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UHS Announces Pre-Departure Travel Testing Options for Students

NOTE: Revised guidance has come out for residential undergraduate students after this was originally posted. See the updated information.


When the in-person portion of the fall semester wraps up for students, some will be required to have a COVID-19 test before heading home (this is a country requirement for some international students), while other students may request to be tested. Below are the options available through University Health Service (UHS) for these two groups of students—undergraduate and graduate students—who are departing campus in the coming weeks.

It’s important to note that these plans below may be subject to change per New York State guidance. UHS has requested from the state the rapid-test kits that would be necessary in order to test all departing students. Shifting to a plan of testing all students is dependent on the University receiving the rapid tests, and on any updated guidance from New York State. Any changes will be announced via @Rochester and this website as soon as we are made aware of them.

All of the testing below will make use of the COVID-19 RT-PCR viral test.

  1. Options for students traveling within the United States or to an international location that does not have testing requirements prior to travel:
    • Pre-departure testing will available November 16-20 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., for students who will be leaving campus for the November-January break.
    • Click here for instructions for scheduling an appointment.  Appointments need to be scheduled online.
    • Test results are usually available within 48-72 hours.
    • Students will not be charged for pre-travel COVID tests done at UHS.
  2. Students who are traveling to an international location that requires a specific timeframe for test results:
    • Students who need testing completed within a specific timeframe prior to travel to an international location should call UHS at (585) 275-2662 to speak with a nurse. They may need to schedule an appointment at UHS to talk about their specific testing requirements.
    • These two websites provide country-specific information:
    • Please Note: Some countries may require pre-travel testing to be done at an approved testing site and/or may require a specific blood test that is not available through UHS and may not be available in the Rochester area. UHS staff will do their best to advise students about testing options.
    • UHS test results are usually available within 48-72 hours.
    • Students will not be charged for pre-travel COVID tests done at UHS.
    • If students need assistance with scheduling an appointment within the required timeframe, email UHS at uhscovid19@uhs.rochester.edu.

UHS will not offer testing between November 26-29 due to the Thanksgiving holiday. If students need to be tested during this time period, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) website for testing sites in the Rochester area is a good resource. Contact the NYSDOH at 1-888-364-3065 or click here to find a test site near you. Testing is free to all eligible New Yorkers; when scheduling your appointment, use your Rochester address. Other testing sites are listed on the NYS test site finder.

If a student’s pre-departure COVID-19 test result is positive, UHS will work with each student on a case-by-case basis to determine how isolation requirements will need to be fulfilled. In some cases, it could mean delaying a student’s travel plans. University quarantine and isolation space will continue to be available.

During this Nov. 16-20 testing timeframe, UHS will need to reduce the amount of random surveillance testing that has been done each week throughout the semester, in order to effectively manage these additional student testing requests and requirements.

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