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Symptom-free testing - Frequently Asked Questions

Last Updated 16/03/2021 


What happens if I test positive? 

If you test positive on a lateral flow device, you will be notified of a positive test result by NHS Test and Trace. You will need to follow the guidance from NHS Test and Trace and self-isolate for 10 days from the day after the test.  

If you are at college when you receive your result, please stay where you are and alert the nearest member of staff. A Duty Manager will come to you and assist with getting you home safely.  

What happens if my test result is negative?  

If you test negative you will be able to stay in College. You will be informed of a negative test result via text/email from the NHS Test and Trace.  

You should note that a negative test result does not guarantee that you do not have Covid, as there can be a small margin of error on these tests.  Therefore, you must continue with all requirements for social distancing, mask wearing and hand cleaning. 

What happens if my test result is void?  

If your test comes back as void it means the test didn’t work. You will be contacted if you are affected by this, and should take another test as soon as possible 

If you receive 2 void test results in a row, you will be asked to book a PCR test for suspected cases through the NHS.  The Health & Safety team will contact you to agree the next steps. 

What if staff or students have been in close contact with someone in College who tests positive? 

The staff member or student will be notified that they are a close contact by the College and will need to self-isolate for 10 days from the day after the contact, in line with Government guidance. 

What if I develop symptoms? 

This testing programme at College is for people with no symptoms. If you develop symptoms at any time (including a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste) you must immediately self-isolate and book a PCR test by calling 119 or visiting

How will the College keep me safe? 

Until we’re advised by Public Health England that it is no longer necessary, all students and staff must continue to: 

1. practice regular handwashing and/or use the hand sanitiser provided, 

2. wear an appropriate face covering at all times in communal areas. This includes the refectory and eating zones, unless you are seated and eating. You must now also wear a face covering in classrooms and workshops, except where exemptions apply, 

3. observe social distancing around our campuses and follow any directional signage or instructions from staff regarding keeping a distance from others. 

In short, we’re asking everyone to please remember ‘Hands, Face, Space’ which continue to be the key methods that we can all use to keep safe and prevent the virus spreading at College. 

We will notify students when these safety measures are no longer required. 

Do I need to tell anyone about my results? 

Yes, please use our online form here to let the college know your results.  We need to collect all results, not just the positive ones, and you will need to self-declare 3 test results to get access to the home testing. 

When logging your results, if you have tested positive you will be asked to include a phone number so that the Health & Safety team can contact you to agree the next steps 

What happens if I don’t want to take part in testing? 

Although we are strongly encouraging all our staff and students to get tested, this is a voluntary testing opportunity and we are not able to enforce mandatory testing as a requirement for entry.   

We would like the opportunity to talk to you about your reason for declining the test, as we may be able to help if you are feeling anxious or struggling to get booked in; however you will not be excluded from entry to college if you do not take part and you can attend as normal. 

I’ve had Covid recently, should I get tested? 

No, you should not have a test if you have had Covid within the last 90 days.  Once the 90 days is up, you can start testing. 

If you develop new symptoms within the 90 day period you should arrange for a PCR test through the NHS. 

Are there any other reasons why I should not have the test? 

Yes, you should not attend for testing if you have Covid symptoms or have been asked to isolate by the NHS or the College. 

I am shielding, do I need to have a test? 

No, you are not required to get a test if you are shielding as you are staying at home.   Once you are ready to return to college, please contact the Health & Safety Team so that we can make appropriate arrangements for ongoing testing. 

I have had a vaccine; do I still need to have a test? 

Yes, you can take part in the testing programme.  The vaccine works to protect you from the serious effects of Coronavirus, however there is a chance you might still get or spread the virus even if you have the vaccine.  Although you have additional protection, you could still pass it to someone who doesn’t.  

This means it is important to continue:

  • Following social distancing guidance 
  • Wearing a face covering 
  • Cleaning your hand regularly 

I am already being tested by my employer, do I still need to test through the college? 

If you are tested once per week through your employer, then please do one additional test per week through the college.  If you are tested more than once per week, you do not need to take part in our testing programme, however you must let us know if you test positive by emailing us.  

What happens if I am late to class because of my testing appointment? 

Please don’t worry.  The testing is an important part of keeping everyone safe on site and our staff will make allowances for this in the first week. 

Will my parent/carer get sent my results? 

Testing results will be sent to the email address and phone number provided as part of the registration process. You are encouraged to discuss your results with your parent/carer. 

I have tried to create an NHS testing account but it is asking for a barcode, what do I need to do? 

You will need a barcode to register your test results, but the barcode is not required at this stage to create the account.  You can create the account by completing the following steps; 

  1. On the 'Register a Coronavirus Test' page, click the start now button 
  2. Select myself and click continue 
  3. Select sign in or create an account and click continue 
  4. Enter your college email address and click continue 
  5. Create a password and click continue 

You should get an email to click and confirm your address.  Once this is complete the account will be set up ready to use when you arrive at the testing centre.   

I have not used Pro-Portal before, how do I log in? 

You can log into Pro-Portal on the link here using your existing college IT username and password.  A guide on how to book an appointment can be accessed here

Why are you using lateral flow tests instead of PCR tests?

Antigen LFD tests produce results much quicker than PCR tests. With antigen lateral flow tests, a result is available after 30 minutes rather than 1-2 days as is the case with PCR tests. The rapid turnaround has a significant impact on transmission reduction that might occur in the time gap. 

Are the LFD tests accurate?

Antigen lateral flow tests have been widely and successfully used to detect COVID-19 in asymptomatic individuals and are approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Using antigen LFD tests is crucial in the fight against the virus. 

Extensive clinical evaluation has been carried out on the antigen lateral flow tests. Evaluations from Public Health England and the University of Oxford show these tests are accurate and sensitive enough to be used in the community for screening and surveillance purposes. 

Antigen LFD tests identify individuals who are likely to be infectious. These individuals tend to spread the virus to many people and so identifying by LFD remains important. 

It is important to remember that these tests are an additional layer of health protection measure in addition to face coverings, social distancing etc. 

Home testing

Should someone who has been vaccinated take an antigen LFD test? 

Yes, we do not yet know whether vaccines prevent individuals transmitting the virus. If staff and students have been vaccinated, they should continue to follow the steps set out in the guidance. The vaccine does not interfere with the antigen LFD or PCR tests. 

Should I still take part in the asymptomatic testing programme if I have recently tested positive for COVID-19? 

If you have tested positive by PCR for COVID-19, you will probably have developed some immunity to the disease. However, it cannot be guaranteed that everyone will develop immunity, or how long it will last. It is possible for PCR tests to remain positive for some time after COVID-19 infection. 

Anyone who has previously received a positive COVID-19 PCR test result should not be re-tested within 90 days of that test, unless they develop any new symptoms of COVID-19. 

If, however, you do have an antigen LFD test within 90 days of a previous positive COVID-19 PCR test, for example as part of a workplace or community testing programme, and the result of this test is positive, you and your household should self-isolate and follow the steps in this guidance again. 

If it is more than 90 days since you tested positive by PCR for COVID-19, and you have new symptoms of COVID-19, or a positive antigen LFD or PCR test, follow the steps in this guidance again. 

I am taking part in my employer testing, do I need to test via college? 

If you are tested once per week through your employer, then please do one additional test per week through the college.   

If you are tested more than once per week, you do not need to take part in our testing programme, however you must let us know if you test positive by emailing us.  

When should staff and students do the testing?  

Staff and students should test twice weekly before coming into college, ideally in the morning. If they cannot take the test in the morning, they should take it as soon as possible before coming into college. 

How will staff and students know what do to with the home test kits? 

Detailed information on how to self-swab and process the tests is in the Instructions for Use, and there is an NHS video here demonstrating how to carry out a test.  

Can students swab themselves? 

Yes, when testing at home, Students aged 18 and over should self-test and report the result, with assistance if needed. Students aged 12-17 should self-test and report with adult supervision. The adult may conduct the test if necessary.  

What supervision do different age groups need for testing at home, after they have their first three tests on site (ATS)? 

Students aged 18 and over should self-test and report the result, with assistance if needed. Students aged 12-17 should self-test and report with adult supervision. The adult may conduct the test if necessary.  

Can I still be tested on site? 

We will be closing the main testing centres in the next few weeks, but will retain a small onsite testing provision for those who can’t complete testing at home.  Locations and opening times will be made available to students, once we are ready to make the switch. 

Can my family get tested too? 

Not through the College. This asymptomatic antigen LFD testing is for staff and students in college. The tests will be handed to staff and students for personal use and should not be used for anyone else.  

As you are in education your family can request their own test through the Government scheme for families of students.  Your family will be eligible to access their own symptom free testing this way.  Details on how to access this can be found here.  

If family members experience COVID-19 symptoms, they must follow standard Government guidance, including self-isolating immediately and booking a test through the NHS Coronavirus (COVID 19) service or by calling 119 (England and Wales). 

How will test results get recorded for home testing? 

When testing at home, the college will not automatically find out if staff or students have taken a test.  

Staff or students (or the parent) are required to report the test result via the NHS Online reporting system for both negative, void and positive test results.  

You should also report positive, negative and void results to the college.  You don’t need to email in your results.  Please use the link to the Self-Declaration form here to register the results on our system instead.  You will need to be logged into your college IT account to access the online form. 

If the result is positive, the individual should isolate, and the college will carry out contact tracing. They will also need to arrange a lab-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to confirm the result if the test was done at home. 

Those with a negative antigen LFD test result can continue to attend college and use protective measures. 

Why do I need to share information on antigen LFD test results both with NHS Test & Trace and my college? 

It is a requirement to share results with NHS Test & Trace so that contact tracing (particularly outside the college environment can take place) and clinical evaluation of the testing programme can continue.  

Staff and students should share results with their college so that if positive, immediate contact tracing can take place in college. Void and negative results are useful information for their college both to monitor stocks of kits and to identify any issues that might need escalating to DfE or NHS Test & Trace. 

I'm trying to Register with NHS Lite, but it’s Asking for barcode?

When you first register, it will ask for a barcode, but you don’t need a barcode at this stage.  You can create the account by completing the following steps; 

  • On the 'Register a Coronavirus Test' page, click the start now button 
  • Select myself and click continue 
  • Select sign in or create an account and click continue 
  • Enter your college email address and click continue 
  • Create a password and click continue 

I have tried to complete the college self-declaration form but it says I don’t have access? 

Use the link to the Self-Declaration form here to register the results on our system.  You will need to be logged into your college IT account to access the online form.  Please don’t email your results 

Do test results get affected by brushing teeth, drinking water? 

Avoid eating or drinking half an hour before the test. A small amount of water is acceptable. There is unlikely to be an adverse impact of brushing teeth prior to testing but it might be prudent to wait a while before testing. 

Are the swabs latex free? 

The manufacturer has confirmed that Innova swabs are latex free. 

Does the LFD test contain any harmful substances and are there any precautions for dealing with spillages? 

Extraction solution which comes with the LFD test kit contains the following components: NA2HPO4 (disodium hydrogen phosphate), NaH2PO4 (sodium phosphate monobasic), NaCl (Sodium Chloride). These components do not have any hazard labels associated with them, and the manufacturer states that there are no hazards anticipated if individuals follow the instructions for use. 

Any spillages should be wiped with a paper towel and if the solution included the throat and nose sample, the area should be appropriately disinfected using household disinfectant. 

Do the LFD tests contain animal products or have they been tested on animals? 

All of the antibodies are necessarily generated from animal cells. While we do not test any of these products on animals, nor are animals harmed in the development process, the antibodies used for the test reaction are derived using an animal cell in the laboratory. The T line for a positive test is derived by reaction between the sample as it flows to the membrane (thin paper like material inside the device) which is coated with these antibodies. 

It is therefore highly unlikely for there to be any direct contact between the person being tested and the animal material itself. However, we want to make sure that the people undertaking the test make an informed choice about this 

Are the LFD tests vegan? 

The monoclonal antibody technology present in our lateral flow devices are generated from animal cells. During development no component parts been tested on animals. 

Are the LFD tests halal? 

No animal products have been used in the production of the swabs. The swab is the only material with which the individual will come into direct contact. The individual using the test will not come into direct contact with any materials made from animal products. 

The thin paper like material inside the LFD is coated with antibodies from animal cells.  No direct contact will be made between the person and this material. The monoclonal antibody technology present in our lateral flow devices are generated from animal cells. This is in common with other tests of this kind, including commercially available pregnancy tests. 

Is the LFD test safe for those that are pregnant? 

Yes, the tests are safe to use by those who are pregnant.