As semester ends, KU will provide free COVID-19 testing for people returning to high-risk households

photo by: Conner Mitchell/Journal-World

COVID-19 protocols adorn a doorway on the University of Kansas campus.

The University of Kansas is offering additional COVID-19 testing options for certain campus community members who are preparing to head home after the end of in-person classes later this month.

In-person instruction at KU will end Tuesday, Nov. 24, just before the Thanksgiving holiday, and students are encouraged to leave campus for the semester at that time.

According to a Tuesday morning message from Chancellor Douglas Girod, any students, faculty or staff members whose travel plans require a negative test — either mandated by an airline or their final destination — will be able to get tested. Additionally, any students, faculty or staff who are returning to a household with a person who is at high risk for complications from COVID-19 — as identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — may receive a test.

These qualifying individuals may receive a free saliva test by signing up for an appointment at, and testing will be available from Nov. 16 to Nov. 22 at KU Parking Lot 91, north of the Spencer Museum of Art. Those who qualify should not get tested, however, if they have previously tested positive for the virus within the past 90 days. If that is the case, those people should seek documentation from the health care provider who administered their test, if it is needed for travel, according to Girod’s message.

Girod specified in his message that the testing methods that are available will not remove the risks of transmission.

“As we have stressed before, a negative test result is only reflective of a single point in time,” Girod wrote in his campus message. “Students or others who are returning to homes with family members who are at high risk for COVID-19 are recommended to self-quarantine for 14 days before traveling, even with a negative test result.”

KU is still testing people who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, and it will continue to do so throughout most of the break between semesters. Up until Nov. 16, KU will also continue offering randomized prevalence testing to certain groups in the campus community through its lottery system.

After Thanksgiving, there will be a week for students to study for finals, which will then be conducted remotely, as they were during the spring 2020 semester.

KU’s spring 2021 semester will begin later than normal because of the pandemic, and it is scheduled to start Feb. 1, with no spring break currently planned. KU will once again mandate COVID-19 testing upon return to campus for the spring semester. Girod said in his message that students who live in KU student housing facilities will be sent home with a saliva test that they will be required to complete and return in late January. Details about how other members of the KU community will obtain entry testing will be released at a later date, Girod wrote.

“As we have stressed all along, it will be crucial that we keep up our efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19,” Girod wrote. “Wear a mask. Maintain social distancing. And to protect yourself and ease demands on healthcare providers, please get a flu shot.”


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