Frequently Asked Questions


 What is surveillance testing?

Surveillance testing provides a way to test groups of individuals who are assumed to be healthy in order to make predictions on how an illness will spread in a population. Surveillance testing is different from diagnostic testing. A diagnostic test is used to confirm an illness, such as performing a COVID-19 test on someone with symptoms to confirm if they are positive or negative for the virus.

Surveillance testing does not mean everyone gets tested. The purpose of surveillance testing is to monitor the current state of the epidemic. We can use this testing to monitor things like whether the virus is moving into a new area, affecting some groups of people more than other groups, or whether its prevalence is increasing or decreasing.

Surveillance testing is not intended for individuals who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive for COVID in the last 90 days. If a student is experiencing symptoms they are encouraged to consult the University Health Center.

 When and where does surveillance testing occur?

Surveillance testing will begin on October 5 and will occur every Monday from 9:30 a.m.–12 p.m. and 12:30 p.m.– 4 p.m. at Madison Union (Warren Hall) 5th Floor, Room 502 (across from the Madison Union Ballroom). There will be twelve 30-minute time slots with 25 people in each time slot.

The maximum occupancy at the testing site is 40 people. Students should plan to attend at their booked appointment time to regulate traffic in the space.

 How are on-campus students chosen for surveillance testing?

Surveillance testing will occur throughout the fall semester. JMU contracted ARCpoint Labs to conduct 300 weekly tests. 

Testing resources will focus initially on the on-campus student population. These students will be chosen through stratified random sampling. We have categorized all non-isolation residence halls as our strata, allowing us to test a certain percentage of all on-campus residence halls weekly in an effort to identify potential outbreaks. 

The Surveillance Team will test 5% of each residence hall. This sampling plan will represent testing 5% of the current on-campus student population. For example, if Chesapeake Hall’s current occupancy is 399, we would test 20 students from Chesapeake each week. Sampling software will pull the appropriate number of students per residence hall to represent 5% of all residence halls each week. In collaboration with the Office of Residence Life and other campus partners, the process for selecting students is: 

  1. The Office of Residence Life collects a list of all students with a 2020-21 housing contract who are currently on campus. This includes Resident Advisors. 
  2. Athletes will be removed from this list since they are being tested separately. 
  3. Any students who have withdrawn from the university will be removed from the list. 
  4. The list will be checked for students in isolation spaces (self-reported or through testing by UHC). Any students who are or have been in isolation will be removed from the list. 
  5. A Surveillance Team member will organize the list by residence hall, then alphabetize by last name within each. 
  6. A Surveillance Team member will run a random sample, capturing a percentage of each residence hall. These students will then receive invitations to schedule their testing appointments.

 How will I know I was invited?

Once students are selected, the Surveillance Testing Team will contact them. 

  1. Students will receive an email from vpstudentaffairs@jmu.edu on the Tuesday prior to their intended test day, which will be the following Monday, with the following information:
  2. Students will receive a reminder the day before their appointment.

 How do I book my appointment?

Students may choose from twelve different 30-minute time slots, allowing them to schedule their appointment around their classes. Students are asked to only choose one appointment time.
Students should schedule their appointment by the Friday prior to their testing day. If a selected student has not signed up for an appointment by 5 p.m. on Friday, they will still be expected to come to the clinic on their assigned day. These students should expect a longer wait as those with appointments will be prioritized for testing.

The full appointment sign-up list will be given to ARCpoint Labs the day before each testing day. An ARCpoint representative will check off names as students enter the testing site.

 What do I bring with me to my test date?

Students must complete, print and bring two forms (consent and demographics) with them to their testing appointment. Both of these documents are sent to students in the first invitation email as well as in the reminder email. Students should type information directly into the demographic form. There will be a limited number of printed copies of the consent and demographics forms at the testing site.

All students must bring their JACard for attendance verification.

 How do I get an exemption?

Students are expected to comply with surveillance testing protocols in the interest of public health and safety. In the student invitation email, students will be connected with a form where they can apply for exemption. These exemptions are being reviewed by the Vice President of Student Affairs office on a case-by-case basis.

 What are the consequences for not responding or not attending?

Students who do not schedule an appointment and/or do not attend on their assigned testing day will be automatically assigned to the following week’s date. Failure to attend the second testing day may result in a hold on their student account.

 What happens after I take my test?

Students will be notified of their test result within 48 hours.

If the test is negative, students will receive an email from an ARCpoint representative.

If the test is positive, students will receive a phone call from an ARCpoint representative, which will be followed by an email. The ARCpoint representative, by direction and in collaboration with the university, will collect information needed to support the transition of the student to an on-campus isolation space. ARCpoint will share this information with the university, and the university will move the student to the necessary location.

If students test positive, they should follow isolation guidelines immediately. Refer to https://www.jmu.edu/stop-the-spread/healthcenter/uhc-covid-19-faq.shtml for immediate questions and guidance.

 I am having trouble finding the forms (demographics and consent) needed for my testing day, where can I find them?

 What if I miss my testing appointment?

The appointment is there to assist our staff in staggering the traffic in and out of the testing site. Please be aware that if you miss your testing appointment, you may still come to the testing center during testing hours, but you may encounter more traffic and may have a longer waiting time. Students who do not attend on their assigned testing day will be automatically assigned to the following week’s date. Failure to attend the second testing day may result in a hold on their student account.

 What should I expect on the day of my assigned testing?

You will arrive at Madison Union and take the elevator or stairs to the top floor. The testing is being conducted in the area that was formerly Madison Grill (Madison Union 502), located across the hall from the Madison Union Ballroom.  You will work with a data collection specialist who will take your completed forms. If needed, copy of forms will be available on site to fill out. You will then meet our clinician staff who will take your sample.

Please remember to social distance throughout your time at the testing site. The floor will be marked and we ask that all students abide by these guidelines. It is important that you wear your mask.

 Do I need to quarantine while I wait for my test results?

If you do not have symptoms, you do not need to quarantine while you wait for your surveillance test results. If you begin to develop symptoms, you should immediately quarantine and be tested for COVID-19 again if your original test was negative. 

 Is this putting the staff and students in The Union at risk?

Surveillance testing provides a way to test groups of individuals who are assumed to be healthy in order to make predictions on how an illness spreads in populations. Surveillance testing is different from diagnostic testing. A diagnostic test is used to confirm an illness, such as performing a COVID-19 test on someone with symptoms to confirm if they are positive or negative for the virus. Individuals attending surveillance testing are assumed to be healthy and not putting individuals in the Madison Union building at risk, as long as they are practicing social distancing and wearing a mask.

 What kind of test is being used?

We are using a PCR (nasal swab) test.

 Is testing free for students?

Yes.

 Why are faculty and staff not being tested?

We have established that staff/faculty have not been contracting the virus at the rate our students have been. We have not noticed high transmission in classrooms. There was a high rate of transmission within the student body, so we want to focus there first.

 Who is our third-party vendor?

The company providing data entry and collection services is ARCpoint Labs of Salem. They have been in business since 2012 and provide clinical and drug and alcohol testing services to universities, government agencies and companies throughout SW Virginia. They are a part of a 200-location franchise organization headquartered in Greenville SC. The testing organization is Dynamic Medical LLC, a CLIA certified laboratory testing company based in Vinton Virginia. They serve clients throughout the mid-Atlantic area. As part of the CLIA certification process the lab adheres to strict protocols for the handling of specimens and cross-contamination has never been a problem.

ARCpoint Labs of Salem is the collection services provider for Virginia Tech and Roanoke College. In August and September, ARCpoint managed the move-in programs for both schools and tested over 9,000 students. Currently ARCpoint manages the surveillance testing program for Virginia Tech and Dynamic Medical is the testing provider for Roanoke College and numerous senior living communities in the mid-Atlantic region.

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