Image courtesy of Frances Teves.

COVID-19 test vending machines now available on campus at no cost

By Cynthia Haro, Sept. 6, 2022

Cal Poly Pomona received two COVID-19 test vending machines on Aug. 25 to replace in-person testing sites. Currently, CSU campuses require regular testing for those with a vaccination exemption.

The new machines are located on opposite sides of the campus, one in the Bronco Student Center in the Lyra Meeting Room, open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The other vending machine is in Secoya residence hall and open 24/7, but only available to residents. The goal is to create a simplified and more accessible option for those in need of a test

Rita O’Neill, director of Student Health and Wellness Services, explained that the motivation to provide this new resource was the lack of practicality of previous solutions.

“The demolition really had an end date for us with ending the other site, it was very near to where the building (CLA) was being demolished so that it had to close,” said O’Neill. She mentioned that providing another site on campus was considered but the number of personnel necessary to clean and allow the site to function properly was not feasible.

According to O’Neill, those on campus will be able to have more opportunities to obtain their tests and take the test as needed. The broaderwill allow who commute a longer window of time to get tested at their own convenience.

O’Neill also noted that the cost of maintaining the testing site was higher than the maintenance of a self-service one.

“We have the federal money that helps us pay for that so it’s not coming out of student health. It’s free to students, free to staff, free to faculty; but that money has an end to it,” O’Neill said.

Each machine can dispense about 300 tests a day, individually costing about $30 per test kit. Because these machines arrived at the start of fall semester, the information and details regarding their usage is not known at this time.

To use the vending machines, users simply need to log into their MyHealthPortal, scan the QR code provided, then follow the directions on the screen to dispense their test. Once dispensed, the test can be taken wherever the user feels most comfortable, although the kit must be returned to the drop box within two hours. Later, a courier collects the tests from the drop boxes and takes them to a laboratory in Claremont, California after which the results can be seen in the individual’s health records.

“I think it’s a good idea, but I honestly thought that there would be more than just one machine because I had a hard time trying to look for it,” said animal science major Mariana Lopez.

The quantitative polymerase chain reaction test is meant to provide quick and accurate results that users can expect to receive within 24 hours of placing their sample in the drop box.

Cynthia Haro | The Poly Post

Assistant Vice President for Government and External Affairs Frances Teves recognizes that testing is an important layer in the health and safety of the campus community in relation to COVID-19. CPP is one of the first campuses to use the vending machines provided by ShieldT3 using saliva-based kits and is set to pioneer this new self-service method.

“The vending machines allow us to provide that testing to individuals that are required to test because they are not vaccinated,” Teves said. “We really made testing available to any member of our campus community who is so inclined to test.”

The campus community is encouraged by the Safer Return Task Force to continue testing regularly, take advantage of the PPE equipment provided and attend the pop-up vaccination clinics. For more information, visit the

Feature image courtesy of Frances Teves.

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