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.  

Screening testing at Saint Mary’s will take a thoughtful, coordinated and phased approach to facilitate a safer process for students, and eventually, for faculty and staff. The screening tests will be conducted over time. 

Screening FAQs

The Plan

The College will test a random sample of students each week, from September until the week of November 9, initially 60 students per week (approximately 5% 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. 

For the time being, screening testing will be for students only, as within our community the majority of our positive cases have been identified among the student population. Once the process has been refined, we will begin testing staff and faculty.

The following groups of students will be removed from the random selection:

  • Anyone who tested positive within 12 weeks of the current week (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.) 
  • Students who are currently in quarantine/isolation
  • Students who withdraw effective immediately, during the semester

While screening testing of the general student population begins September 22, student athletes who were eligible were screened prior as they are required by the NCAA to be tested in order to begin practices. 

The Process

Each Friday, selected students will be notified via email and text message, and will be asked to make an online appointment with the Health and Counseling Center for a test the following week. Screening tests will be conducted from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Health and Counseling Center, under the management of Interim Director Cyndie Horton-Cavanaugh. 

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 

Student Appointments

Students will be directed to complete a form using Sign Up Genius. The form will ask for the students’ full name, ID, cell number, email address and other identifying information. 

Testing Day and Time 

Testing will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 4 to 5:30 pm. 

Screening Test Duration

Appointments will be scheduled every 15 minutes, for a group of up to 6 students. Students 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. Students will be notified within 24 hours. Students who test positive will receive a phone call from the Health and Counseling Center team, with instructions. Students who test negative will receive an email and a text. 

No-Show Students

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.

Faculty and Staff Testing

The current plan calls for students to begin testing first, because within our community, all but one of our positive cases have been identified in the student population. Once the process has been refined, we will begin testing staff and faculty. 

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: 9/15/20

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.) 

+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.