FAQs on COVID-19 Testing

Symptomatic or Close Contact Testing

Testing helps protect the people you care about and the Mason community. Since COVID-19 can spread easily from person to person, getting tested helps to inform those who have the virus to isolate at home.

Testing also helps to identify and notify close contacts to quarantine and be tested. These actions help stop the spread of illness.

Most people who get COVID-19 are able to recover on their own at home. A positive test may not be the result you hoped for, but when preventive actions are taken, we all can do our part to protect the health of our community.

The Mason on-campus test site is open for students only at this time. Faculty and staff should contact a primary health care provider or a community testing site for testing options. The on-campus test site will open to the wider community at a later time.

Where is the on-campus COVID-19 testing site?

Beginning January 11, the testing site for those with symptoms or close contacts is in Rogers Hall (in the previous Subway location). Follow signs for access.

Physical Address: 4400 Aquia Creek Lane, Fairfax VA 22030

Building # 97 on the campus map

Do I need an appointment? How can I get one?

All tests must be scheduled. Appointments are generally scheduled within one to two days, though some same-day appointments may be available.

  • Students: Call Student Health at 703-993-2831 during normal business hours. You will be evaluated. Those who meet testing criteria will have an appointment scheduled at the Fairfax Campus testing site or you will be referred to another testing site.
  • Faculty/Staff: We will provide more information about how to schedule an appointment as it becomes available.

I don’t have a car. Can I walk to the testing site?

The testing site has both walk-up and drive-through capability. Follow signs for access.  There will be a welcome area for check-in.

What do I need to do when I get to the on-campus test site?

  • Wear a cloth face covering.
  • Follow signs for access to the correct line for drive-through or walk-up.
  • Have your Mason ID handy.
  • Be prepared to wait. Chairs will be available.
  • Have your scheduled appointment time for verification on your phone or as a print-out.

If you walk to the test site:

  • Maintain a 6 feet of distance between you and others.
  • Wait for your appointment to be called.
  • Dress appropriately for the weather.

If you drive:

  • Stay in your car.
  • Wait for your appointment to be called.

What do I need to bring?

  • Face covering.
  • Mason ID.
  • Driver’s license or state ID.
  • Phone.
  • Scheduled appointment time on your phone or as a print-out.

Students should also bring their health insurance ID card if they have health insurance coverage.

Come alone. No guests are allowed at the appointment.

Who can get tested at the on-campus site?

Mason students, faculty, and staff who meet guidelines established by the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some patients may need to be tested at a health care clinic due to medical need. If this is the case, we'll tell you during appointment scheduling.

Students: You must be experiencing symptoms or be a close contact of someone exposed to COVID-19.

Faculty/staff: You must be:

  • Experiencing symptoms or be a close contact of someone exposed to COVID-19; AND
  • Be working on-campus; AND
  • Uninsured.

Faculty and staff who do not meet these criteria will be referred to an off-campus community testing site.

Can I get tested if I don't have symptoms?

Unless you are a close contact of someone exposed to COVID-19, or are taking part in surveillance testing, you cannot be tested at the Mason testing site without symptoms. The university is using established criteria from the Virginia Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control.

I do not have health insurance. Do I have to pay for testing?

No. You should not have any out-of-pocket costs for testing when testing criteria are met. Testing criteria are that you must be experiencing symptoms or be a close contact of someone exposed to COVID-19 and be uninsured.

Can I use health insurance to pay for testing at Mason's site?

Yes, if you are a student.

You must provide this information when scheduling your appointment. Tests for students with health insurance are processed by a third-party, LabCorp.

Many insurance plans cover the costs for testing. Contact your health insurance plan before scheduling an appointment to confirm coverage and any testing costs. Student Health Services cannot guarantee coverage by your health insurance provider.

No, if you are faculty or staff.

Those with health insurance will be directed to testing through your health care provider or a community testing facility. The Virginia Department of Health has links to many local testing sites.

What is the test like?

You will receive a PCR test, which tests for active infections only.

A swab is inserted approximately .5 inch (midway) into each nostril to collect a sample of nasal secretions.  The swab is turned (rotated) several times, and left in place for 10 to 15 seconds. Then the swab is gently removed.

How and when will I get test results?

Tests are sent to independent, third-party labs for processing. Typically, you will be notified of your results within 3-10 business days, depending on demand.

  • Students: You'll get a secure message in the online patient portal or a call from Student Health Services.
  • Faculty/staff: We will provide more information about receiving test results as it becomes available.

While you're waiting, stay home and isolate or quarantine as directed by your health care provider.  Most people who get COVID-19 are able to recover on their own at home.

What if I can't get to the Fairfax Campus for testing?

If you can't get to Mason or aren't eligible for testing at the site, you will be referred to a primary care provider or a community test site.

You can also contact your local primary care provider or health department for testing locations near you. 

Ask about costs for testing and health insurance coverage. If you are tested at an off-campus site, Mason will not receive your tests results. Report positive or pending tests to Mason using our established guidelines.