Dear Faculty and Staff,

I’m writing to provide a brief overview of our testing plan for the spring. As shared last month with the campus community, we will be conducting PCR self-collected saliva testing. Faculty and staff members will be able to collect their saliva samples by themselves in their office or at home and then turn the sample in at the campus testing center for processing on the appointed day. The summary below details the frequency of testing for faculty and staff and how the process will work. Additional instructions will be available next month.

Covid-19 Testing for Faculty and Staff

  • Faculty and staff initial testing materials will be distributed to their work areas for pick up in early January. Test kits will be distributed regularly throughout the semester. 
  • Faculty and staff will be notified of their required testing dates based on how often they are on campus and whether they are in student-facing positions. We are reaching out to managers and department heads to gather information related to work schedules and in-person activities so that we can implement the scheduling plan accordingly.
  • Faculty and staff will drop off their test at our campus collection site on their scheduled testing day.
  • Testing will begin on Jan. 11, 2021 and continue throughout the spring semester. The frequency and type of testing may be adjusted in response to changing conditions.

Frequency of Testing Protocol for Faculty and Staff

Twice per week testing:

  • Faculty and staff who provide in-person services to the Puget Sound community (such as those teaching in-person classes or working in dining, facilities, security, the mailroom, residence halls, or other positions with in-person interactions) two or more days a week are required to test twice per week.

Once per week testing:

  • Faculty and staff who provide in-person services to the Puget Sound community less than two days a week are required to test once per week.
  • Faculty or staff who are on campus three or more days a week and are not providing in-person services are required to test once per week.

No testing required for:

  • Faculty or staff working entirely remotely.
  • Faculty or staff who come to campus less than three days per week and are not providing in-person services and/or otherwise interacting with the community.

When will I test?
The testing center will be open Monday–Friday, 7 a.m.–3 p.m. Scheduling information will be sent to the Puget Sound community via email in early January 2021.

Where will I test?
Please collect your sample at home or in your office to reduce lines at the testing pavilion drop-off site, which will be located in a tent on the event lawn between Thomas Hall and Warner Gym. It will be open to Puget Sound students, faculty, and staff members only.

How are students being tested?
Testing is mandatory for students and will take place in the testing pavilion. All students, living both on and off-campus in the Tacoma area, will be tested twice a week for COVID-19. Students who are living in Tacoma and the surrounding areas and are taking courses remotely are required to participate in the testing program if they will be interacting with the campus community.

How are student-athletes being tested?
Student-athletes are required to test at least twice a week. Athletes may be required to test more frequently depending on the sport they are participating in and whether that sport is in season or not.

How long will it take to get results, and how will campus community members be notified?
Test results will be available within 24-48 hours. Community members will be able to access their test results through an online portal system. More information about this online system will be provided in January.

Can students, faculty or staff members opt out of testing?
Campus community members are not required to test if they are working or attending classes completely remotely with no in-person Puget Sound community engagement at all. This includes students who are living out of state or who live far enough away that they will not come to campus or engage in person with any Puget Sound community member.

Are the saliva tests more or less effective than the nasal swab tests?
Saliva PCR tests are equally effective as nasal swab PCR tests.

Will Puget Sound administer vaccines?
A limited quantity of vaccines is being made available in Washington state beginning this week for use by health care workers and those in long-term care facilities. We don’t have information yet about the availability of vaccines on campus.

Please look for additional information in early January. Information is also available at, and we will host a town hall meeting on testing Wednesday, 10–11 a.m. to respond to your questions. Information about joining the meeting is posted at


Kelly K. Brown, Ph.D. | Director
Counseling, Health, and Wellness Services