Yale COVID-19 Screening Program

Updated September 25, 2020

Yale’s COVID-19 Screening Program consists of two components: testing and contact tracing. The program was designed to reduce the risk of outbreaks on campus and in the New Haven community, based on epidemiologic models and the best available data. As circumstances change in Connecticut and the region and as we track our own experience, we may make changes to the information on this page.

Free viral testing is available for all faculty, staff, and students for the fall semester. All asymptomatic testing is self-scheduled. Based on the individual’s CAS login credentials, they will be directed to an appropriate testing site and schedule.

Please note: All required testing for students, faculty, and staff must be completed through the Yale COVID-19 Screening Program. Outside test results will not be accepted as proof of screening.

About the Program

Purpose

The main focus of asymptomatic testing is to identify individuals who may be incubating infection, to isolate them promptly from the community, and initiate contact tracing to identify individuals who may have been exposed. While testing benefits the tested individual, our main public health objective is to reduce risk to the wider campus community and to New Haven.

Types of Testing

  • Viral testing (PCR or polymerase chain reaction): PCR is currently the most widely available diagnostic test for COVID-19. It relies on identifying viral genetic material in secretions from the nose, throat or saliva. Yale is currently using anterior nasal self-obtained swabs for asymptomatic screening, and nasopharyngeal swabs obtained by a healthcare provider for symptomatic testing.
  • Antibody testing: not recommended for diagnostic testing or for proof of immunity at this time.
  • Rapid or “point-of-care” testing: Yale is monitoring new technologies and is partnering with Yale-based and other technology partners to consider new rapid and accurate testing modalities. At this time there are no available rapid assays that meet our needs for scale and turnaround time, however this could change.

Overall Testing Strategy

  1. Twice weekly testing for all undergraduates and graduate and professional students living in high density graduate dorms
  2. Once weekly testing for faculty and staff with significant contact with students—those with daily, non-incidental contact with undergraduate students
  3. Arrival or gateway testing for faculty, with weekly testing available
  4. Arrival or gateway testing for graduate and professional students, with weekly testing encouraged but not required

Laboratories

Yale expects to generate between 1500 and 2000 tests weekly during the fall semester and conducted a careful search of possible lab vendors before selecting the Broad Institute.

  1. Broad Institute: The Broad Institute will provide all asymptomatic surveillance testing for Yale University beginning in August. Broad is supplying testing for approximately 100 higher education institutions and is prioritizing COVID-19 testing. They will be performing over 50,000 tests daily in their state-of-the art lab in Cambridge, MA.
    • Test: PCR (polymerase chain reaction) assay
    • Turnaround time: 24 hours from the time of arrival in their Cambridge lab
    • Method of sampling: observed self-swabbed anterior nasal (front of the nose)
  2. Yale Pathology: Yale Pathology provides testing for symptomatic patients as referred by Yale Health
    • Test: PCR assay
    • TAT: 12-24 hours
    • Method of sampling: Nasopharyngeal (deep nasal) swab performed by a healthcare provider

Testing Locations

  • 8 locations based in residential colleges and on Old Campus: for undergraduates and affiliated staff only; requires key card access
  • Harkness Hall: for residents of Harkness Hall on the medical campus; requires key card access
  • Lanman Center and 150 York Street: for faculty, staff, and graduate and professional students

Scheduling Testing

All asymptomatic testing is self-scheduled by the individual through Yale COVID-19 Screening Program. Based on the individual’s CAS login credentials, they will be directed to an appropriate testing site and schedule.

Test Results

All test results are housed in Epic, Yale Health’s electronic health record. Results are released to MyChart, Epic’s patient portal, when finalized by the lab.

  • All of those who are tested as part of the program are strongly encouraged to enroll in MyChart, and to download the MyChart app here, to receive results.
  • All those with positive results will receive a call from Yale Health with detailed instructions regarding the need for isolation and next steps.

Contact Tracing

To optimize the safety of the campus environment, Yale has implemented a campus-based contact tracing program.

  • Following notification of a positive result by Yale Health staff, the individual will be contacted by a member of the Yale contact tracing team for a contact tracing interview.
  • Close and low risk contacts will be notified by the Yale contact tracing team.
  • Close contacts will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days if living off campus. Those living on campus will be quarantined in designated housing.
  • Supervisors or deans will also be notified in order to provide support and to ensure a review of environmental safety precautions in the workplace or college.
  • Your name will not be shared with contacts.

Learn more about the Yale COVID-19 Contact Tracing Program

Monitoring Testing at Yale

We will be tracking a number of key Yale, local and regional data streams to ensure that Yale leadership has the information they need to make critical decisions, and the Yale community has access to local trends. The Yale COVID-19 Statistics page is updated daily based on data from the asymptomatic testing program as well as symptomatic testing of the Yale Health insured population.