Details on required COVID-19 testing for students

Dear students,

We are looking forward to welcoming you back to campus or to the online option this fall and write today with a very important update on an essential step you need to take if you are returning to campus.

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 24th.

Students who opted for the fully online option and are not returning to campus do not need to complete a COVID-19 test at this time. Students returning to or coming to campus from outside the United States must quarantine for 14 days and coordinate with the Protect Purdue Health Center to schedule their COVID-19 test.

We have announced an innovative partnership with Rutgers University and Vault Health that will provide you, free of charge, a testing kit that offers a reliable, secure, and convenient, medically-supervised saliva screening for the COVID-19 virus that can be done in your home. Purdue continues to explore additional options for completing testing and will share this information as soon as it becomes available. 

The Vault Health test is the only authorized saliva-based 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.

How to get tested

Please Note:  If you need to complete a COVID-19 test you will receive an email at the appropriate time.

Purdue students who have elected to take on-campus classes this fall will receive an email when their time to return to campus approaches outlining the steps to register for the testing program with Vault Health. 

After receiving your testing kit in the mail, your telehealth visit may begin, but should be completed no sooner than 14 days before traveling to campus to move into a residence hall, participate in an on-campus activity, or begin classes.

Your test results will be sent directly to you via email, and those results can be expected generally within 48-72 hours after your sample kit arrives back to Vault Health for processing. A copy of your test result also will be sent to the Protect Purdue Health Center. A negative test result must be on file at the Protect Purdue Health Center before you can move into a residence hall or participate in classroom instruction. Once you have completed your COVID-19 test, you should begin to follow rigorously the elements of the Purdue Pledge – to protect yourself, protect others and protect the Purdue community.

Those individuals testing positive will receive guidance from the Protect Purdue Health Center and should not travel to West Lafayette or come to campus for any reason until they isolate for 10 days and are medically cleared by the Protect Purdue Health Center.

Again, you will receive another email soon that describes in detail the testing process. If you have any further COVID-19-related questions at this time, contact the Protect Purdue Health Center  by calling 765-496-INFO (4636) or toll-free at 833-571-1043. An option is available after hours to connect individuals to the Protect Purdue Health Center case manager as well to leave a voicemail.

If you test positive

  • You must self-isolate at home and not travel to campus for any reason. The Protect Purdue Health Center will help coordinate the self-isolation process.
  • After you have completed the 10-day self-isolation period in coordination with the Protect Purdue Health Center, the Protect Purdue Health Center will provide you with the documentation necessary to travel to campus and move into a residence hall and/or begin on-campus programming and classes.

If your test result is negative

Please adhere to all elements of the Protect Purdue pledge – always wearing a face mask in public, maintain a 6-foot distance from others, wash hands diligently and begin monitoring daily for symptoms. If you begin experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, especially a fever over 100.4oF, call the Protect Purdue Health Center. 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.

Other details to note

A resilient curriculum plan, which combines flexible face-to-face and online instruction, is being developed to ensure students who must be isolated because of COVID-19 don’t fall behind on their studies.

Failure to complete a COVID-19 test and have the results filed with the Protect Purdue Health Center upon arrival will hinder your ability to move into a residence hall and/or begin in-person classes.

Importantly, if you’ve already tested negative for COVID-19 this summer, but your testing date is more than 14 days before attending on-campus activities, then you will need to be tested again.

Testing as the semester progresses will continue to be offered by prescription from the Protect Purdue Health Center for symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals on the West Lafayette campus in accordance with the process developed by the Purdue Medical Advisory Team in alignment with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Indiana State Department of Health.

Additional details can be found

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 Fall semester with you – either here in West Lafayette or virtually.


Jay T. Akridge
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Diversity

Dr. Esteban Ramirez
Chief Medical Officer, Protect Purdue Health Center