Changes to Our Testing Program After August 31

With broad availability of antigen tests – which are effective at detecting infection at high viral levels, when people are most infectious – Cornell will discontinue its supplemental PCR (nasal/saliva) testing sites on Aug. 31. Antigen tests will continue to be available to all students, faculty and staff who may wish to test following travel, attendance at large gatherings, illness or potential exposure. Cornell Health will continue to offer PCR tests for symptomatic students who meet the clinical testing criteria. Additional details on where to pick up antigen tests after Aug. 31 will be provided later this summer on the university’s COVID-19 website.

Summer Testing Locations & Hours

All testing sites are closed on Saturdays and Sundays during summer.

  • College of Veterinary Medicine, Atrium Alcove:
    • Monday to Thursday 7:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • East Hill Plaza, Human Resources Training Room, Suite 345:
    • Monday to Thursday 7:30 a.m. – 5:15 p.m.
    • Friday 7:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Willard Straight Hall, Browsing Library, 4th Floor:
    • Monday to Thursday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    • Friday 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Self-Report a Positive Test Result

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 outside of the region, through a home antigen test, or any other non-Cornell or Cayuga Medical Center testing within the past 90 days, report your result in the Daily Check under the “Self-Reported Positive” heading. This information is critical for Cornell, as it may exempt you from testing.

For assistance with testing, visit the COVID-19 Support Center.

Supplemental Testing

Supplemental testing should not be used by anyone experiencing symptoms, or by unvaccinated individuals who are concerned they may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. In these cases, students should seek testing from Cornell Health; faculty and staff should seek testing from a Cayuga Health System location or seek a rapid antigen test. Fully vaccinated, asymptomatic individuals who are concerned they may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 may use supplemental testing.

Supplemental testing requires scheduling an appointment in advance as walk-ins are not allowed. To make an appointment, log into the Daily Check portal and click on the “Schedule A Supplemental Test” button. Appointments become available at 4 p.m. for the following day.

All PCR testing sites operate under the same protocol for supervised self-collection of anterior nares (front of the nostril) samples. Anterior nares sampling is a simple, noninvasive nasal swab. Samples will be sent to the Cornell COVID-19 Testing Laboratory for processing.

Antigen test kits

For your convenience, COVID-19 antigen test kits are available to any asymptomatic student, staff or faculty member at any of Cornell’s test sites. Antigen-based testing, while somewhat less sensitive than PCR, has the advantage of speed – it shortens the time to detect and notify a positive from days to minutes.

Asymptomatic students who previously tested positive with COVID-19 and are currently in their 90-day recovery window, are eligible to pick up antigen kits. If the result is positive, you should report the result through the Daily Check.

Bulk requests for antigen test kits

Staff, faculty and student group organizers may request a bulk quantity of antigen kits by submitting a request to the COVID-19 Support Center, noting requestor name and NetID (this must be the same person who picks up the kits), group/activity name, date of event/activity, number of kits requested and a description of the attendees/audience. Note that antigen kits may not be requested for or distributed to guests or visitors.

Symptomatic Testing

Cornell provides Symptomatic Test Kits to students, faculty and staff who are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 and who have not tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days. Please see instructions for accessing a test kit, below.

Individuals experiencing severe symptoms (i.e., difficulty breathing, high fever) should stay home and seek medical attention. Students should contact Cornell Health at 607-255-5155 for testing. Faculty and staff should contact their primary care provider.

Cornell’s Symptomatic Test Kits include two components: an antigen-based test, which provides rapid results within 15 minutes; and a saliva test, which will only be used in the event that a symptomatic person tests negative using the antigen test.

Rapid results from the antigen tests allow individuals to self-isolate within minutes of receiving a positive test result, thereby minimizing the risk of transmitting the virus to others. In general, individuals who test positive through an antigen test are almost certainly positive. However, due to a variety of factors, it is possible to have a false negative. Therefore, individuals with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 who have a negative antigen test are required to complete a secondary PCR saliva test to rule out possible COVID-19 infection.

How symptomatic individuals can access test kits

Symptomatic test kits are available to students, faculty and staff at any test site during regular hours. You must show your Cornell ID in order to pick up a kit, which will contain both an antigen and saliva test along with detailed instructions for completion.

Symptomatic Test Kit Pick Up and Saliva Sample Drop Off Locations