Rapid Covid-19 testing to be rolled out at Camden school this week
Haverstock School will be the first secondary school in Camden to run rapid community testing for students before it is adopted by other schools next term.
With London moving into ‘Tier 3’ due to rapidly increasing cases of Covid-19, Camden Council is one of several local authorities around the country that will be piloting the roll-out of targeted rapid Covid-19 testing using lateral flow devices (LFDs) at secondary schools in the borough. These rapid tests give results within 30 minutes.
Working with Camden’s Public Health team, Haverstock School will be leading the roll-out of the programme and offering rapid tests which aim to reduce the spread of the virus in schools and help protect students, staff and their families.
We believe the best place for all children and young people is to be in full-time education - not only for their learning but also for their mental health, social development and physical wellbeing. However, we also recognise cases of Covid-19 are increasing across London and clearly there are concerns about these rising cases, including cases in several secondary schools. That’s why I’m delighted Haverstock School have agreed to lead the way in rapid testing of students this week. Once this is rolled out to more schools next term, this will help allow schools to stay open whilst protecting school communities and their families.
I’d like to thank all our schools and staff who have worked exceptionally hard throughout this pandemic to keep staff and students as safe as possible, whilst delivering the best education for pupils across the borough.
Targeted community testing is being rolled out by the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) to help identify people who don’t have Covid-19 symptoms, but who are currently infectious. Finding these cases and ensuring these individuals and their households self-isolate is vital to help stop the spread of the virus.
Testing will begin on Wednesday 16th December. As this is a pilot, there is limited capacity to test students in Years 11, 12 and 13 only. Students will only be tested if consent is given and this must be given by a parent if the child is under 16. All testing will take place on-site, at the school from 9am to 3.30pm and tests will be offered to all students for whom we have consent.
Pupils and families are asked to keep schools safe by:
- Washing their hands regularly and thoroughly.
- Maintaining social distancing where possible, especially at the school entrance.
- Staying at home if a parent or their child (or someone they live with) have symptoms and getting tested.
- If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, organising a test takes 5-10 minutes at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. There are plenty of test site appointments and at-home test kits available in Camden and neighbouring boroughs.
- Walking, cycling or scooting to school if possible, rather than taking public transport.
At present there are three test sites available in Camden:
- Ramsay Hall, Maple Street, W1T 5HB (no step-free access)
- 51 Greenwood Place, NW5 1LB (step-free access)
- Kingsgate Community Centre, NW6 2JH
If parents or carers need support to self-isolate, please call Camden Council on 020 7974 4444 (option 9) or visit https://www.camden.gov.uk/access-support