COVID-19 testing for students – booking now open
A message from Debra Humphris, Vice-Chancellor sent by email 26 November 2020
I promised to provide with you more information about how we would implement the Government’s asymptomatic testing programme (i.e. for people showing no symptoms of Covid-19, also known as Lateral Flow Testing) once we had worked through the detail of how this would be delivered at the University.
I am now able to do this and hope that the following information on testing and also some links to more information about travel will help to support the safe return of students who choose to return home during the Christmas break.
Testing key points
- Asymptomatic testing will begin on 30 November and take place every day – apart from Sunday 6 December – until 8 December. Testing centres will be open 9am-5pm.
- Based on advice from our local Public Health Team we will initially be prioritising students who live in halls, as these are viewed as complex living environments that are more open to transmission. This is also where we have seen the majority of positive cases at the University. Alongside this group we will also seek to prioritise those students who consider themselves to be vulnerable or who may be planning to return home to family or supporters who may also be considered as being vulnerable.
- These asymptomatic tests are available to international students. However, please check the guidance and any restrictions in your home country, to ensure you meet their requirements on the type and timing of testing needed in order to travel. International airports including Heathrow and Gatwick are offering privately-run pre-departure testing services. International students who have already made plans to travel home for the winter break outside of the recommended the travel window’ are able to so although you may need to make alternative test arrangements.
- If you have tested positive for Covid-19 within the ten days before your booked asymptomatic test, you should not take this test because you will still have antibodies in your blood that could give you a false positive reading. If you have tested positive within the past ten days and have completed your ten days’ isolation, you do not need to be tested again and are safe to travel home between 3 – 9 December.
- Students are being asked to take two tests, with three clear days in between – so, for example, those who take a test on 30 November will be required to take another test on 4 December. It is important that you take both tests to be as confident as possible that you do not have Covid-19 before returning home.
- If you test negative after the second asymptomatic test, please travel as soon as you are able to do so, ideally avoiding public transport.
- If you test positive, then you will need to book a laboratory confirmed PCR test via the NHS Test and Trace app to confirm whether the test result is correct. If the test booked through the NHS confirms that you have Covid-19, you will need to self-isolate for ten days wherever you are staying during term time. When that ten days of isolation is over you can travel home.
- You can book the asymptomatic tests now at one of the University’s four test centres. Please ensure that you book both tests, and try to book the second test as close to your recommended travel day as possible. Please do not attend without an appointment.
- We have set up four test centres:
• Varley Halls – canteen, the Hub 1st floor
• City Campus – Edward street 1st floor
• Eastbourne – Gaudick gym
• Falmer Sports Centre
- The test will take approximately 10-15 minutes.
- Once you have taken each of the asymptomatic tests you will receive the test results on the same day via the NHS app. You will therefore need to download the NHS Test and Trace app in advance to get your results.
- Please bring your student id with you when you take your tests.
- When visiting the test centre please continue to follow all Covid-19 guidelines, wearing face coverings etc.
Please take a moment to look at this more detailed information including a short video of what to expect when you arrive at the test centre itself, and some helpful links to support your safe travel home. We have also lifted parking restrictions to support testing and pick-up off our students.
I appreciate that I have shared a lot of information with you in this email but you may still have further questions or some concerns. If you do, please do not hesitate to contact colleagues in your school or student support teams, and refer to our updated FAQ. More information about wider support that we can provide our students can be found on our wellbeing pages.
Professor Debra Humphris