UT University Health Services

General Proactive Community Testing FAQS

PCT is free for all UT students and employees. The University of Texas covers test costs.

You do not need insurance. PCT does not bill insurance or charge any fees

PCT is for those that are feeling 100 percent healthy. If you are feeling even a little sick, please call your healthcare provider. Students, please contact University Health Services. Employees, please contact UT Health Austin. It is important that employees, including student employees, and managers report symptoms and testing regardless of test results to the Occupational Health Program (OHP) as soon as possible. Contact 512-471-4647 or email the Occupational Health Program to report COVID-19 symptoms or tests regardless results.

Appointments are recommended and will guarantee your test for the day. We have updated our online scheduling process so that same day appointments are usually available. Scheduling an appointment helps maintain a steady clinic flow and reduce wait times at the clinic. Walk-ups are accepted at the testing sites though availability is not guaranteed.

Wait times vary, but you can expect to spend around 10 minutes or less at the testing site from start to finish. If you see a long line, know that it will move quickly.

While using the app provides a more touch-less experience, we also provide paper consent forms and symptom questionnaires at testing sites that you can fill out with a sanitized pen.

Results are typically available around 12 to 24 hours after you give your sample in the clinic. Sometimes, samples must be retested or batched in different ways, which can lead to results being posted closer to 48 hours. Occasionally, it may take up to three days for results, but this is rare.

Results are posted to your My UHS online portal. Click Medical Records and then the Labs tab. A secure message is also sent with your results. Make sure your contact information is correct in your portal, so we can reach you in a timely manner. You will receive a phone call from the contact tracing team if you test positive to begin the contact tracing process. Please anticipate and take this call as it is an important part of protecting our community.

PCT uses a simple, painless and swab-free saliva-based PCR test. View collection instruction video below.

Yes. PCT is a PCR test, which is a highly accurate and sensitive test accepted by most airlines and locations requiring testing. PCT is not a rapid, antigen or antibody test.

Go to the UT Austin COVID-19 Dashboard and view the 2nd graph for a UT Austin Proactive Community Testing (PCT) Summary.

Invalid results can occur due to several factors, including one or more of the following:

  • You may not have been adequately hydrated prior to submitting a saliva sample.
  • Your sample was not clear/translucent or was too thick.
  • Your sample contained particles (e.g., food).
  • You used lip balm/product prior to submitting your sample.

Prior to giving your next sample, follow this guidance for 30 minutes before your test time:

  • Do NOT eat, drink, smoke/vape, use mouthwash, brush your teeth, chew gum, or use lip products.
  • Ensure that you are well-hydrated before the 30-minute cut-off period
  • Rinse your mouth well if you have eaten recently before the 30-minute cut-off period.

An “inconclusive” result means that our testing process was unable to make a clear conclusion regarding whether COVID-19 was detected or not detected. Please schedule an appointment to return and provide another sample for testing.

If 90 days have passed since symptoms of COVID-19 have improved, you may test with PCT again. Otherwise, we do not recommend testing. The test PCR assays that PCT uses will amplify even a small amount of the virus, live or dead, and individuals may continue to test positive for weeks after infection has resolved.

If you are a UT student, yes! Find more information and the sign-up link. Please email pct@austin.utexas.edu if you have any questions about volunteering.

Yes. Volunteers who complete six shifts become eligible for the vaccine after their first shift, with the expectation that they will return to complete their remaining five shifts. We will email them during the week of their first shift to ask whether they want to receiving the vaccine. If they do, we will email them with a link to sign up for the Phase 1A vaccination request.

If you meet all four qualifications below, you will be added to the list and made available to claim at the time outlined here.

  1. You purchased a Big Ticket prior to testing.
  2. You participate in PCT within the testing window.
  3. You sign your HIPAA (release of information) statement in the PTT app the day prior to the ticket claim day. Signing it the day you test is preferred. View detailed instructions.
  4. You receive a "Not Detected" result from your test.

Vaccination and Proactive Community Testing

Currently, the guidance is yes, please continue testing up to once every seven days. The vaccine protects against but does not completely prevent COVID-19. It is possible to still become infected with COVID-19 after being vaccinated, and we are still learning the degree to which vaccinated individuals may be able to spread the virus to others if they become infected.

According to the CDC, people are considered fully vaccinated:

  • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, like the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, like Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine

If it has been less than 2 weeks since your shot, or if you still need to get your second dose, you are NOT fully protected. Keep taking all prevention steps until you are fully vaccinated.

It is important to continue testing as part of our COVID-19 response whether or not you’re vaccinated.

The vaccine will not trigger a false positive result.


Protect Texas Together app, Activity Pass and Proactive Community Testing

Complete the Campus Pass on the Protect Texas Together app. Clearance will allow you to participate in events for one day – before you’re tested. After you’re tested through PCT and if you receive a not detected result, you can use the Activity Pass for participation.

Once the isolation period has ended and you are no longer able to spread COVID-19 to others, you can use the Campus Pass on the Protect Texas Together app.

As of now, vaccination has no bearing on testing or clearance. Please still participate in PCT. After you’re tested through PCT and if you receive a not detected result, you can use the Activity Pass for participation.

The yellow flag indicates that you have been in close contact with an individual that is/suspected positive for COVID-19. You should participate in PCT, but it’s not recommended that you participate in any in-person events.

For questions about PCT not answered above, email pct@austin.utexas.edu.




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