How will the COVID-19 National Testing Programme work in secondary schools and colleges?
During the first and second week of term (beginning 4th January 2021) all secondary schools and colleges in England (including special schools and alternative provision) will be offered the opportunity to test all staff and students. Pupils will be offered two Lateral Flow Device (LFD) rapid tests spaced three to five days apart (minimum 3 days). School and college staff will be offered one test in the first week and weekly thereafter as part of the longer-term routine testing programme. The LFDs provided to schools and colleges are simple to use (young people can swab themselves, with a trained person supervising them). The rapid tests produce a result in around 30 minutes. Anyone pupil or staff member with a positive result will need to leave the school or college setting to take a confirmatory Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test and follow the self-isolation guidelines (currently 10 days).
What does a school or college COVID testing site looks like?
Testing sites are being set up in a range of spaces, depending on what space is available at different school and college sites. We have developed a range of protective COVID testing screens, COVID testing booths and pods designed to provide privacy for the pupils or staff members taking the tests and safety for both. Click here to read the full COVID-19 National Testing Programme Government Guidance for Schools and Colleges.
What are the key layout requirements for a school or college COVID testing site?
The Government guidance has set out some key COVID testing layout requirements for each school or college setting to follow.
- A large enough space to permit social distancing. 2m social distancing should try to be maintained at all times, however, can be reduced with complying with the required PPE guidance. Partitions or screens remove the need for social distancing between testing stations, allows for more testing stations to be set up be set up in a smaller area
- The test site flooring must be non-porous and the test site cleanable with the approved cleaning products
- The test site must be well lit and have good airflow with no recirculation of air
- The ambient temperature should be 15-30°C for the lateral flow devices to operate and 2-30°C for storing them
- There should be registration desk at the first point where individual being tested enters the test site
- A one-way direction of travel for pupils/students or staff being tested. If a one way system is not practically possible, enough space should be provided for individuals being tested to exit the room whilst maintaining social distance
- The test subject chairs in the swabbing bay should be minimum of 2m apart
- Each swabbing desk must have a processing desk close by – no more than 1m away. Recording desk should be located close
- There should be clear division between swabbing and processing area. This should be clearly set out. Individuals being tested must not enter the processing area.
- Test facilities in schools and colleges must be accessible to all test participants e.g., wheelchair accessible, ground floor location
- Test centres should have access to washroom facilities and hand hygiene facilities (soap and water/appropriate alcohol-based hand rub, sanitiser dispensers and sanitiiser stands)
- With an appropriate space for clinical waste bins,accessible by waste collection services
- Reliably connected to the internet connection for registration and result capture