What is the Rapid Testing programme?
The Rapid Testing programme has been introduced by the Government to test college and secondary school students for Covid-19 and identify those students who have the virus without any of the symptoms (which means they are asymptomatic).
By doing this, anyone who tests positive can self-isolate and help reduce the spread of Covid-19 both in college and the wider community.
When we return to college all students (including those aged 19+) will need to take 3 rapid tests which will happen 3 - 5 days apart. Following this we'll provide you with testing kits and instructions for you to carry out testing twice a week at home.
Please note: Government guidance continues to change and we’ll keep this page updated accordingly.
One in three people who have Covid-19 don’t have any of the symptoms (which means they are asymptomatic) and could be spreading the virus without even knowing.
We all need to do our bit to stop the spread of the virus and the tests can help make sure you are at low risk of being infectious and therefore will be unlikely to pass on the virus to anyone.
No, testing is optional however we would encourage you to have the tests to help stop the spread of Covid-19.
If you can't take a test or do not give your consent, you'll still be able to attend college. However, anyone coming into college regardless of whether they have taken a test or not will need to wear a face covering at all times and follow all of the social distancing measures that we have put in place.
We do strongly recommend that you take the tests, however if you do not give consent, you’ll still be able to attend college when face-to-face teaching resumes, unless you are displaying any symptoms of Covid-19:
A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual
A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
If you have any of these symptoms, get a test to check if you have coronavirus and stay at home until you get your result.
Anyone coming into college regardless of whether they have taken a test or not will need to wear a face covering at all times and follow all of the social distancing measures that we have put in place.
The Government guidance on consent is:
Pupils and students over 16 who are able to provide informed consent - can complete the form themselves, having discussed participation with their parent / guardian if under 18.
For any pupil or student who does not have the capacity to provide informed consent - this form must be completed by the parent or legal guardian. We will send the form to parents and guardians on email.
To complete the consent form click here.
Everyone giving consent should also take a look at our privacy notice click here, on how we’ll use your data.
After giving your consent, you’ll be invited to attend college for a Lateral Flow rapid test which will include swabs of your nose and throat. We’ll email you to arrange these when we know that face-to-face teaching can resume.
Initially as part of the mass testing programme you will need to take3 rapid tests which will happen 3 - 5 days apart. Following this we'll provide you with testing kits and instructions for you to carry out testing twice a week at home.
They are known as lateral-flow tests. It involves you taking a swab from your mouth and nose. It only takes a few minutes and further guidance on the process is available here.
The test will determine if you are currently infectious with the COVID-19 virus even if you do not have any symptoms.
Once you’ve taken the test, you’ll wait in college and will get the results there and then- this can take up to 30 minutes.
If any your tests are positive you’ll need to go home straight away. If you do not have your own transport, a member of your household will need to come and collect you as you cannot use public transport.
You’ll then need to take an NHS PCR test to confirm this positive result – click here. We advise that you visit a community or drive through test site as this is the quickest way to get tested, or you can order a home test kit. It is important that you continue to self-isolate until you receive the result of the NHS test.
If you are well enough you should continue with your studies remotely and your teacher will be in touch with you about this.
If you’ve previously tested positive for COVID-19 by swab test you will be exempt from being retested within a period of 90 days from the test, unless you develop new possible COVID-19 symptoms.
That’s because fragments of inactive virus can be persistently detected by the swab test in the respiratory tract for some time following infection. If you can choose to have a rapid test and test positive you will then need to take a NHS PCR test and self-isolate.
I have a job while I’m studying and get tested on a weekly basis at work, does this mean I still need to get tested in college?
No, if you are getting tested on a weekly basis as part of your job, you don’t need to get tested in college. You will however be required to show proof of your test results every time you are tested to your teacher.