UNL is offering a free on-campus COVID-19 testing site, located in the 17th and R Parking Garage. Testing is available for students, faculty and staff through a partnership between the University Health Center and TestNebraska.
Note: Please use your local (Lincoln or on-campus) address when registering for a test.
When should you get tested?
- A COVID-19 self-assessment screening or screening app prompts you to have a COVID-19 test taken.
- You begin to exhibit symptoms of COVID-19.
- You have been exposed to another individual with COVID-19.
- Close contact exposure occurs when an individual was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to positive specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated. As long as face masks are worn and 6 feet of physical distancing is maintained, being in the same classroom as someone who tests positive for COVID-19 does not constitute close contact.
- You wish to be tested, even if you have no current symptoms or high-risk exposure.
If you'd like to be tested for COVID-19, same-day appointments are available at the on-campus testing site by pre-registering using the registration link.
To begin registering for a test, you will first be prompted to log in to the university system to authenticate you as a UNL community member. Following login, you'll be taken to the registration page on TestNebraska for the UNL on-campus COVID-19 testing site.
Note: Please use your local (Lincoln or on-campus) address when registering for a test.
If a test at the UNL on-campus COVID-19 testing site does not fit your schedule, you can still seek a test by contacting the University Health Center to see if you meet testing criteria, visit another TestNebraska site in Lincoln or at another test site in the city.
Where is the on-campus TestNebraska site?
300 N 17th St, Lincoln, NE 68588 (located inside the parking garage adjacent to the UNL Police Department). Entrance near 17th & R Streets.
Why should you get tested?
- In addition to wearing a face covering, social distancing and washing our hands, widespread testing is a proven, effective way to combat the spread of COVID-19.
- Testing provides crucial data needed to track the spread of the disease, contain it and help find a cure or treatment.
How to prepare for getting tested
- You should self-quarantine and limit contact with others before your test and during the period you are awaiting your results.
- After registering, check your email and bring your QR code to your testing location. If you are unable to print it, please bring your phone or other device to show the health care staff your QR code upon arrival. This QR is emailed directly to you from TestNebraska.
- Bring a legal government ID (driver's license, passport, etc.). An NCard is NOT sufficient.
- Enter on foot on the R Street side of the facility. Cars are not permitted to drive through for testing. Parking is available in the UNL parking garage at 17th & R. On-street parking is also available in the surrounding area.
- Arrive 5 minutes prior to your scheduled test.
- Once you arrive, continue to wear a mask and maintain social distancing (6 feet while on-site). The testing site is partially located outdoors, so please dress appropriately for the weather.
What to do while waiting for your test results
Self-quarantine by staying at home, away from other people, until you get your test results. Let those you live with know that you are self-quarantining. When you get your test results, you will be told if you need to isolate at your home and if so, for how long.
- Check your email. TestNebraska will send your test results within about 72 hours to the email address you provided when registering for the test.
- Contact your instructor(s)/supervisor to make sure they know you are self-quarantining and discuss any needs you may have during this time period.
- Answer your phone. If you test positive, the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department will need to contact you for contact tracing purposes.
- Review the FAQ section regarding what to do if you test positive or test negative.
When can I get tested?
- Same-day appointments at the free UNL on-campus COVID-19 testing site are available Monday-Friday and Sunday in the afternoon. The site is closed on the weekends. Pre-register using the "Register for a Test" button.
- For Saturday appointments and when the UNL on-campus COVID-19 testing site is not open, same-day appointments are available at the University Health Center. Contact the University Health Center for details to schedule your appointment on the University Health Center website or call 402-472-5000.
- Visit TestNebraska for locations and hours of other test sites available in Lincoln.
How is the test performed?
- The test is performed using a nasal swab, similar to a flu test. The sample is then sent to a lab to determine whether the virus is present.
How long will it take to get my results?
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if I test positive?
- When you receive your TestNebraska results by email, you will be told to continue to isolate at your home. You are strongly encouraged to contact your health provider (or the University Health Center if you do not have a provider) to determine the length of your isolation.
- We are here to help you navigate school and work during this time. UNL strongly encourages you to disclose your positive test result to the University public health advocacy team at firstname.lastname@example.org or via text message at 402-266-6865.
- This small team of designated UNL staff will use the information provided to work with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) to confidentially notify those within the UNL community with whom you recently had close contact, such as if living in University Housing, attending in-person classes, or working in a shared office or laboratory space. Your identity will not be released in making these contacts, unless you indicate a preference that it be shared. Your identity need not be shared to successfully notify close contacts.
- Anyone who tests positive should plan to answer their phone as much as possible because this is how the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) will communicate with you regarding contact tracing. Their phone number is 402-441-8006.
- The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) will also be asking questions to make sure to notify the people you were in close contact with in the 2-3 days prior to the onset of symptoms so they can go into quarantine and, when appropriate, get tested. They will also be checking in with you during the illness to make sure of your recovery.
What happens if I test negative?
If you were tested due to your own symptoms, but not close contact exposure, it is likely your symptoms are due to other common self-limited viral infections (rhinovirus, adenovirus, minor coronavirus, etc.). These generally resolve in 7-10 days on their own. You may return to work and/or school after no fever for 24 hours and improvement of your symptoms.
If you were tested due to close contact exposure with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 (with or without symptoms yourself), then current guidelines indicate you should still remain in quarantine for at least 14 days from the last time of the exposure due to the higher risk of it possibly being too early to detect yet. Stay at home except to get medical care. Separate from other people and animals in your home. If the exposure contact was in the same household, try to separate or move elsewhere to avoid prolonging this quarantine time frame.
Even if the test comes back negative, continue to closely monitor your health and symptoms and contact your health provider or the University Health Center if something does develop or worsen.
All students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to continually self-monitor for and report symptoms of COVID-19 by using the 1-Check COVID-19 screening app (iOS, Android, or web version) developed by the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Who has access to test results? How are you protecting that information?
- You will be contacted via email from TestNebraska with your test results within about 72 hours. The information will be sent to the email address you provided when answering the survey.
- The information you provide in the TestNebraska assessment and your test results are protected by HIPAA. Your information and results will be reported by TestNebraska to the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD), where it remains protected by HIPAA. All positive test results are shared with LLCHD during the COVID-19 pandemic so the county can conduct contact tracing. LLCHD may report your results to the UNL public health advocacy team to ensure detailed contact tracing and that you are aware of support and resources available on campus. Reporting of your results with LLCHD also provides the state a better understanding where the likely “hot spots” are within Nebraska to inform responding to individual and statewide needs.
Who will pay for this test? Does my insurance cover it? Is it free?
- Testing at the UNL on-campus COVID-19 testing site is free to UNL students, faculty and staff. No insurance is needed to register and have the test administered.
Can I get tested somewhere else?
- If you are unable to use the free UNL on-campus COVID-19 testing site, there are additional testing sites in the Lincoln area. Each site varies and appointments and payment may be required. You are encouraged to contact the testing site to confirm what you will need to do prior to receiving a test.
- Same-day appointments are available at the University Health Center. Contact the University Health Center for details to schedule your appointment on the University Health Center website or call 402-472-5000.
- The University Health Center maintains a list of after-hours testing sites in Lincoln.
Do I get a certificate or documentation that I was tested and was negative to share?
- You will be contacted via email by TestNebraska with test results within about 72 hours. The information will be sent to the email address you provided when answering the survey. It is your responsibility to communicate your test results with your physician/healthcare worker. It’s recommended you contact them as soon as you know about your test results to discuss your situation.
Who is administering the test?
- The test is being administered by TestNebraska through a partnership with the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and the University Health Center.
Who do I contact if I have a question about testing?
- The TestNebraska call center is HIPAA compliant and can help you with every step of the process, including taking the assessment, getting scheduled, and receiving your results. For assistance, call 402-207-9377.
- If you have a medical question and do not have a primary care provider, you are encouraged to contact the University Health Center with your health-related questions via their website or call 402-472-5000.