Required COVID-19 Testing for Students

Photo provided by Vault Health

All undergraduate, graduate and professional program students coming to the West Lafayette campus for residential classes must be tested for COVID-19 before moving into residence halls and attending classes when they resume on August 24. 

Through an innovative partnership with Rutgers University and Vault Health, students will be tested for COVID-19 via a reliable and convenient, medically-supervised saliva screening that can be done in their homes.

July 21: Message to students outlining details on how to be tested.

Frequently Asked Questions

Vault Health/Rutgers Testing Partnership | Undergraduate and International Students | Graduate and Professional Students | Protect Purdue Health Center | Compliance | Faculty and Staff

Vault Health/Rutgers Testing Partnership

  • All eligible students will receive an email no later than Wednesday, August 5 with instructions on ordering a test kit. You should order your test kit immediately upon receiving those instructions, so please keep an eye on your purdue.edu email.

    If you did not receive your testing link by then and feel you should have, please email protectpurdue@purdue.edu

  • How will the Vault Health/Rutgers COVID-19 Testing Process work?

    Students will receive an email beginning July 22 from Purdue that provides directions about the testing process and an individualized registration link at Vault Health’s testing website for students residing in the United States. The timing of your email will depend on your expected move to the West Lafayette campus — all eligible students will receive an email no later than August 5, 2020.

    Through the link, you will be directed to the Vault Health testing registration process, where you will apply to have a COVID-19 testing kit sent to your current address.

  • What is the type of test offered by Vault Health/Rutgers through this partnership?

    The Vault Health COVID-19 test is used to detect the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The test is performed using the “gold standard” PCR-based testing. The saliva sample method has been shown to be very sensitive and specific and conform highly to nasal swabs.    

    The COVID-19 test detects virus on the day the sample was submitted. As such, this test in known as a “point in time” test. An individual can still become infected following a negative test result. It is important that students — in the 14 days following their Vault Health test — take extra care and precaution to minimize contact with others. View this as the beginning of your commitment to the Protect Purdue Pledge and its call to protect yourself, to protect others and to protect the Purdue Community. 

  • What is the reliability of Vault Health/Rutgers COVID-19 saliva test compared with the more common nasal pharyngeal (NP) swab?

    Saliva sampling offered by Vault Health/Rutgers is considered an accurate way of taking a patient sample for COVID-19. A recent study by Yale University researchers, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, showed 98% concordance to matched NP swabs and to be highly sensitive and specific. In addition, the Rutgers test is the only authorized solution of its kind for tests conducted in the United States and is currently used by many national companies, as well as sports leagues such as the National Hockey League, the PGA Tour and Major League Soccer. 

Undergraduate and International Students

  • What’s the first step a student should take if they test positive?

    Understand that you should stay home and not come to campus for any reason until you have isolated for 10 days after the test resulted. Those testing positive also will receive guidance from the Protect Purdue Health Center and a nurse case manager who will monitor you regularly during your isolation period. You should not travel to West Lafayette until you are medically cleared by the PPHC. 

    If you have any further questions, contact the PPHC by calling 765-496-INFO (4636) or toll-free at 833-571-1043 and pressing “1”. Academic support also will be available through virtual consultations with staff specializing in student success to help undergraduate students navigate their continued academic progress if they must isolate because of COVID-19.

  • Will I need to be tested again even if I had tested negative for COVID-19 earlier this summer or this month? (Updated July 29)

    Students who were tested by Purdue as part of a summer program (such as Early Start or Summer Start), do not need to be retested for COVID-19. 

    Students who were tested through another means not associated with Purdue more than 14 days before traveling to campus will need to be retested. You will receive an email from Purdue explaining how to access an at-home testing kits offered through our Vault Health partnership. That email will be sent to you as your time to return to campus approaches, outlining the necessary steps to complete our testing process through Vault Health.

  • What happens if COVID-19 test result is inconclusive?

    While an inconclusive test result is not very common, we will request you be retested. Remember: before you will be allowed to move into a residence hall, participate in an on-campus activity or begin classes, you must have a negative COVID-19 test result on file with the PPHC that was completed no sooner than 14 days before you traveled to Purdue to participate in on-campus activities. If you receive an inconclusive test result, please contact the PPHC by calling 765-494-INFO (4636) or toll-free at 833-571-1043 and pressing option “1.”

  • Do students who choose the online learning option have to take to COVID-19 test offered for free by the University through Vault Health?

    Those students who selected the fully online option for the fall semester will not be asked to be tested.

  • What is Purdue’s COVID-19 testing plan for students coming to West Lafayette from international destinations?

    All Purdue undergraduate, graduate and professional program students planning to be in West Lafayette for on-campus instruction must test negative before coming to campus, whether they are arriving from another part of the United States or another country. 

    All students coming to campus from outside the United States should quarantine upon arrival until they can be tested for COVID-19, whether in connection with Purdue’s partnership with Vault Health or an authorized sampling and collection site. Please contact the Protect Purdue Health Center 24/7 by calling 765-496-INFO (4636) or toll-free at 833-571-1043 and pressing “1” to make testing arrangements.

  • I am coming to campus from an international location. How to I make self-quarantine arrangements? (Updated July 28)

    All students returning to campus from an international location are required to self-quarantine for 14-days before resuming any campus activities.

    At this time, all available quarantine space through Purdue has been reserved. Students are responsible for making their own arrangements for quarantine space off campus.

    Once you have determined where you will self-quarantine, please contact the Protect Purdue Health Center 24/7 at 765-496-INFO (4636) or toll-free at 833-571-1043 (press option “1”) to discuss your quarantine arrangements. You’ll be connected with a nurse case manager, who will give you exact instructions to follow during your quarantine period.

    The Protect Purdue Health Center will also help you make COVID-19 testing arrangements for during your quarantine period, and will be the entity that provides you with medical clearance to return to campus. 

  • If I am arriving from an international location and my 14-day self-quarantine overlaps with the start of classes, how will I take my courses? Will there be academic support available? (Added July 26)

    Academic support will be available if your self-quarantine period overlaps with the start of fall classes to help you navigate continued academic progress. Please email ODOS@purdue.edu to make arrangements.

  • What if I am unable to complete the required COVID-19 testing through the Vault Health option? (Added July 28)

    If you are unable to complete the required COVID-19 testing through the Vault Health at-home option, alternative options are available here

Graduate and Professional Students

  • Will graduate students engaged in research on-campus or at Purdue off-campus sites need to be tested? (Updated July 22)

    All graduate students and professional students conducting research on campus or at Purdue off-campus sites will be tested, regardless of whether you are taking classes in-person or online; this includes students currently engaged in research activities.

    You will receive an email as part of Purdue’s partnership with Vault Health to have a free testing kit sent to your home, even if you are already living off campus in West Lafayette or the surrounding community.

Protect Purdue Health Center

  • How many case managers will work for the Protect Purdue Health Center?
    • The PPHC is ramping up staffing of case managers, with a current plan for approximately 25 case managers. The PPHC is available 24/7 by calling 765-496-INFO (4636) or toll-free at 833-571-1043 and pressing “1”.

Compliance

  • What happens if a student is unwilling to participate in the University’s mandatory COVID-19 testing plan?

    Students will not be allowed to move in to University Residences or attend on-campus classes until a negative test result is on file with the Protect Purdue Health Center.

  • Will the number of positive COVID-19 cases from residence halls, research facilities and other buildings be reported and disclosed to the public?

    We will report cases for the entire Purdue community, not disclose information at the building or residence hall level. Contact tracing will be used to identify individuals who may need further evaluation by nurse case managers, following established CDC and Indiana State Department of Health protocols.

  • As the semester progresses, are there plans to conduct random testing on campus?

    We continue to evaluate the best testing and surveillance methodologies, including random testing on campus. The initial phase of Protect Purdue’s COVID-19 testing plan is focused on testing all students returning to campus prior to moving into residence halls, participating in campus activities or starting classes. 

    The Protect Purdue Health Center will conduct testing for COVID-19 symptomatic individuals based on the assessment of the case manager. 

Faculty and Staff

  • Is Purdue Health Center testing staff members?

    At this time, we are not requiring the testing of faculty and staff. Individuals with COVID-19 symptoms are encouraged to contact the PPHC and talk with a nurse case manager about whether a test is warranted. The PPHC is available 24/7 by calling 765-496-INFO (4636) or toll-free at 833-571-1043 and pressing “1”.

Vault Health/Rutgers Testing Partnership | Undergraduate and International Students | Graduate and Professional Students | Protect Purdue Health Center | Compliance | Faculty and Staff