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On-campus and home testing

Covid-19 testing and accessing campus

The Government has asked universities to conduct on-site testing to support students to return to university. This involves rapid, lateral flow device (LFD) Covid-19 tests for students. It is possible to spread the virus to other people, even if you don’t have any symptoms yourself, so while the test is voluntary, getting tested will minimise the risk of you infecting your friends, housemates, other students and staff. Home testing kits can also be ordered on the gov.uk website.

The test centre will be open as follows:

  • Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 8.30am and 1pm for drop-in testing - no need to book 

Please note, in line with Government advice, from 1 February any student accessing campus for face-to-face teaching or to access study space, and any staff member with permission to access campus, should be tested twice weekly. 

Testing plans for asymptomatic students

The Government has asked us to offer students two tests when they return to university and then two tests per week once they are on campus. Students are also asked to take a test before coming back to university, if there is a local facility to do so. You can find your local facility on the gov.uk website. 

Students on placement and who are not on campus should follow and participate in any testing regime in place at their placement. It is not necessary to travel to university to be tested before travelling to a placement, unless this is advised by the placement provider. 

About the test

When you arrive at the testing site, you’ll collect a registration card and register online before you take the test. Please see below for details of what you will need to complete this. To speed up the testing process, it is advised that you download the NHS Test & Trace app in advance and create an account, or create a log in on the NHS website

If you need help with the online registration, please ask the staff on site for further guidance. If you were tested at the site in December, you will still need to register, but your details will have been saved in the NHS portal, so this process will be quicker.

By attending the testing site and registering for a test, the Department for Health and Social Care will assume that you have provided your permission to participate in testing. BU and NHS Test & Trace take the protection of your privacy very seriously. To find out how your personal data will be used when you register for this Covid-19 test, you can read the Government’s Covid-19 privacy note.

The LFD test is simple and safe to use and you will administer it yourself. It involves taking a swab from your mouth and nose. Staff will be on hand to advise you, in case you have any questions during the test.

The testing process is managed by the NHS Test & Trace team. You can find out more about what the test involves in this short video

The test is free of charge.

You are strongly advised to get tested twice within three to five days, and twice-weekly if you are accessing campus. While the LFD test offers a rapid result with a reasonably degree of accuracy, it is not as sensitive as some other tests, as it has been designed to be used regularly. This is why you will need to be tested twice within three to five days.

The results

You will receive your result very quickly – typically it is two hours, but it can take up to 24 hours. You will receive it by email and/or text message. The test result will be sent to you by NHS Test and Trace and BU does not get sent the result. If you do not hear within this time, you can call 119 to ask for your results.

If you are accessing campus please remember to wear a face covering when here, keep space between you and others and carry out good hand hygiene.

If either of your results is positive, then you will need to self-isolate straight away and follow all NHS Test and Trace guidance - this includes obtaining a confirmatory PCR test. These tests are booked through the gov.uk website and are not available at BU's on-campus test facility, this test must be booked if you get a positive result. PCR test results are confimed in a lab and take longer to receive your results. You should also let us know that you have tested positive by contacting AskBU. You can find out more information on our website.

The usual self-isolation period after a positive test result is 10 days, so you will need to stay at home in your accommodation for this period of time.

Who sees the results

You will receive the results of your tests by text message and/or email.

Your GP will also receive a copy of your results and, if the result is positive, it will also be sent to Public Health England.

BU will not see your test results, but we ask that you tell us via AskBU if your result is positive, so that we can support you during your isolation period. Staff who test positive should follow the staff reporting process.

You can read more information about how your personal data is collected and used by NHS Test & Trace in this privacy notice. You can also read about how BU may use your personal data to support the NHS Test & Trace system on our website. If you have any questions or concerns regarding data protection or handling of data, please contact our Chief Data Officer.  

When and where to get tested

Our testing facility will be set up in Kimmeridge House on Talbot Campus. 

The testing facility will be open on the days and times listed above for students who have face-to-face teaching or have returned to the local area, or for staff with permission to attend campus. 

On your test days

If you have symptoms of Covid-19 on the day of your test, please do not come to campus. Please stay home, self-isolate and book a Covid-19 test via the NHS website.

Do not come for a test if you have previously tested positive within the last 90 days, as you are likely to have developed some immunity, and therefore a repeat LFD test is unlikely to be necessary within this period.

If you are self-isolating because someone you live with or you have been in close contact with has tested positive, please do not come to campus for a test. Please stay home and complete your self-isolation period (10 days in total).

When travelling to Talbot Campus for your test, please remember to behave in a responsible manner and consider other students, staff and bus passengers. Buses will be running between Lansdowne and Talbot campuses to help you get to Kimmeridge House. As per Government guidance, please make sure you follow the physical distancing measures and wear a face covering (unless you are exempt) while on the bus.

Please bring and wear a face covering while you are in the test facility, except when you are taking the Covid-19 test.

Please bring your student identification card with you. You will need to show this when you arrive at the sports hall. This is to ensure you are an eligible student and no data will stored by staff checking identification cards. If you have lost your ID card, please let us know on arrival at the testing centre.

Please also bring a mobile phone, tablet or other device with you, so that you can register for your test online. You will need to be able to scan a QR code, so the device will need a camera. If you don’t have a device that you can bring, you will be able to register on a BU device.

As above, please download the NHS Test & Trace app and create an account, or create a log in through the NHS website.

This short video walks you through the process and what you can expect: 

The test facility has been set up according to Government guidance. You can read the relevant risk assessment for the site.

Testing is voluntary 

It is your decision whether you wish to get tested, though we are strongly advising all members of the BU community to use the facility. It is not compulsory for students. However, testing will be able to provide reassurance that you will minimise the risk of infecting your friends, housemates, other students and staff and is strongly advised for anyone accessing BU's campuses.

Further information

If you have a question about the LFD tests, please take a look at our FAQs. You can also find more information on the Government website.