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Durham University

Covid-19 Response

Test to Release

Durham University’s Test to Release process

In consultation with Public Health England and Durham County Council, the University is currently operating a “Test to Release” scheme. Individuals who have had contact with someone who has tested positive may be released after one negative PCR result subject to testing using LFTs daily for (up to) a further six days before taking a final PCR to exit the process. Each case will be subject to an individual risk assessment, the key requirement being that you are able to avoid all contact with any positive cases while they are isolating.

If you are in this situation and would like to be considered for Test to Release:

Test to Release is only available to students and staff who can attend daily LFT testing at University facilities. It cannot be used for non-essential travel, is not valid if you leave Durham, and is not an automatic entitlement.

You can only participate in Test to Release if you no longer have contact with the person who tested positive. Where you have a positive case in your household you will need to plan so that you will not share any facilities (bathroom, kitchen and other communal spaces) at any time during their isolation. In such cases it is also essential to maximise ventilation.

Subject to a risk assessment and University approval, close contacts of individuals who test positive may be released after one negative PCR result. You must provide proof of this PCR test and confirm that it was taken no earlier than 48 hours after the last contact with the positive case. You must then take your first LFT test at a University facility on the day of your release from isolation. If you do not, you will need to continue to self-isolate until you can take your first LFT test. If you are working on site, you should take your LFT before you start your shift on any working day.

  • Are you a liver-in, liver-out or member of staff? If you are a liver-in you should apply through your College
  • Are you able to attend daily LFTs at University facilities?
  • Have you been identified as a contact of a positive case?
  • Are you able to avoid all contact with any known positive cases?
  • Are there any positive cases in your household? If yes, have those positive cases been isolated? i.e. there is no sharing of kitchens, bathrooms or other communal spaces with positive cases
  • If you have been notified through Test and Trace, what is the end date of your isolation?
  • Have you recorded a negative PCR result since being informed of the contact? If so, what was the date and was it at least 48 hours after your last contact with the positive case? Please attach proof of your PCR result

You can book your two PCR tests through: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test. You are advised to use the following justifications for requesting a PCR:

  • You have been in contact with someone who has tested positive (first PCR)
  • You have been asked to get a test by a local council or someone from NHS Test and Trace (final PCR)

Please continue to exercise as much caution as possible so that we do not put at risk the progress we have made together. Use the test site booking system to schedule the full number of tests you require (up to six consecutive negative LFT daily tests as well as your initial and final PCR tests). The University will monitor that you are taking the LFTs you require.

While out of isolation, you can continue with your life as normal, complying with all COVID guidance and measures. If you are working, please let your employer (if not Durham University) know that you are participating in test to release as they might wish to review their own risk assessments.

Other than that:

  • please avoid gatherings in small or poorly ventilated indoor spaces
  • please avoid contact with those in the community who are vulnerable - this includes the elderly, those who are pregnant and those who have underlying conditions (in particular those with immunosuppression)
  • please do not travel to other areas
  • give preference to outdoor events and meetings
  • adhere to the guidelines around social distancing, mask wearing and hand washing
  • report and isolate if you become symptomatic then request a PCR
  • keep windows open at work and at home when possible
  • access your vaccine - bookings for over 18s are now available via the NHS website.

You should restart the Test to Release process i.e., subject to a risk assessment and University approval, you may be released after one negative PCR result but must complete LFTs on each of the following six days as well as a final PCR.

If you test LFT positive at any point, you should isolate and request a confirmatory PCR test. If your PCR test is negative, you should continue with this protocol as if you were LFT negative. If the PCR test is positive, you should remain isolated and follow Government and University guidelines.

Further information for staff

Please visit the staff LFT page for further details