Test and Trace at University of London

Information and guidance for the NHS Test and Trace service at the University of London

Page last updated: Friday 03 September 2021 at 14:52

Updated testing information

Get tested regularly

About 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 do not have symptoms but can still infect others. You should do a rapid test twice a week (every 3 to 4 days) to check if you have the virus. If people test positive and self-isolate, it helps stop the virus spreading.

Please remember that rapid lateral flow tests are only suitable for people who don’t have symptoms of coronavirus.

Collect self-test kits to use at home

The University of London asymptomatic test site now offers the LFD Collect service for:

  • University of London staff
  • SAS students
  • student residents in the intercollegiate halls

If you belong to one these groups, you can walk in and pick up your home tests from Stewart House reception (2 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DN) between the following times, Monday to Friday: 10:00-12:00 and 14:00-16:00.

The service is closed on weekends and public holidays.

You will receive a kit of seven self-test swabs and test devices along with instructions about how to perform the test yourself at home. View this instructional video.

Alternative ways to get tested

You can get tested using facilities operated by the NHS and/or local authority where you live. See the NHS website for details.

Reporting home test results

If you test at home, it is very important to report your results online to NHS Test & Trace whether positive, negative or void. Reporting results helps the NHS monitor the spread of the virus, combat the virus and save lives.

Important notice

Overview of Test and Trace at University of London

Where is Stewart House?

Stewart House is located at at 32 Russell Square WC1B 5DN, between Senate House and Russell Square garden.

If you are using public transport directions towards Senate House:

  • Senate House is a 20 minute walk from Kings Cross station and 15 minutes from Euston.
  • Goodge Street (Northern line), Russell Square (Piccadilly line) and Tottenham Court Road (Central and Northern lines) are under a 10 minute walk.
  • Euston Square (Metropolitan, Circle and District lines), Holborn (Central and Piccadilly lines) and Warren Street (Northern and Victoria lines) are all under a 15 minute walk away.

Are these tests compulsory?

Asymptomatic tests are not compulsory, but students and staff are strongly advised to test before returning to campus, then every 3 to 4 days whilst on campus.

Anyone who experiences symptoms of COVID-19 must follow government guidance about self-isolation and book a PCR test through nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119 in England and Wales, or 0300 303 2713 in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

How can I book a collection time?

You don't need to book. Just walk in during our opening times and we will give you your home test kit.

Should I be tested before I travel?

Yes. To minimise the risk to yourself and others when you travel to of from university you should follow guidance on social distancing and get a Covid-19 test before you travel.

Always follow the safer travel guidance for passengers

If you test positive for coronavirus, you will need to self-isolate for 10 days before travelling and to assist NHS Test and Trace with contact tracing. Your household will need to follow the guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus infection.

Find out more from the Office for Students.

What about international students?

The rules about entering the UK and requirements for self-isolation depend on whether you have travelled from or through countries on the government's red, amber, or green lists. The guidance can change at any time, so students are advised to refer to the latest information on the government website.

How many tests do I need? 

You should test twice a week, every week, spacing your tests 3 to 4 days apart.

What about commuter students?

All adults are advised to have regular tests, 3 to 4 days apart. As a commuter student, you can use the Student Central test site on days when you visit campus. You can also use your local community testing programme or order a pack of free tests online.

What safety measures are in place for me on site?

  • Enhanced and more frequent cleaning
  • Hand sanitiser available throughout the building
  • One-way systems supported by increased signage to manage the flow of people
  • Reduced capacities to allow for 2m social distancing
  • ‘No mask, no entry’ policy (unless medically exempt)

Frequently Asked Questions

These Frequently Asked Questions have been provided by the NHS and modified for use by the University of London. 

About the NHS Test and Trace programme at University of London

Why would I take the test? If positive I’ll have to self-isolate. Why would I take the risk?

Taking a test and getting a negative result will help reassure you and those you care about that it is unlikely you are infectious without knowing it, potentially endangering vulnerable people.

Can a negative test guarantee that I can’t infect others? What can I do to protect others as much as possible?

A negative test does not guarantee that you cannot infect others but it does show that you are unlikely to have coronavirus at the time you were tested.

If you have only just acquired Covid-19 infection, there is a small chance of testing negative because the virus has not reached high enough levels to be detected by this test (false negative). Two tests increases the chance of detecting coronavirus infection in its early stages. For that reason the best model is to take tests regularly, spaced 3 to 4 days apart. An early infection missed by one test may be detected by a later test.

If I am a close contact of someone who tested positive, should I get tested? Can I leave self-isolation to take the tests?

If you are currently a close contact of a case, you should be in self-isolation. The rapid tests offered by the University of London are not suitable for people who are close contacts. Do not leave self-isolation to pick up rapid lateral flow Covid-19 tests.

Is this test suitable for international travel purposes?

No, rapid lateral flow home tests provided by the NHS are not appropriate for allowing entry to the UK or other countries. Only tests offered by government-approved providers are accepted for international travel purposes in the UK.

What happens if I’m exempted from wearing a mask or face covering?

Appropriate face coverings need to be worn throughout your visit to Senate House, unless you have an age, health or disability reason for not wearing a face covering.

Please note a visor is not considered a face covering as they do not provide adequate protection alone.

How can you ensure that testing is accessible to disabled people?

Senate House, University of London, was identified as a suitable location for home test kit distribution because it has wheelchair access throughout the building. 

If you need any help or support, please contact us.

About lateral flow antigen tests

I’m confused: how many different types of tests are out there and what’s the difference between them?

There are two main types of test used to check if people currently have coronavirus.

The first type of test is known as a PCR test, and looks for the virus’s genetic material (Ribonucleic acid or RNA). These tests are currently more commonly used in the NHS for symptomatic testing. They require a laboratory to be processed. 

The second is called a lateral flow antigen test, which detects the coronavirus antigen that is produced when a person is infectious with coronavirus. These are quicker tests that produce a result within 30 minutes and do not require a laboratory to be processed. This is the test that is currently being offered in this programme at University of London.

Is the test safe?

Lateral flow tests are a validated technology, they are safe and the results are trusted. These tests have undergone rigorous testing and evaluation including at Public Health England’s research laboratories to ensure they are verified for use.

How accurate is the test? 

Lateral flow tests are very accurate (highly specific), which means that only a very small proportion of people who do not have coronavirus will receive a positive result (false positive). However, in mass testing, because so many people without symptoms are being tested there is still the possibility of getting a false positive result. That is why you should have a confirmatory PCR test to make sure the result is correct.

This also means that if you test positive on a lateral flow test, it is likely that you are infectious at that moment, whereas people testing positive on the PCR test could be in the less infectious early or late stages of disease.

Will it replace existing testing technology?

At present, the new testing technologies are intended to complement, not replace existing testing technology for individuals who have COVID-19 symptoms. The Government is testing a wide range of technologies which we hope can be deployed in time.

About the lateral flow test results

How will I get my results? 

You will receive a message with your results by text or email, depending on which details you provided when you registered.

Other than me, who will see my results?

A copy of your result will be sent to your GP. If you have tested positive, a notification will be sent to Public Health England (in England), Public Health Wales (in Wales), Health Protection Scotland (in Scotland), or the Public Health Agency (in Northern Ireland). 

University of London and NHS Test and Trace also takes the protection of your privacy very seriously. To find out how your personal data will be used when you register for a coronavirus test read the Government’s coronavirus privacy note.

What will happen if my lateral flow test result is negative?

You should continue to follow social distancing guidance.

What will happen if my lateral flow test result is positive?

Anyone whose test returns a positive result will still need to self-isolate in accordance with current government guidance, inform their university and seek a PCR test form the NHS This test is aimed at identifying COVID-19 infection in those without symptoms.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, please self-isolate and call 119 in England and Wales, or 0300 303 2713 in Scotland and Northern Ireland, to book a free diagnostic test. You can also use the NHS Covid-19 smartphone app to request a test, or book online.

How long will it take to get results? 

The test takes 30 minutes to process. You will then see your result immediately. After you upload your result to the NHS website, you will receive a confirmation text and email.

Do people I live with have to self-isolate if I test positive?


If you have a positive test result, your contacts will be traced by NHS Test and Trace. They will be required to self-isolate until 10 days after their most recent contact with you, unless they are participating in the specific trial of regular testing for contacts – in which case they will be given specific instructions on what they can and cannot do during this period.

If you have a positive antigen test but get a negative result on the PCR test, your contacts do not need to be traced.

If you have a negative or unclear (or “could not read sample”, “void”, “borderline” or “inconclusive”) result, your contacts do not need to be traced.

Will the test result affect my education?

If you return a positive test, it is essential to self-isolate for 10 days. Students are also required to follow university procedures. Please contact your personal tutor at the earliest opportunity.

You will be able to take part in online education while self-isolating.