COVID Update | Dining, Isolation, and Testing (memo to students)

Sept. 27, 2022

Memo sent to undergraduates and graduate students on Tuesday, September 27, 2022 at 10:28 a.m.

Please find information regarding COVID-19 testing and isolation support in response to questions recently raised by students. University Health Services has seen a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases among students. This increase was anticipated at the start of the semester. 


Students, employees, and affiliates are no longer required to submit asymptomatic test samples on a regular schedule. However, PCR testing is available on-demand to the entire campus community. The University also tracks positive rapid antigen test results reported to Global and Community Health. 

When should I test? 

All are strongly encouraged to submit a test: 

  • 6 days after being identified as a close contact with an individual who tests positive. 
  • After returning from travel. 
  • Following the attendance of a large gathering, especially indoors. 
  • When experiencing mild symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (i.e. sore throat). 

NOTE: Students, employees, and affiliates should not submit a test sample for 90 days after testing positive for COVID-19.

Which test should I take? 

Students have free and easy access to both PCR tests processed by the Campus Testing Lab and rapid antigen tests. PCR tests are more accurate than rapid antigen tests, especially when you are experiencing mild or no symptoms. 

  • Take a Rapid antigen test when you need immediate results, such as: 
    • When you are experiencing symptoms and cannot wait for PCR results or an appointment with University Health Services. 
    • When your roommate tests positive and you need to determine whether you should remain in the room while they isolate. 
  • PCR testing is best when the results are not as urgent, such as: 
    • When you are experiencing symptoms and the rapid antigen test is negative.  
    • When a rapid antigen test is positive. This way, the University is able to identify clusters and outbreaks. Your isolation start date will not be delayed because of the additional PCR sample.
    • When you are at higher risk for COVID because of suspected exposure or have participated in a higher risk activity, such as travel or large events. 
    • When you are not experiencing symptoms, but want to confirm that you are not positive for COVID, such as before visiting individuals at higher risk.   

You may submit a PCR test by dropping a saliva sample in a Campus Testing Lab drop boxNote that some drop box locations have changed from last semester. 

Where can I get a PCR kit or rapid antigen test? 

The University provides all students with PCR kits, rapid antigen tests, and KN95 masks at no cost. 

  • Undergraduates may pick up supplies from Residential College Offices.  
  • Graduate Students may pick up supplies at the Graduate College Porter’s Lodge or the Lakeside Apartments office.  

PCR test new timers should visit the Taking the Test page for valuable advice, including an instructional video. 

What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19? 

If you receive a positive COVID result outside of the campus testing program (i.e., rapid antigen test), submit your result via completing, submit the result using the Self and Campus Testing form. You may also email Princeton’s Global and Community Health (GCH) Team immediately at [email protected] with information about the type of test (PCR, rapid antigen) and the date of the testing. If you have a test report, attach a copy or photo of it to the email. 

For detailed information about what to do if you test positive, please visit the COVID-19 Resources website.  



For full information about what to do if you or your roommate tests positive for COVID-19, please consult the Isolation for Students page on the COVID-19 Resources website. 

How do I get meals while in isolation? 

If you are isolating on campus and need Campus Dining to provide meals, go to to register and let Campus Dining know you are in isolation.  

You can also email meal[email protected] with requests or questions.  

Where can I eat? 

While in isolation (typically days 1 through 5): You will eat in your isolation space and will not be able to leave your room except to use the bathroom or pick up meals. You may not go to the dining hall, restaurants, or buy groceries. You will pick up your meals from the location specified by Campus Dining. 

Following isolation, (typically days 6 through 10): After Global and Community Health clears you to leave isolation, you may attend classes while wearing a KN95 mask, but you will not be able to remove your mask around others—including to eat. 

  • Do not eat in dining halls, eating clubs or restaurants. Instead, take to-go meals from retail locations. 
  • Campus Dining will automatically issue a dining allowance of $45 per day that can be used at campus retail cafes or at the Frist Campus Center. The only students who are not eligible for a dining allowance are those who live off campus AND do not have a meal plan.  
  • Meals should be taken to-go and masks must be worn while indoors and around others when picking up your meals.  
  • For more information regarding meal support while isolating for COVID-19 and a list of campus retail cafes, please visit the Isolation Meals – Fall 2022 FAQs on the Campus Dining website.  

How should I manage class absences? 

Reach out to your faculty member directly to inform them of your absence and make arrangements to complete missed work.   

If you are too sick to engage in work, contact your residential college dean or director of studies for assistance. Graduate students may contact the staff in the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School.