UCI Forward

UCI Forward is our commitment to the well-being of our community as we ramp up campus operations. Working together, each of us doing our part, we can move UCI Forward.


Student Testing

Section 1

COVID-19 testing for UCI students residing on campus

Important Messages:

COVID-19 Testing Basics

What: Tests will be self-administered using a nasal swab, with instructions from an observer.
When: Testing during Move-In Week will take place from 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM starting on Tuesday, September 22nd through Tuesday, September 29th. Appointments will be made in 10- minute intervals.
Where: Tests will be administered indoors at the Bren Events Center. Check-in will occur in the West Lobby and then you will be directed to the East Lobby for the test collection.

Schedule Testing Appointment

  • Login to the Student Health Patient Portal with your UCINetID and password
  • Select “Appointments” on the left navigation sidebar
  • Select “COVID Mass Testing (On-Campus Residents)” – click “Continue”
  • Select the “Bren Center” testing location – click “Continue”
  • Confirm Your Contact Information (email address; local telephone; local address) – click “Continue”
  • Enter Your Callback Number (necessary if SHC needs to contact you regarding the appointment you are scheduling) – click “Continue”
  • Schedule Your Appointment. Select the date that corresponds to your move-in date as assigned by your Housing community. Select an appointment time that falls within 1-2 hours PRIOR to your Housing move-in appointment.  (Please add this appointment time and location to your calendar and set a reminder!) – click “Continue”
  • Confirm your appointment date and time and then click “Schedule”. 
  • You must click on “Schedule” in order for your appointment to be confirmed.

The results of your COVID-19 test will be available through the Student Health portal within 48 - 72 hours (Student Health Patient Portal). Students testing positive for coronavirus will be contacted by Student Health Center with instructions for isolation and treatment. Students whose test results are “inconclusive” will be contacted by SHC and asked to come to SHC for follow-up testing as soon as possible.

On the Day of Your Test Appointment

Do your Daily Symptom Check-In.

  1. If you are not showing symptoms, we look forward to seeing you at the test collection site.
  2. If you are showing symptoms, do not go to the test collection site. Please contact your primary care provider and the Student Health Centerat 949-824-5301 and follow their instructions.
  3. Students who arrive at the test collection site with symptoms will not be tested, and will be asked to contact the Student Health Center for instructions (949-824-5301).
  4. Also, students will need to contact their Housing community for instructions if they are unable to be tested on their scheduled move-in date due to being symptomatic.

Know where you are going and give yourself enough time to get there.

  1. Bren Events Center. Parking is available in the Mesa Parking Structure adjacent to the Bren Events Center.

  2. Check-in for your appointment at the West Lobby entrance.

    o   Plan to arrive at least 10 minutes before your appointment time.

Remember to bring:

  1. Face covering (and a spare face covering)
  2. Your Student ID card or Student ID Number and another form of picture ID

You will be presented with a wristband following the completing of test collection. Please do not remove your wristband as you will be asked to display it upon arrival at Housing check-in before keys will be released to you.

Please do not bring any guests with you to your test appointment, unless absolutely necessary.

The entire process should take approximately 15 minutes.

Important Notes

  1. Currently, we are testing students only. If you have family members or dependents that want to be tested, please refer to the following county test sites found on this website.
  2. Staff are available at the testing site to assist students who require a special accommodation. However, if you have a disability that prevents you from taking a nasal swab test at a testing location, please contact the Student Health Center at 949-824-5301 for other testing arrangements.
  3. You will receive an email reminder 24 hours prior to your appointment. In addition, a text reminder will be sent one hour prior to the appointment IF you have opted in to receiving text messages on the portal.
  4. We urge you to do your best to keep your appointment. However, if you need to cancel your appointment after it has been confirmed, please return to the “Appointments” page on the portal Student Health Patient Portal; select the appointment that you’d like to cancel; click “Cancel” and then select another appointment date and time as soon as possible.
  5. Please remember that your Housing community will require testing before move-in. If you must cancel your testing appointment, then you should notify your Housing office as soon as possible as it may affect your scheduled move-in time slot.

Student COVID Testing FAQs

Why are we testing students?

As you know, while the majority of COVID-19 cases are associated with symptoms including very mild cold/flu like symptoms, research has shown that a significant proportion of the populations could be asymptomatic.  Our testing helps to identify asymptomatic cases and protect the UCI community at large.  

Additionally, there is a UCI executive directive mandating student testing. A conduct process will apply for students who do not participate in COVID-19 testing.

Do I do the test myself?

The test currently being utilized is a self-administered nasal swab test. There will be trained staff there to educate students on how to administer the test correctly. You can watch this video for more information: https://youtu.be/jDIUFDMmBDo.

In the future, UCI may transition fully or partially to other types of testing.

How far up the nose does the swab go?

In the self-sampling process, the student will insert the swap about one half inch up each nostril for 10 to 15 seconds each. Watch this video for more information: https://youtu.be/jDIUFDMmBDo

What do I bring to the testing site with me?

Please bring your student ID card or student ID number and another form of picture ID if you do not have your student ID card. Please do NOT bring anyone with you unless absolutely necessary.

How long does the entire process take?

The entire process, from check-in to completion of the testing, takes about 7-10 minutes based upon Phase 1 testing that has already occurred.

What happens after I leave the testing site?

You are free to carry on with your day. The results of your COVID-19 test will be available through the Student Health Patient Portal within 48 to 72 hours. Students testing positive for coronavirus will be contacted by the Student Health Center (SHC) with instructions for isolation and treatment. Students whose test is “inconclusive” will be contacted by SHC to obtain a nasopharyngeal test at the SHC as soon as possible.

How long does it take to get the results?

Test results should be available between 48 and 72 hours after you had your test. Negative test results will be in your student health portal.

How will I learn my results?

The results of your COVID-19 test will be available through the Student Health Patient Portal within 48 to 72 hours (Students testing positive for coronavirus will be contacted by the Student Health Center with instructions for isolation and treatment. Students whose test is “inconclusive” will be contacted by SHC to obtain a nasopharyngeal test at the SHC as soon as possible. Please be sure to check phone calls during this window.

What happens if I test positive for COVID-19?

If your test is POSITIVE (detected)

1. You will be contacted by a member of the Student Health Center, who will do the following:

  • Review the positive test results with you
  • Ask about any new symptoms and clinical issues you may have
  • Provide resources for any additional concerns you may have
  • Set up the process for daily clinical monitoring by SHC nurses
  • Provide clinical clearance for your eventual return to routine housing

(Note: The SHC will be the primary source of clinical care and support, even if you have your own provider.) 

2. You will be contacted by a member of the Contact Tracing team, who will be calling you to ask for:

  • Details on how you may have acquired the infection
  • Areas where you may have spent time, both on and off campus
  • Any potential contacts you may have had in the prior days to weeks (The team may reach out to these individuals.)

3. UCI contact tracers will work with the Orange County Health Department to identify people potentially exposed and halt the transmission of COVID-19.

4. Student Housing representatives will contact you to

  • Arrange for you to move temporarily to a separate room with a private bathroom
  • Coordinate meals to be provided so that you can isolate yourself to avoid transmitting the virus to others

What happens if my test is negative?

If your test is NEGATIVE (not detected):

1. You are cleared to proceed with normal social distancing and health safety practices, this includes frequent handwashing, physical distancing, and wearing a facial covering.

2. Testing negative does not mean that you’re not susceptible to the virus.

3. Remember, starting in October we will be testing every week.

For information on the campus executive directives, visit: https://uci.edu/coronavirus/executive-directives/index.php

How often do I need to be tested?

Testing for students residing on campus will occur in three phases. Phase 1 is dedicated to students who are already residing on campus. Phase 2 testing is dedicated to students who are moving onto campus during “Move-In Week”. Phase 3 testing will apply to all students residing on campus and will be performed on a regular basis. For detailed information regarding locations, dates/times, frequency of testing, scheduling instructions and other information, visit  https://uci.edu/coronavirus/students/testing.php.

I am moving into campus housing for Fall Quarter – do I need to be tested?

Yes, all students living in campus and ACC housing must be tested prior to moving in. Testing will take place Sept. 22 through Sept. 29 from 8 a.m. to 4:40 p.m. at the UCI Bren Events Center. All residents must complete a COVID-19 test prior to their check-in appointment at their assigned housing community. You will receive an email communication  from your housing community with all the details.

What if I am already living on campus but I have not completed the testing yet?

Please be sure to schedule yourself for a COVID-19 test at the UCI Bren Events Center between Sept. 22 and Sept. 29.
For directions to the Bren Events Center, visit: https://ucirvinesports.com/sports/2017/7/18/directions.aspx

I don’t live on campus, do I still need to be tested?

No. Testing is for campus residents only, including ACC properties.

I am a student employee, do I need to be tested?

If you are resident on campus, you will need to be tested. If you work on campus, but you live off-campus, you will not need to be tested.

What if I don’t want to be tested? (Or parents who don’t want their child tested)?

We recognize there may be some who don’t agree with COVID testing all the students. As an academic research university with a regional medical center, health is a top priority at UCI, and testing provides data to help us control the spread. 

I cannot be tested because of religious reasons - what do I do?

Students can contact the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity for additional information and guidance. Phone: (949) 824-5594, Email: oeod@uci.edu, web: https://www.oeod.uci.edu

I have heard that this kind of test is not valid because the swab does not go high into the nostril?

For initial diagnostic testing for COVID-19, CDC recommends collecting and testing an upper respiratory specimen. The following are acceptable specimens:

  • A nasopharyngeal (NP) specimen collected by a healthcare provider; or
  • An oropharyngeal (OP) specimen collected by a healthcare provider; or
  • A nasal mid-turbinate swab collected by a healthcare provider or by a supervised onsite self-collection (using a flocked tapered swab); or
  • An anterior nares (nasal swab) specimen collected by a healthcare provider or by home or supervised onsite self-collection (using a flocked or spun polyester swab); or
  • Nasopharyngeal wash/aspirate or nasal wash/aspirate (NW) specimen collected by a healthcare provider.

What if I need special accommodation?

Students can contact the Disability Services Center for an accommodation request. Phone: 949-824-7494, Email: dsc@uci.edu, web: https://dsc.uci.edu. If a student needs assistance at the testing site with administering the test or other assistance, staff will be available. If testing cannot be completed at the site, testing at SHC can be arranged for students who need a special accommodation.

Why is there a testing site at Verano Place? Why not the ARC fields?

Verano Place and ACC Plaza Verde were selected for Phase 1 testing because they have the most students currently residing on campus. We wanted to make it as convenient as possible for students to access testing sites. Phase 2 testing for students arriving on campus during Move-In Week will take place at the Bren Events Center. The locations, start date and regular testing dates/times for Phase 3 testing are still to be determined.

I was tested already elsewhere, do I need to test again at UCI?

Yes. We would like for you to participate in our testing. We are looking into the possibility of accepting tests from other testing sites, but because we cannot verify the validity of the test and we prefer that you come to the UCI testing location. It will take no more than 15 minutes to complete the self-administered test. If you have tested COVID POSITVE elsewhere, please upload a copy of your POSITIVE test results through the Student Health Portal, for review and further direction.

I’m not currently living in graduate and family housing but I am paying rent (so I appear on the list like I’m in housing) and I’m returning sometime in the future. Do I need to test when I arrive?

You need to complete testing on campus as soon as possible and prior to your actual move-in. Please visit https://uci.edu/coronavirus/students/testing.php often for information regarding testing locations, dates/times and scheduling instructions.  UCI requires this testing to be performed on campus and the UCI and ACC housing communities require this testing to be performed prior to moving into your residence.

Is there a cost for the mandatory COVID-19 testing?

No. There is no cost to you for this testing or for follow-up testing that may be required if your test results are positive or inconclusive. Also, this testing is not covered by UC SHIP or any other insurance plans and these plans will not be billed.