Free COVID-19 Screening

August 18, 2021

As we execute our return to campus plan and more individuals are working and learning on campus, we are implementing safety and mitigation practices to keep our faculty, staff and students as safe as possible. COVID-19 screenings (PCR tests) provide early alerts of infections, and weekly screening allows us to monitor the infection rate for our college and take necessary measures if the rates fluctuate.

Palo Alto College is partnering with Community Labs to offer free asymptomatic COVID-19 screenings for students and employees. COVID-19 screening will be conducted on a walk-in basis during operating hours outlined below. No appointments are necessary, but pre-registration is recommended. 

View Video About The Process

COVID-19 screening (PCR test) is conducted every Monday and Thursday, 8 a.m.-Noon, Tuesday 3-7 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m.-1 p.m. in Student Center (Rm 130).

All Palo Alto College employees, vendors, and students who are scheduled to regularly work or attend classes are expected to get screened for COVID-19 on a weekly basis, regardless of vaccination status. 

In order to avoid false positives, individuals who have had COVID-19 within the past 90 days should not test. These individuals should report the reason for not completing a COVID-19 Screening Test to the Palo Alto College Risk Coordinator.

All weekly COVID-19 screening will be conducted onsite by Community Labs at scheduled hours, or as arranged by campus administration for High School Programs students.

How to Pre-Register for COVID-19 Screening (one-time registration)

The process for pre-registering for COVID-19 Screening (PCR test) through Community Labs is as follows:

  • Go to to pre-register for COVID-19 sceening.

    1. Select "Site Type: School"
    2. Select "Site Assigned: Alamo – Palo Alto College" (you can start by just typing "Pal" and select from the resulting list).
    3. Proceed with pre-registration and verification steps.

  • After pre-registering, you will receive a QR code via email and text. Please bring the QR code with you each time you come for a screening.
  • You only need to pre-register once. Save your QR code and use the same one each time you get screened. 
  • Your QR code can be used at any Alamo Colleges District COVID-19 screening (PCR test) site.
  • Your result will be available within 24 hours. You will receive an email and text notifying you when you can see your result.
  • Screenings are for individuals without symptoms. If you have any symptoms that could be COVID-19, you should stay home. Please do not come on campus to be screened if you feel ill. 



Community Labs COVID-19 Screening FAQs

Why are we requiring COVID-19 screening for everyone?

The intent of requiring the weekly COVID-19 screening is to provide an additional screening level for asymptomatic individuals. This additional screening is necessary because both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons can be positive for COVID-19 without displaying any symptoms and can transmit COVID-19 to others. The daily screening conducted at the health screening/temperature check stations serves to identify symptomatic individuals and will continue. Both the weekly COVID-19 screening and daily health screening/temperature check support the health and safety of everyone accessing our facilities. The COVID-19 screening also provides individuals with a momentary confirmation of their status: positive or negative for COVID-19.

What is COVID-19 Screening?

A viral test checks specimens from your nose or mouth to determine if you are currently infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Viral tests can be performed in a laboratory, testing site, at home, or anywhere else. Two types of viral tests are used: nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) and antigen tests.

Why should I go through COVID-19 screening if I don’t have symptoms?

According to a study conducted by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), silent disease transmission during the pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic stages are responsible for more than 50% of the overall attack rate in COVID-19 outbreaks. Furthermore, such silent transmission alone can sustain outbreaks even if all symptomatic cases are immediately isolated. Universal testing is an additional strategy in the attempt to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Who is required to complete COVID-19 Screening?

Students (including Frank Madla), faculty/staff (full-time, part-time, Frank Madla), student workers, and vendors must complete the weekly COVID 19 screening. Anyone who is working on-site is required to complete the screening.

How often must individuals go through COVID-19 screening?

Students (including Frank Madla), faculty/staff (full-time, part-time, and Frank Madla), student workers, and vendors must complete COVID 19 assurance testing in a regular, repeatable cycle: 1.Test, 2. 24-hour Results, 3. Identify, 4. Isolate, 5. Repeat – once or more weekly. Anyone who is working on-site is required to complete this weekly screening.  

Who provides the COVID-19 screening?

Community Labs is a nonprofit organization committed to creating COVID-19 Safety Zones in schools and other businesses by testing for asymptomatic COVID-19 patients with speed, accuracy, and the ability to scale to large populations in a zone. Through a non-invasive, front-of-nose swab of a nostril, Community Labs can provide accurate results in 24 hours. Based in San Antonio, the lab will start with 600 tests a day, scale to 12,000 tests a day, and have the potential to scale to greater numbers soon.

What is the COVID-19 screening process like?

Unlike other COVID-19 screening you may have seen, a swab of the inside front of the nostril-- not deep in the nasal cavity-- is all that is needed. Here is a video that shows the test being administered. Within 24-hours or less, you will be contacted by the Community Labs with your results.

Those who test positive will be required to quarantine at home. Those who do not test positive may continue to access campus.

Only you and the Alamo Colleges Risk Management will know the results of the test.

When will I get results?

Your results will be ready within 24 hours from the moment you get tested.

If you have not received your results email after 24 hours, your results are ready, but there may have been an issue with your email. Please contact Community Labs immediately.


If I test positive, what do I do?

Submit the COVID 19 Incident Report Form: Online Survey Software | Qualtrics Survey Solutions. You will need to quarantine for 14 days and work with your supervisor to either complete remote work or submit leave if you are feeling ill.

You are very likely to be infectious even if you do not have symptoms. You can test again after 14 days. It is recommended that you contact your healthcare provider for medical advice. Also, contact anyone else you have been around within the past 14 days and let them know you’ve tested positive, so they know to get tested as well.

How do I register for the COVID-19 screening?

Step 1 – Register with community labs (one time only) and take a photo of your QR code/save code.

To register for a COVID-19 screening

Use the QR Code for Mobile Devices or

go to:

View a video of how to register 

Step 2sign up for an appointment slot (once a week)

Step 3 – get screened (once a week)

Does my personal information go anywhere after I provide it to Community Labs?

Community Labs and their partners comply with HIPAA requirements ensuring the information you provide is secure. Due to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, they must report demographic information to applicable health departments. Specifically, the CARES Act requires “every laboratory that performs or analyzes a test that is intended to detect SARS-CoV-2 or to diagnose a possible case of COVID-19” to report the results from each such test to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

On what days/times and at what locations are COVID- 19 screenings available?

Palo Alto College
1400 W. Villaret Blvd., San Antonio, TX 78224

Monday (Student Center Rm. 130)
8 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Tuesday (Student Center Rm. 130)
3 - 7 p.m.
Thursday (Student Center Rm. 130)
8 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Friday (Student Center Rm. 130)
9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

If the number of individuals testing reaches 400 a day, then Community Labs will send a second team. When that occurs, the following plan will be deployed to stand up a second location:

  1. Student Center Room 130 will be designated for Academic Success, College Services, President’s Office, students, and vendors.
  2. Palomino Center Room 110 will be designated for Student Success, students, and vendors.

Additional days/times are also available at other Alamo Colleges and District Support Operations Office. 

View additional locations

How long will COVID-19 screening be required?

COVID-19 Screening will be in place for the entire Fall 2021 semester unless otherwise communicated.

What additional protective measures are in place?

Since March 2020, the following health and safety measures have been in place and remain:

  • If sick, stay home
  • Encourage the use of face coverings
  • Practice Social Distancing
  • Conduct mandatory temperature check and health screening process
  • Provide hand sanitizer stations throughout every building
  • Follow CDC cleaning protocols
  • Implement contactless processes
  • COVID-19 screening (testing) for asymptomatic individuals in partnership with community labs.
  • Symptomatic individuals should visit a metro health screening site.  
What if I am not on campus during PAC’s dates?

Once you are registered, screening can be conducted at any of the five campuses and the DSO. 

View additional locations/hours

Do I need to submit leave to conduct COVID-19 screening?

No, work with your supervisor to complete screening during regularly scheduled hours

How many times per week must I be on site to be required to complete screening?

Students (including Frank Madla), faculty/staff (full-time, part-time, Frank Madla), student workers, and vendors must complete weekly COVID-19 screening. Anyone who is working on site is required to complete the screening.