COVID-19 Testing
Information about COVID-19 testing

Testing for COVID-19

Last updated 11 April 2022

The University’s Early Alert Service (EAS) PCR testing pod has now closed, and students and staff are no longer asked to test twice a week with LFDs while studying or working on site (unless you are in NHS settings, in which case you should follow all local NHS guidance). If you have COVID symptoms, however, you can continue to use the Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests which have already been distributed to LFD Collect points around the University, including colleges.

It is no longer possible to record PCR or LFD results with the University, due to the closure of the Early Alert Service. If you test positive, you should notify your line manager, supervisor or tutor as you usually would if you are unable to work or study.

How to obtain LFD tests

While stocks last, LFD Collect points can be found in all colleges (each college will issue kits only to their own members) along with the centrally located sites listed below. Please use the remaining LFD test kits carefully, and note that the advice from the University’s Health Measures Advisory Group is now to test only if you are symptomatic.

Tests are now only available if you have run out of LFDs and need to test because you have symptoms, or are required to test in order to work or study in a hospital setting. Another University member may pick up tests on your behalf if you are unwell.

University staff and students working or studying in a hospital setting should continue to follow the NHS Trust guidance on testing for staff.

  1. the Weston Library (12–4pm, Mon to Fri)
  2. the Richard Doll Building, on the Old Road Campus (8.30am–4pm, Mon to Fri)
  3. the Radcliffe Humanities in the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter (9am–5pm Mon to Fri but not between 12.30 and 1.30pm)
  4. the Cairns Library Reception, Level 3 Academic Centre, at the John Radcliffe Hospital (10am–12noon on Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri; 2pm–4pm Wed)
  5. the Manor Road Building Reception on Manor Road, OX1 3UQ (9am–5pm Mon-Fri)
  6. the Sherrington Building Reception off Parks Road, OX1 3PT (8am–4pm Mon-Fri)
  7. the Department of Engineering Science Reception, The Thom Building, 17 Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PJ (8am- 5pm Mon-Fri).

No pre-booking is required to collect an LFD Collect test kit. All you need is your University card or your Single Sign-On username.  

What to do if you have a positive LFD test result or have COVID-19 symptoms

Many people with mild respiratory symptoms will have other illnesses, such as a common cold or hay fever, rather than COVID-19. As such, our Health Measures Advisory Group has provided the following advice for staff and students:

  • If you test positive for COVID-19, you should remain away from on-site work or study for five days, as this is the most infectious period. After that, you should not return to on-site work or study until any fever has subsided.
  • If you have a fever or more severe illness and cannot be tested for COVID-19 or have tested negative, you should stay away from on-site work or study until the fever subsides and you are asymptomatic.
  • If you have minor respiratory symptoms, you can continue to work or study on site, but, if possible, do a lateral flow test (LFD) to ensure you do not have COVID-19.
  • If you have non-COVID respiratory symptoms (and are untested/ have tested negative for COVID), you should consider wearing a face covering when working or studying on site while you are symptomatic. Try to avoid crowded spaces and close contact with anyone you know who is at higher risk of becoming seriously unwell if infected with COVID-19 or other respiratory illnesses.

Staff and students should continue to report absences to their line manager, supervisor or tutor as they usually would if unable to work or study.

Note that those working or studying in hospital settings should continue to follow all NHS Trust  guidance as appropriate.

Can I use the results of my Lateral Flow Device tests to enable me to travel abroad?  

Please note that you cannot use LFDs issued by the University or your college or received in the post from the NHS or collected at a pharmacy for travel testing purposes. Travel LFD and PCR tests must be purchased privately. You can find out about suggested test providers below or learn about different testing requirements for international travel on the UK government website.

Staff and students are free to use any of the test providers listed on GOV.UK to arrange COVID-19 testing when travelling abroad. This is a new and growing market, and all providers may experience capacity issues, leading to challenges with achieving advertised response times and service levels. Pricing is also subject to frequent change.

Where a postal service is acceptable, we have had reports of successful use of services from Biograd Diagnostics and Qured.

For in-person testing in Oxford the following services are available and are listed without any warranty or reports as to quality of service: 

Tests should be arranged and paid for personally, with the usual processes applicable for reimbursing expenses incurred in relation to University business where appropriate.

COVID-19 case response protocols (SSO required)

The department case response guidance and supporting factsheets have now been retired and archived. These are replaced by a short advice note on the ongoing management of COVID-19 which can be used by all staff. This summarises current advice from HMAG and the government. Queries from anyone dealing with the response to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 can continue to be directed to icg@admin.ox.ac.uk.

Further queries about the Early Alert Service

If you need to contact the Early Alert Service (which has now been shut down), please email icg@admin.ox.ac.uk

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