We spoke to students about getting a lateral-flow test at UoB

Testing began last week to allow students to return home safely for Christmas

Last week the University of Birmingham began asymptomatic testing for all students.

The lateral-flow testing facility has been set up to allow quick testing for students and ensure they are able to safely travel home for Christmas, while also limiting the spread of coronavirus.

This follows on from the government’s announcement of a student travel window which began on December 3.

With only two days left of the testing system, we wanted to find out how UoB students have found it so far. Most seem to think it is working quite efficiently, with extremely quick results.

Final year English Student, Amy, explains the process. “You are greeted outside the Bramall building by lots of staff who ask if you’ve had Covid symptoms recently. Then once you go inside they give you a booklet and barcodes and get you to go to the government website. The you walk through the Bramall to the Great Hall, this is super long but probably to give you time to complete the super long government form.

“Then, in the Great Hall, you are directed to a numbered booth with a mirror and a little window to the other side where staff pass you a swab for the test. You do the test, pass it back, wipe down the booth, and leave.” she told The Birmingham Tab.

Human Biology student Amy said her results “came back within 4o minutes of the test” and when asked how she found the process she told The Birmingham Tab, “it was very well organised and there were always people there to help you if you got confused.”

It was suggested to students that they would receive results within a matter of hours but this has clearly proven even quicker for some, such as for English student Freya: “The woman told me my results could take up to two hours but mine literally came back in 15 minutes!”

With this rapid testing, it is clear students will be able to return home quickly but only if their test result is negative. Students that test positive are required to get another NHS test for confirmation and then will have to isolate for 10 days before returning home.

Liberal Arts student Alice’s one was very interesting. “The whole process was quite smooth and a lovely guy at the check-in said my eyes were quote on quote “stunning” which was a perk (especially considering how hungover I was) – the most action I’ve got this semester, even if it was from a middle aged man”, she told The Birmingham Tab.

This staff member is clearly spot on when it comes to trying to make students feel comfortable considering the test itself is “an actual bodily violation,” according to one student.

Another student found the test “pretty easy although they stare at you intensely lmao” whilst another found more fault with the government’s “uncooperative website” rather than the test itself.

English and History student Ellie got tested on Friday and found the experience “the same as a normal Covid test. I tested negative and got my result within about an hour” but her housemate (who had forgotten to book a test) wasn’t able to get one despite it being quiet at the site. So if you’re planning on just turning up on the day “it’s impossible to do so.”

So far it seems that the lateral-flow testing system is working well at UoB, despite a few technical issues here and there. However, regardless of their test results UoB students are still advised to limit their contact with others before embarking on their journey home.

Anyone concerned about the current coronavirus outbreak can find guidance from the university here.

Related articles recommended by this writer:

• We asked UoB students if they are planning on going home for Christmas in the assigned travel period

• UoB releases plan for rapid testing site starting next week

• Birmingham is officially in Tier 3: Here’s what this means for students