Check the arrangements for getting Covid-19 tests when you arrive at Sussex.
When to get to Sussex
Some students studying certain practical courses returned to in-person teaching earlier this year.
The UK government has now said that all other students can return to university from 17 May.
If you are yet to arrive on campus
If you’re coming back to campus after 17 May you should take pre-booked Covid-19 tests.
If you are overseas
If you are travelling back to Sussex from another country, you must follow the test and quarantine rules for entering the UK.
You can book campus tests in addition to your mandatory travel test package, once you know your schedule.
Students who have already returned
Some students studying certain practical courses returned to in-person teaching earlier this year.
These are students in:
- Education and Social Work
- Life Sciences
- Engineering and Informatics
- Media, Arts and Humanities.
These students should book their tests up to twice week.
If you were unable to return to campus, and you are on a practical or practice-based course, 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.
You should arrive on your scheduled date, after we have contacted you.
Important: Book your Covid-19 tests in advance and schedule them for as soon as possible after arriving at your term-time address.
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.
You can be tested up to twice a week until the end of June.
Take a rapid lateral flow device (LFD) test if you do not have Covid-19 symptoms.
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 a week increases the effectiveness of the tests.
How to get regular lateral flow tests
When you return to campus, you should take three tests at our test centre on campus (three or four days apart) and then be tested twice a week, either at our test centre or using home test kits. These tests are free of charge.
Order tests online
You can get a pack of seven rapid tests sent to your home. If you do tests at home, you’ll need to report your results online or on the phone. Order rapid lateral flow home test kits.
Collect tests to do at home
From Monday 17 May, you can go to our test centre on level 1 of Bramber House to collect tests to carry out at home. It’s open from 10am to 3pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
Alternatively, you can collect up to two packs of seven rapid LFD tests from a local pharmacy – including the University Pharmacy on campus.
The tests are free and you get a result 30 minutes after taking each test. If you do tests at home, you’ll need to report your results online or on the phone.
Go to a test site off campus
Find where to get a rapid lateral flow test off campus.
Booking a test at our centre on campus
Our test centre is on level 1 of Bramber House, in Dine Central.
You can make a booking for a test on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, at any time from 10am to 3pm.
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.
Who’s eligible for a test on campus
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.
Important: Our test centre is for those without symptoms. If you are showing symptoms (a new cough, high temperature or changes in your sense of smell or taste), please don’t come to the campus test centre. Instead, you must self-isolate and book a PCR test. There’s plenty of testing capacity in Brighton, so you’ll get your results quickly.
Getting test results
If you get a negative test result, you should carry on following government and University guidance to help minimise the spread of Covid-19.
- wear a mask in confined spaces, unless you are exempt
- wash or sanitise your hands regularly, especially before and after moving between rooms and buildings
- keep a social distance from others where possible.
If you test positive for Covid-19, you must self-isolate.
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. Car parking is available in car parks on campus near Bramber House.
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, check the rules on quarantine and self-isolation after arriving from abroad. You can book additional Covid-19 lateral flow device tests (as above) once you have been told you can come on to campus. We encourage all students to get tested regularly to keep everyone safe.
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 change in your sense of taste or smell) persist, this could be longer than the normal 10-day self-isolation period for confirmed cases. See stay-at-home guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus cases.
Different types of test, accuracy and getting it done:
How many different types of tests are there and what’s the difference?
Two main types of test are 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 on campus.
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 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. You should take three tests at our test centre on campus (three or four days apart) and then be tested twice a week, either using home test kits or at the test centre. 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. You will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace for information about your recent activities and people you met while 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.
PCR tests and various providers:
How do I book a private test?
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.
Important: Shop around before booking a private test and make sure it meets your travel requirements. Costs vary, but you probably won’t pay less than £100.
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.