A UNIVERSITY has launched a mass testing programme ahead of the winter break.

The University of Sussex is "strongly encouraging" students to take part in the scheme before travelling back to homes across the UK and beyond for Christmas.

A message from university chiefs to students read: "We have now had confirmation the university will be part of the government’s mass asymptomatic testing programme (for people showing no symptoms of Covid-19).

The Argus: The University of Sussex's Falmer campusThe University of Sussex's Falmer campus

"The testing programme is designed to support students to travel home safely for the winter vacation period and universities right across the country are taking part in this national effort."

The testing will take place between November 30 and December 11, with students required to take two tests over a four day period.

The statement read: "Once you have undertaken both tests and received negative results, if you are going home for the winter vacation you are then asked to travel as soon as possible. 

"It is really important that you take the two tests to be as certain as possible that you do not have the virus and so can safely re-join your families."

The testing will be carried out on campus and results will be available within 45 minutes.

"These are rapid turnaround tests that can process Covid-19 samples on site without the need for laboratory equipment, with most generating results in under half an hour," the statement said.

The Argus: Coronavirus testingCoronavirus testing

"All students who are travelling home are being asked to do so within the ‘student travel window’ between December 3 and 9  if not symptomatic AND you get negative results from both tests.

"You should leave campus as soon as practicable after receiving your second negative test result."

Anyone who tests positive in their first test is being asked to take a second test, which will be processed in a laboratory.

If this second test also returns a positive result, they will havev to self-isolate for ten days.

The Sport Centre at the University of Sussex's Falmer campus is currently closed to be used in the mass testing programme.

It will reopen on December 14.