FAQs on COVID-19 Testing

Testing helps protect the people you care about and the Mason community. Since COVID-19 can spread easily from person to person, getting tested helps to inform those who have the virus to isolate at home.

Testing also helps to identify and notify close contacts to quarantine and be tested. These actions help stop the spread of illness.

  • Unvaccinated individuals will be required to participate in COVID testing at least once a week and as frequently as three times a week, depending on conditions.
  • Vaccinated faculty, staff and students may be required to participate in testing, based on the guidance from public health officials and testing capacity.

Most people who get COVID-19 are able to recover on their own at home. A positive test may not be the result you hoped for, but when preventive actions are taken, we all can do our part to protect the health of our community.

  • Students will get diagnostic tests at a location as ordered by Student Health Services.
  • Employees should contact a primary health care provider or a community testing site for testing options. 

This testing process is separate from asymptomatic surveillance testing

Where are the on-campus COVID-19 asymptomatic testing sites?

Asymptomatic surveillance testing sites on our Virginia campuses include:  

  • Fairfax Campus: Two sites with tests  available for residential students, non-residential students, faculty, and staff:

    • Johnson Center clinic on the first floor. 
    • Fenwick Library A Wing (former MIX space).
  • Arlington Campus: Hazel Hall, Rooms B1-13. 
  • SciTech Campus: Colgan Hall, Room 413.

Where is the COVID-19 diagnostic testing site?

Diagnostic testing site locations on the Fairfax Campus:

  • Outside SUB 1.
  • Rivanna Module (Building No. 51).

You'll be instructed where to go when scheduling your appointment with Student Health Services.

Who can get tested at the on-campus site?

Mason has on-campus testing sites to provide diagnostic and surveillance testing as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).  

Testing prioritizes: 

  • Students experiencing COVID symptoms. 
  • Close contacts of symptomatic students. 
  • Unvaccinated members of the Mason community. 
  • Vaccinated individuals in high-contact roles and/or activities, such as: 
    • Athletics. 
    • Housing and Residence Life. 
    • Registered Student Organizations. 
    • Student Health Services. 
    • Counseling and Psychological Services. 
    • Occupational Health. 

Anyone with symptoms should be tested, whether you’ve been vaccinated or not.  

If you’re symptomatic, you’ll get access to expedited testing, either through on-campus resources or a community testing site. 

  • Students: Contact Student Health Services at 703-993-2831.
  • Faculty and staff: Contact your personal health care provider to arrange a test.

I'm a student. Do I need an appointment for a diagnostic test? How can I get one?

Yes, all tests must be scheduled.

Students should call Student Health Services at 703-993-2831. You will be evaluated.

Those who meet testing criteria will have an appointment scheduled at the diagnostic testing site or you will be referred to another local testing site.

What do I need to do / bring when I get to the on-campus test site?

  • Wear a face covering.
  • Follow signs for access.
  • Have your Mason ID handy.
  • Your response from filling out that day's Covid Health Check.
  • If walking to your appointment, maintain 6 feet of distance between you and others.

If you are getting a surveillance test, please do not eat or drink anything for 30 minutes before your appointment.

Come alone. No guests are allowed at the appointment.

I'm a student. Can I get a diagnostic test if I don't have symptoms?

Yes. If you are a close contact of someone exposed to COVID-19 or Student Health Services determines testing is appropriate, you can be tested at the diagnostic testing site without symptoms.

What is the test like?

Mason is using a saliva test for surveillance testing. Samples will be analyzed at SciTech at the College of Science’s Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine CAP/CLIA certified laboratories.

Diagnostic tests use the nasal swab technique.

Watch a video on the saliva test:


How and when will I get test results?

Turnaround time for results should be an average of 2 business days or less. You can get a text or email with a link to log in to the patient portal to read your results.

What if I can't get to a Mason campus for testing?

If you're required to be tested, instructions on uploading your off-campus test results are included in the email you received on surveillance testing.

If you can't get to Mason or aren't eligible for testing at the diagnostic site, you will be referred to a primary care provider or a community test site.

You can also contact your local primary care provider or health department for testing locations near you. 

Ask about costs for testing and health insurance coverage. If you are tested at an off-campus site, Mason will not receive your tests results. Report positive or pending tests to Mason using our established guidelines.

If I am fully vaccinated, do I have to quarantine if I’ve been identified as a close contact to someone with COVID-19?

No, based on CDC guidance, fully vaccinated individuals who are identified as close contacts do not need to quarantine or test unless they become symptomatic.

However, you should get tested three to five days after your exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Students who become symptomatic should call Student Health Services at 703-993-2831 for evaluation.