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Answers to this week’s top Safer Badgers/COVID-19 questions (week 2)

January 21, 2021

As the second week of the new spring semester testing wraps up, we want to thank students and employees for their patience and dedication to this new process. Teams across the university are working hard to get everything ready for the start of class on Jan. 25.  

We have received many good questions about testing requirements and have compiled them in an extensive set of Frequently Asked Questions, which you may filter by six topic areas.

Here are some of this week’s top questions:  

Q: How long does a saliva test take and when will I get the test results? 

A: The testing process should take a few minutes. Most results will be available within 24 hours. Results will be provided to you on the Safer Badgers app and via the my UHS portal. 

Q: Can I take a nasal swab test instead of a saliva-based test?

A: At this time, unless you are a residence hall student or have a medical condition that would interfere with saliva-based testing, you will need to seek on-campus saliva testing.

Q: Will I test positive for COVID because I’ve been vaccinated

A: No, the test for COVID-19 looks for several signatures of the virus that are not present in the vaccine.

Q: My test came back “invalid”, “inconclusive” or “rejected”. What does that mean? 

A: If you received any of these results, you will need to get another test. You Badger Badge will not update until you receive a valid test result.

Invalid results typically occur when a sample is submitted but cannot be adequately tested.

If your test was rejected, it may be because your saliva sample was contaminated, discolored, or you provided too much or too little liquid saliva.

Contamination can occur for a number of reasons – most commonly due to eating or drinking, flossing or brushing your teeth, using mouthwash, chewing gum, or smoking within 60 minutes of your test. We encourage you to rinse your mouth thoroughly with water at least 60 minutes before your test and then refrain from any of these activities before your test.

A couple of hours before your scheduled saliva test, drink water to ensure you are well-hydrated when you arrive for your test. (Again, do not drink anything in the one hour before your test.)

You will be asked to provide between 1 and 1.5 milliliters of saliva, following the instructions provided to you at the test site.

Q: What is the testing process for undergraduates living off campus for spring semester?

A: Students who live in the City of Madison in zip codes 53703, 53705, 53706, 53711, 53713, 53715, 53726 and 53792 should plan to complete two on-campus tests, at least three days apart, between Jan. 14 and Jan. 24. At minimum, you must have one on-campus test before the start of classes Jan. 25.

Once you complete your first test, you will be prompted to test twice weekly (every 72 hours) thereafter.

You will need to continue to test twice weekly (every 72 hours) throughout the semester to remain in compliance with campus requirements.

For undergraduates living outside these zip codes, beginning Jan. 25 you will need to have tested negative within the previous four days (96 hours) any time you come to campus. Keep in mind that it can take up to 24 hours to get a test result.

Once you complete your first test, you will schedule future tests based on when you next plan to come to campus, ensuring that you always have a negative test recorded within four days of your upcoming visit. We encourage you to opt into a regular twice weekly testing program, to ensure you’ll always be able to visit campus should the need arise on short notice.

Certain student employees will be asked to test more often, given their role on campus. These employees will be notified by their supervisors of their testing expectations.