COVID-19 testing guidance for staff and students
Imperial offers two different asymptomatic testing options which are both free for students and staff.
If you are attending campus regularly and/or you live in halls of residence, you should take weekly tests.
If you choose to use the PCR testing scheme, you should take one test per week.
If you choose to use LFD Collect, the collection service for testing at home, you should take two tests per week.
There are three exceptions to the need for weekly testing:
- If you have symptoms, do not take a test through our schemes and do not come onto campus. Instead please follow the NHS advice to book a test.
- If you have been advised to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the College's COVID-19 Contact Tracing Hub, you should not take a test through our schemes.
- If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you must NOT take another test during your isolation period or for 90 days after the positive test unless you develop new COVID-19 symptoms.
What are the differences?
|PCR testing scheme||LFD Collect|
|You must book a testing slot in advance||You visit one of our collection points or order via the government website|
|You take the test at one of our testing sessions||You take the test at home|
|You usually receive the results within 36 working hours of when the test was taken||You receive the results in 30 minutes|
|You must report positive results to the COVID-19 Contact Tracing Hub||You must report all results via the ‘COVID Rapid testing reporting’ form on MyImperial and to the NHS, as well as reporting positive results to the COVID-19 Contact Tracing Hub|
|You should take one test per week||You should take two tests per week|
Frequently asked questions
I have been vaccinated - do I still need to take weekly tests?
Yes - if you are attending campus regularly, you should continue to take weekly tests.
I'm a student due to travel home at the end of term - what testing do I need to do?
All students leaving Imperial to travel home at the end of term should undertake a PCR test before they travel. This is at the direction of our local authority. The exception is if you have tested positive within the last 90 days, in which case please do not book an end of term test - please see the FAQ below for more information.
I am returning to campus - what testing do I need to do?
The 10 May letter to students from the Universities Minister [pdf] states that students should take a test before travelling back to university, either through their local community testing programme or by ordering a home test online. On arrival at university, students should then take three tests (3-4 days apart) at an on-site testing facility.
Staff who are returning to campus for the first time should either take a PCR test on their first day back on campus and minimise contact until they receive the result, or order at-home rapid lateral flow tests and take one before travelling to campus.
Travelling from overseas
Please visit our Arriving in the UK webpage for more information.
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, unless you develop new COVID-19 symptoms.
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. Visit the COVID-19 testing data page.