Trinity Term Testing

We are asking all students to get tested ahead of the start of Trinity term and then take tests twice a week, every week, while they are in Oxford. Full details of how to access these tests can be found on this page.

Testing at the start of term

You are expected to get tested for COVID-19 when you return to Oxford (or at the start of term if you didn’t leave during the vacation). College will provide you with two Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests to take yourself – as was the case at the start of Hilary term. These can be collected from the Lodge. You should take the first test as soon as possible after you arrive back in Oxford and the second test three days later. You should only resume in-person teaching after you have taken two LFD tests and reported negative results.

Who should take the tests?

All students are strongly advised to take the LFD tests. This includes postgraduate research students. You should take them even if you have recently received a negative COVID-19 test result.

You should not take the tests if:

  • You have symptoms of COVID-19. You should instead book a PCR test via the Early Alert Service and follow the advice you are given when you receive your result. Please note, the Early Alert Service will be closed from Thursday 1 April to Monday 5 April inclusive. If you develop symptoms during this period please book an NHS COVID-19 test and report your results to the Early Alert Service.
  • You have had a positive PCR test result in the last 90 days. If this case, you are likely to have developed some immunity, which means the LFDs are not necessary.

Why should you take the tests?

Lateral Flow Device tests are an important tool in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19.

They help detect if you have COVID-19 before you develop symptoms. This

  • Reduces the risk that you will infect others.
  • Ensures that those who need to self-isolate do so sooner.
  • Reduces the number of people who will need to self-isolate.

Large numbers of students taking the tests will ultimately reduce the spread of COVID-19 across the community, help protect vulnerable people and minimise disruption during the term. While LFDs do not detect every case of COVID-19, if you follow the training carefully and take two tests at the start of term, this will significantly increase the chances that cases are detected – and in particular, cases that are likely to be transmitted to others.

About the tests

All students will take the tests themselves, and online training will be available in support. Full details will be issued with the test on collection. You do not need to book a slot as the tests will be taken in your own place of residence and not at 13 Norham Gardens. Your result will be visible within 30 minutes.

You will be asked to record all results online with the Early Alert Service and will be provided with instructions for doing so. This part of the testing process is vital both for monitoring prevalence and for activating welfare support for individuals who will need to self-isolate upon receiving a positive result or being a close-contact of someone who tests positive.

Testing before travelling back to Oxford

If you live in an area in the UK with a community testing programme in place that provides LFD tests, you are encouraged to take one of these tests in your local area before you travel back to Oxford – even if you do not have symptoms. If you test positive you must self-isolate where you are and not travel back until you have completed your self-isolation. If your test is negative, you can return to Oxford. You should still take the two LFDs when you arrive. This is because LFDs only detect infections at a certain point in time.

Returning to Oxford from abroad 

If you are returning to the UK from abroad, you must follow national and international travel guidance isolate for 10 days upon arrival in the UK. If you plan to self-isolate in college accommodation you must agree this with the college in advance of travelling.

You will need to take a COVID-19 test less than three days before you travel to the UK. This can be either a PCR test or a LFD test from a reputable supplier. You must provide documentation of a negative result before you travel and provide proof of the result upon entry to the UK. The government website has further information on testing before travelling from abroad. You will need to book two PCR tests to take during your 10-day self-isolation period via Government-approved providers (not the University Testing Service) and it may be possible to reduce your isolation period by using the Government’s ‘test to release’ scheme.

UK Government information about ‘test to release’ scheme

Please note that neither the University’s Early Alert Service nor the Lateral Flow Device testing scheme administered by colleges can facilitate early release from quarantine. Please note colleges and University will not routinely meet the costs of tests for students returning from outside the UK.

If you are in a ‘red list’ country, please contact the college before making plans to return to Oxford.

Regular symptom-free testing in Oxford

From 12 April the University will provide free testing via the new symptom-free (LFD) testing centres located in easy-to-access sites around Oxford.

We are asking all students to take tests twice a week, every week while in Oxford. This twice-weekly testing should begin once you have taken the taken the initial two LFD tests provided by The Lodge on your return to Oxford after Easter.

How to book a test

Tests should be booked via the Book a Test Button on the symptom-free testing webpage. Booking a test prevents queues and ensures the process is quick and seamless. You can book even if you’re not yet in Oxford.

At the testing centre your University card will be scanned and you will be given a registration card with barcode sticker. You will be asked to register your test on the NHS Track and Trace system, either on your own phone if you have one with you, or on a device which will be provided. Staff at the site will assist you with how to register.

How to perform the test

  • Students will swab themselves and then hand over the swab to an assistant who will perform the test and record it. Staff are on site to support participants while performing their swab.
  • Two tests per week should be performed throughout Trinity term. Wherever possible testing should be on the same days each week, e.g. Monday and Thursday or Tuesday and Friday.
  • There is no need for students to wait 30 minutes for the result. This will usually be communicated electronically the same day.

What to do if you test positive

  • Anyone who tests positive in any LFD tests (including those via community testing or received from the Government via another route), must immediately self-isolate and book a confirmatory PCR test, preferably through the University’s Early Alert Service. You (and your household) should immediately self-isolate and assume you have the virus, pending the result of the confirmatory PCR test.
  • If you receive a PCR test result, positive or negative, through a route other than the University Early Alert service (e.g. via the national NHS service), you must report your result by using the Report a Test Button on the University’s testing webpage.
  • You will receive further advice from the NHS and the University Results Liaison Team (RLT).
  • If you receive your positive result notification at work you should only use public transport to return home if you have no other option. You should strictly follow the safer travel guidance for passengers. Refer to the Safer travel national guidance.
  • Because the tests do not pick up every case, you may still be infectious even if you receive a negative result, so it is essential that you continue to follow all COVID precautions.

LFD tests are an additional tool in helping to limit the spread of COVID-19. They can detect whether you have COVID-19 before you develop symptoms. Students taking the tests will help to reduce any potential spread of COVID-19 across the University and community. Further information.

Testing explained

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