Back to School Testing FAQ

Updated: 8/18/2021

Fall 2021 Back to School Testing FAQ

What is the purpose of beginning-of-semester testing at PBA?
The purpose of this testing is to detect asymptomatic community members who have COVID-19. Asymptomatic people can transmit the virus to those around them. By identifying asymptomatic community members through testing, we can limit the spread of COVID-19. Anyone who is asymptomatic and tests positive needs to isolate immediately from the time of notification. Isolation ends 10 days after the date of test collection if the person remains asymptomatic.

Is COVID-19 Testing Mandatory?
Yes, it is required for all unvaccinated students and employees who attend face-to-face instruction or work at our West Palm Beach or Orlando campuses. Fully vaccinated community members do not need to participate in back to school testing.  If you have been fully vaccinated, please submit your proof of vaccination here: https://bit.ly/21COVIDVax. 

If you tested positive for COVID-19 on or after May 25, 2021 (90 days before the first day of class), you do not need to be tested.  Please submit a copy of your positive test result to COVID19@pba.edu.

Unusual and extenuating circumstances that prevent testing will be considered on a case-by-case basis. As PBA is footing the cost of the test, it is not associated with insurance and it is not painful, exemptions will be extremely rare. To inquire about an exemption, you can email COVID19@pba.edu.

What kind of test are you using on the West Palm Beach campus?
We are using the BinaxNOW rapid antigen test in our COVID-19 Testing Center.  It is the same test that the government testing sites in Palm Beach County use. It uses an anterior nasal swab inserted half an inch into each nostril. It is NOT a PCR test and is not nasopharyngeal. Results come back in 15 minutes. While the test may feel odd or ticklish, as there is a swab in your nose, it is not painful.

How do I get tested on the West Palm Beach campus?
You can sign up for a testing slot HERE.

All those being tested will be physically distanced during this process, and it is important not to arrive at the testing area more than 20 minutes prior to the appointment time to maintain physical distancing.  The test is provided by PBA at no cost to students or employees. Results are available in 15 minutes.

If I am getting tested on my own, what kind of test should I get?
There are two types of tests that detect fragments of the virus: PCR and rapid antigen testing. Please make sure that you are taking a PCR or antigen test — NOT an antibody test. Please submit your results to PBA by emailing them to COVID19@pba.edu

What if I already had COVID-19 in the past?
If you tested positive for COVID-19 on or after May 25, 2021 (90 days before the first day of class), you do not need to re-test.  Please submit a copy of your positive test result to COVID19@pba.edu.

What if I test positive?

  • Students who test positive and are symptomatic must 1) isolate for a minimum of 10 days from the date of the test collection 2) be fever-free for at least 24 hours and 3) experience a significant reduction in symptoms before leaving isolation.
  • Students who test positive and are asymptomatic need to isolate immediately from the time of notification. Isolation ends 10 days after the date of test collection if the person remains asymptomatic.

All students who test positive will need to speak to a member of the Health Alert Team before they are cleared to return to University facilities.

Where do I isolate if I test positive once I have returned to campus?
Commuter students are expected to isolate at their place of residence.  Residential (on-campus) students follow guidelines and directives of the Office of Residence Life and the Health Alert Team. Violation of quarantine will be processed as an accountability incident and will include a fine of $250.

What if I have antibodies?
The CDC does not recommend using antibody testing in place of viral fragment testing.  Therefore, PBA requires that you are tested even if you have antibodies, you should still be tested for viral RNA which detects the presence of potentially active infection with SARS-CoV-2.

How many kinds of tests are there?
There are two categories of tests for COVID-19. There are multiple types of tests in each category.

  1. Molecular tests that look for the presence of viral fragments. These fragments can be either genetic code (RNA) or proteins that the virus produces (antigen).  These tests can be nasopharyngeal, nasal swab, throat swab, or saliva.  Note that rapid tests are usually antigen tests, but some rapid tests are PCR.
  2. Antibody tests that look for signs of an immune response to SARS-CoV-2. These look for antibodies (immunoglobulins) against the virus. This is a blood test. Please note, PBA does not accept this kind of test, as it is not a sign of potential active infection. 

For any further questions, please email COVID19@pba.edu