Screening Testing

Screening testing allows an organization to discover positive cases, in particular among asymptomatic individuals. Diagnosing cases before individuals present symptoms and get tested “for cause” allows for exposure control and can prevent uncontrolled outbreaks.  

Student and employee screening testing at Saint Mary’s begins Monday, February 8, and continue throughout the semester. 

Screening FAQs

The Plan

The College will test a random sample of students each week, from February 8 until mid-May, initially 90 students per week (approximately 10% of the student population).  Included in the student testing population will be undergraduate and graduate students who attend courses on campus. It will not include students who are completing all their Saint Mary’s courses online. 

Students who are in the following categories will not be included in random selection for screening testing:

  • Were tested in the past week
  • Have tested positive within the last 12 weeks 
  • Are currently in isolation or quarantine
  • Are attending 100% of their classes online and living off campus 

Student Athletes
Student athletes are screened as required by the NCAA, in order to take part in practices.

From February 8 until mid-May, we will also test a sample of employees. Approximately 5% of the employee population will be randomly selected —  25 names per week — each Thursday. Included in the overall selection pool will be all employees who are on campus, including those who are primarily teleworking but come on campus occasionally. It will not include employees who are on sabbatical or on leave.

The Process

Each Friday, selected students and employees will be notified via email and, for students, text message, and will be asked to make an online appointment with the Health and Counseling Center for a test the following week. Student screening tests will be conducted from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Health and Counseling Center. Employee testing will be conducted on Tuesdays from 7:30-8:30 a.m. and Fridays from noon to 1 p.m. to accommodate most employee work schedules. 

Student Notification

The random sample will be determined on Thursdays, and communicated in the following way:

  • Via email to individual students alerting them they have been selected for screening testing
  • Via text message to students notifying them that they have been selected, and that an email with additional information was sent to their student account
  • The evening before the scheduled appointment, a text is sent reminding the student of their appointment.
  • Students will be notified of their test results within 24 hours 

Testing Appointments

Students and employees will be directed to complete a form using Sign Up Genius.  

Testing Day and Time 

Testing for students will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 4 to 5:30 pm.
Testing for employee will take place on Tuesdays from 7:30-8:30 a.m. and Fridays from noon to 1 p.m.

Screening Test Duration

Appointments will be scheduled every 15 minutes, for a group of up to 6 individuals. Students and employees will wait in a designated, sanitized and ventilated waiting area of the Health and Counseling Center until their sample is collected, observing physical distancing and wearing masks while they wait. The air circulation system in the waiting area recycles air every 6 minutes at a minimum. 

The rapid antigen test requires a sample collection via swab of each nostril for 15 seconds. 

Notification of Results

Once the samples are collected, students will leave the facility. Anyone who test positive will receive a phone call within two hours from the Health and Counseling Center team, with instructions. 


Students who fail to comply with the requirement to be tested will be referred to Student Affairs, and will go through the discipline process, which could lead to disciplinary actions, up to and including dismissal. Employees could face disciplinary action through human resources if they fail to comply.


Cost of Screening Testing

Because of the importance the College places on supporting a healthy community, the cost of the screen tests will be covered by Saint Mary’s.


Last Updated: 1/25/21

FAQs about Screening Testing

+Are random tests conducted on campus or do I have to go somewhere else?

If randomly selected for a screening test, your test will be administered at the Health and Counseling Center free of charge. 

+Do I have to participate or can I refuse?

If you are selected to be randomly tested, you are required by the College to do so.

+Can I attend class after the test is done until my results come back?

Yes, if your test is done as part of the screening testing program.

+What if I already had COVID do I still have to have a test?

Anyone who has tested positive within 12 weeks of the current week will not be included in random testing. (As traces of the virus could remain for up to 12 weeks in an individual’s system, it is not recommended to test them within this time frame, as it could result in a false positive.) 

+I was already tested. Do I still have to be tested again, if I am selected?

If you are tested within 72 hours of your testing appointment, and can provide documentation of a negative result, you will be excused from this round of testing.

+What if I am selected for screening testing when I am in quarantine or isolation?

Because the data used to randomly select students for screening tests is run the week prior, in rare cases you could be placed in quarantine or isolation after the names have been selected. If this is the case, reply to the email notification to let us know.

+If I’m selected once, can I be randomly selected again?

It’s possible. We will continue to randomly select students through the week of November 9. There is a chance you will be selected more than once, unless you test positive in a screening test. 

+I am a student-athlete and am tested per NCAA rules. Is it possible I could also be selected for general screen testing?


+Who all knows that I am being tested, and who will know my test results?

Only those who are part of the screening testing team are aware of the names generated through the random selection process, and test results. All who are on this team are required to adhere to HIPAA privacy laws. 

FAQs for Employees

+Will my screening test be conducted during my shift, or do I have to come in after work hours?

Employee testing will be conducted on Thursdays from 7:30-8:30 a.m. and Fridays from noon to 1 p.m., which accommodates nearly all employee work schedules. A link to reserve an testing appointment will be sent to those who are randomly selected each week.

+Can I work after the test is done until my results come back?

Yes, if your test is done as part of the screening testing program.

+If someone I work with is randomly selected for screening testing and their test comes back positive, do I have to be quarantined for 14 days or do I get tested?

We will conduct contact tracing with the colleague who is identified as positive to determine your exposure to the virus. We will make the determination on a case-by-case basis.

+I’m primarily teleworking, but I come to campus one day a week. Am I excused from the random selection process?

No. All employees, including those who only come to campus occasionally, can be selected for a screening test. Only those employees who are on sabbatical or on leave (and do not come to campus), are exempt.

+What if I have vacation plans the week I’m supposed to take a screening test?

If you are randomly selected, and are scheduled to be off work when your test is to take place, please contact Cyndie Horton-Cavanaugh for alternate arrangements.