Answers to questions on testing students for COVID-19
Q: When might Schiffert recommend someone not be tested for COVID-19?
A: If a student contacts Schiffert, or any other health care provider because they think they have an exposure, a test will not be scheduled until 5 days have passed from the presumed exposure to maximize result effectiveness. Schiffert follows CDC guidelines for all testing procedures. We also do not recommend testing for 90 days after a positive test, as test results will likely remain positive (for example, students should not be able to schedule a test with Schiffert in hopes of getting a negative to test out of isolation or quarantine or to participate in other activities if they have had a positive test in the past 90 days).
Q: Is the testing free?
A: Any students paying the university health fee may receive a COVID test from Schiffert Health Center or the ArcPoint Clinic in Lane Stadium for free. Find additional testing information on the Ready site.
Q: What should I do if I have symptoms or generally feel sick?
A: Students who are experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19 or who otherwise feel sick should call Schiffert (540-231-6444) and request a medical appointment. Explain your symptoms when you call, and you will be given an appointment time. That appointment time should be within 24 hours of your call. Please do not request a medical appointment if you are not symptomatic, as it is critical that medical staff at Schiffert see students with symptoms as soon as possible for their well-being and the well-being of the community.
If you have symptoms and live on campus, you will be asked to isolate/quarantine at your permanent address or moved to an isolation/quarantine space on campus for the duration of the quarantine or isolation period. If you have symptoms and live off campus, you should self-quarantine as directed by Schiffert. Results typically take two to three days to receive and will be communicated either by phone call or by secure electronic notification.
Q: What should I do if I have been called by the Virginia Department of Health and told I have been contact traced?
A: Students who have been contact traced to a positive or potential positive COVID-19 case but do not have symptoms should call Schiffert (540-231-6444) and mention that you have been told by a Virginia Department of Health representative that you need a test due to contact tracing. This is not mandatory, and contacts are given the option to get tested if they prefer. You will need to wait 5 days from your exposure date to be tested per CDC guidelines, but you should call immediately to schedule your appointment. These appointments must be scheduled at least 48 hours in advance of your test date. Please share your exposure date when you call so your test can be scheduled appropriately.
If you have been contact traced and live on campus, you will be asked to quarantine at your permanent address or moved to a quarantine space on campus for the duration of the quarantine or isolation period. If you have been contact traced and live off campus, you should self-quarantine as directed by Schiffert. Results typically take 2 to 3 days to receive and will be communicated either by phone call or by secure electronic notification.
Q: What should I do if I believe I may have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19?
A: Students who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 by being around them for more than 15 minutes, closer than 6 feet, regardless of whether the person was wearing a mask or not, should call Schiffert (540-231-6444) and ask for an ArcPoint COVID test. Please share that you believe you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and would like a test. You will need to wait 5 days from your exposure date to be tested per CDC guidelines, but you may call once you believe you have been exposed to schedule your appointment. These appointments must be scheduled at least one day in advance of your test date. They cannot be scheduled for the day you call.
If you have been exposed to COVID-19 and live on campus, you will be asked to quarantine at your permanent address or moved to a quarantine space on campus for the duration of the quarantine or isolation period. If you have been exposed and live off campus, you should self-quarantine as directed by Schiffert. Results typically take 2 to 3 days to receive and will be communicated either by phone call or by secure electronic notification.
Q: What happens if a student tests positive?
A: On-campus students who test positive for the virus will be asked to return to their permanent address and isolate for 10 days. Students who can’t return to their homes or permanent residences will coordinate with Housing and Residence Life to determine if they can be accommodated in the university’s isolation and quarantine spaces for the 10-day time period. Virginia Tech has a limited number of spaces available for isolation. Decisions on isolation and quarantining after a positive test will be determined by health professionals with the Virginia Department of Health and Schiffert Health Center. The Dean of Students office will work with students who live off campus that test positive to help them as appropriate.
Q: Will positive tests be reported?
A: Any individuals identified by Virginia Tech as testing positive for COVID-19 will be reported to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) in accordance with applicable law and Board of Health Regulations for Disease Reporting and Control. As Virginia Tech becomes aware of individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, SHC or occupational health staff from the Environmental Health and Safety office (EHS) will notify the VDH to coordinate contact-tracing and provide additional information as requested.
Q: Is testing required for students living off campus?
A: Testing is not required for students living off campus, but off-campus students who are at-risk – those who believe or know they have been exposed to the virus, traveled to Blacksburg from a hot spot, or have symptoms or other indications of exposure – should contact Schiffert Health Center to determine whether they should be tested.
Q: Can I test out of isolation?
A: You cannot test out of isolation, as the time it would take to do so is typically as long as or longer than the isolation period. All decisions about when a student may leave isolation are handled by Schiffert and/or the Virginia Department of Health.
Q: Can I test out of quarantine?
A: No, you must complete the full quarantine period as it is possible to get a false negative during this time. However, if a student in quarantine develops symptoms or tests positive, then your status changes to isolation instead of quarantine, and you must instead complete the 10-day isolation period from your symptom start date or date of test.
Q: What if my roommate tests positive for COVID?
A: If your roommate or any close contact is a probable or confirmed case, you will need to quarantine for 14 days. You cannot test out of quarantine.
Q: If my isolation time is complete, do I need to get a negative test to get out of isolation or return to class?
A: No, you do not need to get another test. In fact, unless you develop additional symptoms that cannot be attributed to anything else, you should not be retested for 90 days.
Q: How will the university handle education and enforcement of student behavior?
A: We expect and believe that our students will abide by our Community Wellness Commitment and prioritize caring for the health and safety of others. A student’s failure to follow Virginia and university guidelines related to health precautions may violate relevant policies in the Student Code of Conduct. The webpage on Student Conduct’s Education and Enforcement Strategies for Addressing Student Behavior On Campus outlines how the university will address COVID-19-related problems.
Q: How will overnight visitors on campus be handled? Or visitors in general?
A: We discourage visitors to campus, and we ask that students wait to travel. Once students are here, they should agree to remain in Blacksburg, and tell all visitors to wait until it’s safer to come to Blacksburg.
Q: Where can I get answers to questions that are specific to my circumstances?
A: The July 28 VT News article on expanded testing and the updated COVID-19 Testing, Tracing, and Case Management plan provide further detail. If you were tested at Schiffert, specific questions may be directed to them at 540-231-6444.
Q: Is VT requiring all support staff that may come in contact with students to be tested (e.g., cleaning staff, food services, etc.)?
A: Selection criteria for ongoing surveillance applies to the whole Virginia Tech Blacksburg population, including residential students, off-campus students living locally, and employees. Populations at increased risk of exposure due to a higher-contact environment will be evaluated; sample collection and testing capacity will be increased as necessary. Individuals in these populations may include but not be limited to student-athletes and athletics staff (training staff and sport-dependent), clinical staff and students (e.g. VTCSOM, SHC, Adult Day Services), research staff and students involved in certain human subjects research, dining services staff, first responders, and housekeeping staff.
- VT News article: Virginia Tech outlines expanded plan for student testing
- VT’s COVID-19 Testing, Tracing, and Case Management plan
- The President’s Town Hall: President Sands and university leadership discuss COVID-19 testing and tracing
- Definitions related to COVID-19
Find additional resources from Virginia Tech at vt.edu/ready.