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Jan. 29, 2021

MSU’s Early Detection Program is back for spring semester – here’s what’s new

Last fall, MSU introduced the COVID-19 Early Detection Program, an asymptomatic testing initiative, to help minimize the spread of COVID-19 and safeguard the greater MSU community. The scaled-up EDP effort for spring required a massive laboratory expansion and logistical plan to accommodate the processing of up to 4,500 tests per day.


While the program isn’t entirely new, several updates for spring semester are outlined below.


Have additional questions? Visit the frequently asked questions page on the EDP website or attend “office hours” to speak directly with members of the EDP team. 

  • Every Monday at 4 p.m. (starting February 8)
  • Zoom link (passcode: Spartans)


EDP spring updates:


  • EDP delivers a clinical diagnostic COVID-19 test and next-day service.
    Big news! The lab can now deliver positive results, which means if COVID-19 is detected in a sample, a confirmation test is no longer needed. This change is possible because the EDP saliva test is now a validated diagnostic test under CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments) regulations.


If samples are dropped off before 1 p.m. on the scheduled day (Sunday-Thursday), you will get results the next day after 9 p.m.


  • Weekly participation is mandatory for all undergraduate students. 
    The test is mandatory for all undergraduate students living, working or coming to campus, or any property owned or governed by MSU, for any day during the spring semester. This requirement is a key part of MSU’s safe return to campus strategy and helps ensure safety for in-person activities.

    This directive for spring semester is also listed in MSU’s Community Compact, and those who do not comply with the requirement are subject to disciplinary action through the student conduct process. If you believe you are listed as a mandatory participant in error, please submit a status change form, and your request will be reviewed.
  • Faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to register.
    While faculty and staff are not required to participate in weekly free COVID-19 testing, they are urged to join. 
  • Participants pick weekly testing days. 
    For added convenience, participants can now choose the testing day that works best for their schedules, Sunday through Thursday. Results for samples returned Friday or Saturday will be delayed until Monday after 9 p.m.
  • New locations added, including three drop-off sites.
    With more students living on campus, kit pick-up and drop-off stations have been added in most open residence hall lobbies. There are also three drive-up locations for added convenience. Visit the locations page on the EDP website and check back often for new sites. The EDP outreach team is also working with off-campus apartments to set up more sites for commuting students. Be sure to look for the bright orange “Spartan Spit” feather banners to help identify locations.
  • MSU developed a new tool to help keep track of results.
    Results will be posted on Spartan Health Check, a new one-stop online portal to track testing and results and fill out the daily health screening form. The site is secure and accessible using an MSU NetID and password and provides an easy way for people to identify where their EDP sample is in the testing process.
  • Spartans from the community make it possible.
    The EDP program could not have been developed without the help of the campus community and the many Spartans who have made the program possible, including:
  • Researchers, epidemiologists and staff members in the College of Human Medicine, College of Natural Science and Office of Research & Innovation stepped in to develop the test and refine the logistical process to ensure a smooth operation for a large-scale campus initiative. (Related: How the saliva test was developed, MSU neuroscientist Jack Lipton describes the program on MSNBC.)
  • Faculty in the School of Packaging designed the Spartan Spit Kit box. Student employees help build the kits every week. (Related: Read about the special packaging designed for the spit kit.)
  • MSU Information Technology team members developed the intricate digital communication system.
  • Staff members from the College of Communication Arts and Sciences developed campus signage.
  • Other important program reminders – do’s and don’ts:
  • Do register samples by entering the vial code before dropping them off. About 50 participants per day leave samples without submitting a vial code online. If vials aren’t registered, the lab can’t connect the sample to the correct person!
  • Some kits have two sets of testing materials and are marked with a pink sticker to provide participants with two weeks of testing supplies. Don’t submit both on the same date!
  • Don’t submit samples the day before results are needed. For example, if a student has class tomorrow, today is too late to submit a sample because results won’t be sent until after 9 p.m. the next day.



By: Jennifer Davis