MU will require Residential Life undergraduate students to obtain arrival test for start of spring semester

December 22, 2020
Contact: Christian Basi, 573-882-4430,

Arrival testing will be mandatory for undergraduate students living in university residential housing, University of Missouri officials announced today. Arrival testing will be available as an option to all other undergraduates.

“After consulting with our medical experts, we believe this measure could assist us in assessing the occurrence of the virus as students return from various parts of the country,” said Bill Stackman, vice chancellor for Student Affairs. “We know that testing does not stop the spread of the virus, but arrival testing may provide us information at that point in time that helps direct our health strategies and precautionary tactics.”

Undergraduates residing in university housing can meet the arrival test requirement through one of the following ways:

  • Get tested in their current place of residence no more than five days before arriving in Columbia. This option is the best way to streamline the move-in process.
  • If arriving in Columbia without a valid test result, students can register for a test at a clinic that will be opened temporarily on campus. Students must have a test to remain in university housing. More details on this option will be shared soon.
  • Any student who has tested positive for COVID on or after Oct. 15, 2020, and before Jan. 9., 2021, and supplies documentation of their positive result will not need to test again before their return. (Students testing positive after Jan. 9, 2021, should stay at home until being cleared by a medical professional.)
  • Students who continued to live in university housing during the winter break can sign up to test during the full week before classes start. If these slots fill up, students will be able to test during the arrival clinics.

To meet the requirement, MU officials will only accept results from PCR or rapid antigen viral tests, which both involve a swab of the nose or mouth, or collection of saliva.  Officials will not accept results of antibody tests, which involve collection of a blood sample from a vein or a finger stick.

Off-campus undergraduate students also are strongly encouraged to get tested before returning to campus. If that is not possible, they may sign up (until slots are filled) to test during the full week before classes start or register for a test during the arrival testing clinics the first week of the semester. More information will be sent to students and families closer to the start of the spring semester. Students can view plans on the arrival testing page on the Show Me Renewal website, which will be updated as details become available.

“This past fall, we proved that simple precautions such as wearing face coverings, social distancing and hygiene measures remain the most effective defense for COVID-19,” said Jamie Shutter, executive director of Student Health & Well-Being and interim director of the Student Health Center. “It will be important that we continue these practices to protect each other throughout the winter break and spring semester, perhaps longer, as mass inoculation will take time.”

Frontline health care workers and first responders at MU have been among those who have received the first round of vaccinations. Remaining distribution of vaccines will be a phased approach that will depend on availability.

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