Coronavirus testing rolled out for NESCol students and staff

May 7, 2021

NESCol students and staff are now able to take part in rapid testing for COVID-19.

Over 100,000 rapid lateral flow testing kits have been distributed to colleges across Scotland, with twice-weekly voluntary testing being encouraged to support the safe delivery of learning and teaching on campus.

In line with current public health guidance, a limited number of students are currently allowed onto college campuses at any one time, with comprehensive safety measures in place.

Test kits are being made available to NESCol students, staff and contractors who are regularly attending campus for learning, teaching and to provide support services. Details have been emailed directly to those in that category.

Testing will not be required for those learning and working remotely.

NESCol Principal Neil Cowie said: “We have demonstrated throughout the past year our ability to create a safe and engaging learning environment, despite the restrictions required to protect our College community.

“The roll-out of lateral flow testing for those students and staff who are on campus is another layer on top of the wide range of measures we have implemented and it is a very welcome step. Students and staff have told us they would welcome the reassurance provided by regular testing and we are pleased to support the national programme of college testing.”

National Clinical Director Professor Jason Leitch said: The college testing programme is voluntary, and I encourage all eligible staff and students to take part regularly to help protect themselves, and keep their friends, families and colleges safe.

“Around one in three people with COVID-19 do not have symptoms. Rapid lateral flow testing helps to find cases in people who may have no symptoms but are still infectious and can transmit the virus to others.

“These easy-to-use at home kits offer extra reassurance so it’s important that students continue to make use of them regularly as restrictions are lifted.

“The test involves taking a sample from your tonsils (or where they would have been) and from your nose, using a swab. You can get a result in 30 minutes. Asymptomatic testing is important as it can identify cases of COVID-19 that would otherwise not be picked up and, by doing so, break chains of transmission.”

Shona Struthers, Chief Executive of Colleges Scotland, has welcomed the roll-out. She said: “I’m pleased college students and staff can support the efforts we are all making to keep each other safe by using lateral flow tests. Colleges are making these available with easy-to-access systems, and the reassurance they bring is a really important part of being back on campus for essential learning.”

Matt Crilly, President of the National Union of Students (NUS), said: “It’s up to all of us to keep our colleges safe for students and staff. I’d encourage all students to take up the offer of regular voluntary asymptomatic tests. It’s quick, easy and you can do it at home – get tested!”

A lateral flow test involves taking a swab from the mouth and nose, with results visible on the test within 30 minutes. Results can then be uploaded onto the NHS website. The Scottish Government is recommending that two tests are taken each week, ideally three days apart, and the distribution of kits at NESCol began this week.

The testing programme is for people with no symptoms. Anyone experiencing symptoms that may be connected to Coronavirus should not attend College and should instead immediately self-isolate and book a test by calling 0800 028 2816 or visiting Symptoms include a high temperature, a new and continuous cough or a loss or change to the sense of smell or taste.