Details on Required Spring 2021 COVID-19 Testing for Students

Dear students,

As we wrap up the fall semester and look forward to welcoming you back to campus or to our online option in January, I am writing to you today with a very important update on an essential step you will need to take if you are returning to campus this spring. 

All undergraduate students in the spring 2021 residential option, as well as all graduate and professional program students coming to the West Lafayette campus for the spring semester beginning Jan. 19, 2021, must be tested for COVID-19 and cleared to access campus by the Protect Purdue Health Center before moving into residence halls or Fraternity, Sorority and Cooperative Life houses and/or attending classes. 

Students who selected the fully online option for the spring semester should not be returning to campus and do not need to complete a COVID-19 test at this time. Students arriving from outside the United States must self-quarantine for 14 days and coordinate with the Protect Purdue Health Center to schedule a COVID-19 test by emailing  

As you prepare for a safe return to campus in January, please review this information carefully and follow the appropriate steps prior to returning to campus.  

For students currently living in University Residences or Fraternity, Sorority and Cooperative Life Housing
All students currently living in University Residences or Fraternity, Sorority and Cooperative Life houses who plan to return in January will receive a Vault Health test kit to take home with them. These tests should ONLY be used within a 14 day window prior to your return to campus. You will receive an email detailing the pickup process from University Residences or Fraternity, Sorority and Cooperative Life.  

This test MUST be completed using a secure, on-demand telehealth consult via Zoom with a Vault Health practitioner to be valid. Instructions will be included with each kit. Upon completion of your test, you will mail your sample to Vault Health in the provided postage-paid envelope. Your test results will be sent directly to you via email from Vault Health, and those results can be expected generally within 48-72 hours after your sample kit arrives at the Vault Health lab for processing. A copy of your test result also will be sent to PPHC automatically. 

A negative test result must be on file with PPHC or you must complete a PPHC-approved isolation protocol if you test positive before you can move into a residence hall or Fraternity, Sorority and Cooperative Life house and/or participate in classroom instruction. Once you have completed your COVID-19 test, you should continue to follow rigorously the elements of the Protect Purdue Pledge — always wearing a face mask in public, maintaining a 6-foot distance from others, washing hands diligently and monitoring daily for symptoms. If you begin experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, especially a fever over 100.4oF, call PPHC. Remember: A negative test result only means you do not have COVID-19 at the time of the test; it does not mean you are immune to catching the virus. 

Those testing positive will receive guidance from PPHC and should not travel to West Lafayette or come to campus for any reason until they self-isolate for 10 days and are medically cleared by PPHC to move into your residence hall or Fraternity, Sorority and Cooperative Life house and/or begin on-campus programming and classes. 

You will receive another email in the coming months that describes in further detail the testing process.  

For students currently living in off-campus housing
You will be tested by the Protect Purdue Health Center when you return to campus in January, prior to you beginning any on-campus programming and/or classes. You do not need to pick up a Vault Health COVID-19 test kit or take any other action at this time. Additional details about testing sites, hours of operation and modes of testing will be distributed once they are finalized. 

For students currently in the online option who will be in the residential option in the spring
Students switching from the fall online option to the residential option in the spring will receive additional instructions on how to complete the COVID-19 testing requirement from Protect Purdue in the coming weeks.  

As we get closer to the start of the spring semester, students transitioning from the online option also will be required to address the following checklist items before arriving on campus:

  • Complete Health and Safety Training and Protect Purdue Pledge adoption in Brightspace (pre-loaded into your account).
  • Update your phone number and campus address in myPurdue for contact tracing purposes.

For students who have tested positive for COVID-19 on or after Oct. 21
If you have tested positive for COVID-19 on or after Oct.21, 2020, you will not be required to submit an additional test prior to returning to campus in January. The reason for this waiver is the CDC guidance that those individuals testing positive should not be re-tested for 90 days. If your test was conducted by PPHC, you will be automatically cleared for campus access by the Protect Purdue Health Center. If you were tested for COVID-19 by an entity other than the Protect Purdue Health Center after Oct. 21, documentation of the positive result from a certified COVID-19 testing lab must be sent to PPHC at

Other details to note
Additional details can be found on the Protect Purdue website. If you have any further COVID-19-related questions, contact PPHC 24/7 by calling 765-496-INFO (4636) or toll-free at 833-571-1043.  

Through these preventative and proactive measures, we take another important step to protect the Purdue student body, our faculty, staff, overall campus and members of the local community — particularly the most vulnerable. 

Thank you for doing your part. Again, we look forward to beginning the spring semester with you – either here in West Lafayette or virtually.


Esteban Ramirez

Chief Medical Officer

Protect Purdue Health Center