Thanks to $30,000,000 in CARES Act funds, Alabama is rolling out a plan for testing more than 200,000 college students for COVID-19 before the fall semester.

Representatives from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the University of Alabama System, and Alabama Department of Public Health hosted a Zoom press conference this morning and launched what they’re calling the most comprehensive higher education re-entry plan in the entire country.

“GuideSafe is a multi-tool platform, comprised among others of three key components,” said UAB President Ray Watts. They are the GuideSafe Health Check app, GuideSafe Exposure Notification app and the GuideSafe Event Passport app.

Students will be sent a link by their university, through which they can select a site, time and day they want to be tested before they head back to campus. Most of those tests will be sent to UAB for results.

Here’s what they do:

GuideSafe Health Check is a COVID-19 assessment tool that allows users to easily report COVID-related symptoms
GuideSafe Exposure Notification is an app that lets students anonymously share a positive COVID-19 test result or be notified of potential close contact with someone who reports a positive COVID-19 test result.
GuideSafe Event Passport facilitates opt-in access to facilities, meetings or events with 10 or more participants

“The combination of these tools enables every participating college and university to engage faculty, students and staff regarding the ongoing monitoring of symptoms, exposure and risk of COVID-19,” Watts said.

From the point of entry to the point of exit, student COVID-19 testing takes 10 to 15 minutes. The tests are a self-administered nasal swab, and are free for students. An observer will watch students and make sure they’re testing themselves correctly.

Pilot testing has been under way in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham for nearly a week.

Eleven other locations will be open for GuideSafe testing beginning Aug. 4.

For all GuideSafe student testing information, you can visit

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