Taking the Test

COVID test vials in the University laboratory

Process for Providing Your Saliva Sample

First-Time Testers 

We ask that you conduct at least your first test in person at the Testing Clinic

This will allow you to be taken through the entire testing process, from registering your kit to supplying your sample and dropping it off, under the guidance of a trained staff member. You do not need to have a negative test result before resuming on-campus work. 

Participation in the asymptomatic testing protocol is for those who do not currently have symptoms of COVID-19. If you are symptomatic (a fever greater than 100F or 37.8 C, new cough, shortness of breath or loss of taste or smell) do not come in person for testing.

Undergraduate and graduate students who are experiencing symptoms and would like to request a symptomatic test can contact UHS by calling 609-258-3141, or email Askhealth@princeton.edu. Faculty, staff, researchers, and affiliates with symptoms should call their primary health care provider to discuss possible symptomatic testing.

If you are currently in isolation, do not come for testing until your isolation period has concluded.

Prior to Providing Your Sample

  • Do not eat, drink, smoke, or chew gum for 30 minutes prior to giving your saliva sample. 
  • Review UHS instructions regarding how to provide a specimen. Reviewing these instructions in advance will help reduce the time it takes for you to complete your test and exit the testing facility. 
    • This video will also guide you through the process
    • Use a ballpoint pen, not a gel pen, when writing your name on the test label. Gel pen ink will wipe off when vials are sanitized at the Lab. 
  • Follow the guidelines for when and where to drop off your test vial.

Technology Needs Prior to Arrival

  • If you have not yet downloaded the Princeton Mobile or TigerSafe apps, please do so, as the app will be used to help you register test kits to your name. You can also access the test registration web portal directly.
  • If you do not know or remember your Princeton NetID and/or password, please go to this site and click “Get Help.”  
    • If you do not have a Princeton Net ID, speak with your supervisor about requesting one, as you will need it to register your test kit through the web app. 
  • To use the web app to register your test kit, set up multi-factor authentication (DUO) prior to your arrival at the clinic.
  • Bring your Princeton University ID card. If you do not yet have your card, please bring your PU ID Number.

If you do not have a mobile phone or smartphone, the staff at the clinic will work with you to find an alternative. If you have a laptop or iPad with a camera, please bring those with you to the clinic. 

How to use the Kit Registration Web App

All saliva sample kits must be registered through the University’s Test Kit Registration Web Application. Registration happens through using your phone or tablet to take a picture of the barcode of the kit you will be submitting for analysis. Therefore, you will need a device that has a camera to scan a kit. 

Without a kit being successfully scanned and registered, your sample cannot be tied back to you, and you should not expect a result from that sample. 

You can access the web app used to register your test kits to your name in one of three ways:

  • Through the TigerSafe App, by clicking on the “Testing Kit” icon.
  • Through the Princeton Mobile app, by clicking on the “Covid Kit” icon.
  • Going directly to the web app page at http://scantestkit.princeton.edu

You will need to be able to log in to the University’s Central Authentication Service using a Princeton Net ID to register a kit. If you do not know your Princeton Net ID and password or do not have a Princeton Net ID, please refer to the section above titled “Technology Needs Prior to Arrival."

How to Trouble-Shoot the Web app

If you either cannot sign into the registration portal or you are unable to make the registration portal work for you, you will need to come in-person to the testing clinic to register your testing kit.

If you cannot make it to the testing clinic during open hours, please read through this Knowledge Base article on the web app with options for trouble-shooting or be in touch with the OIT Help Desk in one of the following ways:

 *If you are a Campus Dining staff member who has been getting help with scanning your kits, please continue your normal process of getting support from Campus Dining supervisors.

If you do not have a device you can use the app on

If you do not have a device available to you for scanning your kit, you have multiple options:

  • Come to the Testing Clinic during open hours and clinic staff can scan it for you
  • Use the cell phone or tablet of a friend or family member to scan a kit (though kits should be scanned one at a time, right before use, not all at once). The phone/device you use will not store any data. 

How to Supply Your Sample

Because there are multiple pieces to the test kit, you will want to collect your sample in a private place where you can set pieces of the kit down on a stable surface.

Do not plan on collecting your sample next to the drop box. Please do not drink, smoke, or chew gum for 30 minutes prior to offering your sample.

It is recommended that you watch the following video detailing the self-collection process.

Important Reminders about Sample Collection

Please re-read these guidelines, as mistakes in these protocols have resulted in some people not receiving results and/or not following important safety guidelines for sample collection. 

  • Collect your sample in a private place, not next to the drop box or in a public or shared space. Options for where you can collect include outside, in a private room with a door, at your home, in your car. Supplying your saliva sample next to a drop box creates an unsafe environment for others. 
  • You must register your test kit through the web app before putting it in the drop box. If you put a sample in the drop box without registering it, you will not receive results from that sample, and therefore, you will not be counted as having provided a sample on that date.
  • Do not register all your kits at one time. Though you are given multiple kits, scan and register them one at a time, right before you supply your saliva sample and drop it off. The date you register your kit in the web app is expected to line up with the date you give your sample.
  • Collect your sample (spit into your tube) as close as possible to the time that you drop off your sample. If you need to, you may collect your sample (spit into the tube) within the 12-24 hours prior to dropping your sample in the drop box, but make sure your sample is being stored at room temperature in the meantime. Extreme heat or cold can impact the viability of the sample you provide.
  • Your collected sample vial must be put back into the biohazard bag and sealed before being dropped in the drop box. If the vial is submitted without being sealed in the bag, it cannot be handled by couriers and will not be taken for analysis. 
  •  If you have skipped a test for whatever reason, submit one the next day if possible. Do not submit two specimens on the same day.