Skip to content
COVID-19

Testing

Menu

Key Information

  • Get tested weekly if you are located on a U.S. campus, regardless of vaccination status.
  • If a vaccinated individual tests positive they will need to isolate, regardless of their vaccination status.
  • If a vaccinated individual is exposed to someone with COVID-19, they are not required to quarantine but should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and wear a mask indoors for 14 days following their exposure.

Testing Requirements

What are the testing requirements for fully vaccinated individuals?

U.S.-based faculty, staff, and students—both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated with an approved exemption—are required to have a weekly COVID-19 test if they are on campus one day a week or more. Please refer to the Toronto FAQs and Vancouver FAQs for guidance on testing requirements for people who are not fully vaccinated or who have an approved exemption to the vaccine requirement. These testing requirements may be revised as the fall 2021 term progresses.

I am a faculty member or staff member who does not come to campus. How often will I need to be tested?

Faculty and staff who do not come to the Boston campus are not required to undergo testing. You will need to mark yourself as Primarily Remote in the  COVID-19 Test Scheduler. Faculty, staff, and students who come to campus occasionally should schedule a test any day they come to campus. These testing requirements may be revised as the fall 2021 term progresses.

I am an active, full-time undergraduate student. How often will I need to be tested?

Active, full-time undergraduate students who fall into the following categories are required to get tested at the Cabot Testing Center weekly, regardless of how often they come to the Boston campus. This includes:

  • Undergraduate students living in university housing
  • Undergraduate students living in LightView
  • Undergraduate students, including those on co-op, living in off-campus residences in the neighborhoods surrounding the Boston campus. This includes students living in the zip codes of 02115, 02118, 02119, 02120, 02130, 02215, and 02121.

You should mark yourself as primarily in-person in the COVID-19 Test Scheduler and follow the testing reminders.

I am a student who will come to a U.S. campus regularly in the fall. How often will I need to be tested?

Students—both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated with an approved exemption—should have a weekly COVID-19 test if they are on campus one day a week or more and if their campus provides COVID-19 testing. Active, full-time undergraduate students who live in university housing or off-campus in certain Boston zip codes are required to be tested weekly, regardless of how often they come to campus.  These testing requirements may be revised as the fall 2021 term progresses.

I am an international student. Should I get a COVID-19 test before arriving in Boston?

We recommend that all Northeastern students get a test for COVID-19 before they travel. There may be other requirements you need to follow for departure, both for entry into your transit points and for your point of entry into the United States. Northeastern’s Office of Global Services has prepared a guide for international students who are traveling to Northeastern from abroad, with detailed information for specific countries.

Scheduling a Test in Boston

How will Boston-based Northeastern students, faculty, and staff schedule appointments to be tested?

Please visit the COVID-19 Test Scheduler to schedule your appointment. The testing center only takes scheduled appointments. No walk-ins are permitted. Students, faculty, and staff in Boston will receive regular email notifications to remind you of when you need to schedule your next appointment.

What are the hours when testing will take place on the Boston campus?

Please check the  COVID-19 Test Scheduler for the open time slots or visit the Cabot Testing Center hours of operation, available on services.northeastern.edu/wellness. Hours vary during holiday breaks and at the end of the term. 

 

Does the Boston testing center take walk-in appointments?

No, the testing center does not take walk-in appointments. You will need to use the COVID-19 Test Scheduler to schedule an appointment.

Testing Process in Boston

What type of test is it?

It is a diagnostic test that indicates whether you are currently infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The test is an  anterior nasal swab, and Northeastern uses the gold standard of testing—polymerase chain reaction to test the genome of the virus. The test is not a serological test, meaning it will not detect the presence of antibodies for SARS-CoV-2.

Is testing free?

Yes.

Where does COVID-19 testing take place on the Boston campus?

Cabot Physical Education Center, located at 400 Huntington Avenue, is the main testing site on the Boston campus with a secondary site for symptomatic testing located in the Huntington Testing Center at 259-269 Huntington Avenue. The Cabot testing site has sufficient capacity for Northeastern to collect up to 7,000 samples a day.

What do I need to do to prepare for my testing appointment?

Make sure you’ve completed the COVID-19 testing consent form. Bring your mobile device to display your completed Daily Wellness Check from the day of your testing or print the page to show your results. Wear a face mask or face covering except for the brief moments during the swabbing and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, before you arrive for your test and after you leave.

Does the testing center provide accommodations for those needing additional assistance?

Yes. The COVID-19 Test Scheduler allows users to indicate a request for accommodations at the time of booking their next testing appointment. The testing center staff makes every reasonable effort to accommodate each request. It is recommended to make your appointment and indicate your request as far in advance as possible.

What does the process look like for testing Northeastern students, faculty, and staff?

You will arrive at the collection site, show confirmation of your appointment time, and show the results of your Daily Wellness Check. You will receive a temperature check, and then a staff member will scan the QR code on your Daily Wellness Check to assign you to a check-in line. Inside the building, you will confirm your identity and contact information and receive a personal barcoded label and test tube. Your identity and contact information may need to be manually entered if it is not already pre-loaded into the check-in system.

Then you will be ushered to a swabbing station. The test is an anterior nasal swab—a less invasive and less uncomfortable but still highly reliable and accurate way of collecting samples. You will be instructed to self-swab while under direct observation from a qualified health professional. You will insert the swab a half-inch inside the nostril and rotate the swab for approximately 15 seconds. After repeating the swab in both nostrils, you will seal the swab in your sterile tube, and follow the signage to exit. The test is quick, painless, and should take no more than ten minutes.

What does the process look like at the test center for people who are showing COVID-19 symptoms?

Steps Before Testing:

If a student completes their Daily Wellness Check and they have symptoms of COVID-19, they will be directed to call the Tufts Medical Center telehealth team for appropriate health support and triage from a clinician. The phone line is available between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday; voicemails can be left at night and on weekends for clinician follow-up. If the telehealth team recommends a test, the person will be tested at the university’s testing site for symptomatic people, located in the Huntington Testing Center at 259-269 Huntington Avenue.

Testing Process:

The person will arrive at the symptomatic collection site, show confirmation of their appointment time, and show the results of their Daily Wellness Check. They will receive a temperature check. Once they confirm their identity and contact information, they will receive a label associated with their information and be ushered to a testing station. A qualified health professional, wearing appropriate personal protective equipment, will administer the swab test.

The test is an anterior nasal swab— less invasive and less uncomfortable but still a reliable and accurate way of collecting samples. The medical assistant will insert the swab a half-inch inside the nostril and rotate the swab for approximately 15 seconds to collect the sample.

What kind of demographic data is collected and where will it go?

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires COVID-19 testing labs to collect certain demographic data including gender, race, and ethnicity. Collecting this data helps public health officials understand COVID-19, its transmission, and how it may impact certain groups. The two labs analyzing Northeastern’s samples for COVID-19—the Broad Institute and the Life Sciences Testing Center—will collect this data on the check-in and report it confidentially to state public health agencies. You may decline to answer demographic questions on gender, race, and ethnicity.

Test Results

Where are the samples sent for analysis?

Some samples will undergo analysis by the Broad Institute and others will undergo analysis by the university’s newly-built Life Sciences Testing Center. In accordance with state law, all test results will be shared with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

How soon will I get my test results?

Test results will be available within 36 hours.

How will I create an account and be informed of my testing results?

Please watch for signage at the Cabot testing center when you are in the line for check-in. The signage will direct you to a QR code you can scan for information on how to access your test results portal and how to view your results. Test samples are currently being processed by Northeastern’s Life Sciences Testing Center (LSTC) in Burlington and by the Broad Institute. Email notification of your result will come from the laboratory that processed your sample and will direct you to the laboratory’s secure online portal. If your test was processed by Northeastern’s LSTC labs, your results will be available through Northeastern’s secure COVID-19 Test Results Portal. If your test was processed by the Broad Institute, your results will be available through the Broad’s CareEvolve secure portal. Links to all portals can be found through services.northeastern.edu/wellness.

Please check your junk or spam folder if you don’t receive your test results within 36 to 48 hours. If your test results are negative, you will receive an email notification letting you know that your test results are ready, and you will be able to access your results through a secure portal. If your test results are positive, you will first receive a personal phone call from a member of our team with further instructions. Then your results will be accessible through the portal.

What if my test was processed by Northeastern’s LSTC labs?

If your test was processed by Northeastern’s LSTC labs, your results will be available through Northeastern’s secure COVID-19 Test Results Portal. If your test result is negative, you’ll get an email notification from noreply-covid19-testing@northeastern.edu when your test results are ready to view. Log into the LSTC test results portal using your Northeastern username and password.  Links to the test results portals are available at services.northeastern.edu/wellness.

What if my test was processed by the Broad Institute?

If your test was processed by the Broad Institute, your results will be available through the Broad’s CareEvolve secure portal.

  • If your test result is negative, you will receive an email from CareEvolve@lknotification.com with the subject line “Lab results available from your provider.” The first time you receive results from CareEvolve, this email will contain information about how to register an account and log in to view your results.
  • For any help resetting your password and logging in to the results portal, contact CareEvolve Support at crsp-careevolve@broadinstitute.org.

Will I receive test results for other illnesses besides COVID-19?

No, the samples will only be tested for COVID-19.

What does it mean if I receive a notification that my results are inconclusive, partial, NA, or invalid?

There are some situations where you may have to repeat the test to receive a conclusive result. If your results are inconclusive, it means the lab cannot determine whether or not CoV-SARS-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is present in your sample. An inconclusive result does not mean you have COVID-19. If your results are partial, NA, or invalid, it is likely because the sample collected was insufficient to run the test. You may receive an NA or “test not processed” result due to errors such as inserting your swab upside down into the tube, your tube breaking during transport, or a barcode that could not be scanned.  If your result is inconclusive, partial, NA, or “test not processed,” you will be notified that you need to provide another swab specimen to repeat the test.

Other Testing Questions

Will testing be available to family members or outside community members?

Onsite testing is limited only to students, faculty, staff, and vendors who come to campus. Boston-based faculty and staff may now purchase take-home COVID-19 pool testing kits for their households. The kit will provide a single test result—positive or negative—for your household.

How can Northeastern faculty and staff members reserve a take-home COVID-19 pool testing kit for their household?

The take-home pool testing kit will provide a single test result—positive or negative—for your household. To take advantage of this resource for your household, please follow the steps below:

  • Complete the household surveillance testing consent form with your household.
  • The consent form confirmation page will direct you to a link where you can purchase your test kit at the below-market cost of $40 per kit.
  • Schedule a test for yourself at Cabot Testing Center on the same day that you’ve indicated you’ll pick up your kit. Once you’re there, follow the signage for “Household Testing” and provide your Northeastern University ID to pick up your kit. Once you have your kit, you may complete your own individual COVID-19 test at the testing center.
  • Follow the written directions provided with the kit and return it to Cabot Testing Center within 24-48 hours of collecting the first sample.

Is the self-administered anterior nasal swab reliable?

A study by the Stanford University School of Medicine found that test samples collected by self-swabbing were as accurate as samples collected by health care workers. Having participants swab their own nostrils reduces the risk of infection for healthcare providers, who won’t be in close contact with the participants. And, since it is less complex, it will also result in faster sampling.

If my testing question isn’t answered here, is there a contact number where I can ask further questions?

If you have other COVID-19 related questions, please email NUCovid19Qs@northeastern.edu or call 617.373.7333. This inbox and phone line are monitored from 8:30 a.m. ET to 4:30 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.

Cookies on Northeastern sites

This website uses cookies and similar technologies to understand your use of our website and give you a better experience. By continuing to use the site or closing this banner without changing your cookie settings, you agree to our use of cookies and other technologies. To find out more about our use of cookies and how to change your settings, please go to our Privacy Statement.