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Covid-19 Testing on Campus

19 January 2021

Rapid Testing Update (mass asymptomatic testing)

We are working to keep our College as safe as possible. You may have heard that testing for those without coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms is beginning across the country using new, quicker COVID-19 tests known as ‘lateral flow tests’. 

In line with Government guidance, our plans for rapid testing for COVID-19 are in place. Along with other protective measures we are taking, rapid testing will play an essential role in minimising COVID-19 risks to all as well as providing peace of mind. Up to one third of people who have coronavirus experience no symptoms.

QAC staff member swabs inside the lining of her nostril in front of a mirror (friendly trained staff can provide help if needed)

Please find our ‘COVID-19 Student Support Guide’ in this link, and attached below. The booklet is designed to help students understand about COVID-19 and the changes that are being made at College, including rapid testing:  

Consent form

Testing is voluntary but strongly encouraged, and there is an expectation that staff/students who are attending site during the current lockdown arrangements will participate in the testing programme, to manage services as safely as possible. 

We would require active consent either by students or parents/guardians, as appropriate (please find consent form attached in this link).

However, if any student does not wish to consent to take part in testing they will still be able to attend College unless they develop symptoms.

What does the test involve?

Those taking the test will be supervised by trained staff and volunteers, who will oversee things and provide help if needed. The ‘lateral flow’ tests are quick and easy using a swab of your nose and throat. Results (which take around half an hour from testing) will be shared directly with you. 

Bev Jessop, QAC Principal and Chief Executive, provides a short tour of our testing centre for QAC students and staff (recorded on Thursday 14 January 2021): 

 

Staff and student/client testing – quick, safe, easy

  • Quick - Swabbing and processing of these tests will be conducted at a dedicated testing site in College with results available in around 30 minutes.
  • Safe - These tests work. In validation studies conducted by Oxford University and Public Health England, they were shown to be as accurate in identifying a case as a PCR test (99.8% specificity). The tests have lower sensitivity, but they are better at picking up cases when a person has higher viral load, hence the need to test frequently. When used in combination with other measures such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), washing hands regularly and social distancing, these tests further reduce the risk of transmission. We must not relax any of these measures – this testing programme is in addition to them.
  • Easy - Lateral flow devices do not require a laboratory to process the test. The devices are designed to be intuitive and require minimal training to operate.

Some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the national testing programme are outlined below:

What if a student tests positive?

If a student tests positive on a lateral flow device, they will need to take a further ‘PCR test’ (similar to those done in local and regional testing sites) to confirm the result. This should be on the same day or as soon as possible afterwards. QAC will be able to provide these PCR test kits to perform at home or you can go to www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or call 119 to book a follow-up test.

During this time while they wait for the PCR result (via text / email) they will need to self-isolate. If the PCR test returns a positive result you will have to self-isolate and follow the guidance from NHS Test and Trace.

Please find printable guidance for parents and students here, and attached below. 

What happens if the test is negative?

Students who test negative will be able to stay in College and resume their activities as normal. Test results are sent to students within 30 minutes by text or email. A small number of pupils may need to repeat the test if the first test was invalid or void for some reason.

What if a close contact at College tests positive?

During the current lockdown arrangements, a close contact of someone in College who has tested positive for COVID-19 will need to self-isolate as per the national guidelines.

What if a student or member of staff develops symptoms?

This testing programme at College is for people with no symptoms. If you develop symptoms at any time (such as a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste) you must immediately self-isolate, and book a test by calling 119 or visiting https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.

Where can I find more information?

We will support our staff and students/clients throughout. If you have any questions please email covidtestquestions@qac.ac.uk.

Read more about Coronavirus (COVID-19) asymptomatic testing in Schools and Colleges on the UK Government website here.

Other useful links containing sources of information include:

 

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