Health & Testing
- See the updated hours at the Covid-19 testing locations. – November 9
- Lessons learned as the MIT community manages Covid-19 – October 20
- New feature in the Covid Pass app: Proof of test result functionality is now live (see the bottom of the testing tab) – October 5
- Read the MIT News article about how contact tracing happens at MIT – October 1
- How the MIT community can get tested for Covid-19 (MIT Medical)
- MIT Medical Covid-19 updates
- Testing for Covid-19 FAQ
Individuals returning to campus will need to be tested at MIT Medical. See the Covid Apps site for the latest information on testing times.
- People living in MIT residence halls will need to test at least twice weekly; tests should be no more frequent than every 3-4 days.
- Non-resident students, faculty, and staff who are on campus 4 days or more per week will need to test at least twice weekly.
- Non-resident students, faculty, and staff who are on campus 1-3 days per week will need to test at least once per week.
- Anyone accessing campus less frequently will need a test on file within the past 7 days to gain access to campus. If it has been more than 7 days since the last test, the person must be tested before access is granted and should plan in advance for this.
- Note: One-time access is intended for individuals who have to come in for a short period of time on one day. They will not require a test. However, one-time access should not be granted to an individual in your DLC who has to be on campus multiple days in a row, or more often than once a month.
See the Covid Apps site for the latest information on testing times at MIT Medical.
You do not need to schedule an appointment if you need to be tested before returning to work or if you are living in a campus residence. MIT Medical has walk-in testing available for eligible individuals. See the Covid Apps site for the latest information on testing times.
If you have questions about testing, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- When you arrive, wear a mask and maintain six feet of physical distancing from others at all times.
- Enter from the plaza adjacent to Building E15 (Wiesner Building) and head toward the testing trailer. You will not need to enter MIT Medical (E23) to access testing.
- The test involves swabbing the inside of both nostrils — the process takes about a minute and there is very little discomfort.
- Please do not park in the MIT Medical parking lot unless you require disability parking. The nearest large parking garage to MIT Medical is the Hermann Garage at Sloan; the smaller E51 lot is also conveniently located.
- You will need to wait outdoors before entering the testing site. Please dress appropriately.
No. Anyone using Covid Pass can be tested at either campus testing site.
Yes. You can choose whichever site you prefer and can even alternate sites each time you are tested. Although you must be tested to continue to access campus buildings, it doesn’t matter which site you choose. Go to whichever location is more convenient to you.
Performing observed self-swabbing is easy. An MIT Medical team member will be watching as you do it to make sure you do it correctly. If you have questions, just ask us.
Yes, it could still happen. Take-home, unobserved Covid-19 testing is still in the works and pending FDA approval. Once we are approved for take-home use, we will let you know and share information about who is eligible, how it will work, and where you can pick up and drop off your testing kits. Unfortunately, we don’t know when that might happen.
Email email@example.com, and someone will be in touch shortly.
Results will appear in the Medical Test section of Covid Pass.
Results are typically available within 48 hours via Covid Pass.
Only you and MIT Medical will have access to your test results, which are protected medical information. If you receive a test positive result, you will be denied access to campus. Access to campus may also be denied for a number of other reasons ranging from contact with an infected individual to having symptoms such as a fever or cough.
All MIT students are covered by the MIT Student Medical Plan, included with tuition, which covers most services at MIT Medical in full. Students can seek treatment through MIT Medical for their health needs. Covid-19 testing will be available to off-campus students by appointment.
If you are on the Student Extended Insurance Plan, you also have nationwide coverage through the Blue Cross Blue Shield network.
You are not required to tell MIT if you have been diagnosed with Covid-19; however, doing so allows MIT Medical to perform contact tracing, which can help protect your colleagues and the rest of the community from spreading Covid-19 further.
If you receive a positive Covid-19 test, a clinician from MIT Medical will notify you shortly. You can also check the result of your test via Covid Pass.
For contact tracing, MIT will not provide your name to the individuals you may have been in contact with, to protect your privacy. The other individuals will just be informed that they may have been exposed.
If you test positive, MIT will contact you to learn about anyone who you might have accidentally exposed to Covid-19. Those individuals may be advised to self-quarantine or to get tested. You should tell your manager and coworkers if you will not be able to return to work.
For more information, read the MIT News article about how contact tracing happens at MIT.
It’s true that some allergy symptoms are similar to Covid-19 symptoms. This MIT Medical graphic can help you determine what you might be experiencing. You should always speak with your personal healthcare provider if you have any questions.
MIT Medical offers diagnostic testing (also called viral testing). It is a molecular test, or PCR test. It works by detecting genetic material from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. When someone is infected, they have this genetic material in their nose and upper throat. The test uses a sample that is collected with a swab from an area of the nasal passage where viral particles are likely to be present.
The genetic material from SARS-CoV-2 cannot be confused with the genetic material from other viruses, so the Covid-19 diagnostic test is highly specific and almost never gives a false positive. Unfortunately, if the specimen collection is not done perfectly, or if you are in an early stage of infection or already partially recovered, your nasal-swab sample might not contain enough viral material to come back positive. There are many stories about patients who tested negative soon after their symptoms began, only to later test positive.
However, a negative result should not give you a sense of false security. If you have any symptoms of Covid-19, it is safest to assume you are infected and act accordingly, even if your diagnostic test comes back negative.
An antibody test is a blood test that looks for immune molecules, or antibodies, specifically targeted to fighting SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the Covid-19 illness. An antibody test for Covid-19, if accurate, could indicate if you had previously been infected with the virus, even if you never had any symptoms.
Unfortunately, antibody tests aren’t yet reliable and MIT Medical does not currently offer antibody testing. They aren’t like pregnancy tests — a simple “yes” or “no.” Instead, they are “titer tests” that indicate specific levels of antibodies in an individual’s blood, and we don’t know what level of antibodies might be required for immunity from reinfection. We also don’t know if people with antibodies can still spread the virus to others, even if they are immune themselves.
Furthermore, the accuracy of these tests depends on the percentage of people in the population who have actually been exposed to the virus. At this point, with a relatively low percentage of the population likely to have been exposed, a positive antibody test has a high probability of being incorrect and may lead to a false sense of security.
MIT has developed a comprehensive, safety-driven approach to lowering the risk of infection. Applying a campus-wide surveillance strategy, our approach includes required training, testing upon arrival and up to twice a week, and daily tracking of health symptoms.
Piloted over the summer to ensure success this fall, our approach has the flexibility to leverage new testing technologies and can be ramped up at any time if health data warrants.
There are, of course, heightened health risks associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. MIT recognizes that students who are eligible to return have to weigh their concerns about these risks as they decide whether to return to campus. Students worried about returning should have conversations with loved ones, doctors, trusted supports at MIT, and/or MIT Medical (see examples of helpful resources). They may also speak to their faculty advisors or supervisors as well as administrators in their departments. Students who want to request accommodations associated with Covid-19 should contact Disability and Access Services.
MIT Medical has a series of FAQ related to Covid-19 that are updated regularly. You can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have general questions.
Remember: Specific health-related questions are private, protected information that should only be discussed between you and your provider via phone calls or through a secure patient portal. You should never email personal medical questions to your provider or to the general email@example.com address.