What is Be SAFE?
Be SAFE is a testing program that uses saliva samples to detect the COVID-19 virus. The saliva test is a diagnostic PCR test.
Be SAFE is for asymptomatic enrolled students and current employees only. Unauthorized use may result in civil or criminal penalties. Eligible students and employees include those who are 1) required to complete mandatory prevalence testing at least once every week (Monday-Saturday) and/or 2) referred from Student Health or Employee Health. The tests are free of charge. Testing usually takes less than 10 minutes.
Any current asymptomatic, enrolled student regardless of vaccine status may test with saliva by making an appointment in Time2Test.
Asymptomatic Academic Division faculty and staff (includes School of Medicine staff and faculty without clinical privileges, School of Nursing, and Post-Doctoral Fellows) that do not meet one of the two eligibility requirements above are now eligible to test electively. These asymptomatic employees can either schedule a testing appointment through Time2Test or order a LetsGetChecked (LGC) test kit.
Health System employees with exposures who are asymptomatic should go to the West Complex for walk-in exposure nasal PCR testing 4-6 days after the exposure. Testing is offered Monday – Friday from 8am-12pm and 1pm-4pm.
Please note: Asymptomatic Close Contact Exposures should use saliva testing. Saliva testing is available for any enrolled student or current academic division employee.
For more information on the University of Virginia's current health and safety plans, please see the UVA Coronavirus Information site.
Please note: We are unable to offer travel testing outside of the normal saliva testing. If you are testing for travel, we encourage you to use a commercial provider. More information on preparing for travel for students can be found here.
Students: email us at [email protected]
- Academic employees: email us at [email protected]
- UVA Health employees: email us at [email protected]
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.
Having your ID will ensure less wait time and accuracy in returning your results. If you have lost or misplaced your UVA Academic ID, you can schedule an appointment to obtain a replacement by submitting the ID Replacement Request Form online. Questions on the Academic ID process can be directed to [email protected] or 434-924-4508. For questions on a replacement UVA Health ID, call 434-982-4009 or email [email protected] .
You must present your UVA ID when checking-in at a testing site. Your test results are matched to your medical record using your ID number, so it is important for this number to be correct on your saliva sample. A typo in the number means you won’t get your test result, and if you use someone else’s ID to check in, your results will be attributed to them. Be sure to bring your ID with you and keep a copy of your ID number in your phone. Taking a picture of the back of your ID is fine.
A photo of your ID card barcode can be scanned from your phone.
Locations and times of testing sites may change according to needs. Please check for available times and locations on the day you plan to get tested.
While lining up outside a testing location, please wear a face covering and practice social distancing.
Getting tested is quick and easy. Giving a saliva sample should take only 10 minutes.
Make an Appointment
The saliva test is only available to enrolled students or current employees at the University of Virginia with valid ID cards.
The test 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 Tests:
- 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 are available in 48-72 hours. You will receive an email from Be SAFE with a link for negative and inconclusive results. An inconclusive result requires you to be retested. 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.
UVA Saliva Testing Lab
UVA’s saliva testing is 97.2% accurate. UVA’s saliva test is a laboratory developed test (LDT) for which FDA review and approval is not required. UVA’s testing methodology has been subjected to rigorous validation, resulting in a highly-accurate test (97.2% concordance with a nasal swab test).
The precise method of UVA’s saliva test is proprietary and confidential, reflecting faculty and staff study on medical, scientific and technical issues. Public detailed information concerning the test is available at https://besafe.virginia.edu/sites/g/files/jsddwu401/files/2021-04/UVA.SalivaTesting.pdf. The testing methodology has been subjected to rigorous validation, resulting in a highly-accurate test. This test is used only to detect the presence of an active coronavirus infection in asymptomatic persons for public health (management) purposes and is not used to inform clinical decision making or to guide patient management.
While the FDA has recalled a specific Innova test and has warned of a risk of false results concerning two other tests, those criticisms are not applicable to all COVID 19 testing. And while the CDC has decided to withdraw the EUA for its 2019-nCoV RT-PCR test protocol, that decision was not based upon a fear of faulty results. Instead, CDC is encouraging labs to use more efficient multiplexed tests that test for both influenza and COVID. Indeed, CDC has an EUA pending for a PCR test that does just that. Neither agency’s decision has any bearing upon UVA’s Be SAFE saliva test, which does not rely upon the tests or protocols in question.
For further information about the FDA action, see https://www.reuters.com/article/factcheck-fda-pcr-test/fact-check-fda-did-not-recall-all-covid-19-pcr-tests-idUSL1N2P51XC. For further information about the CDC decision, see: https://www.reuters.com/article/factcheck-covid19-pcr-test/fact-check-cdc-lab-update-on-covid-19-pcr-tests-misinterpreted-idUSL1N2P42U5
UVA is not required to submit samples or data from its saliva test to FDA. UVA reports positive test results to public health authorities as required by law. No other use is made of the sample and no other reporting is made.
Data Tracking and Storage
Samples are not stored. After testing is complete, the sample is treated as biohazard waste. No data from the saliva is being used for research or any other purpose other than reporting results to the patient.
When you check in to take a saliva test, staff scan your UVA ID card. This pulls your University ID number into our system. Staff add 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. Test 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 used for highly sensitive information and is approved for HIPPA and other high security uses.