COVID testing on campus

We’re working hard to help keep students and staff who are required to be on campus safe. You can now book two asymptomatic COVID-19 tests per week at our on-campus testing centres.

Getting tested means you’ll help prevent the spread of coronavirus in our community and we’ll be able to support you if you need to self-isolate. Testing is just part of the preventative measures against coronavirus, so please continue to follow the Hands, Face, Space rules.

Who should get tested?

If you're a taught student or postgraduate researcher who is required to be on campus, we advise you to get tested through NHS Test and Trace (details below) before returning to campus for the first time. This will help reduce the risk of onward transmission.

We then encourage you to get two tests per week on campus once you arrive. Every taught student, postgraduate researcher and staff member currently required on campus is eligible to book these tests  as long as you don't have COVID-19 symptoms, or are a contact and have been advised to self-isolate. If you’re self-isolating, then you can book a test for after you complete your self-isolation.

Due to the current UK national lockdown, if you aren't required to be on campus you shouldn't return to University.

International students

International students are currently required to quarantine on return to the UK. There is more detailed information on the UK government website and in our FAQs below. Make sure you allow time for this, especially if you have in-person teaching or exams on campus.

When should I get tested?

We recommend that you get tested via NHS Test and Trace before returning to campus for the first time, then book twice-weekly free rapid testing while you're studying or working on campus. We recommend you book these twice-weekly tests 34 days apart.

Testing slots are available 9am-1pm, Monday to Friday, at University Place and Owens Park – please book your test using the button below.

Book your tests

What to expect during the test

NHS Test and Trace have some guidance on what to expect when you turn up for your test, which you can stream below (please contact us if you would prefer this in an alternative format). If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or are self-isolating, you must not get tested using this method. Our FAQs below detail what you can do if you already have symptoms.

Bring a charged mobile phone with you to help avoid delays in registering.

If you're feeling anxious about getting a test, find out what support is available to you

Loading

What to expect during the test – video transcript

NHS Test and Trace – COVID-19 test guidance

Simple. Fast. Self-swab.

Getting ready for your test

  1. You will be given a time to drop by and you will do the test yourself with support from a testing helper.
  2. When you arrive you’ll be asked to sanitise your hands or to put on gloves.
  3. You’ll be shown to a private space where you can do your test.
  4. You will then be asked to blow your nose, so that your airways are clear.
  5. Then, using the mirror, open your mouth wide and look at the back of your throat.

Doing your test

  1. Being careful not to touch the tip, you’ll take the swab from its packet, this will be used for both your throat and nose.
  2. Without letting it touch your teeth, tongue or cheeks, you’ll rub the fabric tip of the swab against where your tonsils are (or used to be) for ten seconds.
  3. After ten seconds, you’ll remove the swab carefully, making sure it doesn’t touch any other parts of your mouth.
  4. Then you’ll put it up one of your nostrils.
  5. When you feel some resistance (up to 2.5cm or 1 inch) you will turn the swab five times (about 10-15 seconds).

Handing your test in

  1. After you have done your nostril, you’ll carefully remove the swab and hand it to a testing helper.
  2. The testing helper will make sure the correct details are attached to your test.
  3. They will also let you know when and how you will receive your result.

Simple. Fast. Self-swab.

You may be asked if you want to take an additional test

This additional test is part of an evaluation project by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to evaluate the delivery of Lateral Flow Device (LFD) testing for COVID-19 in individuals who don't have symptoms. The results are part of a wider DHSC approach to QA (Quality Assurance) and testing how well the LFDs perform.

If you agree/consent to take part, you'll be given an Information Sheet (PDF, 576KB) which has full details, alongside our Research Privacy Notice (PDF, 623KB).

You'll only receive results from the normal LFD test, while the QA test will be used to determine performance of the LFD in a given setting. It is up to you to decide whether or not to take part, and you're free to decline at any point.

Regardless of your test result, it is still important that you adhere to government guidance on social distancing.

Travelling back to campus

The government has announced that students on practical or practice-based courses that require in-person on-campus teaching, or access to specialist equipment or facilities, can return from 8 March. This is in addition to those students already attending some teaching on campus.

Your programme team will be in touch with you in due course, if you are studying modules that are eligible for on-campus studies. As is already the case, students can also return to campus if they have exceptional personal circumstances that require them to be here.

If your programme does return to some on-campus teaching, we encourage you (if possible) to use private modes of travel to return to campus and avoid car sharing outside your household. If you need to use public transport, then please follow all the relevant rules around distancing and face coverings.

If you are travelling from outside the UK, there are currently testing, quarantine and other requirements in place (this includes British citizens). For the latest information check our FAQs for EU/international students.

Frequently asked questions

Testing

Why is the University testing students?

All UK universities are working with the government to offer voluntary mass COVID-19 testing to students and staff working on campus. Students and staff being aware of their COVID status and following the relevant guidance should help reduce the risk of transmission to their families, friends and communities. The tests are called lateral flow tests or rapid antigen tests.

Who can get tested?

Every taught student, postgraduate research student and staff member currently studying or working on campus is eligible to book these tests, as long as they don't have COVID-19 symptoms, or are a contact and have been advised to self-isolate. If you’re self-isolating, then you can start booking tests after you complete your ten days' self-isolation.

I live at home. Do I need to get tested?

Yes – we recommend all students who plan to be on campus for any reason get tested beforehand.

I stayed in Manchester over the Christmas break. Do I need to get tested?

Yes – we recommend all students who plan to be on campus for any reason get tested beforehand.

Should I get tested if I have symptoms?

If you have symptoms, you should not attend a University test centre as you’ll be turned away. You should instead book a test through the normal NHS route. If you are self-isolating or have tested positive, then please use our form to let us know and take a look at our support package.

Do I still have to take the test if I've previously had symptoms?

If you have tested positive in the last 90 days for coronavirus, you should still book a test with us, providing you no longer have symptoms and you are no longer self-isolating. A positive test in the last 90 days is no guarantee of immunity.

I'm already self-isolating. Should I leave this to take a test?

No. These tests are designed for people who don't have symptoms and are not close contacts of confirmed cases. If you're already self-isolating due to contact with a confirmed case, you should not leave to get tested until your self-isolation period ends (provided you have not developed symptoms). 

If you're self-isolating because you have COVID symptoms or have tested positive, please use our form to let us know and take a look at our support package.

Can postgraduate researchers get tested?

Yes – we advise you get tested before resuming any work on campus. You can book any of the slots on offer, alongside taught students and staff.

Do I have to take regular tests?

These tests aren't compulsory but we strongly recommend that everyone studying or working on campus takes twice-weekly tests. This is a really important part of helping to reduce transmission  it will help keep you, your fellow students, your family and everyone else safe.

Why do I have to take two tests?

We strongly recommend that all students getting tested take two tests (the second three days after the first). This is a measure to pick up any infection that is missed by the first test, or which develops after the first test is taken.

When should I take my tests?

We recommend that you get tested once via NHS Test and Trace before returning to campus for the first time.

We then recommend you keep booking twice-weekly tests at our on-campus testing centres while you continue your studies or work on campus.

We recommend you book your twice-weekly tests 3-4 days apart. For example, if you book your first test on a Thursday or Friday, your second test should be on the following Monday. You can repeat this set of two tests each week.

This weekly testing will be available until the government advises otherwise. We will continue to update students regularly about any changes to our on-campus testing arrangements.

I have a declared disability, what do I need to know?

The University Place testing site is wheelchair accessible and has nearby accessible car parking. If you wish to drive and park at University Place, contact our car parking office (carparking@manchester.ac.uk) and they will arrange this with you.

  • Assisted testing is available for anyone who requires support to administer their own tests.
  • Private testing spaces are available for any student to use.
  • Assistance dogs are permitted.

If you have any questions or require any additional support you can also speak the Disability Advisory and Support Service.

Does University Place have private testing spaces which can be used for religious or personal reasons?

Yes, the University Place testing site has private spaces for use by anyone being tested.

How will I get my results and how long does it take?

The tests results are being managed by NHS Test and Trace. You’ll receive your results by text or email, depending on which details you provide when booking the tests. The University does not issue negative or positive certificates.

We have been advised that in most cases you should get the result within 48 hours of taking the test. If you have not received your results after 48 hours, please call 119.

I have tested negative on the rapid antigen test. What should I do?

Most important is to follow the instructions sent to you via email/text when you get your test results. Remember that if you are symptomatic, you must not attend for a rapid antigen test and should arrange for an rt-PCR test using the NHS Test and Trace and isolate immediately.

If both your tests are negative and none of your close contacts test positive or have symptoms, you don't need to self-isolate.

If both your rapid antigen tests are negative but one of your close contacts tests positive, you should self-isolate for ten days.

I have tested positive on the rapid antigen test. What should I do?

If your first rapid antigen test is positive

Please self-isolate for ten days from the date of your test and advise your household/close contacts that they are required to self-isolate for ten days.

You will need to arrange a confirmatory PCR using the NHS testing site.

NHS Test and Trace will phone you to complete contact tracing. Give them the date of your positive rapid antigen test as the starting date for your self-isolation period and the self-isolation period of your household/close contacts. Please provide details of all your household/close contacts so they can be followed up for contact tracing.

Most important is that you follow the instructions sent to you via email/text when you get your test results. Don't attend a second rapid antigen test at a University site; cancel your second test. Please use our form to let us know you’ve tested positive and take a look at our guidance and support.

If your second rapid antigen test is positive

Please self-isolate for ten days from the date of your second test and advise your household/close contacts that they are required to self-isolate for ten days.

NHS Test and Trace will phone you to complete contact tracing. Give them the date of your positive rapid antigen test as the starting date for your self-isolation period and the self-isolation period of your household/close contacts. Please provide details of all your household/close contacts so they can be followed up for contact tracing.

Most important is that you follow the instructions sent to you via email/text when you get your test results. Do not attend a second rapid antigen test at a University site; cancel your second test. Please use our form to let us know you have tested positive and take a look at our guidance and support.

Supporting you

Our student support services are here if you're feeling anxious about your test results.

Do I have to self-isolate between the two tests?

No – as long as you (and your close contacts) don't test positive or have COVID symptoms, you don't need to self-isolate between tests.

Who will administer the tests?

The tests are being run by trained staff under the supervision of clinically qualified University staff. First-aiders will be present at all sites. If you have any concerns about performing the swab, they will be able to help you.

I haven't received my booking confirmation. What should I do?

You should receive a confirmation email for each booking. If you do not receive confirmation within 24 hours, please firstly check your junk mail folder. Should the message not appear there, please email us at UoMcovidtesting@manchester.ac.uk (please note that this inbox is not monitored at weekends).

How do I get tested while I’m at home?

While at home, you can book a PCR test using NHS Test and Trace.

We’ve agreed with public health authorities that students who need to return to campus are allowed to access this free NHS testing, even if they don’t have symptoms. On the website just select “My local council or health protection team has asked me (or someone I live with) to get a test, even though I do not have symptoms.

If you’re attending a testing centre, book your PCR test 3 to 4 days before you are due to return to campus. Allow more time if you’re booking a home PCR test, so the kit can be posted to you and sent back.

If you have had a positive PCR in the last 90 days through NHS Test and Trace, you don’t need to be tested again.

What do I do with the results of my test at home?

If you test positive, please follow national guidance and self-isolate for ten days at home before returning to University. Please follow instructions given to you by NHS Test and Trace and also tell us using the eForm.

If you test negative you can return to University, making sure you follow the latest travel safety advice. Government advice is that you also book two tests on campus for when you arrive. However, if you go on to develop COVID-19 symptoms or are in contact with someone who tests positive, please follow national guidance, seek testing and self-isolate. 

How do I get tested on campus?

We are offering tests for all returning students from 4 January.

The slots to book these tests are now live on our website – you can book using our booking form. You might also sign up for this testing even if you have recently tested negative.

Each test takes less than ten minutes for most people, and we recommend you get your two tests, 72 hours apart, as soon as possible once you come back.

Can I do COVID-19 testing during Ramadan?

The Department of Health and Social Care has consulted the British Islamic Medical Association and they 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."

Travelling

When can I travel back to campus?

The government has advised that students on practical or practice-based courses that require in-person on-campus teaching, or access to specialist equipment or facilities, can return from 8 March. Your programme team will be in touch with you in due course, if you are studying modules that are eligible for on-campus studies. If they confirm you are eligible to return, please do not travel before 8 March.

Students on all other courses should continue to study remotely and wait to hear further from their programme team. The government will review their guidance again in mid-April to consider whether students on other courses can return, and we will contact you again shortly after that.

As is already the case, students can also return to campus if they have exceptional personal circumstances that require them to be here. This may be to support mental health, or not having access to suitable study facilities at home.

Can I travel by public transport?

We encourage you to use private modes of travel where possible. If you need to use public transport, then please follow the government’s safer travel guidance.

I’m planning international travel to come to campus. What do I need to know?

If you are travelling from outside the UK, there are currently testing, quarantine and other requirements in place (this includes British citizens). For the latest information check our FAQs for EU/international students.

I’m moving into University halls of residence for the first time. What do I need to know?

If you are moving in to your University halls for the first time, make sure you know how to collect your keys. Only you and one other person to help you are permitted inside your halls building. 

Please also take a moment to read about our expectations of your behaviour in halls.

I'm dropping off a student on campus. Can I book a hotel?

If you’re helping a student return to campus, please be aware of local and national restrictions. Check with your hotel before travelling.

What are the arrangements for students returning to campus? Will students be tested when they return to campus?

Due to the current UK national lockdown, most students should remain at their current location and not return to campus. All our teaching and assessment will now be online, except for a few exempt courses. Some of these exemptions are described in our message last week and in government information.

Unless you're on an exempt programme, or you have specific personal circumstances, you shouldn't return to University. If you stayed at University over the Christmas period or have already returned, you should stay on campus.

Twice-weekly testing is available to any students, staff and researchers who are required to be on campus.

Contact us

If you have any questions that we have not answered above, then please email us at:

UoMcovidtesting@manchester.ac.uk

We won’t be able to offer medical advice but we can help with questions about testing and travel. Please note that this inbox is not monitored at weekends.