COVID-19 Reopening FAQs

Lateral Flow Testing for LCDS students and The Place staff

From March 2021 all LCDS students and staff who work at The Place are strongly encouraged to take part in the mass testing programme, in order to minimise the risks of in-building infection and play our part in the national recovery road map.  All details required are published on this page which will continue to be updated with the latest information. 

Last updated Mon 29 Mar 2021

The main things to remember are:

  • The test is free 

  • It is for people who DO NOT have symptoms  

  • It should ideally be taken twice a week, 3 days apart  

Here is a short video following BA1 student Ethan taking his test at the UCL site



Lateral Flow Tests detect the presence or absence of coronavirus using a sample from your nose and throat. You will be asked to take the swab yourself at the testing centre, then a trained member of staff will process the sample for you.   

The tests are safe and managed by NHS Test and Trace. They are much faster that the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) coronavirus tests that are usually provided by the NHS. You will typically receive your results from the NHS within two hours via text and email. 

Lateral Flow Tests have already been piloted at a number of university sites, and the national testing programme for universities builds on what the Government has learned from these pilots. The tests have a sensitivity of 50-76.8% (compared to typically 95-99% for PCR tests), rising to over 95% for individuals with high viral loads, meaning that the majority of positive COVID-19 cases are detected, but not all. Therefore it is recommended that two tests each week are taken to increase the likelihood that the infection is detected. 


Our access to the national testing programme for universities is only for students who are living or studying in London and who do not have symptoms of coronavirus, and for staff whose roles require them to work on site and do not have coronavirus symptoms.  

If you do have symptoms, please do not travel to a test centre, report it to follow the self-isolation guidance and request a home test kit from the NHS. 

International students and students returning from overseas will need to self-isolate. This test cannot be used to reduce quarantine time. More info here. 


You should aim to access this testing twice a week every week you attend classes or work at The Place and you can do this at any time to work around your timetable. 


There are a few options available to you to get your LFT - please note that if you test positive, you will be asked to take a PRC test (see below for more details).  

  1. Local authority centres near you 

Local authorities across the UK are now running community-led mass testing where you can access the LFT. Each local authority will have its own arrangements so please visit this page to find out how to access the test near you.  

  1. Local authority centre near The Place 

The Rapid Testing is available at Regents Place, which is a 10-15 minute walk from The Place. 

Links for booking a slot can be found on this webpage and slots are available at 45 minute intervals (use the Triton Cafe link on the website for the test centre closest to The Place).  Slots available between 9am - 4.15pm

  1. UCL COVID-19 asymptomatic centre  

LCDS students and The Place staff can access this centre:  

  • on a walk-in basis  
  • Week days between 12noon and 2pm  

The centre is located:  

Bidborough House at UCL (ground floor)  
38-50 Bidborough Street 
London, WC1H 9BT.  

The centre is operating a one-way system so please access the building through the entrance on Bidborough Street and you will exit onto Mabledon Place.  

If you need to travel to UCL, we encourage you to cycle or walk if you can. See Cycle and Walk pages for more advice on getting there. If you’re using public transport, read the advice for safer travel from the UK Government and Transport for London. You might want to consider travelling at off-peak times, using quieter stations and booking tickets in advance or paying by contactless if you can. 

You should not travel to the testing centre if you have any symptoms of COVID-19 or if you are self-isolating or have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for the virus. If you have symptoms, you should self-isolate and arrange a test via the NHS.   


(for local authority sites please see their websites)  

To access the UCL testing centre you will need to bring: 

  • a form of student/staff ID 
  • your phone, tablet or laptop to register when you arrive (which involves scanning a QR code). If you do not have one of these then a staff member at the site will be on hand to help you. 
  • Please do not register with an international phone number as this may be problematic when using the NHS Test and Trace service and delay your results. If you don't have a UK number then please register with your UCL email only, or alternatively you can request a free UK SIM card from the testing centre.    
  • A face covering or mask that covers your mouth and nose (unless you are exempt). Staff will tell you when you can take it off and put it back on again. 

Please don't bring luggage or bulky items with you, as UCL do not have space to store it while you take your test. 


The tests, which are known as Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests, are simple, fast and self-administered.  

  • You will also be asked to wash your hands with sanitiser when you first get to the centre.  
  • At registration, you will be asked to scan a QR code to register with the NHS Lateral Flow Testing programme. 
  • You will be directed to an available booth where you will be provided with a swab and a barcode. 
  • You will be asked to take a swab of your nose and throat. A trained member of staff will be on hand to help you. 
  • A staff member will collect your sample and barcode from you. 
  • You will then leave the testing centre through a designated exit as centres operate on one-way systems 

You will typically receive the results from the NHS within two hours via email and text, but this could take up to 48 hours. If you do not receive your results, or you need advice on your result, please call the NHS coronavirus testing contact centre on 119. Lines are open from 7am to 11pm. Please note that you are not able to call NHS 119 from an international number. Quote the barcode reference number from the registration card that you were given when you took the test and NHS Test and Trace should be able to locate the result using this code. You should go for your second test as planned. 

If your first test result is negative, please book a second test. The second test should be taken three days after your first test. 

If both your first and second tests are negative: 

You are highly unlikely to have COVID-19 at the time of taking the tests. If you have not been in close contact with anyone who has tested positive (e.g. someone you live with) then you can continue as normal according to current restrictions.  

Please remember that Lateral Flow Tests don’t detect every positive case and your results only reflect your status at the time of taking the test. 

If you test positive from the UCL  or a local authority centres  

If you test positive from the UCL or a local authority centre, you should follow up as soon as possible with an NHS PCR test, and if positive, in line with NHS guidance you and everyone in your household should self-isolate from the day you get the result and for the next 10 full days. 

You will then be asked to complete contact tracing details on the NHS website or by telephone. It is also essential that you report your results to so can provide you with support while you’re self-isolating. 

More information about self-isolating is available on the NHS website. 


No, not if the results of your first test were negative, but please note that a negative result only reflects your status at the time of taking the test. Please ensure you follow social distancing between tests. 


LFT FAQs for LCDS students and The Place staff

Find answers to all questions related to the Lateral Flow asymptomatic testing availa