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COVID-19 Testing Protocols for Return to Campus

Requirements for Entering Campus

Regardless of where you travel from, before coming onto Gordon’s campus you must ensure that:

  • Everyone in your travel party must not have had “close contact” with anyone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days or tested positive themselves in the last 14-days
  • Everyone in your travel party must not have been contacted by a contact tracer stating you may have had “close contact” with someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days
  • Everyone in your travel party must not exhibit any possible COVID-19 symptoms

Lower-risk states

Please note that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts may adjust which states are considered to be lower-risk, so we encourage all families to consider the possibility that their state might later be classified as a higher-risk state when making their plans. Monitor which states are currently considered to be higher-risk ➔

Students traveling from lower-risk states should follow the original guidance issued by the College to have a COVID-19 diagnostic test—and receive a negative result—within the 14 days leading up to their return to campus or schedule an on-campus test and depart campus until the results are received. See details below on the on-campus testing option and how to submit your negative test result. 

Parents traveling into MA from lower-risk states do not need to be tested or quarantined. 

Restricted states

Please note that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts may adjust which states are restricted, so we encourage all families to consider the possibility that their state might later be classified as a higher-risk state when making their plans. Monitor which states are currently considered to be higher-risk ➔

Students traveling from “restricted states” (outside the lower-risk states) or internationally should find a testing site close to home that will give a result for a PCR test within 72 hours. Please note that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will only accept a PCR test to qualify for this quarantine exemption. If you are coming to campus from one of these restricted states, there are three viable options (as detailed in the governor’s August 1 travel order). Each option requires completing the MA travel form:

  • Option A: Fill out the Massachusetts travel form, obtain a PCR test within 72 hours of traveling to MA, stay off campus and quarantine until negative test result received. Bring a hard copy with you to campus.
  • Option B: Fill out the Massachusetts travel form, schedule or obtain a PCR test in Massachusetts, stay off campus and quarantine until negative test result received. Bring a hard copy with you to campus. (The state provides a downloadable list  of testing sites, including locations in Danvers, MA, which are closer to Gordon’s campus.)
  • Option C: Fill out the Massachusetts travel form, use Gordon’s on-campus testing option (see details below—you do not need an appointment) and remain off-campus and quarantine until you receive a negative result.

Parents traveling into MA from “restricted states” and leaving the same day (not staying in MA overnight) are exempt from the travel order requirements and do not need to be tested or quarantined. Those planning to stay overnight will need to be tested and receive a negative result within the 72 hours prior to arrival in MA, or get tested upon arrival and quarantine until results are received. On-campus testing and quarantine are not available for parents—please contact one of these local sites to schedule a test and to verify the time it takes to get results.

Assisting with hotel lodging (to await a negative test result or to quarantine longer as needed)

Gordon has also negotiated discount rates with three Marriott hotels in the area (Boston Marriott Peabody, TownPlace Suites by Marriott an Courtyard by Marriott) who can meet certain state requirements for a mandated traveler quarantine, such as food delivery to rooms. See here for details, and a complete list of recommended hotels.

On-campus testing—updated August 5

As a reminder—all students expecting to reside or take classes on campus this fall need to present hard-copy confirmation of a negative COVID-19 test—one which meets the guidelines outlined in this web page—prior to arriving on campus. (See below for details on how to submit your test results.)

In addition to this initial round of testing before students return to campus, the College will facilitate a second test (at no cost to students), to be completed on campus the week after classes resume. This will help the College identify any individuals who may have come into contact with COVID-19 during travel to campus.

For students who wish to take their initial test on campus prior to move-in and for additional testing throughout the fall semester, Gordon has partnered with MIT’s Broad Institute to conduct on-campus COVID-19 PCR testing. In this test, samples are obtained via anterior nares collection (like a Q-tip, through the front of nose). On average, the collection process is expected to take two or three minutes per person. 
Negative results will be available to the participant and physician via a CareEvolve portal and automatic email. Positive results will also be sent to the state, per state guidelines.

The College will have testing on campus available on these dates and within the listed windows of time. These tests are first-come, first-served so there is no need to schedule a specific appointment. Students who had already indicated their intent to test on campus (rather than on their own) and gave us their preference for a certain day should plan to attend on that day. However, if you were unable to obtain a test at home or changed your plan, these windows do not require an appointment and you should attend to obtain a test and follow the protocols below.


  • Wednesday, August 12: 1–5 p.m.
  •  Thursday, August 13: 1–5 p.m.
  •  Friday, August 14: 1–5 p.m.
  •  Saturday, August 15: 10:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.
  •  Sunday, August 16: 1–4 p.m.
  •  Monday, August 17: 1–5 p.m.
  • Tuesday August 18: 1–5 p.m.


  • No appointment needed. Students who either indicated their preference to use the campus test or were not able to get a test at home in advance can simply show up during the time window, first-come, first-served.
  • We are using the Chapel because of the size and security of the facility. The testing area will allow for privacy and discretion.
  • If sick AT ALL, do not come to campus. Contact the Health Center for instructions.
  • Must wear mask while waiting for test.
  • New Students - Bring a Photo ID.  Returning students - bring your Gordon ID card with you to test (last year’s ID card is fine, or your new ID card should be in your mailbox).
  • Enter through front doors of the Chapel and follow signage. Stay 6-feet apart in line (see markings on rug),
  • Students will be charged $50 on their student bill for this on-campus pre-test. (The second test during the first week of classes is free of charge.)
  • Our laboratory partner expects to turn around the test within 24-36 hours of receiving the sample. Samples are sent at the end of each day’s testing.
  • After your test, you must leave campus and quarantine until test results are received.  A negative test must be received prior to moving into campus residence or attending classes on campus.

Submitting Your Test Results

The College is only able to accept a hard copy (paper copy rather than electronic) documentation of a negative COVID-19 test.

  • First-Year/New Students: Drop off test result documentation when picking up Orientation packet at check-in.
  • Returning students: Upon arrival to campus, drop off test result documentation in the secure ‘lock box’ outside the Heath Center in the lower level of Lane Student Center before moving into your residence hall or attending classes.

If a student tests positive before returning to campus, they should not come to campus and should notify Student Life (). Student Life will help make sure that your academic advisor and the Health Center are notified. The Health Center will then work with students to make plans for appropriate next steps.

Types of COVID-19 Tests—updated July 29

Per the Food and Drug Administration, there are two different types of tests: diagnostic tests and antibody tests.

  • A diagnostic test can show if you have an active coronavirus infection and should take steps to quarantine or isolate yourself from others. Currently there are two types of diagnostic test—molecular (RT-PCR) tests that detect the virus’s genetic material, and antigen tests that detect specific proteins on the surface of the virus.
  • An antibody test looks for antibodies that are made by the immune system in response to a threat, such as a specific virus. Antibodies can help fight infections. Antibodies can take several days or weeks to develop after you have an infection and may stay in your blood for several weeks after recovery. Because of this, antibody tests should not be used to diagnose an active coronavirus infection. At this time researchers do not know if the presence of antibodies means that you are immune to the coronavirus in the future.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires a PCR test for anyone coming from “restricted states” (see above). The College will accept either type of diagnostic test (PCR or antigen) for students coming from states designated as lower-risk by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. However, because the states considered by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to be higher-risk (“restricted states”) may change, we encourage all students to take a PCR test rather than an antigen test where possible.