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Rutgers University COVID-19 Testing Strategy

Rutgers University is currently offering SARS-CoV-2 PCR saliva testing (for the active virus that leads to COVID-19) to specified groups of employees and students who are working and learning on campus. Rutgers will utilize a targeted testing approach based on the risk of transmission of COVID-19 within the university community to identify, and receive requests on behalf of, groups to be tested. The university Testing Protocol Action Group (TPAG) will determine which groups of students or employees should be recommended and/or required to complete testing through the Rutgers COVID-19 testing program.

SARS-CoV-2 testing will be recommended for strategic reasons based on risk assessments of individuals or groups to help mitigate the risk of transmission. Testing will help detect asymptomatic occurrences of infection and prevent further transmission by enabling contact tracing and providing guidance about self-isolation and health precautions. The risk-assessment focus of our testing strategy means that testing will not be required or recommended for all employees or students.

The university is only offering testing to individuals who are not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g., fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, fatigue, muscle aches, loss of sense of smell or taste, or stomach upset). Those who are experiencing symptoms should self-isolate and contact their health care provider. Students who utilize Student Health Services as their primary health care provider should contact the Student Health Services office designated for their campus.

This strategic approach is informed by the guidance put forth by the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and will use a combination of testing methods to test students and employees at higher risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19. Testing in the health care workforce will be coordinated with Rutgers health care system partners to provide as much consistency as possible.

The university is utilizing Saliva PCR tests for this program and is offering the testing via drive through clinics, walk-in services, and/or departmental distribution, based upon the needs of the group to be tested and the availability of resources. Testing is available on each of the five Rutgers campuses: RBHS–Newark, Rutgers–Newark, RBHS–New Brunswick/Piscataway, Rutgers–New Brunswick, and Rutgers–Camden.

University SARS-CoV-2 testing protocols will be reviewed and updated regularly, under the authority of the university TPAG, which is chaired by the Chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences/Rutgers University Executive Vice President for Health Affairs. The strategy may change as public health guidance changes and as new scientific data is reported on the efficacy of various testing methods and other factors.

Testing strategy decisions will be based on risk assessments and other factors below, as well as case identification/outbreaks.

TPAG is informed by:

  • CDC and NJDOH Guidance
  • Health system partner requirements
  • Testing capacity/logistics

Risk assessments will be based on, but not limited to, the following criteria:

  • Ability to maintain physical distancing while completing activities on campus
  • Working and/or learning in a patient-care environment
  • Exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 case
  • Congregate living environment (e.g. residence halls)
  • Working and/or learning in an environment where they may expose individuals who are at risk for severe illness
  • Other factors that may increase or decrease risk based on the evolving science and public health data

Additional testing may be recommended based on surveillance data, case identification, and contact tracing follow-up and strategy as the situation evolves on campus.

Repeat testing for particular groups may be required and would be subject to the review by the Testing Protocol Action Group. Repeat testing requirements are determined by evaluating repeated exposure, new increase in exposure, continuing risk of spread to high-risk individuals, and if environmental rates of community exposure have increased.

New scientific evidence or public health guidance may trigger a change in these recommendations.

Rutgers employees who feel a group should be tested should work with their supervisor to review instructions and complete the Testing Request form.

Download Rutgers University COVID Testing Strategy Statement and FAQs [PDF] for printing.

Read about the August 6, 2020 updates to the university’s COVID-19 testing strategy.


COVID-19 Testing Requirements for Students Living On-Campus

Moving Into On-Campus Housing

  • All students moving in to on-campus housing must undergo COVID-19 PCR testing one to three weeks prior to move-in day
  • A second test is done at move-in
Living in On-Campus Housing
  • Students living in on-campus housing should expect periodic testing throughout the semester

Find more information at


COVID-19 Testing Clinics

Walk-in clinics are available on all campuses to any member of the Rutgers community authorized to receive COVID-19 testing. Please make an appointment through the Return to Rutgers page: Small drive-through testing clinics may be arranged with individual departments to accommodate specific needs.


Frequently Asked Questions

About the University’s Testing Strategy | Testing Details and Notification Information | Test Result Interpretation and Response

About the University’s Testing Strategy

Testing Details and Notification Information

Test Result Interpretation and Response