What is Be SAFE?
To help keep our classes in-person, and to help keep our community safe, prevalence screening will be part of health and safety protocols at UVA. Our quick and easy coronavirus screening program relies on saliva samples to detect the virus, with the goal of identifying silent carriers before they have the opportunity to infect others. The saliva screenings will be mandatory for students and are free of charge. Screening usually takes less than 10 minutes.
For more information on the University of Virginia's current health and safety plans, please see the Return to Grounds Site
Confused about the requirements and differences between nasal swab tests and saliva screenings? See this handy side-by-side comparison of the tests UVA is offering.
Questions? Email us at [email protected]
*For the UVA Health System's Be Safe program, go to: https://uvahealth.com/about/quality-safety/be-safe
Before Getting Tested
You should refrain from eating, drinking (including water), brushing your teeth, using mouth wash, chewing gum, or using tobacco for at least 30 minutes before submitting your saliva sample at the test location.
Please note: If you are well hydrated, giving a saliva sample is much easier. Just refrain from drinking anything 30 minutes before doing the screening.
You will need to bring your UVA ID card with you.
If you have lost your student ID, please contact the UVA Academic ID card Office to get a new one.
A photo of your ID card barcode can be scanned from your phone.
Locations and times may change. Please check for available times and locations on the day you plan to get screened.
While lining up outside a testing location, please wear a face covering and practice social distancing.
Please note: This COVID screening is available for enrolled students and current employees only. Unauthorized use may result in civil or criminal penalties.
Central Grounds Parking Garage - Level 3
Free 15 minute parking is available on the 3rd floor of garage.
Monday-Thursday: 8:00am - 4:30pm
Friday: 8:00am - 3:00pm
Sunday: 1:00pm - 4:00pm
Free 15 minute parking is available in East A Parking lot on Whitehead Road.
Monday-Thursday: 8:00am - 4:30pm
Friday: 8:00am - 3:00pm
Monday: 6:30am - 3:00pm
Tuesday: 8:00am - 4:30pm
Wednesday: 8:00am - 4:30pm
Thursday: 8:00am - 4:30pm
Friday: 6:30am - 3:00pm
Monday: 10:00am - 6:00pm
Tuesday: 10:00am - 6:00pm
Wednesday: 10:00am - 6:00pm
Getting screened is quick and easy. Giving a saliva sample should take only 10 minutes.
The saliva screening is only available to current students and employees at the University of Virginia with valid ID cards.
The screening is free of charge.
The Test Itself
You will be asked to provide a 5 ml saliva sample. The sample collection only takes a few minutes.
The University of Virginia saliva screening is a diagnostic PCR test. Like nasal swab tests, the saliva tests are based on PCR technology, which amplifies small amounts of viral genetic material to facilitate detection.
Steps for Be SAFE Saliva Screenings:
- Get ID scanned.
- Take container with printed barcode label.
- Unscrew lid on container.
- Drool into container (not spit). Need 5 ml of saliva in the container.
- Screw on lid tightly and securely.
- Take to staff member and drop container into bag they are holding
- Done. You will be notified within the next 48-72 hours
Results and Notifications
Outcomes will be available in 48-72 hours. You will receive an email from Be Safe with a link to follow for negative and inconclusive results. Students and employees with positive results will be contacted by phone (by Student Health and Wellness or Employee Health). You will receive a second email from My Chart when your medical record has been updated. If you need to print your outcome, please access MyChart. If you have any issues with MyChart, please call 434-243-2500.
- What if I’ve had a positive COVID test?
If you have had a positive COVID test through Student Health, Employee Health, Let’s Get Checked, the UVA Health System, or an outside test that you have submitted through the Healthy Hoos Patient Portal, then you do not need to be retested for 90 days from the date of your positive test. However, you must resume weekly prevalence testing 90 days after your positive test.
Any students with symptoms of COVID-19, and those who believe that they have been in close contact with someone who recently tested positive, should stay home and contact Student Health at 434-924-5362 for assessment.
Any employees with symptoms of COVID-19, and those who believe that they have been in close contact with someone who recently tested positive, should stay home and contact Employee Health for assessment.
If you are on a research plan, email [email protected] with your computing ID and date of positive test and we will place you on the exempt list.
- I am in quarantine or have tested positive. Should I come in and get screened?
No. If you are in quarantine you should stay in quarantine until it ends. Once it ends, you should get screened.
The duration of isolation for 10 days is based on the fact that most people are not contagious after 10 days of symptoms (with resolution of fever and improvement of symptoms). People who experience severe symptoms may need to isolate for up to 20 days. Studies have shown that people who have had COVID-19 infections can shed virus at low levels for months after infection, but are not contagious to others. This allows people to return to work and school after the above timelines. (Source: CDC 1 + CDC 2)
If you have had a positive COVID test in the last 90 days, then you do not need to be retested at this time. If you are on a research plan, please email [email protected] with the date of your positive result, name and computing ID. We will put you on the exempt list for 90 days.
- I am not in the area, but received an email. What should I do?
Testing is mandatory for all students who are living and learning on Grounds or in the Charlottesville/Albemarle area this semester. If you are no longer in the Charlottesville/Albemarle area, please update your mailing address in SIS (instructions below).
How to Update Your Mailing Address in SIS:
From your student center in SIS, in the menu on the left select My Profile, then select Contact Info. Under Addresses, select the pencil icon to the right of Mailing Address. Input your current address and select SAVE.
- I am out of town or unable to go to my appointment time. Can I reschedule?
If you are unable to go to your testing appointment due to an unavoidable conflict (such as class), you can go instead at a time that works for you but as close to your original date and time as possible. Please check this website for updated screening locations and times. The website will be updated with dates/times as they become available.
- I am in the Charlottesville area, but don’t want to go to Grounds. Do I have to be tested?
Testing is mandatory for all students who are living and learning on Grounds or in the Charlottesville/Albemarle area this semester.
If you have an underlying health condition or a qualifying disability-related reason for seeking an accommodation, you may contact the Student Disability Access Center (SDAC) via email ([email protected]) or phone (434-243-5180) to discuss this.
Otherwise, you will need to participate in the prevalence testing on Grounds. Please rest assured that everyone at the testing site will be wearing masks and practicing physical distancing. And the entire test procedure is very quick – it should take less than 10 minutes.
- I have left the Charlottesville/Albemarle County area for the extended break. Do I still have to be tested?
Testing is only mandatory for students in the Charlottesville/Albemarle area, so if you are no longer in the area, you are not required be tested.
- I have not received an invitation for a saliva screening. Can I show up and get one anyway?
The University is conducting mandatory asymptomatic prevalence testing for students who are in the Charlottesville/Albemarle area between November 30 – December 18. Students must be tested once per week while they are here during this time period. Students who have been approved to remain in University housing will receive a reminder to test on Wednesdays. Students who live off Grounds will not receive specific appointments, but can instead test once a week at their convenience using the walk-in testing hours (above).
*Any students with symptoms of COVID-19, and those who believe that they have been in close contact with someone who recently tested positive, should contact Student Health at 434-924-5362 for assessment.
- How accurate is the saliva screening?
Saliva screenings have an 88.6% percent sensitivity rate, meaning that if 100 people positive for COVID-19 do the saliva screening, it will only detect 88.6 of those cases. This is very similar to the sensitivity for mid-nasal swab test. Our saliva screening is 97.2% accurate. This means that if we did the saliva screening, and then tested the same person with a mid-nasal swab tests, the results would match 97.2% of the time.
- Why did I get a message that my saliva sample was not tested?
There are several reasons why a saliva specimen may not be tested.
When the Hamilton Star Robot is pipetting the saliva samples as part of the COVID-19 test (Spring Semester 2021), there are 4 main reasons.
1. The saliva is sample it too thick. Each person’s saliva is a little different, but when a sample is too thick for the robot to pipette, it is typically because the saliva sample also contains phlegm. The robot cannot pipette thick, viscous solutions such as phlegm or saliva/phlegm mixtures.
2. Too many bubbles on top of the saliva. When providing your sample, it is typical to produce some bubbles that will float on top of the saliva. These bubbles can be minimized by gently tapping the tube on a surface, intermittently, as you drool into the tube. These saliva bubbles will pop when the sample is processed (heated) in the lab. However, if the sample is a mixture of saliva and phlegm, the bubbles are sticky and they do not pop. Sticky bubbles can interfere with the robot’s ability pipette.
3. Foreign material. If the sample contains tiny bits of food or lipstick particles, those can interfere with the robot’s ability to pipette.
4. Too little saliva. The amount of saliva needed for the robot to pipette is about 2 milliliters. The indicator on the specimen tube for 2 milliliters of saliva is even with the bottom of the QR code label (not including any bubbles). If less than 2 milliliters is provided, the robot may not be able to pipette the sample due to insufficient quantity.
If the robot attempts to pipette your sample and fails to do so, it moves to the next sample. We are testing a large number of samples each day, it is not possible to go back and find any samples that did not get pipetted. It is a very small number of samples that are not tested.
There may be times in the Spring semester when the Hamilton Star Robot needs to be serviced and is off-line. During those times, human technicians will need to prepare the samples for testing and you will be asked to provide 5 milliliters of saliva. Unlike the robot, human technicians need at least 5 milliliters of saliva to be in each tube. 5 milliliters is indicated by a Fill Line on the QR code label. If less than 5 milliliters is provided, the technician cannot reach the saliva sample with the pipetting tool used in the saliva lab. When the saliva specimens are being prepared for testing by human technicians, then the number one reason why the sample may not be tested is insufficient quantity. But currently, the saliva lab is operating using the robot and you can provide just 2 milliliters.
• Provide 2 mls (up to the bottom of the QR code label, not including any bubbles) of saliva (unless otherwise directed by the collections staff)
• Do not provide saliva/phlegm mixtures, or phlegm as your sample.
• Do not allow foreign material to end up in your saliva sample.
• Try to minimize the bubbles generated while you are drooling by gently tapping your collection tube, intermittently, on a hard surface.
• If you have any questions, ask a collection staff member.
UVA Saliva Testing Lab
UVA’s saliva testing lab is called “Be Safe.” The test is a PCR-based test. Saliva screenings have an 88.6% percent sensitivity rate, meaning that if 100 people positive for COVID-19 do the saliva screening, it will only detect 85 of those cases. This is very similar to the sensitivity for mid-nasal swab test. Our saliva screening is 97.2% accurate.This means that if we did the saliva screening, and then tested the same person with a mid-nasal swab tests, the results would match 97.2% of the time.
Samples are not stored. After testing is complete sample is treated as biohazard waste and is disposed of.
Data Tracking and Storage
When you check in to take a saliva test, we scan your ID card. This pulls your university ID number into our system. We add to it your computing ID and the date, time and location that you checked in forming a barcode. This information is stored on a secure, internal UVA server and used to track who has given a sample.
Once the sample arrives in the lab, it is scanned into an internal, secure log for processing. When results are generated and associated with a barcode that is then reported securely to the IVY HPC secure server. This is a high security server which is used for highly sensitive information and is approved for HIPPA and other high security uses.
- Results are reported at 2:30am to the Virginia Department of Health via secure FTP transfer
- Results are paired with random codes to tie computing IDs to results page. Email notification is sent to login in through Netbadge to see your results page.
- Results are sent at intervals through the day to UVA Data Warehouse for secure transfer into EPIC (UVA Medical records). Doctors can see results.
- 24 hours later it is released into MyChart (where patient can see results) and email notification is sent.
No data from the saliva is being used for research or any other purpose other than reporting results to the patient.
Email us at [email protected]