Rapid Antigen Testing

Tuesday 6 September 2022

Information about Rapid Antigen Testing at the University and obtaining Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs), including frequently asked questions.

Obtaining Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs)

Obtaining RATs without charge

There are currently three options for obtaining RATs without charge.

1. Critical workers: Government-supplied RATs

The Close Contact Exemption Scheme allows around 600 of our staff members who have been defined as ‘critical workers’ by the Government to attend work if they return a negative RAT each day. These are staff members who would otherwise be required to self-isolate because they have been identified as a ‘Household Contact’. They are working primarily in student accommodation, health and social welfare services, animal welfare, and research that supports the country’s Covid-19 response or hazard monitoring.

2. Essential business continuity: University-supplied RATs

Staff members deemed essential to maintaining the University’s business continuity, provide on-campus student services, or who work in areas where there is an elevated risk of infection may be able to obtain free RATs from the University. Speak with your supervisor and they will coordinate this with the faculty or service division’s technical or facilities manager. Some stocks are held with the Health, Safety & Wellbeing team for this purpose.

3. Household Contacts and/or symptomatic: Government-supplied RATs

Free RATs are available to members of the public who are Household Contacts of a positive case and/or have Covid-19 symptoms. You can take part in this scheme by submitting your details on the  Ministry of Health's Request a RAT page or by calling 0800 222 478 and selecting option 3.

The free testing kits can then be collected at various locations around the country.

RATs can also be obtained for personal use from pharmacies and other retail outlets, however there will be a charge.  

Frequently asked questions about Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs)

Will the University be providing RATs to all staff and students?

No. The University’s stocks are limited and we allocate them where they will bring the most benefit, generally to protect our community and our business continuity.

How will the University-supplied RATs be allocated?

Faculty/service division leads (technical managers, facility Managers and directors of faculty operations), work with the health, safety and well-being managers for their areas to determine requirements. These are the people with the best local knowledge to ensure that the supply of RATs is targeted in areas where they will bring the greatest benefit.

What sorts of areas and activities are eligible for University-supplied RATs?

The University’s supply is allocated to teams and staff members deemed essential to maintaining the University’s business continuity, or who work in areas where there is an elevated risk of infection. This includes:

  • Critical workers for whom a specific task-based risk assessment identifies that there is an elevated risk of infection
  • Staff members essential to the continuity of support for accommodation halls (e.g. regular testing of student facing staff)
  • Staff members essential to the continuity of the maintenance of campus, such as cleaners and security
  • Staff members essential to the continuity of critical research operations and infrastructure
  • Staff members with vulnerable people at home, whose role requires them to be on campus
  • Staff members and teams working on high value, strategically important or time-critical projects
  • Individual areas of risk where there is a known Covid-19 case or outbreak

If my employer asks me to take a Rapid Antigen Test, am I obliged to do so?

You may be asked to take a RAT before entering the workplace as part of a health surveillance programme. While you are not obliged to take the test if you do not wish to, you may be asked to stay away from your usual place of work if the risk of infection can impact on a business critical piece of work or activity, or on vulnerable people. Your line manager will discuss possible alternative arrangements with you.

How do I take a rapid antigen test?

All rapid antigen tests supplied by the University of Auckland have a QR code on the test cassette. Scan the QR code with your mobile phone and follow the instructions on the manufacturer’s website. Instructions can also be found on the Healgen website.

Do I need to tell anyone the result of my RAT?

Regardless of where you sourced the RAT, you should report the results of your test whether it is positive or negative. The easiest way to do this is by registering the result via the My Covid Record service or by calling 0800 222 478. Instructions for recording your result are available on the Youtube video How to report a rapid antigen test (RAT) in My Covid Record.

What should I do if my RAT result is positive?

If your test is positive, you should follow the steps above under 'Do I need to tell anyone the result of my RAT?' to register the result, and follow the public health advice for people who have Covid-19.

With regards to the University:

  • Students should notify their course coordinator. Those needing wellbeing support can contact the Campus Care Team, or for more general assistance, the AskAuckland team.
  • Staff should notify their manager, or academic leader.  

What should I do if my RAT result is negative?

If your test is negative, you should follow the steps outlined under 'Do I need to tell anyone the result of my RAT' to register the result.

If you receive a negative result, you will be able to return to work as directed by your manager, provided you have no Covid-19 symptoms and are not a Household Contact.

What should I do if my RAT doesn’t work?

In the event of a failed result, you must take another test.

How do I dispose of my RAT when the test has been completed?

Once you have completed the test, take a photograph of the results on your mobile phone (or other form of camera) in case you are asked to provide evidence of the result. Wrap the materials in a plastic bag and dispose of all test materials, including the test cassette, the buffer vial, and the swab as general waste. The materials cannot be recycled.

Where can I find more information?

The official Government website contains a wide range of information on testing options, how to report your test results, what to do in self-isolation and so on.