Surveillance Testing at UAlbany
All students and employees can voluntarily participate in UAlbany’s surveillance testing program. Participation is no longer required of any students or employees.
The following people should not participate in surveillance testing:
Anyone currently experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
Anyone who has received a positive at-home, antigen- or PCR-based diagnostic test result, or a positive surveillance test result, within the past 90 days.
Anyone who has been diagnosed as positive for the virus by a physician within the past 90 days.
Positive antibody test results suggest, but are not proof of, a prior infection, so they do not constitute a diagnosis. If you have only received a positive antibody test, you may still participate in surveillance testing.
Note: Only students, faculty and staff of UAlbany and its related entities may participate in or use the UAlbany surveillance testing program.
Please continue to monitor your UAlbany email and this website for important updates.
How does surveillance testing work?
|When You Submit Your Saliva Sample||When Your Saliva Sample Will Be Tested|
|Between noon Monday and 8 a.m. Tuesday||Tuesday|
|Between noon Wednesday and 8 a.m. Thursday||Thursday|
Saliva samples submitted after 8 a.m. Thursday are still viable and will be tested Tuesday.
To participate in surveillance testing, follow these instructions:
Kits will cover your required participation for the entire semester/term. Each new test kit must be registered so the University knows to whom each saliva sample belongs (see Step 2 for instructions).
If you have any remaining tubes at the end of the semester/term, please use the remainders during the next semester/term before getting a new kit.
Students and employees can pick up a test kit at one of these locations:
Uptown Campus: Kits can be picked up at the Information Desk on the Podium level and the Information Desk in the Basement near Starbucks in the Campus Center.
Health Sciences Campus: Dean’s Office for the School of Public Health — Test kits are available in the George Education Center (GEC) Admissions Office from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
If you have any questions regarding test kit availability, please email [email protected].
You need to register your testing kit online immediately after receiving it.
It is essential that you register each kit you receive before you begin submitting saliva samples from it. Otherwise, there is no way to identify your saliva sample or note your participation.
Note: Please use all the supplies in your current test kit before using the supplies in your new test kit. Test kits do not expire, and each new test kit must be registered.
Each kit contains a unique kit number and registration code, as well as the supplies you will need to provide saliva samples. When you register online, you will be asked to input your kit’s number and registration code, read the program overview and consent form, and then provide an electronic signature.
Once you’ve registered, be sure to store your test kit in a clean, safe place.
Please keep these items in mind:
Please only submit one tube, with a completed sample, per week.
Do not eat, drink, gargle or brush your teeth in the 30 minutes before collecting your saliva sample.
Collect your weekly saliva sample in a clean and private space, such as your home, car or sanitized bathroom. Be sure your kit is on a clean surface.
Do not include any material other than saliva in the tube. This includes water or alcohol wipes. Foreign material slows down the processing of samples and could delay your test results. Note: Intentionally including material other than saliva in your sample tube will result in disciplinary action.
Steps for collecting a sample
Take a specimen collection bag, test tube and alcohol wipe from your kit.
Collect your saliva in the provided test tube and fill to the 1mL mark (where the pointed part ends).
Cap the test tube securely and wipe the outside of the test tube with the provided alcohol wipe. Please ensure the label remains on the tube. All numbers of the barcode must be visible and should not be wiped away.
Place the test tube inside the marked biohazard specimen collection bag and seal the bag.
Drop the completed specimen bag at the drop box location most convenient for you (see Step 4 for a list of drop box locations).
Having problems collecting a sample? These tips will help:
Please collect saliva that pools in the front of your mouth naturally. Don’t “hock” or produce saliva by force from the back of your throat.
It may take about one minute to collect enough saliva to dribble in the tube. Thinking of your favorite food or citrus may help speed this process up.
It is normal for saliva to foam. You should only fill the pointed section of the tube with saliva.
If you are required to participate in surveillance testing, you must submit one saliva sample per week. Use the chart above to determine when your saliva sample will be tested, based on when you dropped it off.
You must drop off your saliva sample before 8 a.m. the day after you collect it, because couriers empty the drop boxes after 8 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday, then take all samples to the RNA Institute for testing. The drop boxes are labeled “Sample Collection Point.”
You can drop off your saliva sample at the location most convenient for you:
Uptown Campus (Main Campus)
University Administration Building (UAB) — outside, to the left of the main entrance
Campus Center — two locations:
the south basement entrance doors, outside, near the Science Library bus stop
the Podium-level entry doors, outside, near the small fountain to the far right of the Campus Center entry doors
Husted Hall — outside, near the building's Western Avenue entrance. Go up Husted Hall’s exterior stairs, or use the Accessibility Route, and the collection box is up on the left side, near the main entrance.
Health Sciences Campus
George Education Center (GEC), School of Public Health — outside of the main entrance
Saliva samples and individual data are destroyed when their epidemiological analysis is complete and participants with positive results have been contacted.
The School of Public Health (SPH) studies aggregate results that contain no personal data. The University uses SPH’s reports as a guide for decision-making.
Please closely monitor your phone and UAlbany email inbox. You'll get important updates about the program and your results via phone and email from the Office of Emergency Management.
You will no longer receive a verification email each time you submit a saliva sample that confirms it was received by the lab and is being tested.
If your saliva sample tests positive — meaning the virus was detected — you will receive a phone call or an additional email from an authorized University employee from the Office of Emergency Management. They will review your isolation guidelines, recommend that you obtain a PCR diagnostic test and guide you through staying safe.
You’ll generally be notified of a positive result 48 hours after your sample was sent to the lab. Please look for the caller ID "UNIV Albany" or an email from [email protected].
If your sample tests negative — meaning the virus was not detected — you will not receive any notification.
Please remember that you could have been exposed to the virus after submitting your saliva sample. A negative test result only shows you were negative at the time you submitted the sample. It doesn’t prove you are currently negative.
Note: If you feel sick, please contact your doctor (Student Health Services for students or your primary care physician for employees). If you have severe symptoms — such as high fever, cough or shortness of breath — please call 911.