UTogether

At home rapid antigen screening

 

Community rapid screening kit distribution is currently on hold until further notice due to a lack of supply.

 

We will provide pick-up locations on all three campuses when supply becomes available. Check back here for the latest updates.

 

Important message for participants in U of T’s internal rapid antigen screening program:

1. You are required to screen regularly. 

All rapid screening program participants are to screen twice a week at a minimum, regardless of how often you are coming to campus. This guidance includes those that are voluntary program participants.

2. You are required to report all screening results. 

The Ministry of Health requires you to self-report every screen through UCheck, regardless of the result. This is a condition for your participation in the rapid screening program. Failure to report screening results may disqualify you from participation in the program and you will no longer receive rapid screening kits. 

3. Rapid screening is for asymptomatic individuals only. 

Do not use rapid screening kits if you have COVID-19 symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, difficulty breathing, etc.). Those with symptoms should stay home, self-isolate and complete a self-assessment using UCheck. For more information, see FAQ number 3.6 “What should I do if I have symptoms?" 

4. The shelf life of BD Veritor kits has been extended. 

Health Canada has extended the expiry date printed on BD Veritor kits by an additional four months, to a total of 16 months. BD Veritor kits distributed by U of T expire at the earliest in mid-March 2022. 

5. The Ministry of Health will soon replace BD Veritor kits with BTNX rapid screening kits. 

The process for self-screening with BTNX kits is almost identical to the BD Veritor process, except the user will need to add the supplied buffer solution to the vial. See instructional information for both kit types below.

Beginning this fall, rapid antigen screening will be mandatory for certain individuals who come to campus or live in residence. The following groups are required to participate in rapid screening:

  • Those who are not fully vaccinated (i.e., partially vaccinated but not yet 14 days past their second or final shot)
  • Those with a valid vaccination exemption that has been approved by the University

U of T community members who are fully vaccinated but would still like to participate in the rapid antigen screening program are encouraged to do so as well.

The Council of Ontario Medical Officers of Health have advised that rapid screening cannot be used as an alternative to vaccination.

The University of Toronto is implementing an at-home rapid antigen screening program in support of our community. For fall 2021, a self-administered at home screening program will be launched across all three campuses in partnership with the Province of Ontario.

Rapid antigen screening is an examination tool to help detect the presence of the COVID-19 virus. Rapid screening is a convenient and effective way to detect the presence of COVID-19 in people who do not have any symptoms of the virus.

This screening does not replace the lab-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) diagnostic testing administered through public health. A person that receives a positive result from a rapid screening test should not come to campus, must contact the Occupational Health Nurse at  ehs.occhealth@utoronto.ca, and must complete a PCR test.

A hand operates an antigen rapid test.

Learn how to how to self-administer by reviewing the step-by-step breakdown and how-to video below.

 

Overview of U of T's rapid screening initiative

 

Community rapid screening kit distribution is currently on hold until further notice due to a lack of supply.

We will provide pick-up locations on all three campuses when supply becomes available. Check back here for the latest updates.

Any remaining kits are being distributed to our students living in residence across the tri-campus to ensure safety over the holiday break.

You must participate in the University’s rapid screening program if you are not fully vaccinated (i.e., partially vaccinated but not yet 14 days past your second or final shot) or have a University-approved vaccination exemption.

Once you are fully vaccinated, you no longer need to complete regular rapid tests.

Please note that the requirement to participate in rapid screening may change in accordance with public health guidance.

U of T community members who are fully vaccinated but would still like to participate in the rapid antigen screening program are encouraged to participate.

Screening kits to self-administer a front of nose swab will be used. These kits are currently provided by the Ontario Ministry of Health. BD Veritor is the type being supplied at this time.

Screening should take place at home, prior to coming to campus. Students in residence should complete the screen prior to leaving the residence. A monthly supply of screening kits will be provided and made available for quick pick-up on all campuses.

Screenings are required to be completed as close as possible prior to visiting campus. For example, if you typically visit campus every day or a few days between Monday and Friday, screen at a minimum of twice per week / 72 hours, e.g., on Monday and Thursday.

The self-screening process takes less than five minutes to administer and 15 minutes to obtain results.

All screening results must be self-reported using the UCheck application. You will be asked to indicate if the screen was positive or negative and to upload a photographic image of the completed test.

Student or employee personal information will not be disclosed or shared for any reason, except for Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) purposes in the event of a presumed positive case. A designated occupational health staff member will follow-up with the individual to ensure public health guidelines are being followed.

There is currently no direct cost for those participating in the rapid screening initiative. The rapid screening kits are currently provided by the provincial Ministry of Health.

BD Veritor tests need to be kept between 2 C and 30 C in accordance with the Provincial Antigen Screening Program

The rapid screening kits being provided have extended expiry dates by six months to dates listed on the labels of the kit items. 

Step-by-step breakdown of how to self-administer

Rapid screening is for asymptomatic individuals only.

Everyone with symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g., fever, cough, difficulty breathing, etc.) should stay home, not work, self-isolate and complete a self-assessment using the UCheck web portal. See FAQ number 3.6 “What should I do if I have symptoms?"

Two types of rapid antigen screening kits have been distributed at U of T. Please follow the step-by-step breakdown for the type of kits you have:

Follow the screening process as shown in the rapid screening how-to video and the provided step-by-step breakdown shown below or download the infographic.

heading Step 1 Insert swab into each nostril about one inch deep and swirl five times.
heading Step 2 Insert the swab into the prepared tube.
heading Step 3 Swirl the swab tip in the buffer fluid for 15 seconds.
headingStep 4 Remove the swab from the vial and replace swab in pacakaging.
headingStep 5 Place the lid attached to the vial on top of it to create a dropper.
headingStep 6 Invert dropper and put three drops into the testing device well.
headingStep 7 Set a timer for 15 minutes.
headingStep 8 After 15 minutes check the device for your test result.

One red line = negative
Two lines = presumed positive
headingStep 9 Take a photo of your test result and upload it to the UCheck app.
headingStep 10 Dispose of all used test materials (swab, viral and slide) in the garbage.
headingStep 11 Negative result: You may proceed to campus

Positive result: Do not come to campus. Contact EHS and book a PCR test.

Unsure result: Complete another screen. If still unsure, contact EHS.

Contact us

 

If you have any questions about rapid antigen screening not answered above, please contact us.