Testing

The information in this section relates to the testing program for individuals at Princeton who are not exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19. If you are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19, please visit this University Health Services webpage for information on symptomatic testing.

Princeton’s asymptomatic testing protocol is designed as a monitoring tool for COVID spread on our campus, collecting a percentage of our total population each week. The protocol includes testing at regular intervals for Princeton University undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff, and affiliates who are on-campus and meet certain criteria.

The University may, at its discretion, adjust testing frequency in response to public health conditions on campus or the local area.

For important information about the test and how the University may use or disclose your personal information, please read “Informed Consent for COVID-19 Testing.” Individuals participating in the asymptomatic testing protocol are required to agree to the terms of the consent prior to participation.

We do not have a process for expediting individual results, and we cannot guarantee results on a specific timeline.

All individuals who are up to date on vaccines and boosters are tested once monthly. Please see the Dropping Your Sample page for a table indicating which week you are asked to submit your samples. 

Individuals who are vaccinated and boosted can choose to continue to test once weekly.
Only those advised by Global and Community Health to submit additional tests should submit more than one test per week. 

Those that have received vaccine exemptions OR have not yet received their booster but are eligible to are required to test once weekly. 

Type of test being used by Princeton

Our asymptomatic protocol uses a diagnostic test, also known as an RT-PCR test, which allows for detection of the virus’s genetic material in the sample a test participant provides. Unlike antigen tests, a confirmatory test is not required for RT-PCR tests. For more information about the different types of COVID-19 tests, see this FDA webpage.

The Princeton testing lab can detect if a sample has been altered or improperly submitted (i.e. if water was substituted for saliva). If a sample sent for COVID-19 testing is determined to have been altered or adulterated, the individual who submitted the sample may face disciplinary action.

Exemption From Testing

In line with recommendations from the CDC and NJ DOH, faculty, staff and students who test positive, either through the asymptomatic testing program or by reporting an off-site positive to UHS, are exempt from the University's testing requirement for 90 days. This is because it is possible for a person who tested positive to continue to test positive for weeks or months even though they are not able to spread the virus to others. Because we employ a very sensitive PCR test, tiny amounts of residual virus may remain in the body for a period of time after an individual is no longer infectious. 

If an individual has been diagnosed with COVID off-campus, they should email the Global and Community Health Team at communityhealth@princeton.edu with proof of their positive test so that they can receive an official exemption from testing for 90 days from the day of their positive result.

Individuals exempt from testing after a positive test will be marked "compliant" automatically and do not need to fill out a testing absence form. UHS will notify exempt individuals of the date they should begin testing again.