Carnegie Mellon University

COVID-19 Updates

Information and resources for the CMU community

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Tartan COVID-19 Asymptomatic Testing Program

The Tartan COVID-19 Asymptomatic Testing Program, or Tartan Testing for short, is CMU's program for the diagnosis of COVID-19 in asymptomatic individuals and is an important element of CMU’s ongoing strategy to detect and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

Tartan Testing is now available for both pre-scheduled and walk-in appointments Monday - Thursday from 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. (Closed from 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. for lunch). Tartan Testing will be closed on Monday, September 5, 2022 in observance of the Labor Day holiday.

Schedule Test

Should I participate in Tartan Testing?

  • Tartan Testing is available for all Pittsburgh-based students, faculty and staff who seek an asymptomatic COVID-19 test. 
  • You should not test if you have had anything to eat or drink, smoked, vaped, or chewed gum in the 60 minutes prior to your appointment.
  • The university no longer requires individuals who have received a COVID-19 vaccination/booster exemption to complete Tartan Testing on a weekly basis, although it is strongly recommended. 
  • Tartan Testing remains available to all students, faculty and staff who seek an asymptomatic COVID-19 test.

To complete Tartan Testing, see the steps below on this page. If you have questions or concerns about the Tartan Testing Program, please email drbc@andrew.cmu.edu

Tests provide a snapshot of the moment at which the test is taken, so it is critical to remain committed to our mitigation behaviors. 

Should I be tested if I previously had COVID or received the vaccine?all COVID-19 Testing FAQ

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Schedule an appointment.

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Prepare for your appointment. 

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Go to TCS Hall to
check in for your appointment.

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Provide your saliva sample at
TCS Hall and await results.

1. Schedule an appointment.

Appointments are available a week at a time, becoming available every Friday.

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 adjust the date and "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 drbc@andrew.cmu.edu.

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 prior to your appointment, do not eat, drink (other than water), smoke or vape, brush your teeth, or chew gum.
  • Do not wear lipstick, lip gloss or lip balm to your appointment.
  • 10 minutes before your appointment, swish water in your mouth and swallow it. 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.
  • Facial covering: You are required to wear a facial covering/mask throughout the testing process, including during saliva sample collection.

3. Go to TCS Hall to check in for your appointment.

Check-in Process: TCS Hall

You will check in for your test at TCS Hall. 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 an individual testing station to provide your sample. 

4. Provide your saliva sample at TCS Hall and await results.

Remember to practice CDC recommended hygiene practices before and after you provide your test sample.

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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. 

Students 

  • 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 drbc@andrew.cmu.edu.

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

Client Reference Manual

The Tartan Testing Lab Client Reference Manual is available upon request by contacting drbc@andrew.cmu.edu.