Yale COVID-19 Testing & Outreach Programs

Updated January 4, 2023

New processes for asymptomatic and symptomatic testing have eliminated the need for physical test sites. Details for testing are provided on this page.

Visit our testing requirements page to view current guidelines for members of the Yale community.

Yale Faculty, Staff, and Students

Eligible Yale faculty, staff, and students who have a testing requirement or would like to use the Yale COVID-19 Testing Program for asymptomatic or symptomatic testing now test through the Color process.

Yale Health Dependents, Spouses, and Retirees covered by Aetna Medicare

Yale Health dependents, spouses, and retirees covered by Aetna Medicare now test through Yale New Haven Health using the designated link below. Learn more about this program.

About the Color Testing Process


Yale’s COVID-19 Testing Program (the Testing Program) has been a vital component of Yale’s strategy to identify asymptomatic and symptomatic cases of infection, provide guidance to those who test positive, and curb the spread of the virus on campus.  

We have partnered with Color Health, Inc. (Color) to continue to offer faculty, staff, postdoctoral and postgraduate trainees, and students quick and convenient access to PCR testing through a new process which does not require appointments. Color is a population health testing company that has worked with other major universities, municipalities, and companies to run large-scale COVID-19 testing programs. Color also partners with the Broad Institute, our current lab vendor, for testing services.

Who Can Test Through Color

Yale COVID-19 testing services through Color are available to:

  • Faculty, staff, and post-doctoral trainees who are active in Workday
  • Students registered and active in Banner
  • Family members of Residential College Deans, Heads of Colleges, and Residential Fellows who live in the residential colleges
  • Staff of Yale-affiliated childcare centers
  • Other groups as may be defined by policy

Yale COVID-19 testing services through Color are not available to:

  • Vendors
  • Contractors
  • Students or faculty not registered in Workday or Banner
  • Other campus visitors

Visitors may be tested through New Haven area testing services or Yale New Haven Hospital test sites.

Yale Health spouses, dependents, and retirees covered by Aetna Medicare test through Yale New Haven Health test sites using this designated link.

How to Test Through the Color Process

Step 1: Create your Color account

  • Go to home.color.com on a smartphone or computer. Chrome is the preferred browser (do not use Incognito mode).  
  • IMPORTANT: SCROLL DOWN to “Sign-In with SSO” at the bottom of the screen and then enter your Yale email address.
    • You must use your Yale email address, not your personal email.
    • If you receive an error at this step, make sure that you have entered your Yale email address correctly. If you still receive an error message, contact covidtestinganalytics@yale.edu.  
  • You will then be prompted to enter your Yale NetID and password. You will also authenticate through DUO. Click “Remember me for 90 days.”
  • Your account set up is complete. Once you are ready to test, follow steps 2-5 below.
  • Watch these videos for instructions on how to create your account on a computer or a smartphone.

Step 2: Pick up your PCR test kits

  • Kits are available at COVID Test Kiosks.
  • We recommend starting with 2-4 test kits so that you will have them readily available when you need to take a test. (Undergraduate students will be provided with a supply of tests in their Welcome Kit, available through their residential college on their return to campus).
  • Note that these are PCR test kits, which must be activated and sent to the lab for processing. These are not the same as rapid antigen tests (RA tests).

 Step 3: Activate your PCR test kit when you are ready to take a test

  • Log into your Color account at home.color.com. REMEMBER TO SCROLL DOWN to “Sign-In with SSO” at the bottom of the screen and then enter your Yale email address.
  • Select “I’m interested in COVID-19 Services,” click on your name, and enter the required demographic information. DO NOT add a dependent. Color testing is only available for eligible faculty, staff, and students
  • Answer the survey questions and click the attestation boxes. For State reporting purposes and inclusion on your MyChart record, you must enter your legal name (do not use any international characters) and date of birth as MM/DD/YYYY.
  • Enter the barcode information found on your collection tube, which includes a barcode number (that starts with a “D”) and an accession number (that starts with a “C”). You can also upload a photo, using a smartphone, of the barcode sticker found on the card inside your kit. 
  • Once your kit is activated, you will receive a confirmation email or text.  
  • Watch this video for instructions on how to activate your kit on a computer or a smartphone.

Step 4: Collect your self-swab sample

  • Follow the instructions on the card inside your test kit.
  • Collecting your sample is very similar to the process you may have followed in our on-campus test sites.

Step 5: Drop off your sample on the same day

  • After activating your kit and collecting your sample, you must return your collection tube in the biohazard bag to a COVID Test Kiosk by 1:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday
  • Results will be delayed for samples dropped off after 1:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday, or on Sunday.
  • If you have a testing requirement, it is important to collect and drop off your sample on your designated test day(s). You will be reminded via text and email that you are due to test on the day prior to your expected test date. If you do not test on your assigned schedule, you will receive another reminder to test and will be noted as non-compliant with Yale’s health and safety requirements.

Step 6: Receive your test result, typically within 24-36 hours

You will receive an email and text notification to log into your Color account to review your results.

If you need assistance with any step of this process, please contact Color’s Customer Service at support@color.com or 844-352-6567 (9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., 7 days a week).

COVID Test Kiosk Locations & Hours

Kiosk Address Kiosk Location Kiosk Access with a Yale ID
Sterling Hall of Medicine, 333 Cedar Street Right side of rotunda/security area 24/7
Watson Center, 60 Sachem First floor, continue to bear left, kiosk is across from Room A30 between the restrooms 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., 7 days a week
25 Science Park First floor 24/7
West Campus Conference Center, 800 West Campus Drive Near the Amazon lockers 24/7 for West Campus occupants
Schwarzman Center, 168 Grove Street Lower level, across from the Bow Wow 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday
Rosenfeld Hall, 109 Grove Street Foyer 24/7
Loria Center, 190 York Street Lobby 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., 7 days a week


The Testing program is committed to ensuring an accessible environment for everyone, including individuals with disabilities. All locations with COVID Test Kiosks are wheelchair accessible and service animals are welcome. COVID-19 tests are unobserved and self-administered. If you have any questions, need additional resources, or would like to request reasonable accommodations to conduct your COVID-19 test, please contact Student Accessibility Services at sas@yale.edu or 203-432-2324 or the Office of Institutional Equity and Accessibility (faculty and staff) at equity@yale.edu or 203-432-0849 and provide at least 48 hours’ notice.

Types of Tests and Guidance on Which Test to Use When

  • The Color process uses PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests. PCR tests are very sensitive for early infection, even before viral levels are high enough to be infectious. They rely on identifying viral genetic material in secretions from the nose, throat, or saliva. The Color process uses a PCR test. Samples are obtained through unobserved, self-obtained anterior nasal swabs for both asymptomatic and symptomatic tests.
  • Rapid Antigen tests (RA tests) identify proteins on the surface of the virus. Positive tests are highly reliable. Negative results may be false negatives (showing a negative result when infection is actually present) during early infection, when the amount of circulating virus is low. A negative rapid test in the presence of symptoms should be repeated in 24-48 hours.
  • Learn more about the differences between PCR and RA tests.
  • Current testing requirements and recommendations for voluntary testing under different circumstances can be reviewed under Health Guidelines.

Test Results

Test results through Color are generally available within 24 to 36 hours when the sample is returned to a COVID Test Kiosk by 1:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Results will be delayed for samples dropped off after 1:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday, or on Sunday.

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 faculty, staff, and students tested through the Yale COVID-19 Testing Program must enroll in MyChart to receive results.

Five different results are possible:

  • Negative or Not Detected results: This indicates that there is no evidence of infection at the time of the test. You may have a very low level of virus in your system so this does not rule out that you may become positive on a subsequent test.
  • Positive or Detected results: This indicates that there was evidence of viral infection at the time the sample was taken. Isolation guidance is provided for those who test positive.
  • Inconclusive: The test looks for two sites on the virus; both must be positive for the test to be considered positive. When only one viral site is positive, the test is called inconclusive and must be repeated, as it could represent an early positive test. You should repeat your test within 24 hours.
  • Invalid: The lab uses human DNA as a control to make sure the sample is adequate. If there is no human DNA in the sample, it is labeled as invalid and not processed. In most cases, this indicates a need to be firmer in swabbing the sides of your nose. You should repeat your test within 24 hours.
  • Unsatisfactory or TNP: This result means Test Not Processed. This can happen for several reasons but most commonly is due to too much mucous in the sample, which typically happens when a tester doesn’t first blow their nose. You should repeat your test within 24 hours.

If you receive an inconclusive, invalid, or TNP result, you should repeat your test within 24 hours.

Yale COVID-19 Outreach Program & Close Contact Guidance

Yale has implemented a campus-based outreach program performing case investigation to identify linkages among confirmed cases of COVID-19, which may help us limit transmission and prevent outbreaks. Learn more about the Yale COVID-19 Outreach Program & Close Contact Guidance.

Monitoring Testing at Yale

Since August 2020, Yale has maintained various asymptomatic screening requirements and voluntarily testing options for students (undergraduate and graduate/professional), faculty, and staff. The Yale COVID-19 Data page reflects positive COVID-19 cases from Yale’s asymptomatic testing program as well as positive cases by the same population from external tests sites that were voluntarily self-reported to Yale testing program.