Testing

Updated August 2021

Miami will continue to provide COVID-19 testing in accordance with recommendations and guidance from the Ohio Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Faculty, staff, and students can receive a COVID-19 test if they have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or if they have had recent exposure. Testing is available at the Student Health Service and Employee Health Center. Call 513-529-3000 to make an appointment for testing.

Positive Test Result

Please report your result to Miami University if you test positive for COVID-19.

Illness & Absence Reporting

At-Home Testing

In addition to Miami’s surveillance testing program for on-campus students (described below) anyone can pick up free at-home antigen tests (distributed in packs of six) in order to conduct voluntary testing at any time. Test kits are available at the following locations during their regular hours of operation:

  • Armstrong Student Center - Information desk
  • King Library - Circulation desk
  • Recreational Sports Center - Reception/ProShop desk
  • Residence Halls - Check with your Residence Hall Director
  • Regional Campuses Dean's Offices (Hamilton: 202 Mosler, Middletown: 135 Johnston)

No ID or appointment is required.

Antigen tests are less sensitive than the PCR tests given by Student Health Services. If you have reason to believe you have been exposed to COVID, we recommend that you request a test at Health Services. In addition, antigen tests are most useful when used on a regular, consistent basis rather than as a one-time test, so particularly for off-campus students, a plan to use them regularly will be a good part of your prevention plan.

The at-home tests may be used in planning for single or recurring events (e.g. asking asymptomatic participants to be voluntarily screened prior to attending an event). Please review the protocol recommendations prior to instituting voluntary antigen testing.

Voluntary Antigen Testing Protocol Recommendations

Self-administered BinaxNow antigen tests are available at many locations on the Oxford campus including residence halls, Armstrong Student Center, King Library Circulation Desk, and the entrance to the Rec Center. These tests can be used by anyone in our community at any time. Groups may wish to use these tests in their plans for in-person events or activities. This document provides an overview of how these tests might factor into voluntary use protocols. It includes protocols for 1) a single event or 2) sustained activity over a specified amount of time.

General Information

The at-home BinaxNow antigen tests are intended for screening asymptomatic individuals for COVID-19. The tests are not intended for individuals with symptoms. Individuals with symptoms should stay home and contact their healthcare provider for a more accurate test (e.g. RT-PCR). The CDC has more information about the different types of COVID-19 tests.

Screening may be conducted for students living off-campus who want to monitor their infection status, those participating in club sport or other student organization activities, regardless of vaccination status and prior COVID-19 diagnosis.

Some groups, like theatre productions, may want to use the tests to monitor the health of participants. If one person in a program is invited to test, all people in the program must receive the same invitation; selective testing is not appropriate. The university does not permit any group to require the use of the test as a condition of participation nor is any person required to reveal their test results or vaccination status. If a person (student or employee) tests positive they should make arrangements for a follow-up confirmation test at Health Services.

In the event of a positive test result:

  • The individual should not attend any event, activity, or meeting.
  • They should remain physically distanced from others and wear a face mask when leaving their residence
  • Report their positive result to Miami through the Student Self-Report form
In the event of a negative test result:
  • A negative test does not necessarily mean that you do not have COVID-19. All COVID-19 tests, and particularly antigen tests, come with a risk of false negative test results. Continue to test regularly and follow guidelines and precautions.

Case 1: Planning for a Single Event

Participants should take two tests prior to the event. The first should be taken approximately one week before the event, and the second approximately three days before the event. Taking two tests will improve the chance of correctly identifying individuals with COVID-19. Testing three days prior to the event will allow contact tracers time to identify individuals who may need to take precautions before the event. Participants may also choose to take a third test in the 24 hours prior to the event, to improve the chances of identifying a COVID-19 infection.

Case 2: Sustained Activity Screening

Participants planning on engaging in a long-term activity (e.g. marching band, theatre production, club sports team, student organization, etc.), should consider the following guidance for setting up an effective individual testing program. Participants should test every three to four days, starting at least one week before the first face-to-face meeting or event. Participants should also take an additional test within 24 hours of the event.

Why 2 tests per week?

A single use of the antigen test among asymptomatic individuals has a sensitivity of about 30-35%. This means that if 10 individuals who have COVID-19 take the test, only about 3-4 will test positive, and the others will be false negatives. Taking two tests 3-4 days apart may improve the test sensitivity to 50-60%. Some individuals who are infected will test negative, and will be contagious. Screening testing programs are designed to help limit the spread of COVID-19, not completely prevent transmission. The take-home point is that a negative test does not necessarily mean you are free of COVID-19. However, regular testing can help limit transmission.

At-Home Testing FAQs

Once I have the test, how do I get started? 

First, download the Navica app. Do not open the box until you are instructed to do so. Scan the QR code and follow the instructions provided in the Navica app when you are ready to begin the testing process. 

What kind of test is it?

The tests are Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 Home Tests, which are different from the PCR or saliva tests we use on campus. These are antigen tests provided at no cost to Miami from the Ohio Department of Health.

It looks like some of my tests are expired. What should I do?

Since the launch of the Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 Home Tests, the FDA has extended the shelf-life (expiration date) of the tests to 12 months instead of 9 months or 6 months. Check the lot number on the box against the new expiration dates published in this letter from Abbott.

When can I take the test? Will the test proctor be available any time?

The test will expire on December 1, 2021, but before then you can take the test at any time, 24/7. You will need to meet a test proctor through your device, but no appointment is required.

During busy times, you may experience a longer wait time. If that is the case, you can try again later or you can wait. Refreshing the page will reset your place in line.

If I test positive, can I stay on campus?

Use the COVID-19 self-report form to let us know you have tested positive. That will start the quarantine and isolation process.

What if I have COVID-19 symptoms? 

If you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, you should make an appointment with Student Health Services. Call 513-529-3000 to make an appointment if you are symptomatic.

Is this truly free? Or are you going to bill my insurance?

These are antigen tests provided at no cost to Miami from the Ohio Department of Health. Your insurance will not be billed.

Who gets my results? 

Positive results will be reported to the Ohio Department of Health. You should report your positive result to Miami through the COVID-19 self-report form if you are physically located in Oxford. 

Do you have to be an enrolled Miami student to use the test?

No. The tests are available for anyone in our local campus community to pick up and use as needed.

I have a question that isn’t answered here.


Miami University COVID-19 Testing Plan

Individual Testing

Diagnostic Testing (for those experiencing symptoms)

TriHealth will conduct diagnostic testing for symptomatic students, faculty, and staff at the Student Health Center & Employee Health Center.

Students who test positive will, in accordance with instructions given by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), immediately isolate in:

  • Their off-campus residence
  • An on-campus isolation space, or
  • A hospital if medically warranted

Employees who test positive will be asked to leave campus (if applicable). They must report their absence using the absence reporting form

After hours/weekend testing may be obtained at TriHealth Priority Care or McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital.

Student Close Contacts

If you are an unvaccinated student and are identified as close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you will be asked by Miami University and the Ohio Department of Health to quarantine for 10 days. Quarantined students may receive a COVID-19 test on day 5 or later and if negative, have their quarantine period shortened to 7 days. If you are in quarantine and begin to display symptoms, you should contact Student Health Services (513-529-3000) and a provider may bring a test to you.

Surveillance and Wide-Net Testing

Miami is continuing robust surveillance and wide-net testing of asymptomatic individuals during the Fall 2021 semester.

Exemptions from testing currently include fully and partially vaccinated students with documentation on file and those who have submitted documentation of a recent (past 90 days) COVID-19 diagnosis. All documentation must be submitted to MedProctor for verification to be eligible for exemption.

Testing will occur at Harris Hall, and students should expect to be tested frequently and regularly.


Types of Tests Used

Miami and TriHealth use three types of COVID-19 tests to strategically maximize our use of resources.

Saliva Tests

These are PCR tests that directly test for viral genome in saliva. For surveillance testing, samples may be pooled in the lab to maximize resources.

Students provide a saliva sample (i.e. spitting in a tube) that may be tested in the same “pool” as other students. There are several benefits of this method, including:

  • much faster turnaround time for results (24-36 hours instead of 2-5 days)
  • earlier detection
  • significant cost savings

However, this test does not provide a final positive diagnostic result. If COVID-19 is detected in the pool of samples, a student will be asked to return to Harris for confirmatory diagnostic testing (with a 15-30 minute turnaround time for results using the Abbott ID Now test).

Thus, you will not be notified of your result unless COVID-19 is detected in your saliva test. If you have not heard from us within 72 hours of your saliva test, you can assume there are no concerns with your sample. If you are contacted following a saliva test, it is important to respond immediately.

Abbott Labs ID Now

TriHealth conducts genomic amplification tests using Abbott Labs ID Now testing machines. These tests include a self-collected nasal swab.

Test results will be available in approximately 15-30 minutes.

PCR Nasal or Throat Swabs

TriHealth uses a PCR test with a nasal or throat swab for diagnostic testing for students with symptoms through Student Health Services.

There may also be times when a throat or nasal swab for a PCR test will be used to confirm wide-net or surveillance testing results. 


Testing FAQs

Wide-Net and Surveillance Testing

How many times will I be tested this fall?

The testing strategy is based on a number of different factors that include taking into consideration others who may have tested positive and share facilities with you, density of congregate living environments, and shared activities. Some students will be asked to test more frequently than others.

Will testing of asymptomatic individuals be conducted in a separate location from testing of symptomatic individuals?

Yes. Although wide-net,surveillance, and diagnostic testing will all be conducted in Harris Hall, diagnostic testing will occur in an entirely separate portion of Harris Hall.

Are faculty and staff included in wide-net and surveillance testing strategies?

No. We recommend that faculty and staff seek diagnostic testing when they are symptomatic, have come into close contact with a person who has tested positive, or have been advised to do so by ODH or a health care practitioner. They can also pick up free at-home antigen tests, as described above. 

Should I bring my quarantine "go bag" when I go to get tested?

No. You will have time to pack a bag for isolation if you test positive. 

Where can I park for COVID-19 testing in Harris Hall? 

You may park along Harris Drive and in the South Chiller Plant parking lot (across Harris Drive) without a parking permit for COVID testing. Unregistered vehicles left for extended periods may be subject to citation. 

What should I bring with me to the testing location?

Please bring your government-issued ID and health insurance card with you to your scheduled test.

How quickly will I need to complete the test after I receive the email that I have been selected for wide-net or surveillance testing?

Students who receive the notification to participate in wide-net or surveillance testing will have 48 hours to complete the testing, though it is preferable to respond as quickly as possible.

Completing the testing during the designated time frame is essential to the strategy to identify potential asymptomatic carriers and outbreaks early. Following through with your designated time increases our ability to reduce the spread of the virus more effectively.

Costs

Will there be any out-of-pocket expenses for COVID-19 testing?

Diagnostic Testing: TriHealth will bill your insurance for the cost of the test.

Wide-Net or Surveillance Testing: There is no cost to you or your insurance for wide-net or surveillance tests.

Special Circumstances and Exemptions

What can I do if I can’t complete the test during my designated time?

Students may not be able to attend every testing invitation. If you miss a test, you will receive notice within the following week inviting you to another test. There are no consequences until students miss two tests. You do not need to contact us to let us know you are going to miss a test. Continue to check your email daily for future testing notifications.

I already had COVID-19. Am I exempt from testing?

At this time, if you are vaccinated, you can be exempt from testing starting two weeks after your final dose. That exemption is subject to change based on transmission rates on campus or requirements from the State of Ohio. You should provide your immunization record through MedProctor to request the exemption.

I've gotten the COVID-19 vaccination. Am I exempt from testing?

If you are vaccinated, you can be exempt from testing starting two weeks after your final dose. You should provide your immunization record through MedProctor to request the exemption.

I am already in isolation or quarantine and got the invitation to participate in Miami's testing program. Do I still need to get a test?

No. Please do not leave your isolation or quarantine location until you are cleared to do so. 

Compliance

What will happen if I refuse to participate in the testing program?

If you repeatedly (more than once) fail to schedule or take a test when invited, an incident report will be created and sent to the Office of Community Standards for a failure to comply.

Will my test results be used in any disciplinary actions?

No. We will not use COVID-19 test results, nor data from the COVID-19 reporting form, to pursue conduct violations. If you test positive, you will need to enter isolation. It is important to know that this is a public health strategy and not a disciplinary action. 

Can the answers I give during contact tracing be used as evidence in any disciplinary actions I am or will be involved with?

Miami will not use information learned during contract tracing to pursue conduct violations. You should immediately respond to any and all requests by the Ohio Department of Health and provide them with honest answers. Your responses will be used to identify other people who might be at risk. Your honesty and openness are of utmost importance because it could allow others to get the medical attention they might need as early as possible, which could make a big difference in their health outcomes.

Symptomatic Testing

I am sick and have COVID-19 symptoms. What should I do?

Please call Student Health Services (SHS) at 513-529-3000 to make an appointment. You will be assessed by a TriHealth medical care provider and tested if medically warranted. In some cases, students will be tested for and diagnosed with a different illness (e.g. strep throat, flu, etc.).

What happens if I am ill and need a test and Student Health Services is closed?

Consider visiting one of the following locations: