Carnegie Mellon University

COVID-19 Updates

Information and resources for the CMU community

Scotty with mask: Tartans All In everywhere

Tartan Testing Program Process

Tartan Testing is for all Pittsburgh-based Students, Faculty and Staff 

Everyone in the CMU community coming to campus are expected to participate weekly in Tartan Testing. The test takes less than 15 minutes and same-day appointments are often available. To complete Tartan Testing, see the steps below on this page or view the directions for participation in the Tartan Testing Appointment Reminder email you receive every Friday.

Tests provide a snapshot of the moment at which the test is taken, so it is critical to remain committed to our mitigation behaviors. Background on CMU COVID-19 Testing

Should I be tested if I previously had COVID or received the vaccine?

See all COVID-19 Testing FAQs

If you have questions or concerns about the Tartan Testing Program, please email

How to Do Your Tartan Testing



Schedule an appointment.


Prepare for your appointment. 


Go to the Cohon University Center to
check in for your appointment.


Provide your saliva sample and await results.

1. Schedule an appointment.

Select an appointment through the HealthConnect portal. The sooner you elect an appointment time, the more flexibility you will have to choose among available slots.

Appointments will last approximately 15 minutes. However, during high volume testing periods, the process may take longer, and unexpected delays may occur (e.g., inclement weather, etc.). We appreciate your support and patience with this very important process.

  • Sign onto HealthConnect with your date of birth.
  • Select the "Schedule an appointment" button.
  • Select your primary campus status and then select the "Continue" button.
  • Select "COVID-19 Asymptomatic Testing" and then select the "Continue" button.
  • Faculty and staff need to read and approve a COVID-19 Test Consent Form and students are required to sign an annual Treatment Agreement before booking their appointment.
  • After selecting the "Submit" button, you can then "Search for appointments."

HealthConnect is CMU’s secure online portal for University Health Services (our students’ primary care provider). We have expanded the system’s functionality so that faculty and staff will also use HealthConnect to schedule asymptomatic COVID-19 testing. HealthConnect is housed on campus and monitored by Carnegie Mellon's Information Security Office (ISO). Access to the stored information is limited to authorized personnel and treated confidentially.

Faculty and staff are currently not required nor expected to answer any health or medical history related questions in order to participate in Tartan Testing. If you are prompted in HealthConnect for this information, please click through the questions without entering a response.

If you have issues logging into HealthConnect to schedule your appointment, please contact

2. Prepare for your appointment.

Before You Arrive 

If your sample is contaminated or discolored, it will not produce a test result and will not be processed. To reduce the incidence of contaminated saliva and rejected test results, note these important steps regarding how you should prepare to provide your saliva sample.

  • During the 60 minutes (increased from 30 minutes) prior to your appointment, do not eat, drink (other than water), smoke, brush your teeth or chew gum.
  • Do not wear lipstick, lip gloss or lip balm to your appointment.
  • 10 minutes before your appointment, you should swish water in your mouth and swallow it to ensure that you are well hydrated. After this, do not drink anything else before your appointment.

What to Bring 

  • CMU ID and mobile device: Bring your university ID (or government-issued ID) and a mobile device (or printed page) to display your appointment QR code.
  • Face covering: You are required to wear a face covering/mask throughout the testing process, except during saliva sample collection, when you will be asked to lift your mask to provide the sample.

3. Go to the Cohon University Center to check in for your appointment.

Tartan Testing Shuttle

CMU is providing free shuttle service to the Cohon University Center (CUC) from various off-campus locations in the area. See Pick-Up Locations

Check-in Process

You will check in for your test at Danforth Lounge in the CUC. Just before you are called to a check-in table, click “Appointments” in the HealthConnect menu and select today’s appointment to pull up your personal QR code on your mobile device.

A staff member will give you a test kit, and you will be directed to the East Campus Garage to provide your sample.


Note: The Tartan Testing schedule is structured to attempt to minimize the density of people at or around the testing site. It's important that you only arrive at Danforth Lounge at your scheduled time. Do not arrive early or without an appointment. 

Cohon University Center, Second Floor Map (View PDF)


4. Provide your saliva sample and await results.

After checking in and picking up your test kit, take the nearby steps downstairs (staff and signs will direct you) and then outside to the designated Tartan Testing pathway to the East Campus Garage. 

Signs and staff will guide you to individual testing stations where you will provide a saliva sample. Remember to practice CDC recommended hygiene practices before and after you provide your test sample.

Receiving Results

Your saliva sample will be processed by the Tartan COVID-19 Testing Lab and results will be returned to you within 2-3 business days. 


  • If you have a positive test result, you will receive a call and an email from University Health Services (UHS) directing you to log in to HealthConnect and view your test results. UHS and university staff will provide guidance and support to those who test positive or are close contacts of someone testing positive. A plan for care, isolation and contact tracing will be initiated.
  • If you have a negative test result, you will receive an email from UHS directing you to log in to HealthConnect and view your test results.

process for students who receive a positive test result

Faculty and Staff

  • You will receive an email from UHS directing you to log in to HealthConnect and view your test results when they are available. 
  • Faculty or staff with positive test results should consult their health care provider regarding a plan for care and isolation. CMU’s Community Health and Well-Being will assist with referrals to primary care providers, as needed. Additionally, a plan for contact tracing will be initiated.

Process for faculty and staff who receive a positive test result

About the Test

Tartan Testing employs a COVID-19 asymptomatic test based on the SalivaDirect open-access protocol developed by the Yale School of Public Health. This test uses saliva samples to detect the presence of RNA from the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19.

Questions or Concerns?

If you have questions or concerns about the Tartan COVID-19 Asymptomatic Testing Program, email

Clinical Laboratory Improvements Amendment (CLIA) Complaints Brochure [PDF]

Client Reference Manual

The Tartan Testing Lab Client Reference Manual is available upon request by contacting