Coronavirus information and guidance

Covid tests for students and staff

Updated: 25 June 2021, 11am

The University of St Andrews is working with the Scottish Government to provide free, regular asymptomatic Covid tests for all our students and staff.

This testing is only for people who do not have symptoms of Covid. If you are displaying symptoms or think you might have Covid-19, please contact our Covid Helpdesk or seek a test via NHS Test and Protect.

Please read the following information carefully before booking your tests.

How do I get an asymptomatic home testing kit?

Students and staff can order testing kits for home delivery on the UK Government website. Orders contain one pack with seven LFP tests, and are delivered within one to two days. Further information can be found on the Scottish Government website.

How do I book?

The booking system is available via the MySaint portal for students and staff.

If you require advice or support in using this service, please contact the Covid Rapid Response Team. If you have Covid-19 symptoms, you must not book any asymptomatic tests. Please contact the Covid Helpdesk if you are experiencing symptoms. 

Our testing centre is housed in the University Sports Centre, St Leonard’s Road, St Andrews.

What do I need to take a test?

You should bring your mobile phone with you since you’ll use it during the test registration process. If you don’t have a phone, please don’t worry, our staff at the centre will be able to help you.

You will also need the following for registration purposes:

  • student or staff identification card
  • email address
  • NHS/CHI number (if you have it).

Please note: do not eat or drink anything for at least 30 minutes prior to your test.

Results will be sent via text message and/or an email using contact details recorded when you check in. The results will be communicated within a day of the test.

Why should I take this test?

It can help reassure you that you’re not infectious and are therefore unlikely to pass on Covid to others. It is not, however, an absolute guarantee that you do not have Covid.

What does the test involve?

The test is called a ‘lateral-flow test’. It involves taking a swab from your mouth and nose at a special testing centre and is self-administered under direction from our trained staff. The process takes just a few minutes.

You will be notified of the test result by email or text within 24 hours by NHS Test and Protect, and possibly much faster.

The Scottish Government is recommending that you take two tests, at least three days apart, and ideally not more than five days apart, to have the greatest level of confidence that you are not infectious with Covid. If you can’t take two tests, one test can still provide a level of helpful reassurance.

How accurate is the test?

Lateral flow tests are less sensitive than the PCR tests used by the NHS. This means that they do not pick up every infection that would be detected by a PCR test. This is why we recommend two tests, three to five days apart. Repeated testing reduces the risk of a false negative result, and therefore reduces the risk of infecting others, although this does not eliminate the risk entirely.

Lateral flow tests are very specific, which means that only a very small proportion of people who do not have coronavirus will receive a positive result (false positive). However, in mass testing, because so many people without symptoms are being tested, there is still the possibility of getting a false positive result. Therefore, if you test positive on a lateral flow test, you will be asked to have a confirmatory PCR test to reduce the frequency of false positive results.

Who is eligible for a test?

The test is open to all students enrolled at St Andrews and all staff. We will prioritise staff whose roles mean they have to mix with or meet other people regularly. If you have previously tested positive for Covid, you should not take a test unless your previous positive test was more than 90 days ago.

What if I don’t want to take a test?

That is entirely your decision. Whilst we do very strongly recommend it, particularly given the increasing prevalence of the new variant of Covid in the UK, the test is voluntary.

I need to quarantine when I arrive in Scotland. Should I still take a test? 

Yes, it is still recommended that you are tested. However, you must not attend the Test Centre while quarantining and should only take a test once your period of quarantine (currently ten days) has been completed.

Please note that Scotland does not participate in the 'Test and Release' scheme.

I'm a commuter student. Should both LFD tests be taken in St Andrews? 

We have arrangements with a number of other universities to allow students to be tested at their facilities. Please contact the Covid Helpdesk for advice. 

For medical students, at least the second test must be in St Andrews (or Dundee for ScotGEM), and evidence of both tests must be sent to remoteteaching@st-andrews.ac.uk.

What happens if I test positive?

If you test positive, you will be notified by email or text and may be asked by NHS Test and Protect to take a further type of test at the Victory Memorial Hall to confirm the result.

You should contact our Covid Helpdesk and follow the guidelines for self-isolation, pending the result of your Test and Protect test.

What happens if I test negative?

If you test negative you will be notified of your result by text or email.

Will the University be informed of my test results?

No. The test is personal to you. We will not be informed of your test results. However, if you test positive, please inform the Covid Helpdesk as soon as possible – they will provide guidance on self-isolation and can assist you in booking a follow-up PCR test with NHS Test and Protect at the walk-in testing centre at Victory Memorial Hall.

Lateral flow test results will be notifiable to NHS Test and Protect. Results will also be sent to your registered General Practitioner and Public Health Scotland. 

Fit to Fly tests

The lateral flow (LFD) test offered at our Centre is intended to provide reassurance to you, your colleagues, and your family and friends, but should not be regarded as 'fit to fly' evidence and may not be accepted by travel companies and airlines as such. 

For “fit-to-fly” certificates, the University has worked with JDR Healthcare, a reputable local company, to provide a Fit-to-Fly clinic in the Students’ Union Building, St Mary’s Place, St Andrews.

PCR tests cost £150 – a reduced rate for students and staff – and can be booked via JDR Healthcare's website. The clinic will be staffed by professional nurses.  JDR Healthcare also offer LFD tests which come with “fit-to-fly” certificates, at a rate of £75.

The University will receive no income from the Fit-to-Fly clinic.

The JDR clinics will initially operate in the mornings and evenings only, but the company has pledged to provide further testing capacity if demand merits it.

Many countries require a PCR test, but more are now accepting the LFD test as well.  Some countries currently insist that you take a test within 48 hours of travel, while for others it is 72. Please ensure you are fully aware of the Fit-to-Fly requirements of your destination and your airline before booking your test.

You are not obliged to use the St Andrews JDR service for Fit-to-Fly certification, and our Covid Helpdesk can provide contact details for a number of other services elsewhere in Scotland, including those being offered at airports.

If you have any questions about the service or how to book, our Covid Helpdesk is fully briefed and can assist you.


Further information

Please contact our Covid Helpdesk for any questions about the St Andrews testing programme.

Email: covidhelp@st-andrews.ac.uk 
Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 4146