COVID Testing

COVID Testing

Testing is an important part of a comprehensive, layered public health plan to reduce the spread of COVID-19 on our campuses and across Minnesota, along with measures like physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and practicing good health habits.

To best prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, all members of the University community should maintain physical distancing, wear face coverings, and practice good health habits. In addition to these proven public health measures, the University has implemented a systemwide testing protocol called MTest.

MTest is aimed at identifying and testing individuals who are symptomatic or have had a confirmed exposure to a positive case of COVID-19, described as being within six feet of a positive individual for at least 15 minutes.

This MTest set of public health protocols was developed by the University of Minnesota  Health Emergency Response Office with support from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and experts from Boynton Health, the University’s Medical School and School of Public Health on the Twin Cities campus, and UMD Health Services Director, Dr. David Worley.

Testing Protocols

The University’s testing protocols follow guidance for higher education institutions from public health experts, including MDH and University health experts.

Those who are symptomatic or have had close contact with someone who has a confirmed COVID-19 positive test (close contact is defined as being less than six feet apart for greater than a cumulative 15 minutes in 24 hours) should contact:

  • Students: UMD Health Services at 218-726-8155 or their healthcare provider. 
  • Faculty and Staff: Their healthcare provider. 

Testing is available for students at UMD Health Services. Testing for students, faculty, and staff is also available through the state of Minnesota’s community in-person testing sites or through at-home mail-in saliva testing, and through Essentia Health or St. Luke’s Hospital. 

Students taking online courses and living in the Twin Cities can access testing at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Testing is available on the Minneapolis campus at the Recreation and Wellness Building beginning on January 4, 2021. To receive a test you must make an appointment through Boynton Health. Call the Office for Student Health Benefits at 612-624-0627 to be registered as a patient on the Twin Cities campus. You will then be able to make an appointment for the COVID-19 test. You must have your UMN student ID available and will be asked to provide your ID number.

When a member of the University community tests positive for COVID-19 and is symptomatic, they will be instructed by public health officials to isolate for 10 days after symptoms first appear to reduce the risk of infecting others. Isolation should then continue until the individual has experienced 24 hours without a fever and other symptoms have improved. 

University Housing and Residence Life and Dining services will support students living on campus who require isolation or quarantine. 

Those who have been notified of their exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 case may be instructed to remain in quarantine, in a space with a separate room and bathroom, for up to 14 days or until otherwise directed by health care or public health professionals. Students who do not live on campus will need to make a plan in case they are instructed by public health officials to isolate or quarantine in their residence.

Quarantine

  • Quarantine occurs after a student, faculty member, or staff member is exposed to a known case of COVID-19. 
  • A 14-day quarantine after a known exposure to COVID-19 is still the best and safest option for reducing the risk of transmission.
  • However, the Minnesota Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allow for shorter quarantine periods if certain conditions are met.
  • For individuals living in on-campus housing, including residence halls, these are the University’s guidelines:

On Campus Quarantine Guidelines

14-day quarantine
  • If you have a roommate and your roommate tests positive, you must quarantine for 14 days.
  • If you are exposed to a positive case outside of your household (i.e., an individual with whom you do not live with), this is the safest option for reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
10-day quarantine

As Housing & Residence Life can quickly isolate and quarantine roommates, this option will be considered only when a student:

  • takes a COVID-19 test 5 to 7 days after exposure and receives a negative test result;
  • the negative test result must be received by UMD Health Services before the 10-day quarantine period can end;
  • has no symptoms; and
  • complies with UMD Health Services Quarantine and Isolation Support Team instructions.

If you leave quarantine after day 10, you must:

  • monitor yourself for symptoms through day 14;
  • get tested if you develop symptoms; and
  • continue to wear face coverings and physical distance.

7-day quarantine:

  • Not available for on-campus residents

As it may be difficult to stay away from others, and due to how students live and interact inside residence halls, UMD Health Services and Housing & Residence Life will not be providing a 7-day quarantine option. This is in accordance with Minnesota Department of Health guidelines.

Off-Campus Quarantine Guidelines

14-day quarantine
  • If someone you live with tests positive, you must quarantine for 14 days.
  • If you are exposed to a positive case outside of your household, a 14 day quarantine period is still the safest option for reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
10-day quarantine

You may consider this option:

  • if you have a limited, one-time exposure to someone you are not living with;
  • if you test negative from a COVID-19 test taken between day 5 and day 7 following exposure;
  • your negative test result (for students) is received by UMD Health Services before the 10-day quarantine can end.
  • and you have no COVID-19 symptoms;
  • and you are not living with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19;
  • and you do not live in a building where it may be difficult to stay away from others.

 If you leave quarantine after day 10, you must:

  • monitor yourself for symptoms through day 14;
  • get tested if you develop symptoms; and
  • continue to wear face coverings and physical distance.
7-day quarantine

The University does not recommend a 7-day quarantine time frame. 

 However, under current public health guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Health, you may consider this option only if you:

  • are tested for COVID-19 after a full five days after your potential exposure and that test is negative;
  • have not tested positive for COVID-19;
  • you do not have any symptoms; and
  • live in a situation where no one in your home has tested positive for COVID-19 and you do not live in a building where it is hard to stay away from others. 

If you leave quarantine after day 7, you must:

  • monitor yourself for symptoms through day 14;
  • get tested if you develop symptoms; and
  • continue to wear face coverings and physical distance.

Isolation

  • If you test positive for COVID-19,  you may be contacted by the Minnesota Department of Health, the University of Minnesota, or other city- or county-level contact tracers. Names of individuals who test positive or who may have been exposed will not be released, per HIPAA and FERPA rules. 
  • If you are a student living in an on-campus residence hall or apartment and receive a confirmed positive test, you must fill out this screening form. UMD Health Services and Housing and Residence Life will provide guidance on isolation spaces. Please also review additional guidance provided by Housing and Residence Life.
  • If you live off campus, such as in apartments or houses not owned by the University, please view these steps students take if they receive a confirmed positive test and visit UMD Health Services for resources and support. Students who do not live in University-owned housing will need to make a plan in case they are instructed by public health officials to isolate or quarantine in their residence.

Community Testing Resources

There are a variety of community testing resources available across the state that are provided by the Minnesota Department of Health, other public health entities, and hospitals.

Other Campus' COVID Response Links

Student Resources

Health Services
Housing & Residential Life
One Stop Student Services
Graduate Studies
International Student Services
Makeup Work for Legitimate Absences Policy
Stop the Spread of COVID-19 materials

Additional Information

University of Minnesota Health Emergency Response Office (HERO)
Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy Resource Center
State of Minnesota
Minnesota Department of Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
World Health Organization