Health Protocols

The University of Louisville has responded to the pandemic by implementing multiple protocols and procedures to keep students, faculty and staff safe and healthy on campus.

Health and safety protocols

UofL has established the following health and safety protocols for all university members to follow while on any university campus. Additionally, all university members are expected to stay in compliance with state and federal safety guidelines.

    1. Practice physical distancing and stay 6 feet apart.*
    2. Wear a mask or face covering in common areas and avoid touching your face.*
    3. Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow or a tissue then throw that tissue in the trash.
    4. Disinfect used surfaces and frequently touched objects.
    5. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    6. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not readily available.
    7. Stay home if you are feeling sick and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
*Effective May 20, 2021, fully vaccinated Cardinals do not need to mask or distance themselves on campus in most settings. Cardinals should be mindful that transportation and healthcare settings on campus still require masking regardless of vaccination status. 

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or you are concerned that you may have been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, you should:
    • Stay at home.
    • Notify Campus Health at 502-852-6446 or Campus Health will provide students, faculty and staff guidance on isolation and testing.
    • Contact your medical provider.
    • If you are an employee, notify your supervisor.

Even if you decide to seek care from your own medical provider, be sure to still inform Campus Health so the university can effectively track COVID-19 cases and ensure proper isolation procedures for our campus community. Those who can study or work from home will have that option during isolation with approval.

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Campus procedures

Training videos, hosted on our Safe Colleges training module platform, will be emailed to all university members and are required to be completed before coming to campus. The training videos will cover university actions and individual responsibilities for a safe fall semester. 

Physical Plant will conduct cleaning, enhanced cleaning and disinfection practices, in accordance with CDC guidelines, of frequently occupied spaces and frequently touched surfaces. 

Events and meetings on campus should provide virtual attendance options whenever possible. Event organizers should follow the UofL Department Event Approval Guidelines. Students should review the COVID-19 Guidelines for Student Events and Meetings and students wishing to host an event should complete the Student Events and Meetings during COVID-19 Form.  

Travel guidelines are located in the Travel Guidelines section of this site's homepage. 

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Testing program

The university is resuming its required testing program for the fall 2021 semester. Students, faculty and staff who are not fully vaccinated and are on campus will be required to get tested multiple times with UofL’s testing provider, Bluewater Diagnostic Laboratory (Bluewater Lab). The required testing periods and locations are as follows.

Required testing periods

  • August 17 to 27
  • September 7 to 17
  • October 6 to 15

Additional testing periods may be added based on vaccination percentages and the number of positive cases on campus.

Testing locations

  • First floor of the Student Activities Center
  • First floor of the Student Recreation Center
  • HSC Abell Building

Testing locations and times are subject to change. Refer to your appointment confirmation email for exact time and location details. If you are feeling symptoms of COVID-19, do not get tested at the above testing locations; instead, schedule a testing appointment with Campus Health Services’ Health Office by calling 852-6479. 

How to schedule a test with Bluewater Lab 

    • Go to
    • Use the tabs at the top of the page to select a location and view open appointment times.
    • Follow the steps provided on the registration portal. Be sure to register a dependable number and ensure your phone's settings allow you to receive messages from unknown numbers. 
    • After scheduling a test using the link above, you should receive a confirmation message with the phone number of your testing site to call and pre-register before arrival at your appointment. The new pre-registration phone numbers for each testing site are: University Club Ballroom: (833) 253-2912; HSC Campus Abell Building: (833) 381-2671;  Purple Lot: (833) 765-7453; Student Recreation Center: (833) 458-7377
    • When you call the number of your site, you’ll hear a short, automated message and then receive a text message with the registration website's link.
    • The registration site will guide you to upload photos of your driver’s license and insurance card. 
    • At the end of the form, you’ll be required to select at least one “symptom” before submitting it. If none of the typical symptoms apply to you, select “possible exposure” as your response since any activity outside of your household risks a possible exposure during the pandemic.
    • After completion, you will receive an additional text message with a four-digit registration code. Be ready to provide that code upon arrival at your appointment. If you choose not to pre-register you may register on-site.
    • Your results will be texted to the mobile number you provide within 72 business hours. 

What to bring and expect at testing appointments

Bring your current university ID and your medical insurance card to your testing appointment. If you do not have medical insurance, be prepared to provide your social security number to testing officials. Be sure to wear a mask upon arrival to the testing sites and practice physical distancing while waiting. Please exit the testing site immediately following your test. Your results will be emailed or texted to you within three business days. If you test positive for COVID-19, you will receive a call. There is no out-of-pocket cost for students, faculty or staff.*

*Employees who are on a UofL Health plan and utilize the on-campus COVID-19 testing through Bluewater may have received an Explanation of Benefits from Anthem indicating they owe something for their test. If you receive this, please disregard it. Any outstanding balance due will be handled between Anthem and Bluewater. Also, please remember to present your Anthem card at your testing appointment.

Testing types
There are three basic types of COVID-19 testing: molecular, antigen and antibody testing. These tests are not interchangeable.

    • Molecular (also known PCR, RT-PCR, genetic) testing is a diagnostic test that detects genetic material of the virus and can continue detecting it for weeks to months following an initial infection. UofL's testing vendor, Bluewater Lab, conducts molecular testing for all university members who are asymptomatic (not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19).
    • Antigen testing is a diagnostic test that determines if viral coat proteins are present, which is associated with an active coronavirus infection. Antigen testing will only confirm you are positive for COVID-19 if you are currently shedding the virus.  Campus Health Services provides antigen testing to rapidly test symptomatic university members. After an initial infection, antigen testing will only remain positive for about a week.
    • Antibody testing shows if you’ve been infected in the past. Campus Health Services sends antibody testing to their reference lab on a case-by-case basis.

It is important to note you can test positive by one type of testing (such as molecular) and test negative by another type (such as antigen). Discrepancies between test results do not mean your test was performed incorrectly or another test is more accurate. If you have previously had COVID-19, you can continue shedding very low levels of coronavirus genetic material which can be detected through molecular testing for months following your initial infection's active period. This does not mean that you are infectious or capable of transmitting the virus. Per the CDC, these low levels of detectable genetic material have not been associated with the production of functional virus; therefore, those individuals are not considered infectious. An antigen test will only confirm you are positive for COVID-19 if you are currently shedding the virus. After contracting COVID-19, an antigen test will not remain positive for months the way a molecular test will.

Take a look at this FDA testing guide to learn more about the three different forms of basic COVID-19 testingFor more details on UofL's testing program, read the Testing and Tracing FAQs.

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The COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S. are very safe and effective. They are one of our greatest tools for fighting the pandemic. COVID-19 vaccination is not required, but it is strongly encouraged. For more details on the vaccine, read UofL Health's Vaccine FAQ document and the university's COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs. To speak with a health representative about the COVID vaccines, call the UofL Hospital COVID Vaccine line at 502-588-7004. 

Submit out-of-state vaccination records

Campus Health Services has access to university members’ immunization data through the Kentucky immunization registry. Out-of-state immunization records, however, are not available to them. If you were vaccinated out of state, please use the instructions below to upload your COVID-19 vaccination documentation to the university's secure health portal.

  1. Have a copy of your immunization card in a PNG, JPG, GIF or PDF format ready.  
  2. If you were vaccinated in Kentucky, please do not submit any documentation.  
  3. Go to 
  4. Click the “Student, Staff and Faculty” button at the top of the page. 
  5. Microsoft login screen will open.  Sign in using your ULink ID and associated password. 
  6. “Stay Signed In” screen will appear. Click “No.” 
  7. Confirm your identity by entering your date of birth and click “Proceed.” 
  8. You should now be on the main page of the Campus Health Patient Portal. 
  9. Select “Immunization Upload” from the bottom of the menu (Step 1 below). 
  10. Select “Add Immunization Record” at top of screen (Step 2 below). 
  11. Click “Save” (Step 3 below). 
  12. Log out of the portal.  

Lost vaccination records
If you need replacement documentation of your vaccinations from UofL Health, call 502-588-0414, 502-588-7038, or 502-588-7004 for assistance.  The staff can generate a new vaccination record. The new record can be picked up at University Hospital or mailed to you. For vaccinations received outside of UofL Health, you should contact the organization that administered the vaccine for assistance.

Flu Vaccine
All university members coming to campus are required to get a flu shot as part of the university's response to the pandemic. Contact Campus Health to set up a flu shot appointment. If you received a flu shot with an off-campus provider, if you are not coming to campus, or if you are seeking an exemption, complete this waiver form.

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Contact tracing, isolation and quarantine

Despite the university's best efforts to test widely for COVID-19 and institute policies and protocols for preventing the spread of the virus, we know that positive cases may inevitably arise on campus. When those cases happen, Campus Health and their team of contact tracers will intervene quickly. 

Contact Tracing
UofL's contact tracing team of dedicated university health professionals will continue to trace, notify, and properly advise any individuals who may have been exposed to a positive COVID-19 person. Take a look at Campus Health's Response Procedures for a step-by-step reference on how Campus Health investigates a positive COVID-19 case versus an individual with symptoms of COVID-19. The procedures show how cases are identified, isolated, tested, investigated and how close contacts are notified. Contact Campus Health Services if you believe you were exposed to COVID-19. Campus Health and the Contact Tracing team should make the decision on whether or not university members were exposed in a situation.

If a university member has been exposed, they must quarantine for 10 days and be symptom-free at the end of that time before returning to campus (a negative test at any point of the quarantine period does not shorten the 10-day requirement). If the university member is a student who lives in university housing, however, they must quarantine for 14 days (per the Kentucky Department of Health and Louisville Metro Health Department.). If symptoms develop during the quarantine time, the individual should contact their medical provider or Campus Health for guidance.

Campus Health and the contact tracing team consider the following factors when determining exposures:

    • Proximity (closer distance likely increases exposure risk)
    • Duration of exposure (longer exposure time likely increases exposure risk)
    • Whether the infected individual has symptoms (the period around onset of symptoms is associated with the highest levels of viral shedding)
    • If the infected person was likely to generate respiratory aerosols (e.g., was coughing, singing, shouting)
    • Other environmental factors (crowding, adequacy of ventilation, whether exposure was indoors or outdoors)

Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 is required to self-isolate. See below for the different scenarios:

    • Individuals with asymptomatic laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 may discontinue isolation after 10 days if they do not have a fever within the last 24 hours of isolation without the use of fever-reducing medications. Otherwise, they will remain in isolation beyond 10 days until they are fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication. Generally, testing is not recommended to return to classes or work when using the time-based return to duties approach
    • Individuals with COVID-19 who have symptoms and test positive may discontinue isolation after 10 days if they do not have a fever within the last 24 hours of isolation without the use of fever-reducing medication and their symptoms have improved. Otherwise, they will remain in isolation beyond the required 10 days until they are fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication or symptoms improve.
    • Individuals with COVID-19 who live in a communal living situation (with roommates) must isolate for 14 days. This is in accordance with the Kentucky Department of Health and Louisville Metro Health Department.

Remember, a negative test at any point in the isolation period does not shorten the isolation time and university members are not required to show proof of a negative test in order to return to campus. For more details, review the Symptoms and Sickness FAQs. Students who are residents at the university should review the Self-Isolation for Residents FAQs.

Quarantining is used as a preventative measure to help stop the spread of the virus. If you are in a communal living situation and a roommate tests positive, you must quarantine for 14 days. If you are not in a communal living situation and you were exposed to someone with COVID-19 or traveled to a location with a positivity rate of 15% or higher, you must quarantine for 10 days. Even if you test negative at some point during your quarantine period, that does not shorten your required quarantine time. Additionally, you are not required to show proof of a negative test in order to return to campus from a quarantine period. For more details, review the Symptoms and Sickness FAQs

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Health recommendations and resources

Create a support and resiliency plan. Make plans for regular check-ins with your friends, family and your support networks. If you're an employee, touch base with your supervisor and co-workers. Be honest about how you are doing. Take advantage of the following university and community resources:

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Other COVID-19 mitigation strategies

UofL tightly monitors coronavirus infection rates in the community and — if warranted due to increasing infection levels — the university will implement randomized, broad-based testing to identify, isolate and trace the virus. Additionally, wastewater from different parts of campus (e.g. residence halls) will be analyzed as an early detection system for coronavirus, followed by individual testing as indicated.

The Co-Immunity Project, a groundbreaking collaboration to track and curb COVID-19 in Kentucky, tests health care workers and the general public in Metro Louisville and is a national example for developing a COVID-19 early warning system.

UofL has numerous ongoing clinical trials and others just starting in our hospitals and clinics and around the country to block COVID-19 from infecting people, limit its replication if people are infected and help those most sickened by the disease.

Our public health experts have developed the models used to project outbreaks and make sure the university and Metro Louisville are proactive in our management of the virus.

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