Arrival COVID-19 testing for MU undergraduates

Arrival testing will be mandatory for undergraduate students living in university residential housing

Please note: The content on this page is not the latest guidance concerning the coronavirus pandemic. It is being preserved here for archival purposes only. For the most up-to-date information, please visit

Dear students,

Now that we’ve completed the fall semester, we are working toward plans for in-person learning to resume on Jan. 19. As part of that return, we are adding undergraduate student arrival testing for COVID-19 to our precautionary measures. Arrival testing will be mandatory for undergraduate students living in university residential housing and available for off-campus undergraduate students.

For those residing in university housing, we strongly encourage you to seek testing at your current location, which will streamline your move-in process. To meet this requirement, you will need to test no earlier than five days before your arrival to Columbia. We will accept PCR or rapid antigen viral tests, which both involve a swab of your nose or mouth, or collection of your saliva. Antibody tests, which involve collecting a blood sample from a vein or a finger stick, will not be accepted.

If you complete testing before coming back to Columbia and test positive, please delay your move to campus and arrange for remote learning until completing your isolation period. If you already tested positive between Oct. 15, 2020 – Jan. 9, 2021, you will not need to test again before you return once you provide documentation of your positive test result.

If you arrive without a valid test result, we will hold arrival testing in Columbia the week before and during the first week of classes. Undergraduate students living off campus also are strongly encouraged to get tested before returning to Columbia, but they will also have the option to register for a test as part of the arrival testing program. For undergraduates who arrive earlier or who remained in university housing during the winter break, we’ll be asking you to sign up for arrival testing the week before classes start until sign up slots are filled.

This past fall, our students helped us prove that simple precautions, such as wearing face coverings, social distancing and hygiene measures, remain the most effective defense for COVID-19. It will be important that we continue these practices to protect each other throughout the winter break and spring semester.

You also embraced flexibility as we made – and changed – decisions to fit the circumstances. In August, we experienced an initial rise in cases after many of you arrived. The initial surge in cases declined swiftly and remained well below those levels for the rest of the semester.

Though it will still take some time before we achieve our new normal, we are pleased to let you know that vaccine doses arrived in Columbia last week. Frontline health care workers and first responders received some of the first round of vaccinations. The distribution of the vaccine is a phased approach based on priority groups and will depend on vaccine availability.

While the vaccination will become an additional tool in the fight against COVID-19, it will take time before it protects the general population. Continued vigilance and adherence to social distancing, masks and hygiene will be essential in the spring semester, and perhaps beyond. For more details on Missouri’s vaccination strategy see this link, which is regularly updated.

In the coming weeks, we will send reminder messages and more details on how to provide test result verification or sign up for testing in Columbia. Please also watch for updates on the arrival testing page on the Show Me Renewal website.

Until then, enjoy the break and, please, stay safe.

Tigers Support Tigers!

Bill Stackman
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

Jamie Shutter
Executive Director, Student Health & Well-Being
Interim Director, Student Health Center