Testing & Contact Tracing

In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on campus, Bucknell is implementing a rigorous testing and contact tracing program for all who live, work and study on campus this semester, including students. 

Students will be tested for COVID-19 both before and after their arrival at Bucknell. There is no charge to students for these tests or shipping. 

More details about the testing process and contact tracing are below. A full description of what to expect if contact tracers call you can also be found in the Student Guide to Isolation, Quarantine & Contact Tracing.

Testing Before You Arrive

All students taking fall classes in person, whether they live on or off campus, will be required to take two self-administered COVID-19 tests prior to arrival on campus using kits provided by Bucknell and shipped to students. The associated costs for this testing process will be fully covered by the University.

Your test results will be available in the Fall Reopening, Herd Health section of the Bucknell App.

Please refer to the messages you received from Dean Amy Badal and Dr. Catherine O'Neil for details about pre-arrival testing. Bucknell faculty and staff will also be tested prior to returning to campus.

See messages from Dr. Catherine O'Neil

All students must have two negative COVID-19 tests to be permitted to move into their residence hall and/or attend in-person classes. Until you have two negative tests, you will not be allowed to move in or be present on campus. Please see below for what to do if you don't get your test results in time.​​​​​

If Your COVID Test Is Late

If you have not received your second negative COVID test, you will have the opportunity to be tested on campus before you move in. Bucknell has set up additional testing capacity at the Smith Parking Lot move-in hub offering same-day results. You may also obtain your own COVID test if it meets the requirements below. Bucknell will reimburse you for the cost of obtaining your own test.

This process only applies to students awaiting a second negative test; if either of your tests is positive, do not come to campus until cleared by Bucknell Student Heatlh. 

To get an on-campus test: Schedule a test appointment in the Herd Health section under Fall Reopening in the Bucknell app, or have a walk-up appointment in the check-in area in the Smith Parking Lot move-in hub during the following date and time periods:

Dates: Wednesday, Aug. 12, through Sunday, Aug. 16


  • 7–9 a.m. — Same-day results by 6 p.m.
  • Testing 9 a.m.–1 p.m. — Same-day results by 8 p.m.
  • Testing 1–8 p.m.  — Next-day results by 8 a.m.

You may choose to be tested on your scheduled move-in day, or on any day prior to your scheduled move-in day if you plan to arrive in Lewisburg early. You will not receive a room key or be allowed to move in until your on-campus test results are delivered. If you need to reschedule your move-in time, please do so in MyHOME.

Students who are currently scheduled to move in on Tuesday, Aug. 18, or Wednesday, Aug. 19, are encouraged to reschedule their move-in date to Aug. 12–16 in MyHOME.

Getting Your Own COVID Test

Bucknell will accept results from COVID tests arranged on your own, but you will need to share your documented proof of negative results with Bucknell Student Health prior to coming to campus. The University will cover the cost of the test.

Please note that point-of-care rapid COVID test results will not be accepted. The only tests that will be accepted and are considered valid for diagnosing COVID at the sensitivity and specificity required are the PCR rNA nasal, pharyngeal or nasopharyngeal tests. All students with fewer than two of these types of tests will be required to have an on-site test at Bucknell.

To submit your test and claim reimbursement:

Testing After You Arrive

Bucknell will employ an extensive testing process including:

  • Symptomatic testing on the day you arrive at Bucknell
  • COVID testing on average of every 10 days throughout the semester

COVID tests are required and will be offered in staggered, ongoing appointments on weekdays scheduled through the Bucknell App.

Do not get tested more frequently than every 10 to 14 days unless directed to do so by Student Health. Additional tests are not medically necessary and do not mitigate the need to follow consistent health and safety practices. If you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, please do not go to the testing site. Instead, call Student Health at 570-577-1401 to immediately arrange a test.

Instructions for Scheduling Your Test and Getting Results

  1. Open the Bucknell App and click the Herd Health icon on your mobile device.
  2. You will be prompted to install the iOS/Android native Aura app.
  3. Sign in using the Sign in with Google option, and use your Bucknell email credentials.
  4. Use the app to schedule your initial test as soon as possible.
  5. COVID tests will be mid-nasal tests administered and processed by Genetworks, with results expected within 48 hours. Check-in for testing will take place in the lobby of Sojka Pavilion.
  6. You will receive results via the app about two days after each test. (If you test positive, you will be contacted by Bucknell Student Health with further instructions.)
  7. The app will remind you to schedule additional tests in the weeks ahead. 

For help, please refer to these frequently asked questions or contact techdesk@bucknell.edu.

Contact Tracing

Bucknell is implementing a contact-tracing program to provide timely notification to those who have been in close contact with persons with confirmed cases of COVID-19. You may be contacted by phone by Bucknell's Contact Tracing Team or other health authorities by phone and directed to quarantine. These calls may come from numbers you do not recognize. It is important that you answer calls to your cell phone and follow the instructions contact tracers provide.

Bucknell will coordinate its own contact tracing program in order to avoid straining state resources as well as to stay informed about exposure to illness on campus to be able to make critical decisions for University operations. For a variety of reasons, Bucknell's contact tracing program will not extend beyond our campus community, and we will be unable to contact those who are not University students or employees.

Student Quarantine, Isolation and Contact Tracing Guide Cover image

Full details about Bucknell's Contact Tracing Program can be found in the Student Guide to Quarantine, Isolation, & Contact Tracing. Read the guide to learn: 

  • When and why you might be called by contact tracers
  • What you will be asked about, and what other information they'll provide
  • What to do next

Be prepared by reading the guide in case a contact tracer calls you.

Read the Student Guide

Contact Tracing Process

  1. The Contact Tracing Team is notified of a positive test, either by the Bucknell community member who was tested, a testing service authorized to release results or the state health department.
  2. The Contact Tracing Team contacts the Bucknell student or employee who tested positive and makes sure they are receiving the appropriate care and, importantly, are isolating.
  3. The Contact Tracing Team interviews the Bucknell student or employee to determine with whom on campus they may have come into close contact.*  The team will also have access to GPS data collected from the Herd Health app (from those who choose to use it), as well as WiFi connectivity point data from the campus network.**
  4. Based on this information, the Contact Tracing Team will contact potentially exposed Bucknell students and/or employees to notify and instruct them on next steps as appropriate.

*In this context, "close contact" is defined as being within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes during the two days prior to the positive test result.

**This data will be accessed only for contact tracing purposes. Bucknell contact tracing efforts will maintain privacy and confidentiality.