QAC Covid-19 Testing
In order to have a safe and reassuring start to the year, some of our friendly College staff will be on hand to support carrying out 2 x staggered Lateral Flow Tests (LFT), between 3-5 days apart for our students. After this we request that LFT testing is carried out at home and there will be no further testing on campus unless Government guidance alters.
Further information to follow via the College Health and Safety team.
As students return from the Easter break, the Department for Education has published a blog about the importance of reporting COVID-19 test results. The blog is titled ‘Why reporting your test result is as important as taking a test’ and it can be accessed in this attached link.
Staff and students should share their result, whether void, positive or negative, with Test and Trace to help with contact tracing. Reporting your result helps the NHS monitor the spread of the virus, combat the virus and save lives.
Parents/Carers – ‘Home Testing over Easter’ letter sent to all parents and carers (dated 30 March 2021) is attached below.
Home Testing Update
To support the College environment to stay safe for staff and students we are following government advice and moving toward twice weekly testing for students.
We will continue to test students once per week on site in the College's Testing Centre. From Monday 15 March, students will be sent home with a pack of 3 test kits for you to start home testing once per week (Zone 1 on Monday 15 March and Zone 2, 3 and Pinewood on Tuesday 16 March).
The guidance on using the Lateral Flow Test shows they are highly accurate when used 3-5 days apart. Therefore we are advising the following:
- Weekly testing will continue for Zone 1 students at College on Monday, therefore Home Test on Thursday
- Weekly testing will continue for Zone 2, 3 and Pinewood students at College on Tuesday, therefore Home test on Friday
A student friendly ‘How to Take My Covid Home Test’ guide along with Home Testing letter sent to all parents and carers (dated 12 March 2021) are attached below.
Quick, Safe, Easy!
The short video displayed below provides information about the QAC Swabbers’ Centre for all returning students during the week beginning Monday 8 March onwards.
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.
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:
- Why Aren’t I at College
- Coming Back to College During Lockdown
- How to Take my COVID Test
- My COVID Test Result
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 email@example.com.
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:
- Asymptomatic Testing in Schools and Colleges – FAQs
- Data Protection FAQs for Parents – COVID-19 Testing in Schools and Colleges
QAC staff member Paul has shared his experience of visiting our onsite rapid test centre in a podcast for the VI Community.
Paul commented: “Staff were incredibly professional and pragmatic in the help they gave me.”
You can listen to Paul’s podcast in this attached link.