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Eastleigh College opens a rapid-turnaround onsite Covid-19 testing centre

Eastleigh College is offering rapid-turnaround lateral flow tests for learners and staff to help in the fight against Covid-19. Lateral flow tests can produce quick results and can be used to identify Covid-19 infection in those without symptoms (asymptomatic). It is hoped that running these tests across the college will result in faster detection of cases for learners and staff without symptoms, and therefore achieve a more effective prevention of infection.

The testing centre has been built to the high clinical standards required by the published government guidance, and can accommodate up to 300 tests a day. During the current period of national restrictions the six-bay testing centre is initially available to onsite vulnerable learners, those taking exams and assessments onsite, and staff on a weekly basis. The testing centre will be open to all learners and staff as they return to the college campus for onsite learning as directed by the government.

Eastleigh College’s Tracey McAdam, who heads up the Support and Response Team, said: “The onsite testing centre provides an added service for both staff and learners so that those who may be infectious but unaware can be alerted and self-isolate, and those who are not can be reassured. It has been developed with a one-way system, and there are minimal touch points as learners and staff register, swabs are taken and the tests administered onsite. We’re working with the NHS, and can turn results around in as little as 20 minutes.”

Chief Executive and Principal, Paul Cox, added: “We continue to do everything we can to support learners and staff through the Covid-19 pandemic. We’ve had strict measures in place since last March which we’ve regularly updated to ensure Eastleigh College has remained Covid-19 secure for all those who have needed access to the campus. I’m extremely proud of the college team who, after planning the testing centre in the Christmas break, swiftly created the testing centre in under two working weeks.”

Participation is entirely voluntary, although the college reports the vast majority of learners and staff have given consent to take part. 

One of the first to have a test within the onsite testing centre, which opened last week, was Apprenticeship Officer, Claire Seaborne. She said: “I think it’s great that schools and colleges are providing onsite testing as it provides some additional reassurance. I’d already had a test as part of an NHS trial and had no concerns. The support team explained the process very clearly from the beginning to end so I didn’t need any help, although it was nice to know they were around.”

Learners and staff who show a positive result will be supported by the College’s Covid-19 Support and Response Team as they return home to self-isolate and access a follow up PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test with the NHS. Anyone deemed to be a close contact of anyone found to be positive will be contacted by College staff and advised accordingly.