This morning, it was announced in an email by the King’s College London Vice President and Vice Principal of Education, Professor Nicola Phillips and Senior Vice President of Operations, Stephen Large to the student body that the college will be offering free Covid-19 testing for students without coronavirus symptoms. Testing will be available starting 30 November, with bookings opening today.
“Anyone can be a carrier of the COVID-19 virus without experiencing any symptoms,” the email stated. “Taking a Lateral Flow test can be a quick way to detect the virus which will support our community’s efforts to help fight COVID-19.”
The information provided by KCL on how the Lateral Flow antigen type of test worked said that it detects coronavirus protein when its levels are most infectious. As for how getting tested will look, the test involves swabbing the throat and nose after which the resulting sample will be processed on site without laboratory equipment being necessary. In total, the process takes around 10 minutes. More information on Lateral Flow antigen testing is provided in a short video from the NHS linked in the email.
All KCL students will be able to book a test at one of three locations: the courtyard at Bush House at Strand Campus, the quad at Guy’s Campus, or the WEC Gym at Denmark Hill Campus. All students are eligible for two test slots, three days apart in order to maximise the accuracy of the testing system. There will be three testing periods: 30 November to 6 December from 8:00 to 20:00 for students only, 7 December to 11 December from 8:00 to 18:00 for students and staff, and 14 December to 18 December from 8:00 to 18:00 for students and staff. In any testing period, testing will be closed from 13:00 to 14:00. Students booking a test should receive a reminder email to confirm their appointment details and with further instruction.
While KCL has stated getting tested is not mandatory, all students on the college’s campuses and in residences have been strongly encouraged to take two tests before travelling home for the holidays. The email also stated that information about “plans for asymptomatic testing” in Semester 2 will be given in the coming weeks.
Students will learn how they will receive their result after getting tested. As for what happens if the test is positive, those who test positive from either test will be required to self-isolate immediately after receiving their result, following government guidance and completing the King’s self isolation form. Students who test positive will also be required to take a PCR test which they should book following NHS advice.
It is important to note that Lateral Flow antigen testing does not meet the requirements for travelling overseas by air. Many airlines ask that you provide a “fit to fly” certificate which only private providers can give out. The university, however, has stated that it is planning to help students in need of a “fit to fly” certificate with the cost of necessary tests.
More information about Covid-19 testing at KCL can be found here.