Student having temperature checked at the University coronavirus testing site

Getting tested when you return to University

Book 2 covid tests, 3 days apart, when you travel back to Portsmouth

Our free testing service for students without symptoms helps you travel safely between campus and home campus. 

It’s important that all students aim to take two tests a week, when they arrive back at the their term-time accommodation and/or return to campus either for face-to-face teaching or to use the facilities such as the Library. 

If you have symptoms please instead book a government test through the NHS portal.

How the test works

The ‘lateral flow tests’ are the same as the ones the University has been offering through our free testing services since the beginning of November.

A nasal and mouth swab will be administered by a nurse as a quick and accurate way of detecting the level of virus in people who don’t have any symptoms, but who could still be infectious and pass the virus to others. 

It is different to the PCR tests used at testing sites for those with symptoms.

Travelling abroad

As far as we're aware at present this wouldn't be suitable for border control when travelling abroad or into the UK. We're looking into separate Covid test arrangements for international students to use for travel and border controls but this is not in place at present.

In the meantime companies such as Boots provide a test which we understand may be suitable for travel and countries such as the UAE use this service to provide a valid PCR test for those travelling to the UAE. Students should follow the UK Government's foreign travel advice on Covid border control requirements, which vary from country to country. 

What to bring to a test appointment

When coming for your test you must bring:

  1. A face covering
  2. Your Student card
  3. Your smart phone with a QR code reader installed - both to show your completed consent form, and to complete the NHS login for your test. 

What happens at the testing centre

Testing will take place in Spinnaker Sports Hall and is being delivered by the University. 

There is nowhere to store personal belongings on site and public toilet facilities are very limited, so please prepare accordingly.

Arrival and registration

  1. Make sure you have a QR code reader installed on your phone. Arrive at the time you booked and turn off contact tracing in your NHS Covid-19 app, if you have the app on your phone and it is active.
  2. You’ll be met by staff at the front entrance. They’ll ensure you’re wearing a face covering, you have your Student or Staff card, you’ve booked an appointment online, and that you have completed the consent form. If you haven’t pre-booked or haven’t completed your consent form, you can’t get a test.
  3. Your temperature will be taken at the automated test station. If you have a high temperature, which is a symptom of Covid-19, you will be asked to leave the site and request a symptomatic test at a Government test site using the NHS portal.
  4. Follow the one way arrows to the registration desk where a member of staff will provide you with your testing card and two barcode stickers. One barcode will go onto your test card and the other will go on your swab sample. 
  5. While you wait for your test you must complete your NHS login (this is different from your University consent form) via a link on your test card or QR codes on signage on-site. If you have any issues with the NHS login please speak to a member of site staff who will be able to help.
  6. A swabber will administer a nasal and mouth swab. This all takes less than a minute to complete and shouldn’t cause any pain - though some find it uncomfortable. Once your swab has been taken, leave via the signposted exit at the end of the sports hall.
  7. Once you leave the site, you may turn contact tracing on your NHS Covid-19 app contact tracing back on again.

Getting your test results

Your test result is automatically uploaded into the government’s National Test and Trace system who will contact you via mobile or email within 48 hours. If you don’t hear back, please call 119 to chase and have your barcode number ready to identify yourself.

If your test comes back negative

If your test result is negative, you can continue with your usual activities at the University.

This test result only reflects your status at the time of taking the test, and doesn’t prevent you from later catching the virus. It’s essential that you continue to follow all Covid-19 safety measures, including while travelling.

We also strongly recommend you continue to take regular tests while the service is available.

If your test comes back positive

If your result is positive, you will receive a text/email from NHS Test and Trace and you should self isolate immediately. 

You must tell the University by informing:

  1. your MyPort Hub
  2. your personal tutor
  3. and the University's central COVID team using this Covid Report Form

There’s more information on self-isolating, including reporting to the University and getting help, on MyPort.


There are two main types of test used to check if people currently 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 require a laboratory to be processed.

The second is called a lateral flow antigen test, which detects the coronavirus antigen that is produced when a person is infectious with coronavirus. These are quicker tests that produce a result within 30 minutes and do not require a laboratory to be processed. This is the test that is currently being offered in this programme.

Should you have age, health or disability reasons for not wearing a face covering, please wear a visor to the site and alert the site manager about your situation as soon as you arrive at site so that they can take additional precautions.

If you’re a student under the age of 16 you must get parental consent to undergo a test - contact before booking for more information.

Testing is isn’t mandatory but it is strongly encouraged. If you can’t or do not want to get tested we recommend that you self-isolate for 10 days when you arrive back at your term time accommodation before returning to campus e.g to use the library and/or starting any face-to-face teaching activities.

Information on support available if you have to self-isolate is on MyPort.

Generally if you test positive then your housemates need to isolate for 14 days from the date of your test. However, during the Christmas testing window they may book a test at Spinnaker Sports Centre, and if they test negative they are able to travel home to complete the isolation period there 

Some students may have access to a local community testing facility. In line with government guidance you are encouraged to take a test before travelling to Portsmouth if possible.

Students living an identified surge area can still travel to Portsmouth. In line with government guidance you are asked to take a Covid test before travelling. In the surge areas the government or local authority has made provision for additional community testing facilities (or home test kits) available to enable you to do so. 

When you return to Portsmouth you must take two tests three days apart before starting any on-campus activities.  You are strongly advised to limit your social contact before you have received the second negative test result.

Covid Testing Guidance

What you need to know about the University's Covid testing process.

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