On this page you will find all the information you need to know about the Covid-19 testing scheme at our campus. The safety of our staff and students remains our number one priority during this time.
What is Lateral Flow Testing?
Quicker Covid-19 tests, known as ‘lateral flow devices (LFD)’, have been rolled out across the country for those without coronavirus symptoms. Students in colleges across the country continue to be encouraged to participate in regular lateral flow testing to identify those who are unknowingly carrying the virus.
The tests are easy to use and give results in 30 minutes. For further information go to: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/understanding-lateral-flow-antigen-testing-for-people-without-symptoms
How will the lateral flow testing scheme work?
It is recommended that students test themselves twice a week before coming into College. Ideally this should be the night before, or the morning of the first day of your college week. For example, students attending college on a Monday would take a test either on Sunday night or first thing on Monday morning. The 2nd weekly test should be taken at least 3 days later.
Should students take a test if they have already tested positive for Covid 19?
If you have tested positive by for COVID-19, you will probably have developed some immunity to the disease. However, it cannot be guaranteed that everyone will develop immunity, or how long it will last. It is possible for tests to return a positive result for sometime after COVID-19 infection.
Government guidance states that anyone who has previously received a positive COVID-19 test result should not be re-tested within 90 days of that test, unless they develop any new symptoms of COVID-19. If you do take a lateral flow test within 90 days of a previous positive COVID-19 test and the result of this test is positive, there would be a requirement for you and your household to self-isolate.
What if a close contact has tested positive?
A close contact of someone in college who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be required to self-isolate for 10 days from the last point of contact. If you are identified as a close contact, you will be informed by NHS Track and Trace.
What are the benefits of this scheme?
As a college we are strongly encouraging all students/apprentices to take part in home testing
· Reducing the spread of the virus through asymptomatic transmission. Up to one third of people who have coronavirus are asymptomatic
· Quick results – results take around half an hour from testing
· Keeping our staff, students and community as safe as possible, while maintaining a positive teaching and learning ‘on site’ experience
· Tests are free of charge
Taking part in testing is voluntary and all students will be able to attend college whether they take part in testing or not.
What if I develop Coronavirus symptoms?
The lateral flow testing scheme 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 should not use one of the lateral flow test kits. Instead you must immediately self-isolate, and book a test by calling 119 or visiting https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.
Is student or parental consent needed for testing?
Once you open the kit you should take and report the results of the tests to NHS Test & Trace by following this link: https://www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result . You should also report your result to college by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org regardless of the result (positive, negative, or void).
Is testing available to all students?
Home testing is available to all students returning to study at our Nelson/Accrington campus during the day. Test kits can be collected from student services at both the Nelson and Accrington campuses.
Adult learners attending a college campus in the evening or one of our community venues, are able to order test kits via https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests or they can collect kits from local pharmacies or test sites. https://maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/
Can students take the test themselves?
Students aged 18 and over should do the test themselves and report the result, with help if they need it.
Students under the age of 18 should do the test themselves with adult supervision where this is required. The adult may help the young person to take the test if they need support
How can I report any problems or issues with testing?
If there is an issue with the test kit, for example something is missing, please report it by calling 119 and please also tell the college by emailing email@example.com
If an accident or injury happens whilst using the test kit, please seek medical care by calling 111 (or 999 if it is an emergency). Please also report what happened using this website: https://coronavirus-yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk/
Are Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests accurate?
Lateral Flow Devices identify people who are likely to be infectious. These individuals tend to spread the virus to many people and so identifying them through this test is important.
These tests have been widely and successfully used to detect COVID-19 in asymptomatic individuals and are approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The speed and convenience of the tests supports the detection of the virus in asymptomatic individuals, who would not otherwise have got tested.
The tests are highly specific, with low chance of false positives. They are also very sensitive and are able to identify the majority of the most infectious yet asymptomatic individuals. Extensive evaluation has been carried out on the tests and it shows that they are both accurate and sensitive enough to be used in the community for screening and surveillance purposes.
It is important to remember that these tests are only an aid to help stop the spread of the virus and students should continue to follow other guidance such as on wearing face coverings and social distancing.
How are LFD tests different to PCR tests?
There are 2 main types of test to check if a person has coronavirus:
· polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests check for the genetic material (RNA) of the virus in the sample – the sample is sent for processing at a lab
· lateral flow device (LFD) tests detect proteins called ‘antigens’ produced by the virus
LFD tests give rapid results, in 30 minutes after taking the test.
What does it mean if a student has a positive result?
If a student has a positive antigen LFD test result they, along with other members of their household, will need to isolate immediately in line with government guidance. The result will need reporting to both NHS Test & Trace and the college via firstname.lastname@example.org.
A confirmatory PCR test is needed, within 48 hours of positive at home LFD result. To book a test click here.
What does it mean if a student has a negative result?
A negative result does not guarantee that someone is not carrying the virus. Therefore, students are encouraged to follow the safety measures put in place at college to help reduce the risk of you and anyone around you getting ill with COVID-19:
· Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
· Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
· Wash your hands as soon as you get to College and when you return home
· Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
· Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards – catch it, bin it, kill it!
Do tests need to be sent to a lab?
No. The LFDs supplied do not need to be sent to a laboratory to get a result and can give a quick result in around 30 minutes. Guidance on self-testing is contained in the ‘Instructions for Use’ leaflet, which comes with the test kit. There is also a useful video to show you how to take the test here.
How are results reported?
Can anyone else in the household use a test kit sent home from college?
No, the test should only be used by the student it has been issued to. However, whole families and households with primary school, secondary school, and college age children, including childcare and support bubbles, will be able to test themselves twice every week from home. This testing can be accessed through the following channels:
· Get a rapid test at work, through workplace testing. Ask your employer for more information – Order online tests to do at home (you can find your nearest collection point via the postcode checker www.gov.uk/find-covid-19-lateral-flow-test-site or they can collect kits from local pharmacies or test sites. https://maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/
How will personal information and test results be shared?
When a student takes a Lateral Flow test, the result needs to be reported so that their test result can be traced. The following information needs to be shared with the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC):
● the student’s name
● the student’s test result
● the reference number on the test Kit
You will also need to tell College their test result. This can be done by emailing email@example.com
Under UK law, college can collect and store test result data because it is in the ‘public interest’. This means that the student data helps to stop the spread of the virus, and to keep students in college. For example, students will be required to self-isolate if they get a positive test result.
Schools and colleges will only share information with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) if the test kits used are found to be faulty. If this happens, DHSC will use the college information to contact people who used the faulty tests, so that they can be tested again. This will ensure that testing is accurate and helps keep us all safe.
When you report test results online, you are sharing information with DHSC. They may share the information with your GP, local government, NHS, and Public Health England. This is so that they can offer the family health services and guidance if the student needs to self-isolate. They might also use the student’s data anonymously (without their name or contact information) to research COVID-19, and improve understanding of the virus.