Newcastle and Sussex Universities to use Lateral Flow Devices for COVID-19 testing

Only a few days before student COVID-19 testing begins, Dom Lee reports on the latest university news

Dominic Lee
2nd December 2020
Wikimedia Commons
The University of Sussex have asked that staff help to operate COVID-19 testing for students, to allow students to travel home for the Christmas break

The tests, which will run between 30 November and 11 December, will require around 100 staff a day to administer to ensure that students are able to return home safely.

The University will be administering the tests on campus using Lateral Flow Devices (LFDs), which return results within 30-45 minutes of the test being taken.

Newcastle University have also announced that they will be administering COVID-19 testing using the same LFDs as the University of Sussex.

The Courier reported that students would be able to book a COVID-19 test on campus, with tests being administered between 10am and 6pm from 1 to 7 December.

Testing will take place at the Frederick Douglas Centre, free of charge, with the University advising that students limit their contact with others until getting their result.

However, news of the university-administered LFD tests will make little to no difference for international students, who may need to take a different test depending on the government advice for the country they are travelling to.

Paula Hautvast, 20, will be travelling to Portugal over Christmas to visit her parents. She had this to say about the testing: "Every time so far that I have tried to book a test via the link they provided, either the link doesn’t function or I don’t get any confirmation."

"This makes me question whether the uni has organized it efficiently. The uni had plenty of time to get prepared for COVID-19 tests, but I think there was a lack of response from them."

Paula and other international students may also need to receive Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests, which detect the presence of an antigen rather than immunity or antibodies.

Paula, a Computer Science student, also added: "Since we international students will have had to book our way home well in advance, and since a test needs to be taken as close to the travel date as possible, this negatively affects us."

"I will need to get a non-NHS coronavirus test, because the Portuguese government has deemed these inaccurate. I therefore will need to find a different health/medical practice that will give me a test that will be accepted by both the airline and the Portuguese government upon entering the country."

Students travelling home within the UK who receive a negative result from the LFD test, are advised to travel home as soon as possible after the beginning of the travel window and continue their studies remotely.

Students who test positive are advised to undergo a confirmatory PCR test to verify if they have contracted the virus.

Featured image: Wikimedia Commons

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