New testing sites for asymptomatic students using kits which can deliver results within an hour will open on Monday.
Students at both universities will be able to get tested ahead of their return home for Christmas to make sure they are not bringing the virus back with them.
A phased exodus of students from the city is due to start on December 3, until December 9, with dates set by the universities. For the rest of term, all teaching is due to move online.
Students returning to Brighton from other universities should have access to the same tests on their campuses.
The centres will use lateral flow tests, which have already been trialled in Liverpool.
University of Sussex students will be able to get tested daily until 11 December at the Sport Centre on campus, between 10am and 6pm.
University of Brighton students will have access to three centres across the city, at Falmer campus, Varley Halls, and City campus. A fourth site is opening in Eastbourne.
Universities Minister Michelle Donelan said: “We are committed to get students back to their loved ones for the Christmas holidays as safely as possible, after this challenging year.
“Our plans already minimise the risk of students moving at the end of term, through staggered departure dates in the ‘student travel window’. But testing will offer further assurances that students can keep their families safe this winter, and I urge all students who can to take the tests on offer.”
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sussex, Adam Tickell said: “The vast majority of students want to do the right thing and we are determined to provide this peace of mind for them, before they travel home at the end of a tough year.
“We have been working incredibly hard with government and public health officials to get ready for testing to begin and we are confident that we can provide this for any Sussex student who wants it.
“This is the perfect opportunity for our community to come together as we look ahead with hope to the new year.”
Students will be encouraged to get tested twice during the first week of December using lateral flow devices. If they receive two negative tests, they are advised to return home immediately.
Should a student test positive they will receive a confirmatory PCR and have to self-isolate for 10 days, still with enough time to return home for Christmas.
Before travelling home, students are advised to book travel in advance, avoid busy times and routes and check their journey in advance to avoid disruptions.
If driving, only travel with members of your household or support bubble, and follow safer travel advice safety guidelines. On public transport it is important that travellers wear a face covering, unless exempt, wash or sanitise hands regularly, use contactless payment and keep 2m distance where possible.
For more information visit student.sussex.ac.uk/coronavirus/testing.
Anyone with symptoms should continue to get a test via the NHS website, and self-isolate until the results are back.
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