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05 July 2021

Your guide to COVID testing

Whether you are coming to campus, are at home or have COVID symptoms.

A student walking down a corridor wearing a mask and carrying a coffee.

With lots of us getting out and about more now that restrictions have eased in the UK, taking regular tests is even more important to protect your health and those around you.

Anyone can be a carrier of coronavirus without having symptoms (asymptomatic), even if they are vaccinated. Taking regular COVID-19 tests, even when you feel fine, can help to reduce the spread of the virus.

There are a few ways of testing for COVID-19, and they all have different uses. Here’s our guide to which test you need and when.

Self-isolation reporting form

Fill in this form to let us know if you receive a positive COVID test result so we can support you during your self-isolation at home.

No COVID symptoms and coming to campus or live in our residences? You can do KCL TEST saliva testing

KCL TEST is a saliva test to check for coronavirus if you do not have symptoms. You just need to provide a saliva sample by spitting into a tube – it’s that simple!

You can pick up a test from KCL TEST hubs on campus or in our residences. You’ll get results by email, usually in 12-24 hours.

If you are coming to campus regularly or live in our residences, we expect you to test regularly. Please do two tests a week to help to protect all of us.

Don’t come to campus to pick up a test if you have COVID-19 symptoms. If that’s the case, you need to take an NHS PCR test. More on that below.

You may be wondering why we’re using saliva. KCL TEST uses PCR method – the same method that the NHS use with nose and throat swabs – but using a saliva sample. This means we use the most accurate method of testing available, but it is non-invasive and can detect the virus early.

No symptoms and not coming to campus? Take at home lateral flow tests

The UK government recommends that everyone takes two lateral flow tests a week if they do not have symptoms of COVID-19.

This involves taking a swab of your nose and throat. You can do the test by yourself at home and get the results within 30 minutes.

Pick up lateral flow tests from your local pharmacy or testing centre or order them online.

You’ll need to report your result using the government website. When asked why you took the test, select ‘To go to school, college or university’, and then select ‘King’s College London KCLL (SE1 1UL)’.

Got a cough, temperature or other COVID-19 symptoms? Book an NHS PCR test

We’re sorry to hear you’re feeling unwell. We know it may be worrying to get symptoms of COVID.

If you feel unwell, please stay at home and don’t come to campus – even if you don’t think it is COVID.

The symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell.

If you have any of these symptoms, take a free NHS PCR test. You can order a test to be sent to your home or book an appointment at a testing centre near you.

If your symptoms get worse or you are worried, please call NHS 111.

Travelling to or from the UK

KCL TEST and lateral flow tests are not valid for the ‘fit to fly’ certification required by many airlines, or the UK government’s Test to Release scheme, which allows you to stop self-isolating after travelling to the UK if you get a negative test result. You’ll need to pay for a private COVID-19 test in both these cases.

Check the UK government website for the latest guidance on travel to and from the UK.

Share your views on our approach to testing on campus.

COVID testing hub

If you get a negative result from any COVID-19 test

If your results are negative, it means the test didn’t detect that you had coronavirus. Please continue to follow the guidelines on protecting yourself and others, by wearing a face covering unless you’re exempt, washing your hands regularly and keeping a safe distance from people you don’t live with.

Stay at home if you get a positive result from any COVID-19 test

If you get a positive result – from KCL TEST, a lateral flow test or an NHS PCR test – you will need to self-isolate for ten days, so please stay at home and follow government guidance.

You’ll need to self-isolate after a positive test result even if you don’t have any symptoms or have been vaccinated.

You will usually need to stay at home for ten days. Check the latest NHS guidance on self-isolation.

More information on self isolation

Check our webpages for more information on what to do if you have to self-isolate and how we can support you.

If you receive a negative test result after initially testing positive, you still need to complete your self-isolation period. This is because your first positive test confirms that you did have COVID-19 and you need to self-isolate from the date of that test.

Let your personal tutor know if you feel too unwell to carry on with your normal studies. If your symptoms get worse or you are worried, call NHS 111.

You’ll also need to tell the people that you live with, as they will need to self-isolate too, even if they don’t develop COVID-19 symptoms.

We know that self-isolation can be difficult, so we’re here to support you. Fill in our self-isolation reporting form so we can stay in touch with you during your self-isolation period.

While you’re staying at home, you may find it useful to stick to a routine, building in time for activities you find fun and keeping in touch with friends and family online. Move Your Mind classes are here to help you take care of your wellbeing at home, with everything from abs to Zumba. We have a range of free wellbeing services and support available online too.