Monday, Jan. 18, 2021

Dear Students,

First, we want to thank everyone who has reached out with questions regarding return testing. We have considered your concerns and are sharing a revised plan that we hope is more feasible and provides additional clarification for you and your families.

The goal of entrance testing is to reduce the spread of the virus among our community members by identifying cases before students return to campus. By implementing this plan, we are also following the guidance of state health officials who continue to work to reduce the strain on our hospital systems. It is important that we participate in this effort to be good neighbors to one another and to our greater community.

We also recognize that delays in receiving test results may put an additional burden on our students and their families. Please read on for clarity and revisions to our testing plans.

  1. REVISED: COVID-19 tests can now be taken up to five days before your return to campus. Those results must be uploaded to the Wilkes portal before you arrive.
    • For students who live in residence halls, that means taking the test no earlier than five days before Saturday, Jan. 30 or Sunday, Jan. 31.
    • For commuting and off-campus students, that means taking the test no earlier than five days before Monday, Feb. 1.
    • For students on a University meal plan, the dining hall will reopen on Saturday, Jan. 30 to students who have supplied their negative results.
    • International students, resident assistants, winter student-athletes and any students who are returning to campus earlier than what is outlined above will receive a separate communication detailing their testing window.

      Refer to the accepted test results or vaccination proof as outlined on page 12 and 13 of the Colonels Combat COVID guidebook.
  2. If you have trouble securing an asymptomatic test in your community, use these home options. You may order your test now and take it up to five days before your return.
    • Vault Health: A saliva test is available for students and can be taken whether or not you are experiencing symptoms. Completion of the test is supervised by one of Vault’s health professionals via a live Zoom session. Once your completed test is received by Vault Health, lab processing takes between 48 and 72 hours and results are shared with you via email.
    • Let’s Get Checked: Select “start assessment” to get started. Though a disclaimer warns that you must have symptoms to participate in testing, asymptomatic tests are available for those who live in communities where the virus is surging, which is most of the U.S. Select that you do not have symptoms but that there are cases in your local community in order to proceed.
    • Pixel by Lab Corp: Select “get started" and whether you have symptoms. Test availability depends on exposure. If you have not been exposed, it is recommended that you try one of the above options first.
  3. We have also heard that some insurance companies will not cover the cost of testing. Home testing costs approximately $119 and will need to be paid for out-of-pocket. We hope that, in reducing University fees in advance of the spring semester, this is a more manageable expense for you to absorb.

If you do not have your results by the time classes start or your planned move back to a campus residence hall, please delay your return until negative test results can be shared with the University. Remote learning arrangements will be made for you and you will be welcomed back to your residence hall upon receiving those results.

Our hope is that this additional time provides a more realistic window to take the test, receive results and upload them to the Wilkes portal before your return. We will share upload instructions before Jan. 25.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation. This remains an ever-changing situation and we will continue to monitor it in alignment with state and national guidance. If you have any questions, please contact us at

COVID-19 Task Force and Daily Response Team