COVID-19 Tests and symptoms
You must let us know if you test positive for COVID-19 – from any type of test. Fill in this form and we’ll contact you as soon as possible.
The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
• a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature);
• a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual);
• a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.
Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms. For further information please visit the NHS website.
Further research has shown that there are several less-common, ‘early symptoms’ of COVID-19. PHE have advised that these may include loss of appetite; diarrhoea; nausea/vomiting; extreme tiredness; headaches; joint pain; muscle ache; runny nose; sore throat; sneezing; altered consciousness; seizures.
You do not need to self-isolate or get a PCR test if you experience these without any of the main three COVID-19 symptoms. However, given the prevalence of the virus, it is important to pay particular attention if you experience these ‘early symptoms’. Whilst in normal circumstances they may not be a cause for concern, we must all be mindful of the current increased risks that COVID-19 presents.
If you feel unwell with any of the ‘early symptoms’, we recommend that you:
• monitor the symptoms closely, limit contact with others by staying at home as much as possible, and pay extra attention to cleaning any shared areas after use; and
• book a Lateral Flow Test at the University SportsPark if you are currently living on or close to campus, or at one of the many community LFD test sites, or alternatively free home test kits can be ordered online.
Remember that you should self-isolate and get a PCR test, if you develop any of the main symptoms - even mildly.
If you do have any questions, please contact our COVID-19 Support & Behaviour Team at email@example.com.
Let us know if you have symptoms
If you have any of the main symptoms (listed previously) of coronavirus you should self-isolate and get a PCR test as soon as possible. You must also tell anyone else you live with as they will need to self-isolate until you get your test result.
• If you live in private accommodation and are self-isolating while seeking a test or waiting for the results, please let us know using our online form. Let us know if you are struggling to access testing.
• If you live in halls, please use the Home at Halls app (or My Unite for Kendrick residents) to report if you have symptoms.
Further information about self-isolating is available on Essentials and on the government website.
There are two main types of testing for COVID-19 being used in the UK:
• Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests: For those with COVID-19 symptoms.
• Lateral Flow Tests (LFT): Also known as ‘rapid’, tests, LFTs are for testing those who do not have symptoms.
If you have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, however mild:
Book or order a test on the government website as soon as symptoms begin or call 119. The test takes less than a minute and you can expect your result the next day.
Tests must be booked in advance and you will not be able to get a test without a booking.
If you are requesting a PCR test by post, a step-by-step guide on home testing, including posting your test, is available. The post box on campus outside Whiteknights House has been designated a ‘priority post box’ by Royal Mail for returning COVID-19 tests.
When to get an LFT test
Regular lateral flow testing
If you are planning to return to campus for face-to-face teaching or other essential reason, you are encouraged to take a test before travelling back to university, either through local community testing or by ordering a test online. When you return to Reading, you should take three lateral flow tests at an onsite testing facility (3 - 4 days apart) to confirm that you have not inadvertently brought the virus with you.
Students on campus are strongly encouraged to continue to take a free lateral flow test twice a week, either at the SportsPark or by ordering a home test online. Please note, it is recommended that wherever possible students should undertake three supervised tests at a test centre before using home testing.
Although not mandatory, testing can identify those who are not displaying symptoms of COVID-19 but are unknowingly carrying the virus.
Twice weekly testing is also available to everyone living in England and you can find out more on the government website.
If you test positive from a lateral flow test, you and your household must self-isolate immediately for 10 days and let us know using our online form so we can support you and your close contacts, and help you to get a priority confirmatory PCR test. Following a decrease in the prevalence of the virus in England, Public Health England have reintroduced the requirement to take a confirmatory PCR test after a positive lateral flow result. This change came into effect from 30 March 2021.
The only exceptions to taking a lateral flow test are:
if you have returned/arrived in the UK from overseas, there is specific guidance you need to follow. Please carefully read this information on arriving in the UK from overseas.
if you are self-isolating due to having symptoms, testing positive, or having had close contact with someone who tested positive;
Please note: If you are already showing any of the main symptoms of COVID-19 – a high temperature, new continuous cough or a loss/change of your sense of taste or smell, you must not book a Lateral Flow Test. You should let us know so we can support you and book a PCR test through the national NHS testing system.
How to book an LFT test
You can book your test using our online booking system for either:
• a student rapid test for students who do not have any accessibility requirements
• an accessible or supported test for students who may need extra assistance or space to take a test, or who need to request adjustments because of a disability.
You can book your two Lateral Flow Tests three days apart at the same time, but you must remember to cancel your second test if you can no longer make it.
You can also access LFT tests at one of the many community LFD test sites, or alternatively free home test kits can be ordered online.
Testing for travel
If you do not have symptoms and need to take a test for international travel, you can book a PCR test privately through a pharmacy or private provider. The university cannot provide this. Please see this information on travelling out of the UK.
After arriving in the UK from abroad
There is specific guidance you need to follow if you have returned/arrived in the UK from overseas. Please carefully read this information on arriving in the UK from overseas and review the information on the government website.
If you have any other questions, please contact our COVID-19 support line at firstname.lastname@example.org. This inbox will be monitored daily from Monday to Friday.
University of Reading COVID-19 Case Management Team
Our Case Management Team enables us to respond quickly to provide support and guidance to those members of our community who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their close contacts after getting a PCR test or LFT test, and to support the national Test & Trace system.
When a student or colleague lets us know about a positive COVID-19 test result, the Case Management Team will work with the affected individual to identify and contact their known close contacts at the University. The team will give advice about when and for how long affected students and colleagues will need to self-isolate, based on government guidance, and how they can access support.
If you are contacted by the team, either because you have tested positive for COVID-19 or because you have been named as a close contact of someone who has, please provide them with your full support and cooperation, for the safety of our whole community.
Anyone who receives a positive test or who is identified as a close contact may also be contacted separately by NHS Test and Trace, and we expect you to fully cooperate with the national process as we are sure you will with ours.
Frequently Asked Questions