Symptomatic Test Kits available beginning Jan. 31

Jan. 28, 2022

Dear Cornell community,

Beginning Monday, January 31, any member of the Cornell community experiencing mild to moderate symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 will be able to pick up a Symptomatic Test Kit at two on-campus locations. This is a new offering which will make symptomatic testing more convenient for students, faculty and staff.

All regularly scheduled arrival and surveillance testing, including the required twice weekly testing for unvaccinated individuals, remains unchanged.

Anyone who is symptomatic (mild to moderate symptoms) will be able to do the following:

  1. Go to one of two campus Symptomatic Test Kit pick-up locations during operating hours and provide your Cornell ID (see below). No appointment is necessary.
  2. Receive two COVID-19 tests: one rapid antigen test and one saliva PCR test.
  3. Take the antigen test first. You will have a result in less than 15 min.
  4. If the antigen test is positive, scan the QR code on the outside of the antigen test kit and upload your results. Dispose of both tests and await further instructions from Cornell with details on how to isolate while you recover from COVID-19, and when to return to campus.
  5. If the antigen test is negative, scan the QR code on the outside of the antigen test kit and upload your results. Dispose of the used antigen test. Wait 30 minutes after eating or drinking and take the saliva test. Deposit it in one of the saliva sample drop-off boxes (see map link below).
  6. It is expected that you will complete the tests within 24 hours of receipt of the test kits.

Symptomatic Test Kit pick-up locations and hours: Kits are only available at the Tower Rd traffic booth near Stocking Hall (drive-up only) or the Campus Rd traffic booth near Carpenter Hall (walk-up only) from 9-11 a.m. or 2-4 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9-11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. You will need to provide your Cornell ID to pick up a test kit. Saliva sample drop-off boxes are available 24/7. View drop-off locations.

Why do I need to complete a saliva test if my antigen test was negative? Antigen tests are not as sensitive as PCR-based saliva tests, meaning they are not as good at identifying infection early or late in the virus cycle. If you are experiencing symptoms but test negative using the antigen test, it is best to follow it with the saliva test to rule out possible COVID-19 infection. Learn more about how antigen tests work.

What do I do if I’m severely ill? This symptomatic testing option is designed for individuals who are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms. If you are severely ill (i.e., difficulty breathing, high fever) you should stay home and seek immediate medical attention. Do not go to a symptomatic or surveillance testing site. Students with severe symptoms should contact Cornell Health, and faculty and staff should consult with their primary care physician.

The Tompkins County Health Department is holding two COVID-19 booster clinics this weekend at the Ithaca Mall, 40 Catherwood Rd. (Moderna from 10 a.m. — 1 p.m., Pfizer from 2 — 4 p.m.). If you are currently eligible to receive a booster and have not done so already, register today for an appointment.


Mike Kotlikoff

Gary Koretzky
Vice Provost for Academic Integration

Ryan Lombardi
Vice President for Student and Campus Life

Mary Opperman
Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer