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Please visit our Rapid Response Hub for further information.

Key information for staff testing in spring term

Testing

Testing

Testing

Testing

Testing

Testing

We are offering regular, free COVID-19 tests to all colleagues who are already working on, or plan to return to work on our campuses.

Tests are provided at the test centres in the Sports Halls on our campuses. Please read the information below and choose the booking form that applies to you.

If you are an international arrival, please expand the ‘Arriving from overseas’ information below.

Please note, if you experience any COVID-19 symptoms however mild, you must follow a different test process to ensure we can prevent onward transmission. Book your test through our Rapid Response Hub.

Book your test:

Book your tests at our campus testing centres using the relevant buttons below:

If you are arriving to the University from an international location, you are now required to self-isolate (quarantine). You should also review the guidance on Entering the UK which may affect your return.

To support you during this time, we are offering the Government’s ‘Test to Release’ scheme which will allow you to shorten your self-isolation time by taking a HALO test at one of our campus test centres.

Test to Release – how to book

The University will be offering a HALO test to colleagues under the Government’s new ‘Test to Release’ scheme at our campus test centres in Exeter and Penryn.

The earliest you can take a test is 5 full days after you have left a place not on the travel corridor list. Students and staff can book a test online using the links below. Your test will need to be booked prior to travelling and you will be required to record this test booking on your passenger locator form.

The Test to Release scheme is not available to anyone who has been in or through any country that is subject to a travel ban in the 10 days before arrival in England. Please check that the country you are travelling from, or any country you are travelling through, is not on the travel ban list before booking a test for Test to Release.

If your HALO result is negative:

If your test returns a negative result then you are no longer required to self-isolate and you can consider that you do not pose a high risk and begin working on campus. Please continue to follow our COVID-19 secure measures around campus and ensure you follow the Government guidance on hands, face, space to help us protect our community. Please then consider booking two of our Lateral Flow Device tests every week, to protect yourself and the University community. To book your ongoing rapid Lateral Flow Device tests, choose either Exeter or Cornwall.

If your HALO result is positive:

If your test returns a positive result then you will need to continue your self-isolation for an additional 10 days from the day you took your test. Our staff wellbeing team will contact you to ensure you have the support you need during this time. Information on wellbeing services can also be found in the FAQs online.

Please remember to bring your University ID to the test centre with you and continue to follow government guidance.

A mobile phone number is required to complete registration and you’ll receive test results to the number you provide. If you do not have a mobile phone, please use the number of a trusted person. If you have any special requirements or would like to discuss accessibility concerns, please contact the team before booking your test so that they can advise you on what to do.

If your test is positive:

If you receive a positive LFD test result, this triggers the legal requirement for you to self-isolate for 10 days from when you tested positive. Your household will also need to self-isolate, so you should inform anyone you live with as soon as you test positive. You should expect to be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to establish your whereabouts and close contacts in the previous 48 hours to the test.

We also ask that you let us know if you test positive by completing the relevant results form:

Exeter - fill in the form online
Cornwall - fill in the form online

This is so that we can provide you with any support you may need as quickly as possible and take action such as informing our accommodation team that your household is in isolation. You can also find details of all the support available to you if you test positive within our COVID-19 FAQs.

If your test is negative:

If you have not been on campus before you should try to get two tests before you arrive. If both tests return negative results then you can consider that you do not pose a high risk and can begin working on campus, with the approval of your line manager. Please continue to follow our COVID-19 secure measures around campus and ensure you follow the Government guidance on hands, face, space to help us protect our community. Please continue to book two tests every week, to protect yourself and the University community.

Frequently asked questions

Overview of testing for COVID-19 in the spring term

All colleagues should now work from home, with the exception of those who are required to work on campus, or who cannot work from home for any reason. For any colleagues who do need to work on campus, the University will be offering free COVID-19 testing to help keep you, your family, and our local communities safe.

Free tests will be offered to all colleagues who are returning to work on our campuses or are working in face to face situations in January and February 2021. From Monday 25 January, all colleagues who are working on campus will be eligible to get tested twice a week, every week, for COVID-19, using the Government approved Innova Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests. We are using our existing test centres on the Streatham and Penryn campuses to do this. We strongly recommend that all staff who will be teaching or working on campus book two tests three days apart, preferably before you begin work on campus. You can book your tests using the online booking forms in the above Remained in the UK tab, on this page. 

There are a number of COVID-19 measures in place at our campus testing centres to make sure that everyone remains safe when getting a test. Our campuses are currently much quieter than usual, so you will find it straightforward to social distance on campus when travelling to the test site. 

Everyone that enters a test centre is required to wear a mask, socially distance and sanitise hands at regular check points. 

In the test centre there is strict adherence to the Standard Operating Procedure (as set down by Department for Health and Social Care) and stringent infection prevention measures.  All of our staff working at the test centres undergo thorough training on the testing process and COVID-19 safety measures. 

You will do your test in a self-contained booth with someone to guide you through a perspex screen. After you leave the booth is cleaned using antiviral spray to a high standard.

In most cases you should have the results by text and / or email within 24 hours for our HALO tests and is likely to be sooner for LFD tests. If you test negative for either HALO or LFD testing, you can consider it safe to access shared teaching, study and social spaces. Please continue to follow our COVID-19 secure measures around campus and ensure you follow the Government guidance on hands, face, space to help us protect our community. Please continue to book two tests every week, to protect yourself and the University community.

If you have taken an LFD test or tests, if either test returns a positive result then an additional HALO test will also be offered and you can book this through our Rapid Response Hubs in Exeter and Penryn. If that is positive, you will need to self-isolate for 10 days and our testing wellbeing team will contact you to check you have the support you need during this time. Please self-isolate and minimise your contact with others between a positive LFD test and your confirmatory HALO test.

You’ll also find details of all the support available to anyone who tests positive on our Coronavirus Advice for Staff website.

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 book to take the same test again as soon as possible.

You do not need to self-isolate if your sample cannot be read. You only need to self-isolate if:

  • you have or get symptoms of coronavirus
  • 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.

No. Please do not return to University if anyone in your household has any symptoms of COVID-19 (a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss of teste/smell) or has tested positive for COVID-19. You are required to complete 10 days in self-isolation from the date anyone in your household returns a positive test result. Even if you test negative for COVID-19 yourself, you must not travel until you have completed this ten day period in self-isolation. If you subsequently develop symptoms of COVID-19, you must self-isolate for 10 days from when symptoms start. If you develop any symptoms of COVID-19 while you are away from University, please seek a test through the Government testing service.

Once you have completed your time in self-isolation, you may return to campus paying careful attention to safe travel guidance and the restrictions in your local area.

It is possible for some COVID-19 tests to detect residual virus for some time after you have recovered from COVID-19 infection. This means that, even if you have recovered from COVID-19 and are no longer infectious, there is a possibility that you may return a positive COVID-19 test result.

Previous Government advice was that you should not get a PCR or LFD test if you have already tested positive in the past 90 days.  This advice still applies to PCR tests.  However since 27 January 2021 this advice no longer applies to the LFD tests that the University is currently using as part of the mass testing programme for students and staff. This means that if you have had COVID-19 within the last 90 days, you should still book two LFD tests a week to protect yourselves and our community.

The original advice remains in place for PCR tests such as those offered by the University’s supplier HALO. The HALO PCR test may pick up residual virus up to 90 days after an individual has had COVID-19 and recovered. Therefore anyone arriving from overseas who wants to use the Test to Release scheme (which requires a PCR test) cannot do so if they have  tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 3 months, If you do get tested and test positive, you will be required to self-isolate for an additional 10 days from the date you were tested thereby extending your time in self-isolation significantly.

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 again, even if you have recovered from COVID-19 previously, please arrange a test immediately through our Rapid Response Hub.

We understand that circumstances may occasionally require you to change or cancel a booking for a test. If you need to do so, please follow these steps:

  • If you have booked an LFD test after travelling to University from within the UK or after you have remained in your term time accommodation over the winter break, then retrieve your booking confirmation email which comes from “COVID-19 January Testing.” In this e-mail there is a link to ‘Change your appointment.’ If you click this link, you can change or cancel your appointment.
  • If you have arrived in the UK from overseas and booked a HALO PCR test as part of the ‘Test and Release’ scheme, please contact the Rapid Response Hub to change your booking.

Yes. It can take several weeks for the vaccine to offer maximum protection from COVID-19. Furthermore, we don’t yet know whether individuals who have been vaccinated could still transmit COVID-19 disease to others. Therefore, any student or staff member currently using our campuses should to continue to get tested twice per week. Continue to book your tests through our testing pages for students or staff as appropriate.

No. The Lateral Flow Device test used in the University mass testing programme detects a different protein of the virus than the one encoded in the vaccine. The HALO PCR tests used for testing symptomatic cases detect different genes of the virus than the one included in the vaccine. There is no possibility that the vaccine will cause you to test positive for COVID-19 if you have not contracted the virus.

UK travel when returning to University for the spring term

Government guidance is that you should not travel abroad unless you have a legally permitted reason. In exceptional circumstances, for example, the death of a relative, should you need to travel internationally, you must check the rules in place at your destination – you can do this on the Government website.

Any staff and students that urgently need to travel overseas during the spring term can make their own arrangements to acquire a private test before travelling. The Arora Hotel Group offer a ‘Test and Rest’ service, which allows students and staff to book a PCR test and hotel stay at UK airports Heathrow or Gatwick. Upon arrival at the airport, you can get tested and are then booked overnight into an airport hotel to relax until you receive your test results the following day. On receipt of a negative test result, you can then proceed to take your flight.

Costs and further details of this service can be found on the Arora Group: University Test and Rest.

Before travelling back to campus, you should read the Government’s safer travel guidance for passengers. There are some key features to consider, including:

  • make sure you review the latest government guidance for local restriction tiers by area
  • if possible, travel using private transport rather than public transport
  • if travelling in a private vehicle, avoid car sharing with anyone from outside your household or support bubble
  • wearing a face covering while travelling unless exempt, especially if using public transport
  • where possible, keep a safe distance from people from other households when travelling
  • wash or sanitise hands regularly
  • avoid the busiest routes where possible, as well as busy times like the rush hour
  • download the NHS COVID-19 app before you travel, if possible, and check in where you see official NHS COVID-19 QR code posters
  • if using public transport, book ahead wherever possible to let transport providers know you will be using the service
  • please be aware of the latest Travel Advice for Trains from South Western Railway if you wish to travel by rail.

Returning from overseas for the spring term

If you are travelling to Exeter or Penryn from overseas for the spring term, there are a few important things to consider. We advise you to check the government’s ‘Travel advice: coronavirus (COVID-19)’ guidance and also the guidance on ‘Entering the UK’ to ensure you are able to plan your return:

  • You should not travel if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been a close contact of someone with COVID-19.
  • UK Government COVID-19 regulations mean that many travellers arriving in the UK will need to self-isolate for 10 days upon arrival. There are a number of territories and countries with no self-isolation requirement for travellers arriving in the UK. This list is regularly updated and you should continue to check this on the Government website. The Government has introduced a new ‘Test and Release’ scheme which allows arrivals to the UK to get tested five days after arrival in the UK and leave self-isolation early if they test negative. See our ‘what is the Test and Release scheme for international travel and how can I use it’ FAQ for more details.
  • You should be aware that the travel corridor status of your country might change while you are overseas. Make sure you keep checking the Government website to keep up to date with any changes that affect you.
  • Some countries may impose travel bans or choose to limit flights to and from the UK as the COVID-19 situation changes. Please be sure to check the travel advice of the Government you live before making travel plans.
  • You should read the Government’s safer travel guidance for passengers before departing.
  • Everyone travelling to the UK must complete a Passenger Locator Form prior to your departure. You will be required to show proof of a completed Passenger Locator Form at the UK border. You can complete it up to 48 hours before you enter the UK.

If you need to self-isolate on arrival in the UK, please see our Coronavirus Advice for Staff for frequently asked questions and information about self-isolation.

British and Irish nationals, or third country nationals with residence rights in the UK, can enter the UK after having been in one of the countries with a travel ban to the UK but they are required to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival. There are no exemptions to self-isolation for these travelers. If you are currently residing in a country with a travel ban to the UK, you should avoid travel to the UK if possible and only travel if absolutely necessary.

Non-EEA national visitors, and EEA nationals without a right to reside in the UK, will be denied entry to the UK if, in the 10 days before their arrival to the UK, they have been in or travelled through countries with a travel ban to the UK.

People who share a household with anyone self-isolating after returning from the countries with a travel ban to the UK now also need to self-isolate until 10 days have passed since anyone they live with was last in one of these countries. These enhanced measures are in place in order to prevent the spread of new strains of COVID-19 into the UK. This means that if you need to travel to the UK from a travel ban country and need to self-isolate in your student accommodation, your whole household would need to also self-isolate for 10 days with you. Those arriving from these countries cannot cut short their time in self-isolation by using the Test to Release scheme.

On 27 January, the Government announced that anyone arriving in the UK from countries with a travel ban to the UK will soon need to self-isolate in a hotel immediately after arriving in the UK, at their own expense. The Government have yet to publish full details of this scheme and we’ll update these pages with further advice when we do so.

If you test positive for COVID-19 or need to self-isolate with your household, you will need to self-isolate and will not be able to travel on a plane or other form of public transport. It is important to note that travel insurance may not cover your costs if you cannot take a pre-booked flight owing to a positive COVID-19 test.

You are therefore advised to book refundable, cancellable, or flexible travel options where possible to make sure that you do not lose out if you are required to self-isolate. Check the terms and conditions of any bookings carefully and, if you do have insurance, check to see whether you are covered in the case of a positive test result.

Please be aware of the latest Travel Advice for Trains from South Western Railway if you wish to travel by rail.

Before travelling, you should read the Government’s safer travel guidance for passengers. There are some key features to consider, including:

  • if possible, travel using private transport rather than public transport
  • if travelling in a private vehicle, avoid car sharing with anyone from outside your household or support bubble
  • wearing a face covering while travelling unless exempt, especially if using public transport
  • where possible, keep a safe distance from people from other households when travelling
  • wash or sanitise hands regularly
  • avoid the busiest routes where possible, as well as busy times like the rush hour
  • download the NHS COVID-19 app before you travel, if possible, and check in where you see official NHS COVID-19 QR code posters
  • if using public transport, book ahead wherever possible to let transport providers know you will be using the service

If you are planning to Exeter from overseas, you can find details of routes to airports and travel hubs on our Planning Your Travel webpage. Travel plans are aimed at students travelling to Exeter / Cornwall from major airports, but staff may also find them useful. Also on this website, you can find details of local taxi companies that will provide airport transfer at reasonable rates if you feel more comfortable travelling in a private vehicle. If travelling from the airport, it is important to plan your travel carefully in advance and adhere to the safe travel guidance outlined above.

If you are entering the UK from a country not on the travel ban list, you may wish to utilise the Test to Release Scheme, to potentially shorten your time in self-isolation. Please note the Test to Release Scheme does not replace the separate Government day 2 and day 8 tests, which still must be booked and taken.

The scheme is not available to anyone who has been in or through any country that is subject to a travel ban in the 10 days before arrival in England. Please check that the country you are travelling from, or any country you are travelling through, is not on the travel ban list before booking a test for Test to Release.

The scheme is voluntary and applies to those self-isolating in England only. 

Find out more on our dedicated Test to Release information page

If you need to self-isolate on arrival in the UK, please see our Coronavirus Advice for Staff for frequently asked questions and information, including specific advice for staff who need to self-isolate.

Yes. All international travel corridors to England closed and you must now self-isolate after arriving in the UK, even if you have tested negative for COVID-19. Most people travelling to the UK from abroad will also need proof of a negative coronavirus (COVID-19) test result to enter the country. You need to have taken the test in the 3 days before you travel.

You can read the full Government Guidance for further details.

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Disclaimer - LFD Testing

“A negative test result provides information about the level of the virus at one point in time. There is, however, the potential for the test result to be a false negative and that an individual is infected with Covid-19, but not yet have a high enough level of the virus for this to be registered by the LFD test. There is also the potential for an individual to become infected in the hours or days after taking a LFD test. It is therefore extremely important that every individual:

Follows the latest UK Government rules on social distancing; and Maintains sensible control measures such as 2 metre social distancing, and “hand, face, space” (washing your hands, wearing a face covering, and maintaining social distance with those outside your household).
The test is an additional control to be used in conjunction with the other measures.
Due to the potential for the LFD test to return an incorrect result to an individual, the University of Exeter cannot guarantee that the LFD test result an individual receives is accurate. Consequently, the University of Exeter does not make any warranties or representations as to the accuracy or completeness of the LFD Test and under no circumstances will the University of Exeter accept liability for any loss, damage, liability or expense incurred or suffered by an individual which results from or is in connection with an individual having taken an LFD test provided by the University of Exeter.”