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Covid-19 Surveillance Testing

As you should be aware, at the direction of West Virginia Governor, Jim Justice, we started Covid-19 surveillance testing recently. Many of you have been tested already, but we have scheduled additional times in the coming weeks if you have not gotten tested yet. Please read our FAQ’s regarding testing, including the time you are scheduled for this mandatory testing.

Is testing required?

Yes. Per the directive from the Governor this is mandatory for any student or employee who is on campus at any time.

Who will be eligible to be assigned for testing?

All students, faculty, and staff who are enrolled in courses, teaching, or otherwise on campus at any time may be selected to test throughout the semester.

I am regularly tested for COVID-19. Can I provide those results instead?

No. If you are selected to participate in the on-campus testing program you are required to participate.

What is the date of my test?

The schedule is as follows*:

Oct 19-22       Last name begins with A-E

Oct 26-29       Last name begins with F-J

Nov 2-5          Last name begins with K-P

Nov 9-12        Last name begins with Q-U

Nov 16-19      Last name begins with V-Z

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
9-11am & 1-3pm  /  B&O Auditorium    

New Martinsville
Wednesday  /  9-11am  /  Room 219

Monday & Friday  /  8-10am & 11am-1pm   
Thursday /  5am-5pm
Room 235

You cannot eat, drink chew gum, smoke, or vape for 30 minutes prior to your test.

*It is mandatory you show up for your scheduled time according to your last name.                  

How long does it take to get test results?

It is anticipated that you will receive an email with results 48-72 hours after your sample is received at the lab. The email will come from Vault Health.

Will I have to quarantine while waiting for my results?

No. Individuals randomly selected for Surveillance Testing will not have to quarantine while they await test results. As always, it is encouraged that you limit contact with others you do not live with, wear your mask, and wash your hands to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

How accurate is this test?

This test is comparable in accuracy to the more invasive nasal swab test and is recommended by our state health officials. The assay can detect the virus down to fewer than 10 copies per milliliter of saliva, which is highly sensitive. In practice, 98% of test results are either positive or negative, with only 2% being inconclusive.

The sequences that help to detect the virus (primers) match the viral sequences almost 100% of the time, which ensures that the test is specific only to the 3 selected viral genes, which in combination are only found in the SARS-CoV-2 virus. These are the same selected viral genes tested for in the nasopharyngeal swab PCR test.

This saliva-based test is not an antibody test. It is a PCR test. For more information please visit,

Is this test authorized by the FDA?

Yes. This particular saliva-based test is intended for use under the Food and Drug Administration’s Emergency Use Authorization #200090 authorized on April 10, 2020. This is the only saliva test and saliva collection device that is FDA-authorized for self-collection in the U.S. at this time.

Should I consider antibody testing instead of this?

A COVID-19 antibody test is a blood test that can tell if you previously had COVID-19 and have since recovered. The test involves having your blood drawn at a healthcare facility. It checks for the presence of a particular antibody your body makes when it’s fighting the virus. These antibodies appear in your bloodstream after you’ve been infected.

An antibody test is not the same as a nasal swab or saliva-based PCR test and does not check for the presence of the virus that causes COVID-19. You should not get an antibody test if you’re currently experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or need to know if you are currently infected.

The global scientific and medical community still has much to discover and learn about the virus and its resulting disease. For the individual patient, an antibody test is currently unlikely to change your medical management or what precautions you need to use such as physical distancing or masking in public.

At this time, the antibody test is most useful to understand how much the disease has spread in the community and potentially predict if a second surge of cases is likely to occur. The results may also help develop new treatments and even a vaccine.

One challenge with current antibody tests is that there is a high likelihood (almost 50% for some tests) of having a “false positive” result. This means the test will be positive when the person has never had the disease. This is true for all COVID-19-related antibody tests, including very good ones.

How often should an individual be tested?

The scientific and medical community believe most who are infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic or may not show any known symptoms of an infection. This saliva-based PCR test will confirm infection between 2 and 28 days since exposure to the virus.

A negative test confirms that the individual has not been infected and is “safe” as long as they continued to maintain vigilance from the time they took the test to receiving the results. A positive test means that the individual should isolate and monitor symptoms.

What if I have questions about my results? 

If you have any questions regarding test results, you should contact

How will I be notified that I have been selected to test?

 You will receive an email with the schedule. 

What happens if I need to reschedule my assigned testing time?

Reach out to Health Sciences Division Chair, Bonnie Peterman (  or 304-214-8883) or Professor of Nursing, Jill Keyser ( or 304-214-8876).

What are the consequences if I choose to not participate?

You must participate and show up for the mandatory testing appointment and/or reschedule the appointment.

Students who fail to test are subject to Student Code of Conduct for further action up to and including possible expulsion.

Employees who fail to test are subject to discipline up to and including possible termination.