Taken by: Robert O'Halloran

Mass coronavirus testing centres have been set up across the UK for students to travel home for the Christmas break.

The lateral-flow test is quite different from a normal test centre. The test is self-administered, takes less than 10 minutes and produces a much quicker result, usually 3 hours after the test is completed.

Students are being asked to take two tests, three days apart. If the result comes back as negative students are being asked to travel home in their specific university travel-window to avoid catching and spreading the disease at a later date.

However, the lateral-flow test being offered is not mandatory for students and testing is not available at every university. This has caused concern as individuals that choose not to get the test are taking a risk bringing it back home and potentially infecting others.

Alice Perkins, Clinical team leader at Nottingham Trent University (NTU), feels mass testing is working and encourages students to get a test before returning home.

“This type of testing is different as it allows students to get a quick result which is what everybody wants”.

“Testing hasn’t been made mandatory but if you can’t do the test make sure you take onboard government advice to avoid spreading it”.

Why is mass testing so important?

Mass testing is there for individuals with or without symptoms to get a quick test. The thought behind mass testing is to locate people who are asymptomatic, meaning they are infected but show no symptoms.

People who test positive can complete the isolation period to prevent the risk of spreading the disease. Mass testing is useful as workplaces, schools and other organisations can be kept open which host a lot of people where the disease is most likely to spread.

Mass testing was introduced in tier three “high risk” areas following a successful pilot scheme in Liverpool which offered a voluntary test for everybody living or working in the city.

Hundreds tested for coronavirus as the pilot scheme gets underway in Liverpool – Wirral Globe

Mass testing at NTU has been successful but universities can’t “enforce students” to get a test. They are urged to make the right choices by following government advice regularly.

“The response from our students here at NTU has been excellent with many other universities the outcome has been positive”.

“Students have taken covid very seriously, so many have booked a test showing they really care”

Steve Denton, Chief Operating Officer and Registrar at NTU.


Testing in universities started on the 3rd of December straight after the end of the second national lockdown and ended on the 9th. This gave students time to complete the test and travel within the travel window. Students that remain at their term-time address after the 9th and wish to travel home can book a test here.

How the rapid test works:

Lateral Flow Test Process – BBC

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