Coronavirus (Covid-19): Latest updates and information
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Christmas student travel window (3-9 December)

Get tested before you travel

The Government has created a new asymptomatic testing programme for Covid-19. It is now on offer to Warwick students and staff. These new tests are for people who don't show any symptoms, but who might have the virus and spread it to others.

We are encouraging all students without symptoms to book an appointment to take the tests. The asymptomatic tests are easy to do and they will help you determine if it's safe to travel away from University for the holiday period. They will offer extra assurance to you, your families and our local communities.

Testing will take place on campus in The Slate from 8am to 8pm, between Monday 30 November and Sunday 6 December. You will take a supervised, self-administered swab test and get your results within the hour. You will then take another test to confirm your results three days later. The NHS should send you your results by email or text message. Your results are confidential and we will not know the results unless you tell us yourself.

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Key dates and timeline

  • Tuesday 24 November
    Bookings are open for staff and students: see how to book your tests.
  • Monday 30 November – Sunday 6 December
    Lateral Flow Testing available at The Slate for students and staff
  • Wednesday 2 December
    New government national restrictions/tiers in place
  • Thursday 3 – Wednesday 9 December
    Student Travel Window.
  • Saturday 12 December
    End of term

Frequently asked questions

About the tests

What is the student travel window?

You can find out more about the travel window from's advice about students returning home.

What is asymptomatic testing?

Asymptomatic means someone who has no symptoms of a disease, in this case coronavirus. Evidence has shown that people infected with Covid-19 can have no symptoms and still transmit the virus to others without being aware. It is important that we take steps to reduce the risk of transmission by identifying those who may not know they have the virus.

What is a lateral flow test and how long does it take?

Lateral flow antigen tests are intended to detect the presence or absence of coronavirus by applying a swab or saliva sample to the device’s absorbent pad. The sample runs along the surface of the pad, showing at the end a visual positive or negative result dependant on the presence of the virus.

Lateral flow tests do not require a laboratory to process the test. The devices are designed to be intuitive and require minimal training to operate. Swabbing for the LFD is a supervised, self-administered process, overseen by trained personnel. Test processing will be carries out by trained personnel.

Lateral flow tests are validated technology, they are safe and inexpensive. The lateral flow tests we are using were chosen as among the most accurate in an evaluation by Public Health England. However, all available tests do miss cases of Covid-19, so negative test results mean lower risk not no risk.

Watch this short video to see how a lateral flow test works.

Do I have to take a test?

The tests are not compulsory, however, they are strongly recommended. You may have Covid-19 and spread the virus, without displaying any symptoms yourself. In this case, you can self-isolate and then travel safely for the holidays.

I have Covid-19 symptoms, can I take a Lateral Flow Test?

If you experience Covid-19 symptoms, you should not take part in this asymptomatic testing programme. Instead you must get tested using Test and Trace. We have a dedicated Covid-19 Test and Trace service for both students and staff on campus at Warwick.

I am self isolating, can I take a Lateral Flow Test?

If you are a close contact of a case, you should remain in self-isolation. This test is meant for people who do not show symptoms and who are not close contacts of confirmed cases.

Someone I know has had a positive test, can I take a Lateral Flow Test?

If you are a close contact of a case, you should be in self-isolation, However, you can do this at your University residence or at your home address. This test is meant for people who do not show symptoms and who are not close contacts of confirmed cases.

I have recently tested positive for Covid-19, can I take a Lateral Flow Test?

If you have recently (within 90 days) tested positive for Covid-19, you are likely to have developed some immunity, and therefore a repeat Lateral Flow Test is unlikely to be necessary within this period.

If you choose to have a Lateral Flow Test as part of this programme, please make sure you have completed your self-isolation following the last confirmed test.

If you still have symptoms after the normal 10-day self-isolation period for confirmed cases, you may need to continue self-isolating. This does not include a cough or changes to your sense of smell or taste as these can last for weeks after the infection has gone.

See advice for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (Covid-19) infection.

When will testing take place?

You should take two lateral flow tests 3 days apart before going home. The tests are quick and easy to take. All testing will take place in time to enable you to still travel to your home address for the Christmas vacation even if you test positive and need to self-isolate.

We expect most of the testing to take place on campus from 30 November to 6 December. This means that if you test positive, you can complete the required period of 10 days of self-isolation without having to be on campus over key holiday dates.

Some tests will happen in the following week to cover those students who have lab-based work in week 10.

How long does it take to get test results?

Results from asymptomatic tests using Lateral Flow Devices on campus should be available within an hour. We have been advised that during the end of term testing, the increase in the number of tests taking place could result in a delay in results of up to 24 hours. Your result will be shared with you directly by NHS Test and Trace by text or email.

Please note, if you get tested at the Gibbet Hill site after having Covid symptoms, results may take 24-48 hours. In this case, if you have not received your results after 5 days, please call 119 in England and Wales, or 0300 303 2713 in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Who else sees my test results?

A copy of your Asymptomatic test result will be sent to your GP. If you have tested positive, a notification will be sent to Public Health England (in England), Public Health Wales (in Wales), Health Protection Scotland (in Scotland), or the Public Health Agency (in Northern Ireland). The University will not see your results.

The University of Warwick and NHS Test and Trace also take the protection of your privacy very seriously. To find out how your personal data will be used when you register for a coronavirus test read the Government’s coronavirus privacy note.

Why are there two tests, not one?

Research suggest that the current LFD test has been found to have high specificity but with lower sensitivity (in other words, it detects some COVID-19 cases but misses some too). Therefore, the two tests conducted close to each other are a measure to pick up some of the cases missed in the first round and newly developed cases.

Is testing safe?

Yes, testing is safe and managed by NHS test and Trace.

Is testing free?

Yes, testing is free and available to all students and staff.

Why do I need a smartphone to take the test?

The NHS registration requires you to access a web link to register and then scan a bar code with your camera. This is the unique ID that connects your test up with you and ensures your data is kept completely confidential. If you don’t have a smartphone, please add this to the comments field when you book your appointment so we can discuss options with you.

Do I need to wear a face covering to the test site?

Yes, appropriate face coverings need to be worn throughout the testing process whilst in the testing facility apart from, when guided by a testing professional to remove it when your sample is taken.

If you have a medical exemption from wearing a face covering, please wear a visor to the site and alert the site manager about your situation as soon as you arrive so that they can take additional precautions.

Please note a visor alone is not considered face covering as they do not provide adequate protection alone.

What if I need accessibility support to take the test?

If you have any accessibility requirements or need assistance with administering the test, include this information in the form when you book your test slot and we will support you.

Organising your test

How can I book my tests?

You can book your tests through our form which is open to students and staff.

Book your asymptomatic tests now

What do I need to bring with me?

When you come to the Slate, please make sure you have:

  • Some form of photo ID like your passport or driver's license, and your student profile on your phone (you can find your profile on People Search)
  • A face covering (or visor if you are medically exempt)
  • A smartphone with camera with you to register
  • Suitable warm clothing in case you need to queue outside

If you have concerns about any of these, you can email us with any queries at ats at warwick dot ac dot uk

When you land on the NHS registration page, you will be given the option to register an account. If you do this, it will make the process quicker when you return for your second appointment.

Do I have to book in advance?

No, you can turn up without booking, but you're likely to have a very long and unpredictable wait outdoors in the cold. Instead, we encourage you to book as soon as bookings are open.

What happens if I miss my test slot?

If you don’t think you can make any booked appointment, please try and cancel the slot and rebook. Go back to your booking form and click cancel to do this.

How will I get my results and what happens next?

You should receive a message with your results by text or email, depending on which details you provided when you registered. There are three possible test results:

Negative test result

If this is your first test and you receive a negative result, please return in 3 days for your second test.

If this is your second test and you receive a negative result, please try and travel as soon as possible and minimise contact with others. You have a lower risk of having Covid-19, but the test does not rule it out.

Find out more about departure arrangements.

Positive test result

If you receive a positive result on either your first or second test, you must self-isolate for 10 days immediately before you can travel safely. This is a legal requirement.

There is the possibility of getting a false positive result so if you receive a positive test result you need to book a confirmatory PCR test to make sure the result is correct.

You can do this at any testing site but the University does provide the facility on campus, which you can book on the University Test and Trace site. You are allowed to break self-isolation to attend a PCR test.

If this result is verified as positive, you will need to self-isolate for 10 days before you can travel safely. This is a legal requirement.

Please tell your department so they can, if needed, make alternative arrangements for teaching up until week 10 when most teaching goes online anyway.

If you live on or off campus and book a confirmatory PCR test at the University Test and Trace site, support services will automatically be informed and be able to help with your self-isolation

If you get a confirmatory PCR test at another testing site please use our normal booking form to tell us if you have tested positive for Covid-19 off-campus so that we can still support you in your self-isolation period. If you are based on campus we will offer you the option to complete your self-isolation in one of our conference centre accommodation blocks.

We know self-isolation can be challenging. We have listened to your feedback so that we can ensure that you are well supported during this period.

Find out more about self-isolation at Warwick

Void test result

On occasion, some results may come back as 'void' which means your test was inconclusive, unfortunately, you will need to return to the Slate for another test.

Your results are only shared with you, your GP and Public Health England. The University will not have access to your results unless you tell us through the test and trace service.

Please act responsibly and follow the guidance sent to you with your results.

How long do I have to wait between tests, and do I need to self-isolate while I wait?

You should take two lateral flow tests 3 days apart and as close as possible to the date of departure from University. The tests do not guarantee that you will not catch the infection, but they do provide information to your infectivity status at the time of the test.

If your first test result is negative, you do not need to self-isolate while you wait for your second test.

See what to do if your first test result is positive.

What should I do if I do not receive any results?

You should receive your lateral flow test results within an hour. Please keep hold of our registration card which has your bar code and site ID on it and call the NHS Test and Trace Service on 119.

How soon can I leave after I get my test results?

As explained above in 'How will I get my test results': if the results of both of your tests are negative, we encourage you to travel home as soon as possible (ideally, within 24 hours of your second test).

On-campus departure dates

For students living on campus, we are coordinating departures in line with testing dates. These will be between 3-9 December in line with the Government’s published travel window.

See Warwick Accommodation's departures information.

If you have a departure date in week 9 that would result in you missing remaining face to face teaching, you will need to tell your department so that they can make alternative arrangements for teaching.

Remember you need to behave responsibly when leaving either by private or public transport. Always follow the guidance around face coverings, social distancing and regular good hand hygiene. 

See guidance for international travel

Off-campus departure dates

We will not be managing the departure of students living off campus but you should still leave within the Student Travel Window (3-9 December) if possible.

Remember you need to behave responsibly when leaving either by private or public transport. Always follow the guidance around face coverings, social distancing and regular good hand hygiene. 

See guidance for international travel

What do I do if my UK travel is booked after the 9 December (outside the 3-9 December Student Travel Window)

We have been able to extend the testing programme until 15 December, to support those students with lab assessments and teaching in week 10 and for our PGR students. If you are travelling a number of days after your test, please limit your contact with others between receiving your negative test results and travelling.

International travel

Is the Lateral Flow Test valid for international travel?

The Lateral Flow Test used for asymptomatic testing is not valid for international travel. It is likely that you will need to arrange a private PCR test (Polymerase Chain Reaction) from a reputable pharmacy or clinic to satisfy the requirements of your airline.

You should also check any restrictions that apply to the country you are travelling to.

See Foreign Travel Advice from


If you are travelling to China, please check the travel advice for China. You can find further information from the Chinese Embassy along with FAQs about testing requirements for people travelling to China from the UK.

I am an international student, when can I travel home?

International students can travel home from 3 December. Before you travel, you should:

  • Check the Covid-19 entry requirements for your destination country
  • Speak to your travel insurer
  • Check with your carrier for latest developments at your destination
  • Plan ahead to avoid busy times and routes

I am a student abroad travelling back to the UK, what should I do?

If you are a student abroad and are travelling back to the UK, you should:

What do I do if my international travel is booked for after 9 December (outside the 3- 9 December Student Travel window)

We have been able to extend the testing programme until 15 December, to support those students with lab assessments and teaching in week 10 and for our PGR students. If you are travelling a number of days after your test, please limit your contact with others between receiving your negative test results and travelling.

Other frequently asked questions

Can I stay here during the Christmas vacation?

We expect a number of students to remain in campus or local accommodation over the Christmas vacation, and we will make sure you still have support.

You can share your Christmas vacation plans here.

We will share more detail of what will be in place for you in the coming weeks. And in the meantime, you can find everything on our one-stop shop page: Christmas on campus | Warwick Presents

Which facilities will be open?

The campus will remain open through to the end of term and through the Christmas vacation. We will provide more detail about specific facilities soon. We will also keep you updated on how to use campus study and dwell space, cafes and the sports hub safely.

See how to use campus study and dwell spaces, cafés and the sport hub safely

Will there be anything to do on campus?

End of term is still a few weeks away. If you have not seen them already, please explore our Warwick Presents activities. They run right to the end of term and help you to interact safely and build a Warwick community.

Explore Warwick Presents activities

We are also developing a programme of activities over the festive season (subject to any post lockdown restrictions). If you are staying in the local area during the vacation, you are welcome to join any planned activities as well (subject to any local restrictions).

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I am not planning on travelling, do I need to take a test?

Tests are not compulsory, but you are strongly recommended to take the test. This is because if you have Covid-19 but are not displaying symptoms, you can still spread the virus without knowing it.

What does this mean for teaching?

Blended learning

We know how important our blended approach to teaching and learning is. We are committed to continuing to deliver it safely where we can.

Blended learning will continue for as long as possible to work within the Government’s travel window and testing programmes. This means that you’ll continue to receive a mixture of online and face to face teaching until the end of week 9 (4 December).

From 7 December (Week 10) onwards, we will move to Tier 4 status with some exceptions.

Find out more about our teaching Tier statuses.

Week 10

Teaching in week 10 will be delivered online as it falls after the ‘travel’ window.  There are some exceptions to this where face to face teaching will continue into week 10, including: MBChB (WMS); International Foundation Studies (WFS); any lab work for second year students that may still be needed in lab-based sciences as prerequisites for term 2. Please note that lab work and IFS will finish on 8 December and MBChB will finish on 9 December.

Your department will be in touch shortly with further details on specific teaching sessions. You should arrange to depart as soon as practicable after these teaching sessions.

What does this mean for research?

Research activities are not impacted by the teaching delivery changes for week 10. Research students will be able to continue in-person research activities if the research cannot reasonably be conducted from home. The testing and travel guidance applies to research students as well as taught students.