Mobile testing set up for staff and students at Broadstairs College and targeted testing for schools

Broadstairs campus

Mobile covid testing units are operating at East Kent College sites, including Broadstairs, this week.

A message sent to staff and students yesterday (December 15) says the testing unit has been set up in the car park at Broadstairs following talks with Public Health England.

The tests are not mandatory and are for those who may be asymptomatic not for anyone who is showing symptoms of the virus.

Students are being tested by bubbles and a timeslot rota has been created. There is a separate walk in area for staff.

The testing is for staff and students of the college only, it is not open to the public.

A community asymptomatic test site is due to be opened at Ramsgate Port on Friday. There are walk in/drive in sites at Manston airport and the council car park by Dreamland, Margate, for those who are showing symptoms.

Testing in Kent schools

Yesterday it was announced that every secondary school and college in England, as well as special schools and alternative provision, will have access to rapid coronavirus testing from January.

Students will be eligible for daily testing for seven days if they are identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive. Under current guidelines, up to a whole school bubble has to self-isolate if one student or staff member tests positive.

From January, those in the same bubble do not need to self-isolate if they agree to be tested once a day. Staff will also be eligible for daily testing if they are identified as a close contact.

Primary schools will then be supported to roll out testing as quickly as possible over the spring term.

Targeted testing

Kent County Council is supporting the Government’s targeted drive to test all of Kent’s secondary-age children, and their families, for COVID-19.

The scheme for Kent, Essex and parts of London aims to combat a rapid increase in cases among the 11-18 age group by identifying asymptomatic cases and helping to break chains of transmission.

PCR testing is being used (polymerase chain reaction testing – swab tests that are sent to a lab for processing), with people accessing this via either Mobile Testing Units deployed in their area or through home testing kits.

Some mobile testing capacity has already been deployed to specific areas in Swale, Thanet, Canterbury, Dover and Ashford.

Where schools have a testing unit set up, their pupils can access a test on site. For those without a unit, they can book a test via the UK Government portal, using the instructions provided in a letter from their school.

Kent County Council leader Roger Gough

KCC Leader Roger Gough said: “We want to make sure as many young people as possible in these areas get tested. Extra Mobile Testing Units are being set up in these areas to make this easier.

“We strongly urge every student, parent/carer and school and college staff in these areas to come forward as the more people who are tested, the better able we are to contain the virus.

“If we can break the chain of transmission in this way we can help reduce the number of COVID-19 cases, limit the number of people who might fall very ill, and protect the NHS.”