Everything you need to know about COVID-19 tests and results

Updated 24 January 2022

What COVID-19 test do I need to take?

There are two kinds of tests:

  1. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests – for people who have COVID-19 symptoms. PCR tests are the most reliable COVID-19 tests. It takes some time to get the results because they are usually processed in a laboratory. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get a free PCR test to check if you have coronavirus.
  2. Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests – for people who do not have symptoms.

The University encourages all staff and students to take a Lateral Flow Device test twice a week which identifies people who have COVID-19 despite having no symptoms. These are self-administered and are available from  local pharmacies or you can order rapid lateral flow tests to be sent to your home. You should ideally take these tests three days apart. You should report your LFD results after taking each test.

Lateral flow home test kits

Lateral flow home test kits can be collected from the LUU helpdesk or the Laidlaw, Edward Boyle, Brotherton and Health Sciences libraries. Supply is limited, so please only take what you need. Kits are also available from local pharmacies or they can be ordered online from the GOV.UK website.

What do I do if I have COVID-19 symptoms?

You must not attend campus if you have any COVID-19 symptoms. Please:

  • Stay at home – or, if you are on campus, go home as soon as possible
  • Immediately self-isolate following government guidance
  • Book a PCR test and continue to self-isolate until you get the result
  • Inform your line manager/School.

If you are a student:

If you live in University accommodation, you should also complete the residences reporting form to tell us if you have symptoms.

Information about how to register with a doctor and get medical help is on our health care page.

If you are a member of staff:

If you feel well enough to work from home and can work from home, you should agree this with your line manager. You can record this self-isolation period via the HR Self Service system (ESS). If you feel unwell at any stage, you should not work from home and should advise your line manager who will arrange for your sickness to be recorded on the HR Self Service system (ESS).

If you cannot work from home your manager will arrange for your sickness to be recorded as self-isolation on the HR self Service system (ESS). If you feel unwell at any stage, you should advise your line manager who will arrange for your sickness to be recorded on the HR Self Service system (ESS).

I have received a positive test result or I have been told I have to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace – what should I do?

You must continue to stay at home and self-isolate following government guidance and the advice provided with your test result or from NHS Test and Trace.

All staff and students who don’t live in University halls: fill in our coronavirus reporting form, email us at reportcovid@leeds.ac.uk or phone 0113 3438777 and inform your line manager/academic supervisor/School.

If you’re a student living in a University residence: fill in our residences reporting form and inform your School.

If you are a student:

  • When you have reported your result to us, appropriate arrangements can be made to provide necessary pastoral and practical support.
  • If you live in a household with your friends, you should let them know. You may also choose to let friends (and, if relevant, residence staff) know so they can help support you, and check that you have regular meals and anything else you need.
  • If you live in University residences, for further information and details of sources of help, visit our creating a relaxed, safe environment page.
  • Visit our self-isolation guidance and support page to find out how we can support you.

Undergraduate and taught postgraduate students:

You should contact your School by completing the online absence notification form available on Minerva – once you’ve logged in, click on the Student Services icon in the top right-hand corner to find the form.

Postgraduate researchers:

Contact your Graduate School and your supervisor via GRAD to let them know. (Select ‘Change requests’ from the right hand menu on the GRAD home screen > ‘Start a new change request >‘Request authorised absence’).  You will then be asked to provide some brief information.  Your Graduate School may contact you by email. If you are able to work but at a lower capacity you should raise this with your Supervisor and record in your next monthly supervision meeting.

All students:

If you have questions about what you can or can’t do while self-isolating, you can email studentinfo@leeds.ac.uk.

If while self-isolating you develop symptoms, you will need to get a PCR test and continue to self-isolate until you get the result. If the test proves positive, follow the advice on this page.

If you need to self-isolate on arrival in the UK, please see our arriving information about how to book travel, arrival and self-isolation support.

If you are a member of staff:

If you feel well enough to work from home and can work from home, you should agree this with your line manager. You can record this self-isolation period via the HR Self Service system (ESS). If you feel unwell at any stage, you should not work from home and should advise your line manager who will arrange for your sickness to be recorded on the HR Self Service system (ESS).

If you cannot work from home your manager will record your absence as self-isolation on the HR self Service system (ESS). If you feel unwell at any stage, you should advise your line manager who will arrange for your sickness to be recorded on the HR Self Service system (ESS). See our information on how to access support if you need it.

When does my period of self-isolation end if I’ve tested positive for COVID-19?

If you received a positive test result from either a PCR or LFD test, you will be required to self-isolate. If you meet certain conditions then you may be able to end your self-isolation earlier by using lateral flow device testing at home. See the Government’s stay at home guidance for further information.

It is now possible to end your self-isolation on the sixth day of self-isolation following two negative rapid lateral flow tests taken on consecutive days. The first lateral flow test should not be taken before the fifth day.

If you have two consecutive negative rapid lateral flow tests and will end self-isolation early, you may be able to return to work but this will depend on the particular circumstances, whether you are still experiencing symptoms and the role you perform. We strongly advise that you talk to your manager/School to decide on the next steps.

If you were told by NHS Test and Trace that you have to self-isolate, you need to follow their instructions.

I have received a negative PCR test result – what should I do?

If you experienced symptoms and took a PCR test, then:

If the PCR result is negative but you are still feeling unwell, you should inform your line manager/academic supervisor/School of the result and follow the University’s usual sickness processes for students and for staff.

If the PCR result is negative and you feel well, you should inform your line manager/academic supervisor/School of the result and you can return to work/study/research as usual.

If you were required to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, you must follow their guidance.

If you live in halls and no longer need to self-isolate please email residencelife@leeds.ac.uk and let them know.

What to do if you are in the same household as a positive COVID-19 case

If you are in the same household as someone with COVID-19 you may be legally required to self-isolate (for instance, if you are not fully vaccinated). To find out more about these requirements, check the Government guidance.

If you live in the same household as someone with COVID-19, and are not legally required to self-isolate, you are strongly advised to:

  • take an LFD test every day for seven days, or until 10 days after the household member who has COVID-19 started their self-isolation period if this is earlier
  • Report your LFD test results after taking each test.

If you take an LFD test and the result is positive, you should follow the advice to immediately self-isolate.

If your daily LFD test result is negative, it is likely that you were not infectious at the time the test was taken. You should speak to your line manager about the specific circumstances, however as long as you test negative on the LFD test you can continue to work on the campus.