Sentinel Testing

Random testing of a percentage of a campus’s population weekly provides a snapshot of the amount of COVID-19 virus circulating across campus.

This random approach to testing, also called sentinel testing, is a system that collects information useful for monitoring trends in diseases and pathogens. It assesses the stability or change in COVID-19 spread across campuses. For the COVID-19 pandemic, plans are to test between 2.5% to 5% of the on-campus population weekly to identify how much of the COVID-19 virus is circulating.  We are advising faculty, students and staff to continue to wear a mask, practice social distancing, and continue to participate in COVID-19 sentinel testing, even after receiving the COVID vaccine. Please continue to encourage members of our community to participate in sentinel testing to provide a snapshot of the amount of COVID-19 circulating on our campus and throughout our state. Sentinel testing is being adopted by higher education campuses across Alabama. Sentinel testing will help in the fight against COVID-19 as we all work to keep our communities safe.

Participating in Sentinel Testing

New to GuideSafe™ Testing?

If you did not participate in GuideSafe™ Entry Testing: you must first create a Verily account to be randomly selected to participate in Sentinel Testing. Create your Verily account in 3 easy steps.

2 Create an account using your school email.

3 Confirm your account via email.

Once you’ve been selected for randomized sentinel testing:

Check your school email frequently for testing information.

Schedule a test appointment after random selection.


Go to your scheduled appointment.

What to Expect

A minimally invasive nose swab test not the dreaded up-to-your-brain swab. 

To get back to life right after getting tested. There is no need to quarantine if you’re not experiencing symptoms.

Not to pay a dime. This is 100% free.

Sentinel Testing FAQs

Am I required to participate in sentinel testing?

Participation in sentinel testing is not required. However, it is strongly encouraged to help keep our campuses safe and healthy. Many people may carry COVID-19 without showing symptoms.

Will the test hurt?

The test will be a self-administered swab in the nostril — though not the more invasive nasopharyngeal swab.

How will I get my results?

If you test negative for COVID-19, you will receive results via email within 24-48 hours of testing.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you will receive a call from a healthcare provider to give you next steps on how to protect yourself and others around you. 

If I participate in sentinel testing, am I using a test that could be given to someone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms or exposure?

Sentinel testing differs from COVID-19 diagnostic testing. Sentinel testing is a self-administered swab in the nostril — not the more invasive nasopharyngeal swab used in a COVID-19 test. Sentinel tests are processed in a lab setting and are not a contributing factor to the limited availability of COVID-19 test for those experiencing symptoms or with a potential exposure. 

Will K-12 schools be able participate in GuideSafe™ sentinel testing?

Sentinel testing is currently limited to higher education and not available for K-12. 

Will students and faculty be randomly selected to participate in sentinel testing?

Yes, students and faculty/staff will be randomly selected to ensure a representative population across all cohorts are tested weekly. 

Is the Verily test a Polymerise Chain Reaction test or an antibody test?

It is a Polymerise Chain Reaction test. PCR tests are used to directly detect the presence of an antigen, rather than the presence of the body’s immune response, or antibodies.

When do the emails go out each week to individuals selected to participate in the sentinel testing?

Daily. The percentage is spread daily over each day of the week giving access to scheduling a test.

Should I still participate in sentinel testing after receiving the vaccine?

Yes, sentinel testing provides a snapshot of the amount of COVID-19 circulating throughout our campus and state. Faculty, students and staff are encouraged to continue to participate in COVID-19 sentinel testing even after receiving the vaccine. 

How long do I have to wait after receiving the vaccine to participate in sentinel testing?

You do not need to wait to participate in sentinel testing after receiving the vaccine. You are eligible to participate in sentinel testing immediately. 

Phishing Awareness for Sentinel Testing

Participants, please note that:

  • Emails from Healthy at Work / Healthy at School will always be sent from or
  • Healthy at Work / Healthy at School will NEVER ask you for personal information by email
  • If you receive such an email, do not respond to the email or call the number provided in the email
  • If you are unsure of the authenticity of any inquiry, reach out to your program administrator or call the Verily User Success team at +1 855-286-6156

What is phishing?

Phishing is the most common online fraud. Individuals are randomly targeted by criminals sending out mass emails usually containing an urgent message regarding account status, with instructions to click a link within the email directing them to a fraudulent website. Once the individual clicks the link, he/she is exposed to the threat of having personal information stolen, including bank account information, user IDs and passwords, and social security numbers.

How to verify emails

To verify that an email sent from this address has not been spoofed, participants can check the SPF, DKIM, and DMARC status:

  1. In Gmail, click on the three dots menu at the top right of the message
  2. Select “Show Original”
  3. Verify that SPF, DKIM, and DMARC all say PASS
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