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6/20/2021 - New COVID-19 Surveillance Testing System

To: Surveillance Testing Participants
From: Jennifer Howes, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Wellness

As of Monday, June 21, Caltech will shift its surveillance testing program to a self-collection process that is facilitated through an on-site laboratory located in the Beckman Institute. I write to provide updates on the new testing program and process for your participation.

As a member of the Caltech community who has not yet documented your fully vaccinated status with the Institute, you are required to participate in Caltech's surveillance testing program when you report to campus. This requirement extends to all employees, students, and campus affiliates who have not submitted proof of vaccinated status and who access campus, even on an occasional or one-day-a-week basis.

To enroll and participate in this new program, you will need to complete the following steps:

  1. Report to the testing tent at the east side of Beckman Auditorium on your next day back on campus (the same one you have been reporting to up until now).
  2. Review and sign a consent form and complete the registration process in PreciseQ (the same process you went through via Swabseq).
  3. Collect your first one-month supply of self-collection kits at the testing tent. The kits include 8 sample collection receptacles, based on the expectation that most individuals will be reporting to a campus a minimum of two days a week and then expected to return samples twice a week (at least 48 hours apart).
  4. Samples may be returned to one of three campus receptacles (see map for locations) between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Please note that participants are expected to collect and return up to two individual samples a week, depending on the frequency of their visits to campus. Samples should be dropped off within 12 hours of collection.
  5. The tests will be saliva-based. You will need to dribble saliva into a container via pipette for collection.
  6. Once your sample has been retrieved from one of the campus receptacles, you will receive an email confirmation from the laboratory indicating that your sample has been received and will be processed.
  7. Samples will be tested in a pooled testing process that mixes up to two samples in a single batch. Because of this pooling process, testing participants will not receive an analysis or confirmatory report on any negative results.
  8. Testing participants will only be contacted by Student Wellness Services (SWS) if the pooled sample appears to return a potential positive result. In such instances, all participants in the pooled sample will be contacted for follow-up rapid, diagnostic testing at SWS.

Step-by-step directions for collecting your sample are provided online. If you have questions on this process or the testing program more generally, please contact SWS at covid19@caltech.edu.

If you have been fully vaccinated and would like to be exempt from this process, use the Institute's web-based COVID-19 Vaccination Documentation application.