2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)


KU Students, faculty and staff experiencing symptoms should stay home and call their healthcare provider or the KU COVID Call Center at 785-864-9000 to make an appointment for testing.

Vaccine is NOT available at Watkins. As soon as more information is available, communication will be provided to the KU community. You can also monitor the Protect KU website for updates.

Watkins Health Services is closely monitoring the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and working with university, local and state officials to ensure the health and safety of the Jayhawk community with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). COVID-19 is a disease caused by a virus that can spread from person to person. You can become infected by coming into close contact with a person who has COVID-19, whether that person feels sick or not. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) defines “close contact” as less than 6 feet in distance for greater than 10 minutes cumulative, masked or unmasked. You can become infected from respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, sings, etc. You may also contract it by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it, and then by touching your mouth, nose or eyes.

Testing at KU

The university has arranged for expanded testing capability with the University of Kansas Health System (UKHS) working closely with Watkins Health Services (WHS).

To reduce risk of transmission, please use the KU COVID Call Center at 785-864-9000 to make an appointment before arriving for a test. Call center staff will direct you to the appropriate facility for your test.


  • As soon as you notice the onset of symptoms, call the KU COVID Call Center at 785-864-9000 for instructions.
  • An appointment is required for a nasal swab test conducted at Watkins Health Services or the University of Kansas Health System satellite clinic in Naismith Hall parking lot.
  • You must isolate until test results are known and you receive further instructions from a healthcare provider.


  • Close contact is defined as greater than 10 minutes of contact less than six feet away from a person who tested positive, or a roommate of someone who is positive.
  • Call the KU COVID Call Center at 785-864-9000 to request testing. MUST be at least 7 days after exposure to the positive case - a typical incubation period for the virus to be detected.
  • An appointment is required for a saliva or nasal swab test conducted at Watkins Health Services.
  • You must quarantine, limiting contact with others, for 10 days from exposure, regardless of test results.


  • Individuals randomly selected for prevalence testing should follow the appointment instructions supplied in your notification email.
  • An appointment is required for a saliva test conducted by the university at the union.


  • Symptomatic and close contact individuals should not have to pay for any of the testing resources on campus.
  • Symptomatic COVID-19 tests will be billed to insurance. All insurance providers are required to cover these medically necessary tests in full when ordered by a healthcare provider, such as through the KU COVID-19 Call Center.
  • Members of the KU community who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 and who do not have insurance will not be charged to receive this test. The cost will be covered through alternate funding sources. 
  • All asymptomatic COVID-19 saliva tests for KU’s randomized prevalence testing and for testing of close contacts of positive cases will be provided at no cost to those who meet the criteria to receive these tests.

Vaccine Information

Vaccine is NOT available at Watkins Health Services. As soon as more information is available, communication will be provided to the KU community. You can also monitor the Protect KU website for updates.

Per CDC guidance, you should wait at least 14 days before getting any other vaccine, including a flu or shingles vaccine, if you get your COVID-19 vaccine first. And if you get another vaccine first, wait at least 14 days before getting your COVID-19 vaccine.

Other sources of vaccine information:


People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

In addition to these CDC warnings, symptoms of blood clots include chest pain, shortness of breath, mental status changes and pain/color changes in your hands or feet.

If you are experiencing symptoms:

  1. Stay at home and do not go to class or work.
  2. Call the KU COVID Call Center at 785-864-9000 or your primary healthcare provider BEFORE arriving in person or going to the emergency room. They need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs first.
  3. Stay in contact with others by phone and email.
  4. Monitor your symptoms and follow care instructions from your healthcare provider.

Preventive Practices

To promote the safest possible conditions on our campus, we strongly encourage preventive practices to prevent illness:

  • Stay home when you are sick, regardless of symptoms, except to get medical care.
  • Continue to practice everyday preventive actions (handwashing, physical distancing, wear face cover, etc.)
  • Cover mouth with tissues whenever sneezing, and discard used tissues in the trash. If a tissue is not available, sneeze or cough into the elbow or upper sleeve, not into hands.
  • Refrain from shaking hands.
  • Respect physical distancing on campus and off. Maintain at least 6 feet between yourself and others. Wearing a face covering is not a substitute for physical distancing.
  • Understand the risk of attending large gatherings. The more people an individual interacts with at a gathering and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the potential risk of becoming infected with and spreading COVID-19.
  • Limit unnecessary travel.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces at home, work and on campus. Get more Tips for living in shared spaces.
  • Avoid sharing personal items (food, vape pens, water bottles, etc.)
  • Review Douglas County numbers to stay informed on the local outbreak situation.
  • Take care of your emotional health. Physical distancing doesn’t mean social isolation.
  • Connect with university services, friends and family remotely when possible. Use telephone and video conferencing instead of face-to-face study sessions or group meetings.

Quarantine vs. Isolation

Quarantine is recommended for individuals who have been directly exposed to COVID-19 or have traveled to Kansas from locations identified by KDHE. If no symptoms are present, you can be released from quarantine after 10 days. You should  continue to observe for symptoms through 14 days, the incubation period for the virus. At this time, Douglas County has not adopted the 7-day quarantine protocol for a negative test. Therefore, testing will not end your quarantine any faster. Anyone who is feeling symptomatic should continue to quarantine for the full 14 days and seek testing.

Isolation is recommended for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are symptomatic and awaiting test results, but unlike quarantine, isolation does not have a prescribed number of days.  After completion of a time period set by a medical professional, isolation can be discontinued under the guidance of Watkins Health Services or your personal physician, who can also provide clearance to return to normal activities or have further medical care.

If you are Required to Quarantine or Self-Isolate:

  • Stay home until it’s safe to be around others or if medical care is needed.
  • Contact your employer (if applicable).
  • Call the individual(s) who can help with getting you food and other supplies.
  • Be prepared to speak with public health officials who may be assisting with contact tracing.
  • Contact your instructors as soon as possible to seek a course adaptation.
  • Know how to engage with university services remotely.
  • Stay connected with family and friends remotely. Utilize personal tools like Zoom and Google Hangouts for meeting with your faculty, advisors, university programming, student organizations, or talking to friends and family.

Last updated February 22, 2021


Virtual Appointments Available

To better assist KU students during the COVID-19 pandemic, Watkins is offering virtual appointments. Using Zoom video-conferencing technology, students can connect to one of our board-certified medical providers via the Zoom app. This quick and easy solution allows for live consultations over a computer, tablet or phone.

Zoom appointments keep both patients and healthcare staff safe without the risk of face to face contact. Another benefit is continued care for students who may be away from Lawrence.

There is no charge for Zoom appointments for students who have paid the health fee as part of their required campus fees. Students who have paid a partial health fee will be charged the remainder of the health fee in order to use Zoom or in-person appointments at no additional cost.

How It Works

  1. Request a Zoom appointment.
    Call our appointment line at 785-864-9507 between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm Monday through Friday or 12 pm to 4 pm Saturday to request a Zoom appointment.
  2. Receive Zoom appointment confirmation.
    A Watkins staff member will email you instructions and a link for your appointment. You will need to install the Zoom app on your computer or mobile device ahead of time.
  3. Attend Zoom appointment.
    Follow the instructions provided to attend your Zoom appointment on the scheduled date and time.

Last updated February 10, 2021


Travel Quarantine Update

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) issues regular mandates on travel-related quarantines for international, domestic, and cruise-related travel. Kansas residents and visitors who have traveled to the following locations need to quarantine for 14 days after arrival in Kansas:

  • Attended/traveled to mass gathering events (out-of-state) of 500 people or greater where individuals do not socially distance (6 feet) and wear masks. 
  • Been on a cruise ship or river cruise on or after March 15.

Others needing to continue quarantining:

  • Anyone who received notification from public health officials (state or local) that you are a close contact of a laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19.

Last updated December 8, 2020


People Who may be More Vulnerable to Infection

  • People aged 60+
  • People with underlying medical conditions at any age which may increase the risk of a serious reaction to the infection, such as:
    • Blood disorders (e.g., sickle cell disease or on blood thinners).
    • Chronic kidney disease as defined by your doctor. Patient has been told to avoid or reduce medication doses due to kidney disease, or is under treatment for kidney disease, including receiving dialysis.
    • Chronic liver disease as defined by your doctor (e.g., cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis). Patient has been told to avoid or reduce the dose of medications because liver disease or is under treatment for liver disease.
    • Compromised immune system (immunosuppression) (e.g., seeing a doctor for cancer and treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation, received an organ or bone marrow transplant, taking high doses of corticosteroids or other immunosuppressant medications, HIV or AIDS).
    • Current or recent pregnancy in the last two weeks.
    • Endocrine disorders (e.g., diabetes mellitus).
    • Metabolic disorders (such as inherited metabolic disorders and mitochondrial disorders).
    • Heart disease (such as congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease).
    • Lung disease including asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (chronic bronchitis or emphysema) or other chronic conditions associated with impaired lung function or that require home oxygen.
    • Neurological and neurologic and neurodevelopment conditions including disorders of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve, and muscle such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy (seizure disorders), stroke, intellectual disability, moderate to severe developmental delay, muscular dystrophy, or spinal cord injury.

Each KU student has a secure portal for communicating with us:

Login to myWHS 
  • Make Appointments
  • Request Rx Refills
  • View Balances
  • Check Messages
  • View Lab Results
  • and more!

Building Hours

Mon - Fri: 8:00 am-5:00 pm
Sat:  12:00 pm-4:00 pm
Sun: Closed

After Hours Care

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