COVID-19 Testing Process Clarifications

Student Government representatives have recently brought to our attention that there remains confusion on several important topics related to COVID-19 and related campus processes.  We hope this information will be helpful in reducing confusion and ultimately anxiety or concern about these issues.

Who can be tested at the Student Health Center?

Students who meet one or more of the following criteria can receive rapid testing at the Student Health Center (these criteria are consistent with CDC Guidance, available here):

  • Students who are symptomatic.
  • Students who have been advised to be tested by a contact tracer or medical professional.
  • Students who have had close contact with a person who has received a positive test result. Please call the Student Health Center to determine whether your circumstances meet the CDC definition of close contact, which is:
    • You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more
    • You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
    • You had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them)
    • You shared eating or drinking utensils
    • They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you

Why won’t the Student Health Center also test students who just want to be sure they are not infected with the Coronavirus, especially when we hear about ‘free tests’?

  • Workforce availability – We currently have two registered nurses and one nurse practitioner at the Student Health Center. One of those has to be available for other (non-COVID) student health concerns and for the required reporting of all tests. All COVID testing first requires an assessment by a nurse practitioner via Zoom who determines the appropriate recommendation. For example, COVID and influenza can have very similar symptoms. The nurse practitioner evaluates the patient through Zoom and then determines what testing is needed (i.e. PCR, Rapid, Influenza) and the most appropriate testing time.
  • Time – Although it is referred to as a ‘rapid test’, each test takes at least 25-30 minutes on average for obtaining the sample, running the test and completing the form required by the Health Department. Combined with the number of nursing staff available for testing, we don’t have the capacity to manage testing beyond those meeting the criteria listed above.
  • Free Tests – While we hear a lot about ‘free tests’, what that generally means is that the test kits (testing materials) are free, but there are costs associated with labor to conduct the test, processing test samples at the lab, interpretation of results, etc.  Some of the ‘free tests’ also require payment for express shipping the test kits between the University and the designated lab. So ‘free testing’ can be a bit of a misnomer unless you look at all the fine print.  Charges associated with the assessment for individuals without insurance are currently being written off by the Student Health Center.

Where can students be tested?

  • Student Health Center (based on criteria above)
  • Urgent Care/Complete Family Medicine
  • At their family/personal health care provider at home
  • Drive through testing sites as they become available both in Kirksville or at home
  • Hy-Vee (call for specified testing hours and register at to receive a required voucher number.) Testing is free.
  • Ambulance District
  • Northeast Regional Medical Center (charges may apply)

What should I do if I test positive somewhere other than the Student Health Center?

If you are tested at an off-campus facility and are notified of positive results, please contact the Student Health Center (660-785- 4182) within 24 hours so we can provide accurate information regarding the number of active cases and the number of recoveries.  We are also required to provide this information to the Adair County Public Health Department.

How do I know if I should get tested for COVID-19? For example, what should I do if I have had close contact with someone else who had close contact with a person required to quarantine, or a person who has been placed in isolation?

  • If you have had close contact (as defined above) with a person who has had close contact with someone who tested positive, you may not necessarily need to be tested.
  • If the person you have been in close contact with has been placed in isolation, or has become symptomatic, you should contact the Student Health Center for guidance.
  • If the person you have been in close contact with has been asked to quarantine and they have not developed symptoms it is not necessary for you to be tested.

When in doubt, contact the Student Health Center or your personal health care provider.

Quarantine keeps someone who has been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows if they are sick or infected with the virus without feeling symptoms.  People in quarantine have not tested positive for COVID-19.

Isolation is used to separate people who have tested positive for COVID-19 from people who have not been exposed or infected.  The University has designated a section of Campbell Apartments that were intentionally kept available for use by on-campus residents who may be required to isolate.

Students living off campus with a roommate, who need to isolate, should separate themselves from others by staying in a specific “sick room” or area and using a separate bathroom (if available).  Meals should be left at the door of the “sick room” so as to minimize the risk of spreading the virus.  Masks should be worn anytime in common areas.

Additional information available from the CDC is located here.

Our COVID-19 numbers are low compared to other schools.  How is Truman tracking cases?

All positive cases in Adair County are reported to the Adair County Health Department (ACHD). Cases involving Truman students, faculty and staff are reported from the ACHD to the Student Health Center so that the university is kept informed of the COVID infectivity on campus. Students, faculty and staff are also asked to report positive COVID results that are obtained outside Adair County to the Student Health Center so that accurate monitoring and reporting can be achieved.

Coronavirus Self-Checks

Students may download the ClearCampus app for daily symptom checks prior to leaving their residence each day.  Go to for additional information and to download the app.

An additional resource from the CDC regarding self-check of symptoms is available at:

The Coronavirus Self-Checker is an interactive clinical assessment tool that will assist individuals ages 13 and older, and parents and caregivers of children ages 2 to 12 on deciding when to seek testing or medical care if they suspect they, or someone they know has contracted COVID-19 or has come into close contact with someone who has COVID-19.  The online, mobile-friendly tool asks a series of questions, and based on the user’s responses, provides recommended actions and resources.

Janna Stoskopf
Vice President
Student Affairs