Getting tested for COVID-19

Clarifying information about testing, positive cases and close contacts.

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

As we head into the long weekend, it’s important that you all continue taking precautions to protect yourself. We encourage you not to travel and to avoid large gatherings.

We have prepared some safe and socially distanced events on campus to help you engage with each other. We appreciate so many of you who are helping us keep Mizzou safe. We are pleased with the compliance of most of our community and we will continue to address activity by groups or individuals who are not following the guidelines.

I also want to clarify information about testing, positive cases and close contacts.

An order from a health care provider is required to be tested for COVID-19 in Boone County. This is a public health requirement for everyone living in Boone County and is not new and not just for MU students.

This means that, in order to be tested, you must either:

  • Report having symptoms and schedule a medical visit; or
  • Be contacted by a public health contact tracer identifying you as a close contact.

The Student Health Center or another health provider can refer you for testing based on symptoms. See our testing site to see a variety of ways you can seek an order if you have symptoms. Only public health workers (e.g., those from Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services) can classify you as a close contact who meets the qualifications for testing. University employees and fraternity and sorority organizations cannot classify you as a close contact.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend testing or special management for “contacts of contacts” — individuals who have had close contact with someone who has had close contact with a positive case.

Students who receive an order to get tested can use the on-campus testing location as well as the other locations in Columbia. See locations and hours here. While waiting on test results, you are required to quarantine.

What you can do

The best way for you to help slow the spread of transmission is to continue to social distance, wear a face covering, avoid large social gatherings and frequently wash your hands.

Our testing and tracing strategies have been developed by university medical and infectious disease experts.

A community that assumes everyone could be positive, along with quick testing for those with symptoms, aggressive contact tracing and isolation strategies, are the key tenets of Mizzou’s plan, which is supported by CDC and public health guidance.

We must take these steps to ensure that our MU community is safe and healthy and support our local public health officials as they work to trace and slow the spread of transmission.