Testing and Contact Tracing

a student takes her temperature before leaving her room in the morning

A daily symptom assessment is required for all faculty, staff, and students each day they intend to be on one or more of Miami University’s campuses through December 31, 2020. If you display any of these symptoms, you should stay home and call Student Health Services or your doctor.

Students, faculty, and staff who have returned to live, study, and work at Miami University's campuses play important roles in tracking absences and COVID-19 illnesses.

Students should complete the COVID-19 Student Self-reporting Form if they are in Oxford and develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and/or are diagnosed with COVID-19.

Faculty and staff should complete the COVID-19 Student Absence Reporting Form if a student is in Oxford and discloses a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. The form will prompt appropriate follow up from the Office of the Dean of Students.

Contact tracing will be conducted by the Butler County General Health District for the Oxford campus and appropriate local health departments for the Regional Campuses in the event a student, faculty, or staff member tests positive for COVID-19.

To assist with contact tracing efforts, faculty, staff, and student leaders should maintain attendance sheets for classes and in-person meetings, including student organization meetings, in case they are requested.

Miami University will conduct COVID-19 testing in compliance with recommendations and guidance from the Ohio Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

COVID-19 viral testing for faculty, staff, and students will be administered for those with symptoms or signs consistent with COVID-19. The University will also provide testing for asymptomatic faculty, staff, and students with recent known or suspected exposure to COVID-19 to control transmission. Testing is available at the Student Health Service and Employee Health Center. Call 513-529-3000 to make an appointment for testing.

Miami University will take appropriate measures to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of the protected health information of students, faculty, and staff.


Miami University COVID-19 Testing Plan

Individual Testing

Diagnostic Testing for Persons With Symptoms of COVID-19

TriHealth will conduct diagnostic testing for symptomatic students, faculty, and staff at the Student Health Center & Employee Health Center.

Students who test positive will, in accordance with instructions given by the Butler County General Health District, immediately isolate in:

  • their off-campus residence
  • an on-campus isolation space
  • a hospital as warranted by the clinical picture

Employees who test positive will be asked to leave campus (if applicable), and directed to report their absence using the absence reporting form

After hours/weekend testing may be obtained at TriHealth Priority Care or McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital.

Student Close Contacts

If you are a student and have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you will be quarantined for 14 days. Roommates and significant others of those who test positive will be automatically quarantined. Quarantined students may also receive a COVID-19 test 5-7 days after exposure. In accordance withinstructions given by the Butler County General Health District, students will either quarantine at their off-campus residence or at a designated on-campus quarantine space.

Student Wide-Net Testing

The University plans to test those students who reside in congregate living groups. If a student tests positive, TriHealth will conduct wide-net testing of their congregate living cohort (e.g. all students who live in the same corridor/off-campus house, or fraternity house.) Additional wide-net testing may include student organizations, certain classes that involve group activities, or other congregate activities that may not meet the county’s threshold for high-risk contact.

  • Students will receive a notification from covidtesting@MiamiOH.edu informing them that they have been selected for testing and asked to make an appointment to be tested at the University’s COVID-19 testing facility.
  • Students who test positive will be sent to isolation and contact-tracing protocols will be initiated.
  • Students who fail to be tested as required will be contacted and directed to report for testing. Continued non-compliance may lead to suspension of class attendance, other disciplinary action, or quarantine.

Surveillance Testing

The University plans to regularly test strategic samples from three strata: on-campus students, fraternity houses, and off-campus student residences. Testing will be conducted by TriHealth. Students will be randomly sampled with non-equal probabilities based on the location of existing clusters and proportional to the size of their congregate living unit’s occupancy. For fraternity students, the unit is the fraternity house. For on-campus students, the unit is a residential hall zone determined by corridor and shared bathroom. For off-campus non-fraternity students, the unit will be their residence.

Students will receive a notification from the Office of the Dean of Students informing them that they have been selected for surveillance testing and asked to make an appointment to be tested at the University’s COVID-19 testing facility (Harris Hall).

  • Students who test positive will be sent to isolation. Contact-tracing protocols will be initiated.
  • Students who fail to be tested as required will be contacted and directed to report for testing.
  • Continued non-compliance may lead to suspension of class attendance, other disciplinary action or quarantine

Testing FAQs

Why don't I need to obtain a positive COVID-19 test before coming to Campus?

Although the University initially planned to require students to obtain a COVID-19 test before arriving on campus, that decision was reversed for two primary reasons:

  1. The CDC does not recommend such testing and instead recommends that everyone take preventative measures to reduce the spread of the virus. This advice is confirmed by University faculty public health experts.
  2. Given the shortages of testing materials and back-up in laboratory processing times across the country, requiring all incoming residential students to obtain a test did not appear to be either a reasonable or responsible use of limited public health resources.

How many times will I be tested this fall?

The testing strategy is based on a number of different factors that include taking into consideration others who may have tested positive and share facilities with you, density of congregate living environments, and shared activities. Some students will be asked to test more frequently than others.

If I haven’t received an invitation to receive a test and would like to be tested, can I ask for a test?

No. Surveillance and wide-net testing are not elective and require an invitation. Unless you are symptomatic or have a confirmed close contact with someone who has tested positive, elective testing is also not currently offered at Student Health Services. Students can seek other testing resources at Ohio Dept of Health Testing Centers.

I'm curious and wondering if I have COVID-19, but I haven't been in close contact with anyone who has tested positive. Can I get tested?

At this time we are not doing this testing at SHS. Parents/students can seek other testing resources by searching the Ohio Dept of Health Testing Centers website.

I already had COVID-19. Should I be tested again? 

The recommendation is not to retest positive patients. Patients can continue to test positive for up to 90 days even though they are no longer infectious. TriHealth follows the non-test based guidelines to remove patients from transmission-based precautions which is 10 days from positive test (20 days for severely immunocompromised patients), 72 hours without fever (without the use of fever-reducing medications) and symptom improvement.

Are faculty and staff included in wide-net and surveillance testing strategies?

Our wide-net and surveillance testing strategies are intended for those in congregate living spaces, such as student housing. At this time, the recommendation is for faculty and staff to seek diagnostic testing when they are symptomatic, have come into close contact with a person who has tested positive, or have been advised to do so by BCGHD or a health care practitioner.

Will saliva-based COVID-19 tests be considered for future use?

Yes. We regularly assess all available testing options and are investigating the possibility of bringing saliva-based testing to the Oxford campus.

I am sick and have 2 or more COVID-19 symptoms. What should I do?

Please call Student Health Services (SHS) at 513-529-3000 to make an appointment. You will be assessed by a TriHealth medical care provider and tested if medically warranted. In some cases, students will be tested for and diagnosed with a different illness (e.g. strep throat, flu, etc.).

Will there be any out-of-pocket expenses for COVID-19 testing?

Diagnostic Testing: TriHealth will bill your insurance for the cost of the test.

Wide-Net or Surveillance Testings: TriHealth will first bill your insurance for the cost of the test. Miami University will cover any remaining costs not covered by insurance.

What happens if I am ill and need a test and Student Health Services is closed?

Consider visiting one of the following locations:
  • TriHealth Priority Care is located at 5151 Morning Sun Road and is open Monday - Sunday, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm. TriHealth Priority Care can be reached at 513-524-5522.
  • The McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital emergency room is located at 110 N. Poplar Street and is available 24/7. The McCullough-Hyde emergency room can be reached at 513-523-2111.

What type of COVID-19 test is TriHealth using?

TriHealth conducts genomic amplification tests using Abbott Labs ID Now machines. This is comparable to a PCR test and samples are obtained by a nasopharyngeal swab. Test results will be available in approximately 15 minutes. PCR testing is also available.

Will wide-net and surveillance testing be conducted in a separate location from testing of symptomatic individuals?

Yes. Wide-net and surveillance testing will be conducted in Harris Hall, Location B. Diagnostic testing will be conducted at Student Health Services (SHS), Location A.

What should I bring with me to the testing location?

Please bring your Miami student ID and health insurance card with you to your scheduled test.

Who is paying for the test?

Diagnostic Testing: TriHealth will bill your insurance for the cost of the test similar to any other medical procedure at SHS.

Wide-Net or Surveillance Testing: Miami students will not be financially responsible if selected for this testing. Instead, TriHealth will first bill your insurance for the cost of the test and Miami will cover any remaining costs not covered by insurance.

Why was I selected for testing?

If you were selected for surveillance testing, your name was selected randomly by a computer program as part of an overall strategy to sample the Miami student population. If you were selected for wide-net screening, it is because someone who lives in close proximity to you has recently tested positive.

How quickly will I need to complete the test after I receive the email that I have been selected for wide-net or surveillance testing?

Students who receive the notification to participate in wide-net or surveillance testing will have 48 hours to complete the testing, though it is preferable to respond as quickly as possible.

Why do I need to get tested so quickly after being selected for wide-net or surveillance testing?

Completing the testing during the designated time frame is essential to the strategy to identify potential asymptomatic carriers and outbreaks early. Following through with your designated time increases our ability to contain the virus more effectively.

What can I do if I can’t complete the test during my designated time?

If you have a conflict or are unable to complete the test during the designated time, please contact covidtesting@MiamiOH.edu with an explanation of your conflict.

What will happen if I refuse to participate in the testing program?

  • If you repeatedly (more than once) fail to schedule or take a test when invited, you will not be permitted to attend face-to-face classes, access in-person campus services, or enter your residence hall until you complete a COVID-19 test.
  • If you refuse to be tested, you will be required to withdraw from your face-to-face classes this term and complete remaining classes remotely.
  • Residential students will also be required to move out of their residence hall room for the remainder of the semester.

Should I bring my quarantine "go bag" when I go to get tested?

You do not need to bring your quarantine bag, nor are you required to quarantine until your results are returned. It is advised that you limit contact with others if you are experiencing symptoms, have been in close contact with someone who has a positive diagnosis, or have been advised by the Butler County General Health District (BCGHD) to do so. 

I am already in isolation or quarantine and got the invitation to participate in Miami's testing program. Do I still need to get a test?

No. Please do not leave your isolation or quarantine location until you are cleared to do so. Please email covidtesting@MiamiOH.edu so that we know why you are not scheduling a test. 

If I have previously tested positive for COVID, do I still need to test?

No. If you have previously tested positive for COVID-19, providing documentation of that positive test to the University will remove you from the testing pool. Please email this documentation tol SHS at shsMUcovid@TriHealth.com to have your name removed from the testing pool.

Will my test results be used in any disciplinary actions?

No. We will not use COVID-19 test results, nor data from the COVID-19 reporting form, to pursue conduct violations. If you test positive, you will need to enter isolation. It is important to know that this is a public health strategy and not a disciplinary action. 

Can the answers I give during contact tracing be used as evidence in any disciplinary actions I am or will be involved with?

Miami will not use information learned during contract tracing to pursue conduct violations. You should immediately respond to any and all requests by Butler County General Health District and provide them with honest answers. Your responses will be used to identify other people who might be at risk. Your honesty and openness are of utmost importance because it could allow others to get the medical attention they might need as early as possible, which could make a big difference in their health outcomes.