Updated 26 November 2020

Imperial is running a COVID-19 testing scheme for staff and students who are asymptomatic.  

If you have symptoms, please do not book a test through this scheme and do not come onto campus. Instead please follow the NHS advice to book a test.  

The testing scheme has two aims:  

  1. to estimate the prevalence of asymptomatic/pre-symptomatic infection in staff and students who are on campus  
  2. to identify cases of asymptomatic/pre-symptomatic infection so that those people can promptly isolate and so reduce transmission.  

Who can book a test?  

Any Imperial student or staff member can book a test as long as: 

  • you are asymptomatic – that is, you do not have symptoms of COVID-19; and
  • you have not been in close contact with anyone who has tested positive for the virus or is displaying symptoms of the virus; and
  • you are working or studying on-campus.

Who will have access to my test result?

Your test results and personal data will be stored by the College for up to eight years, in line with healthcare standards and other College requirements. View the Privacy Notice [pdf] for full details of how we will collect and use personal information about you. 

If your test result is positive, please follow the instructions on the COVID-19 Contact Tracing Hub webpage to notify the hub of your test result.  

In addition, COVID-19 is a notifiable disease – it is a statutory requirement for positive tests to be reported to Public Health England (PHE). This means that if your test result is positive, your details will also be passed on to PHE to allow the NHS Test and Trace contact tracing process to be activated.  

How do I book a test?

Please book a test via the testing form. By booking a test, you consent to your data being shared as outlined above.    

You will be asked to enter your name, email address, CID, and date of birth. You will then be able to select a location, a date and a 15 minute slot for your test. You will receive an email confirmation once you have booked a test. 

The testing form isn’t accessible to me – how can I book a test? 

Imperial is currently carrying out accessibility testing on different aspects of the test booking website and is committed to making the site accessible in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018. 

Once this accessibility testing is complete, we will publish the details with any areas of the website which do not meet accessibility standards. 

In the meantime, if you are not able to book a test using the form, please email covidtestenquiries@imperial.ac.uk and someone from the team will help you to book your test.  

I can no longer attend my booked testing sesion - what should I do?

If your plans change and you no longer need or cannot attend your booked testing session, please cancel your test on the system, as sessions can be reallocated up to 30 minutes before they start. 

What do I need to do when I come for my test?

Please review the self-swabbing method in this video before you attend your test session. 

Please wear a face covering in line with College guidance. Please arrive within your booked slot to avoid queuing. If you do need to wait, please maintain social distancing. 

A test facilitator will ask for your name and CID number. They will invite you to collect a tube, swab and plastic specimen bag, and then proceed to an individual testing station. 

You will self-administer the test, following the method in the video. Place the swab inside the tube then the tube inside the plastic specimen bag. 

Once you have finished, please use the wipes provided to wipe down your testing station and use the sanitizer provided to clean your hands.  

Please drop your plastic specimen bag in the bag or box provided and follow the signage as you leave – you may be asked to use a different door than where you came in.  

How do I get my test results?

You will receive an email within two working days prompting you to log in to view your test results.

If your result is ‘detected’, this means that you have tested positive for COVID-19.

If your result is ‘not detected’, this means that you have tested negative for COVID-19.

If your result is 'inadequate', this means that there was insufficient material from the swab for a result. Please book another test via the testing form

What happens if I test positive?

Please see the CCT Hub webpage for guidance on what you need to do.  

Can I book another test if I have tested positive?

Please do not book another test during your isolation period or for 90 days after this.
A negative test during isolation will not mean that you are no longer infectious, and will not allow you to end isolation early or travel during this period. The PCR test can remain positive for up to 90 days after infection, although this does not mean that you are still infectious once any fever has settled and you have completed the required isolation period.

Where do I find data on the number of positive tests at the College?

We publish anonymous data daily (Monday to Friday) on the total number of positive tests reported to the College on our website. Visit the COVID-19 testing data page

Where can I find answers to my questions on testing and Christmas travel?

Please view the FAQs on our College COVID-19 status and response webpage.

Additional information

When should I not use this scheme for testing? 

If testing is required because you have developed COVID-19 symptoms then you should remain off campus and report your symptoms as laid out on the CCT Hub webpage. You should book a test through the NHS Test and Trace Scheme.  

If testing is required for travel purposes, then you will need to book a private test with a travel clinic who can provide formal travel certification.  

The testing scheme should not be used post-travel as a negative COVID-19 test does not shorten self-isolation. For example, you must self-isolate for 14 days regardless of a test result if Government guidance has stipulated this duration following travel from a non-exempt country.  

The testing scheme should not be used if you have been informed by NHS Test and Trace or the CCT Hub that you are a close contact of a positive case, as a negative COVID-19 test does not shorten self-isolation.  

I am a clinical staff member and receive testing through an NHS or other scheme – should I also volunteer for a test through this scheme?

If you are a clinical staff member who is receiving testing via your relevant Trust or other provider, you are not excluded from also participating in this scheme, but it is strongly recommended that you comply with the one scheme relevant to your main workplace.  

How accurate are the tests?

The viral PCR tests that we use have a high sensitivity and specificity, but no test is 100 per cent accurate. Many factors can affect accuracy, and these include the timing of the test, how the swab was taken and how it was handled thereafter.  

I have more questions – who can I ask?

If you have questions about Imperial’s testing scheme that have not been addressed, please email covidtestenquiries@imperial.ac.uk.