Test and Trace - for partner Universities

Asymptomatic Test Centre at Student Central

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

Page last updated: Thursday 7 January 2021 at 2.30pm

The government has updated its advice to students in the light of the discovery of the more infectious strain of Covid-19 and the introduction of a new national lockdown.

In person teaching at the start of the new term will only be available for a very limited number of subjects, see below. The government’s strong advice is that other students should study remotely in their vacation accommodation wherever possible until at least Mid-February.

This includes students on practical courses not listed below.

Your institution will publish details of a staggered return for remaining students from that date. More detailed information will be published ahead of that date. Halls will be open from the usual dates for those students unable to remain in their vacation accommodation.

On returning to your place of study you should get a test at the UoL Test Centre as soon as possible and avoid all social contact until you receive the result. This is usually within the day.

Students returning on 4 January are restricted to the following practical subjects:

· Medicine & dentistry

· Subjects allied to medicine/health

· Veterinary science

· Education (initial teacher training)

· Social work

· Courses which require Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) assessments and or mandatory activity which is scheduled for January and which cannot be rescheduled

You should contact your Institution for more details.

The Covid-19 testing site at Student Central reopened on 5 January 2021

In the light of changes to government guidance on the staggered return to university this term, we have revised our booking system to only allow for bookings to made up to five days in advance. This is to ensure that when students receive details of their return date there are adequate spaces available and appointments have not been pre-booked by students who are not now returning at that date. If you have made a booking for a date more than five days in the future you should cancel it and re-book nearer to your return date. To support the flexibility needed, bookings can now be made up to one hour before the appointment time.

The testing site will provide tests for students returning to education in the new year from 5 January 2021. You can book one or two free tests using the button below. NHS Test and Trace advises you book two, the second three days after the first. 

The test is for students who do not have symptoms of COVID-19. 

Review the information about returning to your student accommodation after the winter break. You will be able to book a test here.

Important notice

Overview of NHS Test and Trace at University of London

Where can I get my test / where is Student Central?

The NHS Test and Trace programme at University of London is taking place at Student Central, University of London.

You are encouraged to walk or cycle, where possible. 

If you are using public transport:

  • Student Central 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.

When should I return to my university accommodation following the winter break?

The government has updated its advice to students in the light of the discovery of the more infectious stain of Covid-19 and the introduction of a new National Lockdown. 

In person teaching at the start of the new term will only be available for a very limited number of subjects, see below.  The government’s strong advice is that other students should study remotely in their vacation accommodation wherever possible until at least mid-February.

Your institution will publish details of a staggered return for remaining students from that date. More detailed information will be published ahead of that date. Halls will be open from the usual dates for those students unable to remain in their vacation accommodation. 

On returning to your place of study you should get a test at the UoL Test Centre as soon as possible and avoid all social contact until you receive the result. This is usually within the day.  

Students returning on 4 January are restricted to the following practical subjects:

  • Medicine & dentistry
  • Subjects allied to medicine/health
  • Veterinary science
  • Education (initial teacher training
  • Social work
  • Courses which require Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) assessments and or mandatory activity which is scheduled for January and which cannot be rescheduled

You should contact your Institution for more detail. 

When does the test site open?

The UoL testing site is now open.

Which partner Universities are eligible for the NHS Test and Trace programme at University of London?

  • ALRA
  • Amity University 
  • Cordon Bleu London
  • Institute of Ismaili Studies
  • National Centre for Circus Acts
  • Pearson College London
  • Plymouth Marjon
  • RADA
  • Regent’s University London
  • Royal College of Music
  • Sotheby’s Institute of Art

Students from institutes not listed above are advised to contact their own university for further information.

University of London students

If you are a University of London student (i.e. a student at a member institution), you can book your test here.

Are these tests compulsory?

No, tests are not compulsory as of 30 December 2020, but the Government strongly advises you to get a test before travelling or as soon as you return to your place of study. 

Students who experience COVID-19 symptoms must follow government guidance, including self-isolating immediately and booking a 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 test?

You must book your test online. You cannot be tested without having booked online in advance. To meet the challenges of the staggered return to onsite study, you can only book up to 5 days before the test. However you can now book up to an hour before the appointment.  

Instructions to book your test - partner University students

  1. Go to the booking form
  2. Choose a service and date
  3. Then, choose your selected date from the calendar 
  4. Choose your preferred time slot 
  5. Add your name and email address
  6. Provide additional details
  7. You will need to accept the privacy notice before you complete your booking

University of London students

If you are a University of London student (i.e. a student at a member institution), you can book your test here.

Help or support

Assisted testing is available for anyone who may require additional help with the process. Find out more or contact us before, or after, booking your test via email uol.trace@london.ac.uk 

Confirmation

Please remember to bring your email confirmation, your student/staff ID (and your halls ID if you live in intercollegiate halls) to Student Central. If you are having a second test we would recommend booking another test slot for 3 days after this initial test, if you haven’t already done so.

Should I be tested before I travel?

If possible yes.  To minimise the risk to yourself and others on your return to university you should follow local restriction tier guidance on social contact. If you are living in an area which is offering the use of local community testing programme, you should seek to get tested before your return. 

If you are unable to access mass asymptomatic testing before travelling, you should follow the safer travel guidance for passengers band get a test as soon as possible after you arrive

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?

UK Government  advice for international students travelling from overseas for the Spring term is to consider whether you need to travel to the UK at this time, particularly if your course does not require you to be on campus from 4 January. You should consider delaying if travel arrangements can be rearranged without undue costs.

International arrivals must complete a passenger locator form on arrival in the UK, and passengers travelling from a country not on the exemption (travel corridor) list will need to self-isolate in their accommodation for 10 days. You should only leave your accommodation in limited circumstances and follow guidance on how to self-isolate when travelling to the UK (England only).

There is the option to take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test from a private testing provider five days from when you were last in a location not on the Travel Corridor list. A negative result releases you from the need to continue to self-isolate. Read the Coronavirus (COVID-19): Test to Release for international travel guidance. Look at A list of providers of tests for Test to Release.

How many tests do I need? 

You can book one or two free tests. NHS Test and Trace advises you book two, the second three days after the first.

What if I have booked a test and now need to rebook?

You can cancel your existing test and rebook after your revised date of return. You may wish to avoid rebooking until you have a confirmed return date. 

I have remained in London all through the break. Should I get a test?

Yes. Testing at the UoL site will begin on 5 January.  

What about commuter students?

You should work from home until advised otherwise. If you need to access on site resources such as the  library, you must take a test and have a negative result  test before going on site.

I cannot study in my vacation accommodation. Am I forbidden from returning to my term time accommodation?

No. The government’s strong advice is that you remain in vacation and study remotely from there if possible. If you cannot study from there, or personal circumstances prevent you from staying there, you should have a test immediately on returning to your term time accommodation. Unless you are studying one of a limited number of subjects you will continue to work remotely.

Halls will be open for returning students. 

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)

Partner Universities: Free asymptomatic Covid-19 test

Use our online booking form to book your free asymptomatic Covid-19 test. You cannot receive a test without having booked in advance.

Book your free test

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 is the NHS advising students to get tested even if they are asymptomatic but telling other people to only get tested if they have symptoms?

The lateral flow testing programme does not replace current testing policy for those with symptoms. This is a new technology to identify individuals who don’t have any symptoms, but who may be asymptomatic carriers and therefore could still spread the virus to others. 

Will the existing testing service remain open?

The Government’s normal testing service for symptomatic individuals will continue. This is the foundation of their testing strategy. It is the most effective way to know if you are positive and need to self-isolate. Even if you take part in Lateral Flow testing (this NHS Test and Trace programme at University of London), if you have symptoms, you should continue to book a test via nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119 in England and Wales, or 0300 303 2713 in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Can my family get tested too?

No, this test is aimed at students and staff in universities. Family members of staff and students are not eligible.

If family members experience COVID-19 symptoms, they must follow standard government guidance, including self-isolating immediately and booking a test through  nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119 in England and Wales, or 0300 303 2713 in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Why should I get tested if I have no symptoms?

Lateral flow test is specifically designed to detect the level of virus in individuals who do not experience and show any symptoms (they are asymptomatic), but who could still be infectious and pass the virus to others. By taking a test, you will help to stop the spread of the virus, protect other people and save lives. 

Why should I take the test?

The January/February tests are designed to support a safe return to education for students and staff and to limit the spread of Covid-19. Testing will help to keep you and the people you live with safe.

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

A negative test does not guarantee that you cannot infect your family members, friends or loved ones but it does show that you are unlikely to have coronavirus at the time you were tested. 

We strongly recommend taking at least one test. 

If you have only just become infected, 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 2 tests, three to five days apart before travelling home. Make sure to stay socially distanced from other people after your first test as this will help you avoid catching coronavirus after that point. You must travel within 24 hours after you receive a 2nd negative test result. You do not need to isolate from your family members, friends or loved ones when you get home.

If you are only planning to take one test you should travel within 24 hours of a negative result. 

If I am a close contact to 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. This test is meant for people who do not show symptoms and who are not close contacts of confirmed cases. 

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 testing process at Student Central, University of London

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

Appropriate face coverings need to be worn throughout the testing process whilst in the testing facility at Student Central, University of London, apart from when guided by a testing professional to remove it when your sample is taken.

Should you have age, health or disability reason for not wearing a face covering, please wear a visor to the site and alert the site manager about your situation as soon as you arrive at site so that they can take additional precautions.

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

How can you ensure that testing is accessible to disabled people, including those who are visually impaired and/or have a hearing impairment?

Assisted testing is available for anyone who may require additional help with the process – including assistance with the swabbing of their throat or nose, or help with reading instructions. If an assisted test is required, please inform staff upon arrival, when completing registration.

Student Central, University of London, was identified as a suitable location for the testing centre because it has wheelchair access throughout the building. 

If you need any help or support, please contact us before, or after, booking your test via email uol.trace@london.ac.uk 

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 no longer need to isolate but you must continue to observe current Tier guidance.

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

Anyone whose test returns a positive outcome 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. 

How long will it take to get results? 

Typically test results are available in the day of testing. If you haven’t received a result after 48 hours, please call 119 in England and Wales, or 0300 303 2713 in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

What happens if my sample cannot be read?

If we can’t read the sample it means it’s not possible to say if you were infectious when the test was done.

You’ll need to take the same tests again as soon as possible. If this is the second time you’ve got this result, you’ll need to book a different test – follow the advice you were given when you were tested or go to www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test

You only need to self-isolate if: 

  • you have or get symptoms of coronavirus – you’ll need to book a different test at www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test 
  • someone you live with tests positive, or has symptoms and has not been tested yet  
  • you’ve been traced as a contact of someone who tested positive  
  • the test you provide identifies you as being asymptomatic. 

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

Yes.

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 14 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.