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Covid-19 testing information and FAQs

It is essential that every student returning to their university term-time accommodation or attending campus for lessons, study or assessments is tested twice-weekly for Covid-19.

Returning to campus 

  • When returning to Solent, you must arrange to arrive as close to your agreed return date as possible.
  • Please take a rapid Covid-19 test at home, before you travel. It's free, quick and easy!
  • Before attending campus for the first time, please take two tests - one as soon as you return and a second three days later. 
  • Once you have received your negative tests, please make sure you continue to do everything you can to prevent infection, including following all Government health and safety advice.
  • If you receive a positive test, or have been asked to self-isolate, please let us know by emailing covid.support@solent.ac.uk so we can make sure you are getting all the support you need.
  • You should report your test result to NHS Test and Trace.
  • We also strongly encourage students to be vaccinated as soon as possible. You can book your vaccination slot or find a walk-in centre on the NHS website.

How to get a test

Frequently asked questions

When do I need to take a test?

Ahead of your return, you must take two tests, three days apart, before attending campus for the first time.

You should not attend campus until you have received a negative result.

Once you have received your negative test, please make sure you continue to do everything you can to prevent infection, including following all Government health and safety advice.

If you are attending campus more than three days per week, please ensure you take two LFD tests per week, three days apart.

If you are attending campus less frequently, please continue to take one weekly LFD test ahead of coming onto site.

How do I get a test?

You now have three routes to testing:

If you have any problems with getting a test, please contact the Student Hub team: student.hub@solent.ac.uk

Staff should contact their People and Development business partner.

Do I have to take a test?

It is essential that every student returning to student accommodation or attending campus for lessons, study or assessments is tested for Covid-19.

If you are attending campus more than three days per week, please ensure you take two LFD tests per week, three days apart.

If you are attending campus less frequently, please continue to take one weekly LFD test ahead of coming onto site.

Do I still need to be tested if I have been vaccinated?

Yes, you should continue to be tested if you have been vaccinated, as there is still a risk you may get or spread the virus.

If I have been vaccinated, is there a risk of false positive results when I take a test?

No, there is no risk of this.

What if I'm an international student or planning to travel abroad?

Before travelling to the UK, students should:

  • Check entry requirements and restrictions that have been introduced due to coronavirus (Covid-19) that have been introduced due to coronavirus (Covid-19).
  • Ensure that prior to departing for England they have proof of a negative coronavirus (Covid-19) test result taken within three days of departure to their transport operator. More information on pre-departure testing is available.
  • Complete a passenger locator form.
  • Note that all inbound UK travel corridors have been temporarily suspended to protect against new international variants. All passengers are now required to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival. More information is available on gov.uk.
  • Confirm whether you are travelling from a red-list country. There are different arrival procedures for individuals travelling from a red-list country and individuals travelling from a country not on the red-list.

If students are travelling from areas which are undergoing surge testing, different public health guidance applies and they should ensure they get tested before they travel. If they test positive, their PCR test will be sent to a laboratory for genomic sequencing and they must not travel. They must isolate with their household immediately and follow the guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus infections. Public Health England will carry out enhanced tracing of close contacts of confirmed cases of the variants.

What if my test is positive?

If your LFD test is positive for Covid-19 you should book a confirmatory PCR test as soon as possible and you and your household group must self-isolate until you receive that result.

If your PCR test is positive, you and your household group must self-isolate for 10 days in your current residence.

If you are self-isolating, please let us know by emailing covid.support@solent.ac.uk so that we can make sure you are supported during this time.

How accurate are the results?

LFT (Lateral Flow Technology) tests are highly specific, which means that only a small proportion of people who do not have coronavirus will receive a positive result (false positive).

Although they give a result much more quickly, LFT tests are not as sensitive as tests offered through other channels (e.g. PCR tests available in other channels like Local Testing Sites). This is mitigated by testing people regularly to increase the chance of any infection being picked up.

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

How many tests should I take?

The routine testing frequency for the LFD to ensure active case finding is twice weekly ie, three days apart. 

Please ensure you take your first test as soon as possible after your return to campus or your student accommodation and the second three days later.

If I have tested positive recently, do I still need to take a test?

If you have recently (within 90 days) tested positive for Covid-19, you are likely to have developed some immunity. If you have 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, you do not need to be tested again within that time period, as long as you are asymptomatic.

If you have recently tested positive for Covid-19, please email covid.support@solent.ac.uk.

I am a close contact of somebody who has tested positive, what do I do?

From Monday 16 August, people who are double jabbed or aged under 18 will no longer be legally required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive Covid-19 case.

However, you are still advised to book a PCR test if you have symptoms.

Find out more on the Government's website >

Can I return to university before my teaching starts?

Please arrange to arrive as close as possible to the date agreed with your manager or course leader.

Will it suffice if I'm already being tested as part of an alternative testing scheme (eg, Government home test kits, apprentices/NHS employees or as part of the roll out of home testing for schools reopening)?

It is essential that all staff and students returning to their accommodation or campus are tested for Covid-19, and that they are then tested twice a week if attending campus regularly.

If you are part of an alternative testing programme that can ensure you are getting twice-weekly negative tests, we are happy for you to use those results.

Please remember - if you test positive from a home testing LFD test, you will need to get a confirmatory PCR test.

Should I take a Covid-19 test before I travel to university?

Government guidance states that where available, students should access local community testing programmes to get a lateral flow device (LFD) test before they travel to university. Once back on campus, please follow the University's twice-weekly testing guidance.