Weekly Saliva Testing Tips

By Bridget McCann, April 2, 2021
A message from Bridget McCann, testing and screening coordinator.

IC Public Health Column.

It’s been nearly three months since students joined us back on South Hill for the spring semester, and it has been great to see so many familiar, albeit mask-covered, faces on campus.

The Ithaca College community has done a tremendous job keeping our positive case numbers down through physical distancing, wearing face coverings and maintaining our Bomber Bubbles. The campus community’s diligence in sticking to their designated testing schedule has also been a big factor, helping us learn of any new positive cases quickly so that we can begin the isolation and quarantine process without delay.

Here at Ithaca College, we are tremendously lucky to have an amazing partner in Cayuga Health System, which supplies and processes all of our saliva self-collection test kits used on campus.

While most people have gotten the hang of the saliva self-collection process, we are still seeing common errors. Here are some reminders to follow when submitting your sample to help ensure it is processed in a timely manner:

  • Scan the QR code – It is important to make sure that you are scanning the QR code or using the manual registration website (Ithaca.edu/ct) to register your test with Cayuga Health System. This process has to be done every single time you drop-off a sample.
  • Label your sample – It is also crucial to make sure you are labeling your sample with your name, date of birth and sample date. A sample needs to be properly labeled and registered every time for the lab to process it and send the results to IC.
  • Submit Monday through Friday by 11:30 a.m. – Samples must be dropped off in one of the locked blue collection bins by 11:30 a.m., Monday through Friday, to ensure they are picked up and processed in a timely manner. We do not have any collections after 11:30 a.m. on Friday or during the weekend, so please be diligent about sticking to this timeline.
  • Use a testing location – Saliva self-collection kits are available for drop-off and pick-up throughout campus at T13, Campus Center, A&E, PRW, Terraces Dining Hall, Circles (Circle residents only) and the Office of Facilities (Farm Pond Road employees only).
  • Wait 24-to-36 hours – It is normal for results to take 24-36 hours to be processed after they reach the lab. Please remember that while our samples are picked up across campus late morning, they do not actually make it to the lab until late afternoon.
  • Do not eat, drink or smoke – Do not eat or drink anything other than water in the 30 minutes leading up to giving your sample. The lab is unable to process a sample that contains food particles or other contaminants.
  • Provide 3 mL of saliva – When giving your sample, you must fill the tube up to the 3 mL mark on the big tube, and bubbles must be above the line. If there is less than 3 mL of saliva given, the lab may not be able to process the sample.

In following all these steps, samples can be processed more quickly, and you will receive your results in a timely manner, helping ensure that we keep our campus and each other safe during this trying, but hopeful time. Thanks for helping #ICStayInTheGreen.

If you have any questions regarding the testing process or your test results, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at testing@ithaca.edu or (607) 274-5846.


Bridget McCann
Testing and Screening Coordinator