PCR testing scheme
Updated Thursday 31 March 2022
Staff and students no longer need to take regular COVID tests before coming onto campus.
The College’s asymptomatic PCR testing scheme will be operating at a reduced capacity from Friday 1 April. 100 tests per day will be available from 8.30-12.30 as follows:
- South Kensington: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
- Hammersmith: Tuesday
Fit to Fly PCR tests for international travel will continue to be available through the scheme. Please ensure you select the correct option when booking your appointment - the same booking system is used for routine asymptomatic PCR tests.
If you have recently recovered from COVID-19, you should not use the College's PCR testing scheme. A PCR test will nearly always return a positive result from your previous COVID-19 diagnosis, meaning you could test positive despite no longer being infectious.
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.
This means that if you have been advised to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the College's COVID-19 Contact Tracing Hub, you are not eligible to book a test.
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 below.
You will be asked to enter your CID, date of birth, telephone number and address. Please ensure all your details are correct as it is not possible to change them after the certificate has been issued.
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. You may need to check your junk or spam folder.
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.
The testing form isn’t accessible to me – how can I book a test?
Imperial is committed to making the site accessible in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 and has carried out accessibility testing on different aspects of the test booking website and implemented fixes where possible. You can view a statement detailing areas of the website which do not meet accessibility standards.
If you are not able to book a test using the form, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and someone from the team will help you to book your test.
I can no longer attend my booked testing session - what should I do?
If your plans change and you no longer need or cannot attend your booked testing session, please cancel your test by clicking the ‘change/cancel appointment’ link in your booking confirmation email. Please ensure you do not cancel your appointment on the confirmation page immediately after booking, as this may prevent any new booking from going through successfully.
Cancelling your test means we’ll be able to offer your slot to someone else - 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 where you will self-administer the test.
How quickly will I get my test result?
We aim to have test results ready within 36 working hours of when the test was taken, and the lab team works hard to make this happen. However, very occasionally the lab has to re-run samples, which can cause delays. The lab currently operates from Monday to Friday only, and therefore if you have not received your result by midnight on Friday, and were relying on your test result before the weekend, you may wish to explore booking a private test.
If you are booking a test ahead of travel, please be aware that we cannot guarantee a 36 hour turnaround time. If a delay in receiving your results would cause stress and/or affect travel arrangements, then you may wish to explore booking a private test.
How do I get my test results?
You should receive an email within 36 working hours 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 visit our 'Respiratory disease symptoms, COVID-19 positive test results, and close contacts' webpage for guidance on what you need to do.