Find out when to arrive at Sussex in 2021 and how to get a Covid-19 test.
When to get to Sussex
The date you should arrive at Sussex for Covid-19 testing depends on your course.
We’re asking students to arrive in two groups.
This is to reduce the potential spread of infection in our community and manage testing.
Important: Book your Covid-19 tests in advance and schedule them for as soon as possible after arriving at your term-time address.
Browse below to check when you’re due to book your tests.
Monday 8 March 2021
This is the date from which you can book your tests if you are studying certain practical courses in:
- Life Sciences
- Engineering and Informatics
- Media, Arts and Humanities.
You will be contacted directly. Only return to Sussex for in-person teaching if your School contacts you.
Students in BSMS and Education and Social Work should continue to book their tests.
If you are on a practical or practice-based course and are unable to return to campus, you will not be disadvantaged. All students’ learning outcomes will still be met remotely and all assessments will continue to be online for the remainder of this academic year.
Other students – date to be confirmed
We will let you know when all remaining students should arrive for pre-booked Covid-19 tests.
You’ll continue to be provided with online learning opportunities until we can confirm an arrival date.
If you are not contacted by your School about a return to campus for in-person teaching, you should continue to stay at your current address and study remotely in line with the Government’s national lockdown restrictions, unless you are in an exceptional situation that can be improved by returning to your term-time address.
An exceptional situation could be where you do not have access to appropriate alternative accommodation, facilities or study space, or where you need to return for health or safety reasons.
Important: Book your Covid-19 tests in advance and schedule them for as soon as possible after arriving at your term-time address.
You should arrive on your scheduled date, after we have contacted you.
Travelling by car
You can share a car with other students or friends in your household or support bubble. Alternatively, a family member can bring you by car.
Reduce the risk of transmission by:
- opening windows for ventilation
- maximising the seated distance between people in the vehicle
- cleaning your car between journeys using standard cleaning products – make sure you clean door handles and other areas that people may touch
- wearing a face covering
- not sharing a car with anyone outside of your household or support bubble.
You should all strictly follow the government’s Covid-19 safer travel guidance for passengers.
If you have to use a bus, coach or train, try to avoid busy routes and follow the government’s safer travel guidance. This includes wearing a face covering unless you are exempt, planning your journey, washing or sanitising your hands regularly and keeping your distance.
If you test positive for Covid-19, you must not travel. Instead, you must self-isolate for 10 days.
See our guidance about local travel.
This information is for:
- students studying Medicine, Teaching and Social Work
- students living on campus
- from 8 March, students on specified practical courses.
You can be tested up to twice a week until at least the end of March.
Lateral flow tests are designed to detect the level of virus in people who do not show any symptoms but could still pass the virus to others. They can miss positive results when someone is in the early stages of an infection, so taking two tests increases the effectiveness of the tests.
Regular testing should be carried out every 3-5 days and the highest recommended frequency is one test every three days.
Tests are free of charge.
Everyone who books and has a test will be entered into a weekly prize draw to win £25 of vouchers.
This test centre is for those without symptoms; anyone with a new cough, a high temperature or changes in their sense of smell or taste will be refused entry. If you are symptomatic, you should self-isolate and arrange for a home test kit to be delivered.
If you test positive for Covid-19, you must self-isolate.
Even if you receive a negative result, you should carry on following government and University guidance to help minimise the spread of Covid-19. Please continue to:
- wear a mask in confined spaces unless you are exempt from doing so
- wash or sanitise your hands regularly, especially before and after moving between rooms and buildings
- keep a social distance of at least two metres from all others wherever possible.
If you travelled from overseas
If you are travelling back to Sussex from another country, you may need to self-isolate (or quarantine) under Government rules on arriving from abroad.
If this applies to you, do this immediately. Do not book the mass asymptomatic tests.
Read more about what to do if you are travelling to Sussex from overseas.
Where and when
Testing takes place in the Sport Centre on campus near Falmer House. You can make a booking for a test on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, at any time from 10am-2pm.
It runs until at least the end of March, so you can book tests after your specified arrival date.
Example: If you’re due to return on Monday 8 March, you could book a test then, and another three days later on Thursday 11 March. If both your tests are negative, you can resume in-person teaching from Monday 15 March.
The tests are for:
- all Sussex students – undergraduate and postgraduate (including doctoral researchers)
- staff at the University who need to come on to campus to work.
Family and friends are not eligible. If you know someone with Covid-19 symptoms, they must follow the government guidance.
Changing a booking
If you need to cancel or amend a test booking, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your full name, email address, date and time of the original booking. Then book yourself a new test if appropriate.
Don’t worry if you arrive a bit late for your test (or even slightly early) – we will do our best to get you tested as soon as we can, depending on capacity at the time.
Consent and personal information
If you are under 18 but over the age of 16, you can self-consent to take the test.
Every time you take a test, you register your unique barcode. This process links you to your test sample and collects your contact details.
You don’t need to create an account to do this but, if you do, your details are saved.
To register, you provide your name, gender, date of birth, ethnic group, recent travel details, email address, mobile phone number and home address, plus details of any Covid symptoms.
See detailed answers on:
Getting there, parking and disabled access:
Is extra parking available for students who do not feel comfortable taking public transport? Is it free of charge?
Parking charges on campus are suspended during the national lockdown. The Sport Centre car park is currently closed, but car parking is available in other nearby car parks on campus.
Is testing accessible to disabled people, including those who are visually impaired or have a hearing impairment?
Additional support is available for anyone who requires extra help with the process. If you need any assistance, for example with reading instructions or if you have mobility issues, email email@example.com in advance or inform staff at the test centre when completing your registration. The Sport Centre was identified as a suitable location for our testing centre because it has wheelchair access throughout the building. Guide dogs and assistant dogs are able to access the test site. You are welcome to bring a carer or close contact with you if required.
Can I take my tests earlier than my scheduled arrival date?
Yes, you can book your tests at a time and date that suits you. You should book your tests in advance of your return to your term-time address.
What if I can’t get to campus for travel or health reasons?
You will be able to access your teaching and learning online. Contact your School office if you have any questions about online learning.
I’ve travelled from overseas – should I book two lateral flow tests?
It depends. If you are travelling back to Sussex from another country, you may need to self-isolate (or quarantine) under Government rules on arriving from abroad. If this applies to you, do this immediately. Do not book the mass asymptomatic tests. Read more about what to do if you are travelling to Sussex from overseas.
Different types of test, accuracy and getting it done:
I’m confused – how many different types of tests are there and what’s the difference?
There are two main types of test used to check if people have Coronavirus. The first type of test is known as a PCR test, and looks for the virus’s genetic material (Ribonucleic acid, or RNA). These tests are currently more commonly used in the NHS for symptomatic testing. They are processed in a laboratory. The second type of test is a lateral flow (LFD) test, which detects the Coronavirus antigen that is produced when a person is infectious. These are quicker tests, which produce a result within 30 minutes and do not require a laboratory to be processed. This is the test we are offering.
How accurate are these tests?
The LFD tests have a high specificity, which means there is a very low chance of false positive test results. The test does not detect all positive cases, however, and works best in cases with higher viral loads – i.e. those who are most infectious. As the test is easy to administer and does not require a laboratory, repeat tests can be carried out. The benefit will be the ability to detect a significant number of people without symptoms who are infectious; they will then be asked to self-isolate, which will reduce the transmission of the coronavirus.
Do I have to take a lateral flow test?
The Covid-19 lateral flow tests are not compulsory, but we strongly encourage all students who need to be on campus to take regular lateral flow tests to help minimise the spread of Covid-19 and protect everyone in our community. Book your tests using this form.
Do I have to take two Covid-19 tests if I want to use the Library before or after my scheduled arrival?
We really encourage students who wish to use the Library and other University facilities to book two lateral flow tests and get both results before using Sussex facilities. You can book your tests before your scheduled arrival date.
This test involves me swabbing my nose and throat – I’m not able to do this, so how can I be tested?
If you think you will struggle to swab your tonsils and nose for any reason, you may bring a trusted close contact from your support bubble who can do the swabbing for you. Test centre staff are not able to swab you. If both of your nostrils are obstructed and you are unable to swab your nose, it will not be possible for you to be tested at this centre.
How sensitive are the lateral flow tests being used?
Lateral flow devices (LFDs) are less sensitive to Covid-19 infections during the initial stages of an infection when compared to PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests – the type that symptomatic people get through the NHS.
For LFD tests to be effective you should take more than one. Regular testing should be carried out every 3-5 days and the highest recommended frequency is one test every three days.
Mass testing using LFDs is only one measure to help reduce the spread of Covid-19. Right now, the best ways to keep our community, family and friends safe are social distancing, face-coverings and self-isolating if necessary. We strongly encourage you to take advantage of the mass testing facility while it is offered – but its availability does not mean that other precautions can be ignored or relaxed.
Getting results and what they mean:
How will I get my test results?
You will receive a message with your results by text or email, depending on which details you provide when you register.
How long does it take to get results?
In most cases, LFD results will be communicated within a day of the test – most likely within a few hours. If you have not received your result after 48 hours, please return to the test site for another LFD test.
Who else has access to my results?
On arrival at your test appointment, you will be provided with a test kit and card and asked to register. The University will not have access to any of your registration data. You will be notified of your test result via SMS or to the email you provide when you register. The University will not see your test results. Your personal information relating to test registration and results is processed by NHS Test and Trace. See how NHS Test and Trace will use your data. 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.
What happens if my test result is negative?
If the test result is negative, you can continue to attend class or work as usual.
Why do we have to maintain distancing after a negative test?
After a negative test, you could still become infected and spread the virus. Respecting distancing when it’s needed and other rules is the most powerful way of stopping the spread of the virus.
What happens if I test positive for Covid-19?
If you test positive, you must self-isolate in your accommodation for 10 days. You will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace for information about your recent activities and people you met whilst you were potentially infectious.
Someone I live with has symptoms – what should I do?
If you are identified as a close contact of someone who has tested for positive Covid-19 (a housemate, for example), you should book a test via NHS Test and Trace. If you then test negative for Coronavirus, you must continue self-isolation at home for 10 days. If you test positive, you must self-isolate in your current accommodation for 10 days.
I’ve already had Covid-19 – what should I do?
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, make sure the LFD test is not taken while you are still within your period of isolation following the last confirmed test. If symptoms (other than cough or a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell) persist, this could be longer than the normal 10-day self-isolation period for confirmed cases. This is described in Stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (Covid-19) infection.
If you are arriving to Sussex from overseas, check our international travel guidance on PCR tests.
You can also book a private PCR test (for example, so that you can travel to another country) at:
- pharmacies such as the University Pharmacy on campus, Boots and Lloyds offer private Covid-19 tests. You’ll find instructions for making an appointment on their websites
- private clinics
- some places that send out home test kits you can use.
Private providers of Covid-19 testing include:
- IQ Doctor – you can order a private home PCR test kit online, with next-day delivery (for an additional charge) and a ‘fit to fly’ certificate
- City Doc – you can order a private home PCR test kit online. City Doc also has a clinic in the Withdean area of Brighton. Appointments are available (at an additional charge) if you are required to have the test completed by a professional rather than administering it yourself
- Sussex Travel Clinic – you can book an appointment at one of their clinics in Hove and Worthing.
Note that we don’t have personal experiences of the services provided by these firms and this information doesn’t constitute any endorsement or approval by the University of Sussex.
Important: Shop around before booking a private test and make sure it meets your travel requirements, such as being a fit-to-fly test or approved under the test-to-release scheme. Costs vary, but you probably won’t pay less than £100.