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Student Testing, Contact Tracing, and Monitoring Process

COVID-19 Testing ConsiderationsCommunicating Testing and Positive ResultsContact TracingRegular Symptom Monitoring 

COVID-19 Testing Considerations 

Students under the age of 18 — Please read this Aug. 31 update from Assistant Director of Student Health & Wellness Mary Reilly on updated testing protocols. This update only pertains to students under the page of 18.  

Swarthmore College’s decisions on protocols and procedures for testing are informed by best practice recommendations being made by the CDC, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and the American College Health Association, as well as public health and medical professionals with whom we’ve consulted. Along with testing, the College is focusing our efforts on prevention, mitigation, and monitoring during this crucial time. The College’s plan to perform COVID-19 PCR testing for students will include the following:

  • Testing of all residential students on move in day (day 0), day 7 of residence, and day 14 of residence. 
  • Testing of students who develop symptoms suspicious for COVID-19
  • Selected testing of students who are determined to be a close contact to someone diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Testing of students in a random sample model throughout the semester at a frequency determined by prevalence of the virus based upon prior test results

Swarthmore has partnered with Everlywell Inc. to help facilitate our COVID-19 testing processes. These tests are anterior nasal swabs that you will self-administer with guidance from our trained staff. To conduct the tests, you will perform a shallow nasal swab, similar to the demonstration in this Everlywell video(Please note that the labeling information mentioned in this video does not pertain to Swarthmore. Labeling and shipping will be provided on campus.) 

Effective Wednesday, Sept. 23, we will transition away from testing every student on a weekly basis to a staggered testing model. All tests will be conducted on Wednesdays following the schedule below.

In this model, we will test 25% of our residential student body each week. This will be done in randomized groups; each residential student has been assigned to a Group A, B, C or D. This randomization will allow us to test a cross section of our campus community throughout the remainder of the semester.   You will be contacted with information on you group assignment.

Please note that if we begin to see an increase in positive tests, we may revert back to testing all students on a weekly basis or make other changes to our testing protocols. 

The testing schedules below include the location and time that the student testing sites will be open. We’ve also included rain locations in the event of inclement weather.


Scheduled to test on the following Wednesdays

Location and Time
Group A, and students under 18 years old

Weds., Sept 23 and




Weds., Oct. 21

Student Testing Tent

Open 9 a.m.–1 p.m.

Rain location: Bond Hall


Student Health Center Patio

Open 9 a.m.–1 p.m.

Rain Location: Health Center

Group B

Weds., Sept. 30 and Weds. Oct 28

Student Testing Tent

Open 9 a.m.–1 p.m.

Rain location: Bond Hall

Group C Weds., Oct. 7 and Weds., Nov. 4

Student Testing Tent

Open 9 a.m.–1 p.m.

Rain location: Bond Hall

Group D Weds., Oct. 14 and Weds., Nov. 11

Student Testing Tent

Open 9 a.m.–1 p.m.

Rain location: Bond Hall

In order to best support you and the testing program, we need to ask if you have tested positive for COVID-19 at any point up to now. If you have, please submit documentation from your physician to Assistant Director of Student Health and Wellness Services Mary Reilly at You will not need to participate in the on-campus Student Testing Program if you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 in the past. 

Communicating Testing and Positive Results 

Swarthmore College will maintain and regularly update a publicly available website that details the number of tests performed and the number of positive cases on campus. The information on this site will be reported in the aggregate; individual student, faculty, and staff identities will not be included. Individuals determined to have been potentially exposed through the contact tracing process will be notified directly.

Contact Tracing 

If a student tests positive for COVID-19, the Student Health Center staff, following CDC guidance, will conduct contact tracing of all contacts, provide COVID-19 testing and place those students on a Health and Wellness Support plan regardless of symptoms. To ensure community health, all possible contacts are expected to be disclosed to the Health Center nursing staff and anonymity will be maintained during contact tracing. 

Students should notify the Student Health Center if they have visited an area of high prevalence of COVID-19 in the last 14 days.

To ensure community wellbeing, students should refrain from participating in activities that increase risk of contracting the virus including but not limited to unnecessary travel, gathering in large groups, or any prolonged contact with a crowd without physical distancing 14 days prior to arriving on campus. In the event that the above events cannot be avoided, remember to practice good hand hygiene, social distancing and mask wearing at all times to decrease your risk of illness.

Students with known exposure to COVID-19 should contact the Student Health Center. 

If a student has been exposed, they will be provided with guidelines from the Student Health Center. 

If levels of community exposure increase, temperature checks where high volumes of students reside where prior COVID-19 exposure has occurred will be implemented. If levels of exposure increase, the College will consult with the local Department of Health to determine if campus closure must occur.

Students exhibiting symptoms are not permitted to leave their own room and must: 

  • Notify the Student Health and Wellness Center at 610-328-8058 for guidance
  • Remain in their own room until contact is made with the Student Health Center staff
  • Not report to in-person work, class, clinical assignments or internships
  • May not participate in any in-person, institution-sponsored events or activities

Regular Symptom Monitoring

Students who are returning to campus are required to complete symptom monitoring 14 days prior to arriving on the Swarthmore College campus and daily while on campus. This symptom monitoring will be facilitated by Medicat automated text/email alerts which will be sent on a daily basis to all residential students. Students are expected to monitor their symptoms prior to visiting the dining hall, classroom, laboratories or any other shared common spaces. To be eligible for and remain in campus housing and have access to campus facilities, students must complete the above symptom monitoring guidelines.

If you do not have access to a computer or smart device, please contact Mary Reilly at the Student Health Center.

In order to work on campus or attend class, members of our community must be free of any symptoms potentially related to COVID-19, that are above and beyond typical symptoms associated with known chronic medical conditions, including one or more of the following:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fever greater than or equal to 100.4F
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Runny nose or new sinus congestion
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • New gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Loss of taste or smell