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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.

How to get tested

Covid-19 testing on campus

The University is continuing to provide free asymptomatic LF Covid-19 testing on campus.

  • When returning to Solent, you must arrange to arrive as close to your agreed return date as possible. Check your timetable.
  • Ahead of your return, please book two tests - one for as soon as you return, and a second three days later. These must both be before attending campus for the first time.
  • 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 for this lockdown period.
  • 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.
  • We’re making two tests available for staff and students per week for those who are regularly on campus. Please take into account your timetables and do not travel in just for a test.

Book your test

Frequently asked questions

When do I need to take a test?

Ahead of your return, use this website to book 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 for this lockdown period.

If you are attending campus more than three days per week, please ensure you book 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.

You should not travel to campus just to take a test.

How do I get a test?

You can book your free test here.

If you have any problems booking your test, please contact the Student Hub team (student.hub@solent.ac.uk) and they will make a booking on your behalf.

Staff should contact their People and Development business partner.

What is the testing procedure?

When you arrive at the test centre you will be welcomed by a member of the Solent team who will ask you to confirm you do not currently have any coronavirus symptoms or have tested positive in the last 10 days.

You’ll then be given a testing pack and some bar codes stickers, and be asked to register these codes on the NHS Test and Trace website using your mobile phone before taking your test.

What do I need to take with me?

When you attend your test please ensure you bring your mobile phone and that you have already downloaded the NHS Test and Trace app. If you don’t have your phone and the app with you, you will not be able to take your test.

Please also bring:

  • your student or staff card
  • your booking confirmation.
  • a face covering

And remember, do not attend if you have any coronavirus symptoms.

How long will it take?

You’ll be able to complete the full registration and testing process within your booked 20-minute slot.  

How do I get the results?

You’ll receive your results by email and/or text message from NHS Test and Trace. Please also let Solent know the result of your test by emailing covid.support@solent.ac.uk

What if I don't have a mobile phone or don't have the NHS Test and Trace app?

If you don't have a mobile phone, or if your phone is not able to install the NHS Test and Trace app, please arrive 10 minutes early for your test slot so a member of staff can assist you with the registration process.

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 book 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.

Visit our FAQ page for international students for more information

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.

What is the test?

The tests we are using are Lateral Flow Technology (LFT) tests - a point of care antigen test which uses a throat and/or nasal swab sample.  

How accurate are the results?

LFT 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.

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

You should book a test as soon as possible if you have not done so already. If you do not have any symptoms yourself, book on of the LFD tests at the University's asymptomatic test centre in the Sir James Matthews building. If you have symptoms, you should book a PCR test - the University's nearest test centre is in the Guildhall.

If you have had a test yourself and have tested negative, you can return home, taking into account the risk of transmission to your family. However, you must self-isolate at home for 14 days.

If you have had a test yourself and have tested positive, you must isolate for 10 days and then go home. 

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.

Is it possible for staff/students to have Covid-19 LFD tests to use at home (in the same way they are being rolled out for schools/colleges)?

Unfortunately, home testing is not available as an option to universities at present.

The current contract universities have with the Department for Health and Social Care / Department for Education is for administered LFD testing via a test centre in accordance with a strict Standard Operating Procedure that does not allow for deviation.

The Department for Education continue to advise us that consideration is being given to migrating to home testing for university staff and students, but at this point there is no change to the current position.

We are supporting significant sector-wide lobbying to effect this change as soon as possible given home testing is now being introduced more widely, the ongoing costs of operating LFD test centres, the convenience associated with home testing, and the escalation in vaccination rates.

In the meantime, we are also continuing to work closely with the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Saliva Testing Programme, in the hope of being able to roll out this weekly, home-testing programme to our staff and students in the near future.

Do I need to book into on-site testing at Solent 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.

On site testing is available to book here, however 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 as an alternative.

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.