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Spring 2021 COVID-19 testing for students, explained

AU announces test schedule for Jan. 25 through Feb. 5

The University recently announced its new COVID-19 testing procedures for the spring 2021 semester, making significant changes from the fall 2020 semester. Here’s everything you should know if you are an American University student living in the D.C. area and want to visit campus at any point during the semester. 

I’m a student currently living on campus in emergency housing or a student planning on participating in the mid-semester residential experience beginning in March. How often will AU require me to be tested for COVID-19?

Students living in emergency housing or participating in the mid-semester residential experience are required to get tested at least twice a week. You must wait at least 48-72 hours after your first test of the week to receive your second. If you miss the testing window, you must obtain a test off-campus and email the official results to You can find a list of public testing sites in the District here. There may be a long wait time.

I’m a student living off-campus in the D.C. area. How often do I need to get tested for COVID-19?

Off-campus students who may be on campus at least weekly must get tested once a week. This includes students who come to campus one or more times a week to go to in-person classes, work in research labs or have on-campus employment. Students who live off-campus and come to campus occasionally to study or use athletic facilities like the Cassell Fitness Center will get tested the same day they come to campus. That test will give you clearance to be on campus for seven days. 

How long will it be before I receive my test results?

You should receive your results via email within 72 hours, according to the University. After mid-February, your results should be available within 24 hours. 

Where do I go to get tested?

For students without symptoms, testing is available in Constitution Hall beginning on Jan. 25, and no appointment is necessary. Students who have already moved into emergency housing should have already received instructions for testing before then. Students experiencing symptoms should make an appointment to get tested with the health center by either calling or scheduling an appointment online

What do I do if I have symptoms of COVID-19 or may have been exposed?

Get a test immediately and quarantine while waiting for your results. You should also self-report symptoms and/or a positive test result on the University’s self-report form. Students with confirmed exposure will receive information from one of the University’s COVID Care Coordinators

What are the hours for student testing?

AU has so far only announced testing hours for Jan. 25-Feb. 5. Hours will be updated every two weeks. The current times are as follows: 

Monday, Jan. 25: 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 26: 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 27: 12 p.m. - 3 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 28: 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 29: 12 p.m. - 3 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 1: 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 2: 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 3: 12 p.m. - 3 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 4: 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 5: 12 p.m. - 3 p.m.

What kind of tests will the University be using?

The University is now using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) saliva test, which tests for active infection. Last semester, AU used a PCR swab test instead. To have a successful test, make sure you do not eat, drink or chew anything for up to 60 minutes before you take the test. This also includes brushing teeth, taking medications, chewing gum, smoking or vaping. 

Can I get the vaccine at AU?

AU has not announced any plans to administer vaccines. 

How much does it cost to get a COVID-19 test at AU? 

Tests are provided free of charge for asymptomatic students. Tests done in the health center for symptomatic students have a $20 co-pay. 

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