COVID-19 Screening Program
To help combat the spread of Covid-19 on campus, Idaho State University has launched a mandatory COVID-19 screening program for all students, faculty, and staff with a physical presence on campus. This program consists of two parts:
- A return-to-campus screening program, which requires all students, faculty, and staff with a physical presence on campus to be screened once during the month of January.
- An ongoing screening program for select groups of students, faculty and staff.
The program will require any member of the Idaho State community who spend time on campus, including outreach centers, to undergo a non-invasive, saliva-based screening. In addition, COVID-19 testing for symptomatic individuals or for those with a known COVID-19 exposure will be managed separately from the screening program through the University Health Center.
Screenings are non-invasive and saliva-based
Both walk-up and drive-through screening options are available
Scheduling Your Screening
Appointments for screenings are required.
You will select a date and time to visit an on-campus screening location to provide a saliva sample.
- Select a date, time, and location that works with your schedule.
- At your scheduled time, visit the on-campus screening location to provide a saliva sample. The process should take less than 10 minutes.
- You may immediately return to your on-campus activities.
In Pocatello, Idaho Falls, and Meridian, there will be both walk-up and drive-through screening options. Individuals in Twin Falls and Anchorage, Alaska will receive email instructions specific to their screening process.
If your results are positive, the University COVID-19 Health Team will work with you directly to provide further instructions for self-isolation, contact tracing, and any follow-up medical care.
Skaggs parking lot
Bennion parking lot
Exemptions, Deferrals, and Alternative Methods of Compliance
Exemptions and Deferrals
You may be exempt from participating in the screening program at this time if you meet any of the following criteria. Please complete the appropriate online form below.
- I am a student taking only distanced-based classes and do not have a physical on-campus presence. Online Form
- I am an employee who works entirely remotely and does not have physical interaction with other campus community members. Online Form
- I have a sincerely held religious belief that prevents my participation in this screening program. Online Form
- Individuals may defer the screening for up to two weeks if any of the following apply:
- Not feeling well for a reason other than suspected COVID-19, such as recovering from surgery, flu, strep throat, etc., so long as individuals will not be physically on-campus during this timeframe.
- Not available due to vacation, travel, or other time off
- Currently in quarantine as a close contact of someone with COVID-19
Alternative Compliance Options
You may also be compliant with Idaho State’s requirement if you meet any of the following requirements.
- Submit documentation that you are regularly screened for COVID-19 for employment or student activity outside of the University.
- Submit documentation of a positive COVID-19 rapid antigen or PCR test performed on or after July 6, 2020.
- Submit documentation of a negative test result performed during the specified mandatory testing windows by an outside laboratory or provider.
- Submit documentation that you have received a full course of an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccination.
You may submit documentation of your vaccination or test results within the ISU Health Center Portal.
What is the difference between a COVID-19 screen and test?
Idaho State’s screening program is for people who have no symptoms and no known COVID-19 exposure. This is done to identify individuals who may be asymptomatic COVID-19 carriers, so we can take precautions to limit the spread to others.
COVID-19 testing is designed for those who are symptomatic or have a known exposure to COVID-19. If you fall in this category, call the University Health Center at (208) 282-2330 for testing information AND fill out the online self-report form.
Frequently Asked Questions
Additional FAQs will be developed and posted in the coming weeks. If you have a question related to your specific situation, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (208) 282-2705.
Who do I contact if I am having trouble logging into the system to schedule my appointment?
Contact the ISU Help Desk at (208) 282-help
Is it mandatory that I be screened?
Yes. All faculty, staff, student employees, or students who will be physically interacting with other members of the campus community or campus services must participate in the return-to-campus screening program and be screened. Additionally, those selected for the ongoing COVID-19 screening, must also be screened. Employees who are strictly working remotely and students who only participate in online classes and do not interact with the campus community to access services do not need to participate in this screening program.
Who will be screened for COVID-19 and when?
Idaho State University’s COVID-19 screening program consists of two parts:
1. The return-to-campus screening program requires all students, faculty, and staff with a physical presence on campus to be screened twice within a five-day period during the month of January.
All faculty, staff and students who will be physically on campus at one of our locations and interacting with others during the 2021 spring semester must participate in the return-to-campus screening program. If you will be returning to campus when the University resumes regular hours and spring 2021 classes in January, you will need to be tested during the January timeframe. Even after January, if you periodically visit campus and interact with others (meetings, accessing services, etc.) you must be tested before you return to campus.
Employees who are fully working remotely do not need to be tested. Students who are enrolled in distance-based courses and not coming on to campus to access instruction or services do not need to participate in the screening program. If someone is coming on campus to meet another person, interact with others, or have contact with other members of the campus community, then testing will be mandatory.
2. An ongoing COVID-19 screening program for select populations of students, faculty and staff with a physical presence on campus.
A percentage of on-campus faculty, staff, and students will be screened at random on a weekly, ongoing basis for the duration of the spring semester. This percentage will be determined by a recommendation from the ISU Health Committee and collaboratively approved by the Administrative Council. Screening recommendations will be based on contact tracing, local disease rates, and data gathered from prior campus test results. In the event that an individual falls into multiple eligible groups, the most frequent screening strategy will apply. Individuals will be notified by email if they have been selected for ongoing screening.
What if I have had a previous positive COVID-19 test?
Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 by PCR or antigen AND provide documentation of the test results are exempt from COVID-19 screening for 180 days following their positive test date may be exempt from screening.
What are the hours for the screening location?
Hours vary by campus location.
See Screening Locations, Dates, and Times
What is the difference between the screening program and COVID-19 testing?
Screening: Idaho State’s screening program is for people who have no symptoms and no known COVID-19 exposure. This is done to identify individuals with the virus before symptoms develop and before they spread the disease to others.
Testing: COVID-19 testing is designed for those who are symptomatic, have a known exposure to COVID-19, or who have a positive result from the screening program. If you fall in this category, call the University Health Center at (208) 282-2330 for testing information AND fill out the online self-report form.
What if I get a positive result? Can I be retested to make sure it is accurate?
Asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 do occur, so any positive case should be treated as such with appropriate self-isolation protocols as directed by the University’s COVID-19 Health Committee. While false positives can happen, they are extremely rare with the PCR method. Faculty, staff, or students with positive results from the screening program may seek to be retested through community COVID-19 testing sites, but will not be rescreened through the asymptomatic screening program.
Can I quarantine for 14 days instead of participating in the screening program?
No. This program is intended for ongoing screening of asymptomatic individuals to proactively identify undetected COVID-19 positive cases for the continued safety of the campus community. Because of this, all faculty, staff, and students who will have an on-campus presence or plan to interact with other members of the campus community must participate in the screening program.
Am I required to get screened if I am not working and/or taking classes on-campus?
If you are working remotely or taking classes fully online, and will have no interaction with other members of the campus community, no. However, if you will be returning to campus at any point for meetings or to use other services and will interact with other members of the campus community, you must participate in the screening program.
Can I still get screened for COVID-19 even if I’m not working/taking classes on campus?
No. Given the amount of people that visit campus that need to be screened, we must prioritize those individuals first to help ensure a safe campus. However, faculty, staff, and students that exhibit symptoms consistent with COVID-19 can continue to be tested through the University Health Center, Holt Arena, and through Unity Health (Meridian).
How will I be notified that I need to be screened?
All faculty, staff, and students will receive an email from our screening vendor to complete the registration process and select an appointment time. Employees who are working remotely and students who are enrolled in only online classes, and not interacting with the campus community for any services (Recreation Center, Library, etc.) do not need to schedule a screening appointment. However, if you plan to access campus services or visit a University location periodically that results in your interaction with other members of the campus community, you must participate in this screening program.
Is there a cost associated with getting screened?
There is no cost associated with participating in Idaho State’s screening program. The University is covering all expenses related to the screening.
Do I have to quarantine prior to getting my results if I am asymptomatic?
No. Because this screening program is only intended for individuals who are asymptomatic and with no known COVID-19 exposures, you can continue working or attending classes on campus even while you are awaiting results. Please be aware that while on campus, regardless of your results, all faculty, staff and students must continue to adhere to all COVID-19 safety protocols (use of cloth face coverings, maintaining physical distance, handwashing, etc.).
Who will receive my results?
The University Health Center and the COVID-19 Health Committee will receive your results. You will also be notified and have the option to download your lab result. In addition, the State of Idaho requires reporting of aggregate screening data as well to the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare.
How can I opt out of taking the mandatory screening?
If you work entirely remotely or are taking classes completely online, and are not engaging with any members of the campus community for meetings, services, etc., you do not have to be included in the screening. However, if you will be on campus engaging with faculty, staff, students, or other services (Recreation Center, Library, etc.) you must be included in the mandatory screening. The University will have a process in place for medical and religious exemption requests.
What if I have been working on campus over the holidays?
If you will be resuming or continuing to work on campus as of the beginning of the spring 2021 semester, you will need to be included in the mandatory screening. This program is intended for screening of asymptomatic individuals to proactively identify undetected COVID-19 positive cases for the continued safety of the campus community. Because of this, all faculty, staff, and students who will have an on-campus presence or plan to interact with other members of the campus community must participate in the program.
What is required for the screening?
Faculty, staff, and students will receive an email with a registration link to schedule an appointment. On-campus screening locations will be established in Pocatello, Idaho Falls, and Meridian. Arrangements will also be made for screening in Twin Falls and Anchorage, Alaska. You will go to the assigned on-campus screening location at your scheduled time to provide a saliva sample. The entire screening process is non-invasive, does not require close contact with others, and should take less than ten minutes. Results are expected to be returned in 24-72 hours. The University is using a saliva-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) screen, which is the gold standard diagnostic tool. Because it is saliva-based, it is recommended that you hydrate the hour before your sample is collected. Also, you should not eat, drink, smoke, chew gum, brush your teeth, or use mouthwash in the 1 hour prior to providing the saliva sample.
How long will it take to get my results back?
It will typically take 24-72 hours for results to be returned to you via an email. During this time, you may remain on campus for work or classes, permitted you follow all COVID-19 safety protocols, including face coverings, physical distancing, handwashing, etc.
How accurate is the COVID-19 screening?
Idaho State is using PCR for screening. This is the most accurate test available. False positive results are very uncommon. Any positive result is evidence of the presence of COVID-19 virus. Rescreening is of no benefit and will not change isolation recommendations.
My COVID-19 screening results are positive. What do I do?
If your screening results are positive, you must self-isolate, per CDC guidelines. It is recommended for 10 days after the test date. The ISU contact tracing team will reach out to review where you might have acquired the virus and to make further recommendations. While you await this contact, do not come to campus or have close contact with other members of the campus community.
If my results are negative, do I still need to follow Idaho State’s public health guidelines?
Yes. Negative results are just a snapshot in time and do not give an exemption from following the University’s public health guidelines. Furthermore, if your results are negative after your first screening, you will still be required to take a second screening 5-7 days later at our same screening site.
How does the screening program impact contractors, campus guests, and on-campus affiliates?
Contractors and affiliates with an ongoing physical presence on campus will be asked to participate in the screening program as coordinated by the University. Campus guests and visitors will not participate in the program.
How often will I be screened?
After the initial return-to-campus screening, additional random sampling will occur as well as targeted routine screening for various campus populations. This will include on-campus housing residents, student-athletes, and students taking courses that require hands-on instruction.
What if I refuse to be screened?
Participating in the program is mandatory unless there is an approved religious or medical exemption. Employees who wish to opt out of the screening program should discuss with their supervisors whether 100% telework is a possibility for their particular position. Students who wish to opt out of the screening program should contact their advisors to search for classes that meet their needs and are delivered fully online.
If I travel for the weekend or otherwise, do I need to be screened when I return?
No, however you should adhere to precautions while traveling and reference the quarantine flowsheet to determine if you need to quarantine after travel.
What safety measures are at the screening sites?
All employees and volunteers at the screening location will be wearing face coverings, a face shield, and using gloves. Saliva is self-collected for the non-invasive PCR screen and does not require direct contact with another individual. Screening will be scheduled to allow physical distancing.
I am a faculty member. Will I be made aware of the results of my "in-seat" students? Will I be told if one of my students refuses to participate in the screening program?
The University Health Center and COVID-19 Health Committee will conduct contact tracing for all positive results. Close contacts of those that are positive will be notified. If it is determined that a faculty member or classmates had close contact, they will be notified in accordance with applicable law.
Will my health information be protected? Who will receive the results?
The University Health Center and COVID-19 Health Committee will receive the results. After contact investigation is performed, other individuals such as instructors and close contacts may also be notified if determined necessary by the COVID-19 Health Committee and in accordance with applicable law.
Are clinic patients outside our campus community included in the mandatory screening program?
No. Campus visitors and guests will not be participating in the screening program. However, they are expected to follow Idaho State’s established public health guidelines, which includes wearing a face covering, maintaining physical distancing, and frequent hand washing.
Can I schedule to take my COVID-19 screening during work hours?
Yes. Employees should work with their supervisors to schedule the screening during a time that has a minimal impact on regular duties.
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Screening Locations, Dates, and Times