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Test centre times

Find out when our testing centres are open on our dedicated webpage.

Member of staff?

Please visit our staff testing webpage for further information.

Help grow our understanding of COVID-19 testing

Be a part of the study and find out more about how you can be involved by visiting our website.

Are you in private accommodation and have a positive case?

We have created a letter which lets you know what to do if there has been a positive case in your student household. You can view or download this letter below:

Positive case in household letter

Keeping COVID-19 safe - get tested regularly

Testing

Testing

Testing

Testing

Testing

Testing

All undergraduate and postgraduate (taught, research and INTO) students, who have returned to term-time accommodation (private or University residences), can now be tested twice a week, every week. It’s fast and easy.

If you are travelling to or from overseas, please visit our International Travel webpages for detail on the test you need to book.

REMEMBER, 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 at your nearest test centre:

Remember to bring your University ID to the test centre and continue to follow government guidance.

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 - Exeter - contact us by email, Cornwall - contact us by email

If your test is positive:

If you receive a positive LFD test result, you must self-isolate immediately and contact the Rapid Response Hub for your HALO/PCR test – this will help confirm your result.

Email - rapidresponsehub@exeter.ac.uk, or call: 0300 3034847

We’ll deliver this test to you and you’ll get the results within 24hrs.

If your result is negative, you’re free to come out of self-isolation.

If the HALO/PCR test confirms that you’re positive, you’ll need to continue self-isolating for 10 days. Your housemates will also need to self-isolate during this time.

So that we can support you during your isolation, please let us know if you test positive by completing the results form below:

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

More information on the support available to you if you test positive can be found on our dedicated self-isolation webpages.

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. 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

The frequently asked questions are arranged for the following areas:

Overview of testing for COVID-19 | UK travel when returning to University | Returning from overseas | Students on a placement | Students on Health Programmes only

Overview of testing for COVID-19 

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.

Government Guidelines confirm that those students who are undertaking training and study for the following courses should return to face to face learning as planned:

  • 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 (your university will notify you if this applies to you).

These students should be tested on arrival when they return to University, being tested twice, three days apart. See FAQS below for more detail. In-person teaching has either begun already for students on these courses, or will begin during the week commencing 11 January 2021.

All other students will study online and the Government’s advice is that you should not travel to the University or to your term-time accommodation. However, the Government recognises that some students may need to return earlier for other reasons, for example, students who do not have access to appropriate alternative accommodation, facilities, studying space, or that need to return for health or safety reasons. If you do not have a suitable or safe space away from your term time accommodation you can return to University, where essential staff continue to be available to support you. If you are returning to your Halls of Residence please let your reception team know.

From Monday 25 January, we will offer regular twice-weekly testing for all students who have returned to term-time accommodation, regardless of why you have done so. This means, if you are back in your University household, even if you do not currently have any face to face teaching, you are eligible to get regular testing – you will not be asked about your reasons for returning.

Whilst not mandatory, we recommend that you book two tests, every week – this will help us protect our University community and allow us to manage any infection and subsequent transmission.

If you live at university, you should not move back and forward between your permanent home and student home during term time.

The Department of Health and Social Care (Test and Trace) have consulted the British Islamic Medical Association, who have advised the following:

’Our position is that PCR and LFD tests do not invalidate the fast, which is the opinion of the vast majority of Islamic scholars.'

We therefore expect you to continue to complete twice weekly regular tests for COVID-19 if you have returned to your term-time accommodation. 

We are offering tests to all students in January and February 2021, using our existing test centres on the Streatham and Penryn campuses. We strongly recommend that all students book tests now for as soon as possible after you arrive in your term time accommodation and before starting any in-person teaching, or using study or social spaces on our campuses.

From Monday 25 January, we will offer regular twice-weekly testing for all students who have returned to their term-time accommodation, regardless of why you have done so. This means, if you are back in your University household, even if you do not currently have any face to face teaching, you are eligible to get regular testing – you will not be asked about your reasons for returning. Whilst not mandatory, we recommend that you book two tests, every week – this will help us protect our University community and allow us to manage any infection and subsequent transmission.

You can book your tests using the online booking forms in the relevant UK or international tab on this page. It is essential that you allow enough time to take your test(s) before your in person teaching begins or you need to use the campus study or social spaces.

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.

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.

Government Guidance for Students Returning to Campus in the 2021 Spring Term relating to this topic has been updated:

If a student has recently (within 90 days) tested positive for COVID-19, they are likely to have developed some immunity. If a student has had a positive coronavirus (COVID-19) test in the last 90 days through NHS Test and Trace and been recorded as a positive case on the national system, they do not need to be tested again within that time period if they are asymptomatic. They are still required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive case, even if this is within the 90 day window.

This means that if you have had COVID-19 within the past 90 days, you do not need to get tested provided you do not have any symptoms of COVID-19.

Please note this means that anyone arriving from overseas who wants to use the Test to Release scheme cannot do so if they have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days. 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.

In most cases you should have the results by text and / or email within 24 hours for our HALO tests and 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. Make sure you follow the COVID-19 rules for the tier that Exeter or Penryn is in at the time.

Positive case arriving from within the UK:

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 results form here. 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.

Positive ‘Test to Release’ result: If your HALO ‘Test to Release’ 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 testing wellbeing team will contact you to check you have the support you need during this time.

If you need to self-isolate, you’ll find details of all the support available to you on our dedicated self-isolation webpages.

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.

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.

Travel advice when returning to University

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.

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

Students on Health Programmes only

Please always follow the latest advice and guidance from the NHS organisation where you are on placement as these instructions may differ from the general University and public advice - because of additional NHS requirements which exist for staff and students who work and study in healthcare settings.

No, students studying health programmes do not need to undertake the LFD tests if you have had a positive PCR test in the last 90 days.

Please contact your Trust Occupational Health Department to get a confirmatory PCR test. Please isolate whilst you obtain this test and the result. If the PCR test is negative, you can come out of isolation and continue with placements and on campus learning. If the PCR test is positive you must isolate for 10 days and follow the isolation advice and stay out of placement for 14 days. The isolation starts either from day of start of symptoms or date of your COVID-19 test if asymptomatic.

Please contact the COVID-19 HR Absence Hub at the RD&E or your local Trust for a PCR test. If you are away from the University, please get a test at a Government testing centre. You must self-isolate until you have your result.

You must self-isolate for 10 days from the day after the date of first symptoms or date of test if asymptomatic. You must also inform the Trust OH department and the University via the self-declaration form (below) that you have tested positive. You will need to self-isolate for 14 days if you are hospitalised for COVID-19.

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

Self-declaration form - fill in the form here

Every time you use an LFD, you must log the result with the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust, even if the result is negative. If the result is positive, please get a confirmatory PCR test via the Trust and follow the guidance above.

Yes, this is vital. If you are coming back to campus, please start undertaking the twice weekly LFD tests and ensure you have a negative result before restarting placements.

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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.”