A scientist carrying out a test
Help fight Covid-19

Free NHS test available now at University of Cumbria

 

University of Cumbria is working with the Government’s Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to host on campus testing. We believe this enables us to directly support the fight against the transmission of Covid-19 for our students, our staff and our wider communities.

 

The Universities Minister has written to Vice Chancellors and asked them to increase their availability of testing to allow for twice weekly testing for all staff and students who are using university campuses. The university will continue to host NHS Test and Trace facilities on our campuses in Lancaster, Carlisle and Ambleside, giving our students and staff who do not have symptoms the opportunity to participate in regular Lateral Flow antigen tests.

 

Lateral flow tests can produce quick results and can be used to identify Covid-19 infection in those without symptoms (asymptomatic). It is hoped that running these tests across a large population will result in faster detection of cases, and therefore more effective prevention of outbreaks.

 

Whilst we are still unable to offer a testing centre at our London campus, students and staff can access local community testing

 

Everyone is strongly encouraged to take part in this new year programme of testing. This will continue to help prevent the spread of the virus and break the chain of its transmission as we all look towards more positive times in 2021.

  

Asymptomatic testing information 

  • The tests are freely available for all staff and students 
  • All students and staff who need to be on campus for the majority or all of the week, are required to get tested twice a week – be that every Monday and Thursday, or every Tuesday and Friday, or an equivalent pattern.
  • Where attendance on campus is less frequent, weekly testing may be sufficient. For example, if you are on campus one or two consecutive days a week, then a test at the start of the first day on campus each week would be appropriate.
  • The tests are only for those with NO symptoms 
  • Part of NHS national test and trace programme 
  • To speed up your testing experience, we would encourage you to register for an NHS test and trace account. You will be given the option to do this when you register for your test on campus.
  • Tests should be booked in advance using the book a test button below 

 

We have reviewed our testing hours following the changes announced in early January. If you are not able to get a test on the day that you require one please look for a suitable alternative, ensuring that your second test is as close to 3 days after your first as possible (it can be up to 5).  If you cannot access testing when you need it, please e-mail testing@cumbria.ac.uk with the date and location you require a test and why, and whether it is the first or second test. 

 

Book a test

 

Please note, these tests are only for people who have NO symptoms, if you have symptoms of Covid-19 you must seek a test through the NHS immediately.  

Do I have to take a test?

We encourage you to stay at home until we have confirmed to you the date of your first required attendance on campus, unless there is a compelling reason for you to visit campus before then which are outlined below*. Consult Blackboard and your university email for the latest advice.

From Monday 1 February, all students and staff who need to be on campus for the majority or all of the week, are required to get tested twice a week – be that every Monday and Thursday, or every Tuesday and Friday, or an equivalent pattern.

Where attendance on campus is less frequent, weekly testing may be sufficient. For example, if you are on campus one or two consecutive days a week, then a test at the start of the first day on campus each week would be appropriate. 

Book a test here

If you are showing any symptoms or have tested positive, you must not travel until you have been tested and/or advised that you are safe to travel by NHS Test & Trace.

If you have to self-isolate for any reason and this means you cannot travel back to campus to resume your face-to-face classes or placement when they are due to start, we will work with you to support you completing your self-isolation at your home address and then make safe arrangements to travel back to campus.

*Students allowed on campus before 25 January:

  • Students on practical courses of study in Health-related subjects and Teacher Training
  • Students on courses where a professional body requirement has to be met through face to face study or assessment in January
  • Research students requiring access to facilities – but if you can continue your research from home, you should do so
  • Students with a compelling reason to be on campus. This includes:
    • Students without access to appropriate study spaces or facilities in your vacation accommodation
    • Students who have remained in their university accommodation over the winter break
    • Those requiring additional support, including students with mental health issues, which can only be met by returning to campus.
    • Students on placements where the placement provider has COVID-secure measures in place, is permitted to open based on the relevant local restrictions, and is content for placements to continue.

What do I need to bring with me when I go for my test?

  • Your phone, tablet or laptop. If you do not have one of these then a staff member at the site will help you 
  • A face covering or mask, unless you exempt from wearing one. You’ll need to: 
    • Make sure it covers your mouth and nose 
    • Wear it at all times except when your sample is taken. A staff member will tell you when you can take it off and put it back on again 

How will it work and how can I book a test?

The University’s testing centres at Lancaster and Fusehill Street campuses will open as planned from the 4th January (Ambleside and Brampton Road will open later) and booking slots are currently available.

From Monday 1 February, all students and staff who need to be on campus for the majority or all of the week, are required to get tested twice a week – be that every Monday and Thursday, or every Tuesday and Friday, or an equivalent pattern.


Where attendance on campus is less frequent, weekly testing may be sufficient. For example, if you are on campus one or two consecutive days a week, then a test at the start of the first day on campus each week would be appropriate. 

Testing will take place at the following venues:

  • Carlisle Fusehill Street – Calva Bar
  • Carlisle Brampton Road – Vallum Gallery
  • Lancaster – The Donald Coggan Building
  • Ambleside – Charlotte Mason Building Labs

The information on Blackboard will tell you when you need to get your tests done in line with when your face-to-face study or placement is due to start. 

Where possible we would strongly advise you to book your tests in advance to avoid having to wait. 

To book a test in advance please click HERE 

You will be asked to enter your contact details and agree to the terms and conditions. 

When your booking has been made successfully, it will be confirmed with an email. 

You will receive reminders via email before your appointment. 

Once on site you will be guided through the registration process by the onsite testing team. To speed up your testing experience, we would also encourage you to register for an NHS test and trace account. You will be given the option to do this when you register for your test on campus. 

Please note, these tests are only for people who have NO symptoms, if you have symptoms of Covid-19 you must seek a test through the NHS immediately and cancel your booking.  If someone you live with is showing/experiencing any possible symptoms of Covid-19, self-isolate immediately and cancel your booking with us. For NHS guidance on self-isolation, click here.

A step-by-step approach to testing

  • You’ll need to follow social distancing by staying at least two metres from other people at the test site, including staff, and you will need to sanitise hands at the entrance to the asymptomatic test centre.
  • You get a warm welcome from a staff member, who invites you in – they are doing a fantastic job!
  • You will be asked to confirm that you do not have any symptoms of Covid-19 (if you have symptoms you will be asked to leave and to book a test through the normal NHS channels).
  • If you do not have symptoms, you will be given a test registration card and two bar-codes with matching ID numbers. Test centre staff will ask if you need any help to register or login.
  • You will scan the QR code on the registration card (or enter the government website address) to take you to the registration site where you will be asked to enter your details and the bar code number (this is the bit that takes a few mins to do).
  • You can login/register your test online on your own device (preferred) but the test centres do have a laptop available for anyone that needs it
  • Once registered you will be directed to go into a booth and asked to sanitise your hands again.
  • Once you are in your booth, a member of staff (behind a screen) will ask you to pass them a bar code sticker and you will be given a sterile swab. The testing process will also be explained to you.
  • In preparation to take the test, you will be asked to take off your mask, to blow your nose and put the tissue (available in box on table) into the hygienic foot-operated bin in the booth
  • You will then undertake the swab of both tonsils and a nostril. If you need guidance with this, please ask the testing site staff. They’ll advise you while maintaining social distancing; however, they are not able to undertake the swabbing for you.
  • During the swabbing process you will be asked to stroke each tonsil side four times and then put the swab up one of your nostrils and swab for 10 seconds.
  • Following the swabbing process, you will be asked to put the swab into the little swab test tube that the staff member has laid out on the table. A member of the testing site staff will run the test.
  • Once you have handed your swab to the site staff you are asked to leave the area after sanitising your hands and replacing your face covering. Don’t forget to take any personal belongings with you. 
  • The entire process should take no more than 5-10 minutes (but may take slightly longer if it is your first test or at busy times).
  • You will be informed of the result direct from the NHS, the centre staff will not know your result – the test is linked to your registration with the NHS via the bar code. 

Will the test hurt?

Because the test involves taking a swab of the nose and throat, you may experience some mild discomfort and may feel a gagging sensation, but it does not hurt.  

Taking the test compared to not knowing you have the virus and infecting others outweighs the temporary discomfort. 

How will I get my results?

You will receive a message with your results by text or email, depending on which details you provided when you registered. 

How long will it take to get results?

Once you have had your test, you will receive your results anytime from one hour to a few hours.  If you have not received your results within 24 hours, please call 119 as you may require a retest 

Other than me, who will see my results?

A copy of your result will be sent to your GP. If you have tested positive, a notification will be sent to Public Health England. The university will not know your test result.

What should I do if it’s positive?

  • If you receive a positive LFD test, you must self-isolate immediately and any close contacts must also self-isolate immediately (this is a legal requirement).
  • You will also need to take a PCR test as soon as possible.
  • If your PCR test is taken within 2 days of the positive LFD test and the PCR is negative, then the legal requirement to self-isolate ends for both you as an individual and any close contacts. However please note, the PCR has to be taken within 2 days for the legal requirement to be rescinded.
  • You can access a PCR test via a test centre or request a home test. Please bear in mind that the speed of test result will be swifter from a test centre test. 
  • Please inform the university of your result using our online reporting form.
  • If you have tested positive while not experiencing symptoms but then develop symptoms during your isolation period, you should restart the 10-day isolation period from the day you develop symptoms. 

 

There is no stigma in testing positive for Covid-19, we are here for you and will make sure you are supported while you are self-isolating with essential supplies, regular check-ins and access to health and wellbeing services. You can also find extra support here.

What if I test negative?

All students and staff who need to be on campus for the majority or all of the week, are required to get tested twice a week – be that every Monday and Thursday, or every Tuesday and Friday, or an equivalent pattern. 

Where attendance on campus is less frequent, weekly testing may be sufficient. For example, if you are on campus one or two consecutive days a week, then a test at the start of the first day on campus each week would be appropriate.

I have tested negative but been identified as a close contact of someone who tested positive, what shall I do?

If you test negative but are identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive, you must stay at home and self-isolate for a period of 10 days.

If you have already returned to your term time accommodation you should stay away from campus until your self isolation period has ended. If you have not yet returned to your term time accommodation, you should only travel back once your self isolation period has ended.

All students and staff who need to be on campus for the majority or all of the week, are required to get tested twice a week – be that every Monday and Thursday, or every Tuesday and Friday, or an equivalent pattern. 

Where attendance on campus is less frequent, weekly testing may be sufficient. For example, if you are on campus one or two consecutive days a week, then a test at the start of the first day on campus each week would be appropriate.

Why are you taking part in the testing programme?

We are supporting this initiative as we have a duty to support all efforts to minimise infection. As a caring and compassionate organisation, it is important to do all we can to protect your safety, the safety of our staff and the wider community. 

Where can I get tested in London?

Whilst we are still unable to offer a testing centre at our London campus students and staff can access local community testing.

Please note, these tests are only for people who have NO symptoms, if you have symptoms of Covid-19 you must seek a test through the NHS immediately and cancel your booking.  If someone you live with is showing/experiencing any possible symptoms of Covid-19, self-isolate immediately and cancel your booking with us. For NHS guidance on self-isolation, click here.

I am not at high risk from Covid-19, why should I take a test?

Covid-19 is unpredictable, for some the symptoms are very mild but for others Covid-19 can be fatal. You might only suffer from mild symptoms but the effect on people you meet could be severe or even fatal. Protect yourself, your friends, loved ones and community by taking this simple test. 

All students and staff who need to be on campus for the majority or all of the week, are required to get tested twice a week – be that every Monday and Thursday, or every Tuesday and Friday, or an equivalent pattern. 

Where attendance on campus is less frequent, weekly testing may be sufficient. For example, if you are on campus one or two consecutive days a week, then a test at the start of the first day on campus each week would be appropriate.

I don’t want to take a test, can I still return to university?

We encourage you to stay at home until we have confirmed to you the date of your first required attendance on campus, unless there is a compelling reason for you to visit campus before then. Keep an eye on Blackboard and your university email for updates on this and refer to the 'do i have to take a test' FAQ at the top of this page.

Once you return, all students and staff who need to be on campus for the majority or all of the week, are required to get tested twice a week – be that every Monday and Thursday, or every Tuesday and Friday, or an equivalent pattern. 

Where attendance on campus is less frequent, weekly testing may be sufficient. For example, if you are on campus one or two consecutive days a week, then a test at the start of the first day on campus each week would be appropriate.

The university’s testing centres at Lancaster and Fusehill Street campuses will open as planned from the 4 January (Ambleside and Brampton Road will open later) and booking slots are currently available. This testing requirement includes students who have stayed in halls on campus or in private rented accommodation locally over the winter break. You do not need to take the tests if you are arriving from another country and are required to self-isolate for 10 days, but you may choose to book tests after your self-isolation ends. 

Book at test here

If you are showing any symptoms or have tested positive, you must not travel until you have been tested and/or advised that you are safe to travel by NHS Test & Trace.

If you have to self-isolate for any reason and this means you cannot travel back to campus to resume your face-to-face classes or placement when they are due to start, we will work with you to support you completing your self-isolation at your home address and then make safe arrangements to travel back to campus.

I recently tested positive for Covid-19. Does this mean 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, and therefore a repeat LFD test is unlikely to be necessary within this period.

If having recently tested positive for Covid -19, you choose to have an LFD test as part of this programme, please ensure the LFD test is not taken whilst you are self-isolating following your last positive test.

If symptoms (other than a cough or a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell) persist, you may need to self-isolate for longer than the normal 10-day self-isolation period for confirmed cases. You can read more information here.

If you are being tested in your placement setting and have access to a test as soon as you return, then you do not have to take up the offer of tests from the university unless your placement provider requires you to do so.

What is the difference between a PCR covid test and an LFD covid test?

There are two main types of covid test. You can find out more information about the different tests here. The most important thing to remember is that if you have tested positive while not experiencing symptoms but then develop symptoms during the isolation period, you should restart the 10-day isolation period from the day you develop symptoms. 

Do you have further questions?

If you have any additional questions that are not already answered here, you can email covid19@cumbria.ac.uk

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