floor library in the Johnson Center for testing of residential students, non-residential students, faculty and staff.
  • Merten Hall, Room 1204 for testing non-residential students, faculty and staff.
  • The former MIX space in Fenwick Library for testing residential students.
  • In Arlington, Van Metre Hall, Room 308 for testing non-residential students, faculty and staff. Testing will be conducted on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
  • At SciTech, Randall’s Café in Colgan Hall for testing residential and non-residential students, faculty and staff. Testing will be conducted on Mondays and Thursdays.

Surveillance testing for the Athletics department will remain in the Field House on the Fairfax Campus. The Ángel Cabrera Global Center parking garage will no longer be used for testing.

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?