University of Reading launches rapid testing centre

All students and staff at the University of Reading can now get rapid COVID-19 testing, even if they don’t have symptoms, before the Christmas holiday.

Working with NHS Test & Trace, the University has set up an on-campus rapid testing facility so that students who do not have COVID-19 symptoms can be tested before they travel, giving them greater peace of mind that they are not unknowingly taking the virus home with them.

From 1 December, lateral flow testing will be available for students at the University’s Sports Hall between 10am and 6pm Monday to Friday, and 11am and 4pm on Saturday.

Staff who have been working on campus are also invited to take a test from 7 December. Accessible or supported tests are available to those who need them.

Professor Parveen Yaqoob, the University of Reading’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, is leading the team planning and delivering the testing service. She said:

“We hope that this testing facility will provide some additional reassurance for those students who are returning home to their families over the Christmas break. Many dedicated members of staff have also been working on campus to continue delivering teaching and research, and all the many services that support our students and keep our campus running, and they can also benefit from the reassurance of this test.

“I would like to thank the incredible team that has come together in recent days to deliver this service. Universities are used to using science and coming up with innovative ideas, but this is the first mass testing system we have built from scratch. The fact that we have done this in such a short time is a testament to the skills and commitment of my colleagues.”

Universities Minister Michelle Donelan said:

“We are committed to get students back to their loved ones for the Christmas holidays as safely as possible, after this challenging year.

“Our plans already minimise the risk of students moving at the end of term, through staggered departure dates in the ‘student travel window’. But testing will offer further assurances that students can keep their families safe this winter, and I urge all students who can to take the tests on offer.”

Lateral flow devices do not require a laboratory to process the test. Processing of these tests can be conducted onsite by trained personnel, with results available within an hour.

Testing will be carried out from Tuesday 1 December until the end of term on Friday 11 December.