School Testing

Dear Utah School Participants,

 Thank you for your participation in School Testing portion of the Utah HERO Project. At this time, we have concluded this portion of the project. Should you have questions on this portion of the project, please email us at

If you are interested in findings from this portion of the HERO project or other project findings, please visit our Resource and Media page for reports and updates.

We have partnered with Utah school districts to offer event triggered smart testing in select schools. Our list of participating schools continues to grow. Contact your local school to find out if they are participating in this project. As a reminder participation is voluntary and no testing will be conducted without prior consent.

Questions? Contact us at

Our goal

The goal of the HERO School Project is to provide access to school-based testing for students, faculty, and staff for early detection of COVID-19 in members of school communities who show no symptoms.

Our purpose

The purpose is to enhance the safety of school communities by reducing the frequency of transmission and the magnitude of school-based clusters/outbreaks while facilitating greater opportunities for in-person learning.

Our approach

With help from local and state officials we have selected schools throughout Utah to participate in COVID-19 testing.  Through saliva testing we are collecting information to help understand the degree of virus transmission in our schools and communities. Our testing cohort is made up of voluntary participants committed to helping make our schools safer.

When we test

Testing begins when a positive case is reported at participating schools. Examples of testing scenarios include testing classmates of students who test positive, students who participate in extracurricular activities together, and students who are home on quarantine after school exposures.

Testing will not be conducted without written consent. Students under the age of 18, must have written consent from a parent or legal guardian

How we test

Testing occurs on-site at schools or at another designated location. Arrive at your testing site wearing a mask that covers both your nose and mouth. After verifying personal information our team will ask a small set of questions about the participant’s recent health and activities. While maintaining social distancing, a 2cc (approximately 1/2 teaspoon) saliva sample is collected from participants.

Please note eating, drinking, chewing gum, and some mouthwashes within 30 minutes of your test may affect test results.

The collection process takes less than 15 minutes. At the end of the collection, the samples are transported to the lab for testing. Our partners at ARUP laboratories conduct a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to confirm the presence of the COVID-19 virus.

Who can participate?

Staff/faculty and current students of selected schools can participate.

How to enroll

Participating schools in this project are provided with a website for interested parents and school faculty members where they can give their consent for testing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Results can take 8-10 business days to arrive in the mail. Participants with positive results are contacted via phone call as soon as possible.

We look for the presence of genetic material from the virus.

The accuracy is over 90 percent.

The quickest way to retrieve results is through the Healthy Together app.

NOTE: If you choose to create an account for this app, please ensure your name, date of birth, and phone number match exactly what you provided in your consent form. Even the smallest deviation will cause you to not be able to get results in the app. Click here for more info about the app.

Participants who test positive will receive a phone call from a provider once the results become available.

Participants who test negative can expect to receive a call from a HERO team member regarding their results within 48 hours of testing. Please note: if a test occurs on a Friday or Saturday, result communication may be delayed due to the weekend.

The HERO Project also mails letters 3-5 business days after results are processed.

The state and local health departments as well as the school is notified of the results.

A 2cc (approximately 1/2 teaspoon) saliva sample is collected. Participants spit into a collection tube with a funnel device attached.
Samples are disposed of after being tested by the lab.
Yes. However we will still use the data collected prior to opting out.
You will be notified in advance by the school of the testing days. If your child is not in attendance we may ask you to bring them to the school and provide a sample from your car in a drive through.

No identifying information is used in published results. The information is published in a report provided to the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget.

No, this is a public health project. Although we do have researchers on our team this is not considered research.
The project’s purpose is to provide accurate information decision makers regarding COVID-19 or coronavirus infection rates.

This project is sponsored through the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget.

No. There is no charge to be tested or to participate in the study.

We ask 10 questions.

  1. Over the last 7 to 10 days have you felt sick?
  2. Have you taken your temperature?
  3. What was your highest temperature?
  4. What day did your first symptoms start?
  5. In the last 14 days, do you know if you have had contact with someone diagnosed with the coronavirus infection (COVID-19) while they were sick or in the 2 days before they became sick?
  6. When was the last date of contact? Or, when was the last day you saw/were with this person?
  7. What is your relationship to the person with confirmed COVID-19 infection?
  8. Have you participated in any school-related activities?
  9. Did you wear a mask during the activity?
  10. Did you remain at least 6 feet apart from others?

The test will show you if are sick with the virus. We are not testing for the presence of antibodies.