Student COVID-19 Testing FAQ

Who needs to be tested?
All faculty, staff, students, graduate assistants, adjuncts who teach on campus, and vendor employees need to be tested. This includes graduate and online undergraduates who are taking any course in-person. As graduate classes for the spring semester have already begun, graduate students must continue to adhere to in-class protocols and are required to be tested the same week as traditional undergraduate students. 

Why are we requiring testing?
The spread of COVID-19 has recently increased dramatically. In Siloam Springs the number of active cases per 10,000 residents has tripled in recent weeks (from 35 new infections per 10k to 105 new infections per 10k). In addition, while local hospitals in Northwest Arkansas still have some capacity, they are serving record numbers of COVID-19 patients. We want the best possible start to the spring semester.

Why are we requiring testing now when we didn't in the fall?
Though many schools did require students to test before arrival in the fall, there were two main reasons JBU did not. First, there was an overall shortage of tests available across the country. In Arkansas, where a third of our students are from, we knew it would be difficult to get a test and those tests should be used by others. Now, there is a greater availability of testing. Secondly, tests are much less expensive than they were last August.

When do I need to get the test?
On or after Monday, Jan. 25. Negative test results need to be uploaded to JBU by Friday, Jan. 29 at 2 p.m. If you have been approved to return to campus early (i.e. resident assistants, orientation leaders, international students, etc.), please work with your supervising staff member for additional information on the timing of your test.

What kind of test do I need?
We prefer PCR tests because of accuracy but will also accept an antigen “rapid” test.

What if I have already had COVID-19?
If you have a positive test result within the last 90 days, you will not be required to test prior to arrival. If JBU is already aware of your case, you do not need to do anything further. If not, please email your positive test results to before Friday, Jan. 29.

What happens if my test comes back positive?
Please email Lea Hart, coordinator of student COVID-19 care, at to discuss when you can return to campus. She will also help you make sure you're ready to participate in your classes online from home.

If I test positive, can I still come to campus and just move into an isolation room?
No, we will ask you to stay home and wait until you are cleared to come to campus. 

Who do I contact if I can't find a place to get a test where I live? 
A state-by-state list of testing sites can be seen here. If you have exhausted all your local resources (we suggest starting with your primary care physician or state health department), please email

If I have been vaccinated, am I still required to test?
Yes, because a person can become infected after only one dose of the vaccination (and most people have only had one dose).  In addition, even with two doses of the vaccination, the research right now is not clear about whether you can still spread the virus to others. The vaccination primarily protects the person being vaccinated, and not necessarily the people with whom they come into contact.

If I live in Northwest Arkansas do you know where I can be tested?
The NWA Council has a list here. We also expect that there will be some tests available for local students at JBU when we conduct tests for faculty and staff the week of Jan. 25. Students will be able to sign up for those tests starting Jan. 21 on a first-come, first-served basis. Please watch your JBU email for details on registering.

Will we still be required to wear masks and physically distance this semester?
Yes. All COVID-19 protocols remain the same.