Renfrewshire Council

Covid19 testing in schools for staff and pupils

School and nursery staff and senior pupils in Renfrewshire are being invited to take part in the national programme of Covid19 testing in schools and nurseries.

The programme is designed to protect our schools and nurseries by identifying anyone who has the virus but is asymptomatic (ie, does not have symptoms).

The testing programme is part of the wider package of measures designed to reduce the risk of Covid19 spreading in our schools and nurseries.

Who can take part in the programme

The testing programme is currently open to the following:

  • school staff who are regularly based in school
  • senior phase (S4-6) pupils who are attending school
  • staff in nursery centres and classes that are attached to schools
  • staff in school-aged childcare settings which are attached to schools

The Scottish Government have now confirmed pupils in S1-3 will also have access to testing when they return to school full-time after the Easter holidays.

The definition of staff includes, teachers, support and admin staff, cleaners, janitors, school transport workers and anyone else required to work from a school or nursery building. Testing is open to full and part-time staff.

If you have been vaccinated against Covid19 you should still take part in the testing, as you could still catch and transmit the virus.

You should not take part in the testing if:

  • you are currently working from home - the testing is aimed at reducing risk within the school environment itself.
  • you have tested positive for coronavirus within the last 90 days.

Other early-years and childcare settings

The Scottish Government have confirmed staff in other (stand-alone or privately-run) nurseries and childcare settings will become eligible to take part in the testing. It is expected test kits will start to be delivered to these establishments in late March. 

In the meantime, those staff can access testing through their employer if they have concerns about having been exposed to the virus.

Why it's important to take part

The testing programme is designed to help reduce the risks of catching Covid19 in school or nursery, and to protect those who work in one.

Testing is voluntary - you do not have to take part. Any staff or pupils who don't take part will still be able to attend school or nursery.

However we strongly encourage staff and senior pupils to take the opportunity to be tested.

We know people can have and spread the virus to those around them without knowing they are infected. Taking the tests means you can reduce the chances of that happening.

By doing so, you will help protect your family and fellow pupils and staff from illness, and minimise the disruption to education.

How the testing works

Schools are being provided with a supply of lateral flow device testing kits by the Scottish and UK Governments.

Each participating staff member and senior pupil will be given a supply of these test kits to take home. Schools are required to keep a log of how many tests were given out and to who.

Those taking part are being asked to take a test, twice a week (on Mondays and Thursdays) before coming to school. Lateral flow tests are quick tests which produce results in 30 minutes.

Staff and pupils will be given guidance on how to take the test, which involves a swab of your throat. The UK Government have produced a series of videos showing you how to take the test - see below

Individuals must log their test result - whether positive, negative or void - through this webpage. Results can also be logged by phone on 0300 303 2713.

Schools and nurseries are not able to see the results which are logged online. If you test positive, you must make your school aware.

Please be aware the tests are only for the personal use of eligible staff and pupils, and should not be used by anyone else.

If you test negative

If you test negative, you should log your result online and attend school as normal.

Please remember the testing is merely an extra measure to help reduce risk. A negative test only means you don't have the virus that day.

You could still be incubating the virus and could still catch and spread it at any time. So please continue to follow all other physical distancing and hygiene measures in and out of school.

If you test positive

If you test positive on your home test:

The two nearest centres are the large drive-through test centre at Glasgow Airport, and the local walk-through centre at Bridge Street in Paisley.

There, you will get a PCR test, which is the gold-standard test, and will confirm if the initial (lateral flow) test is correct. PCR tests are analysed in labs. It may take a day or two to get your results.

If your follow-up PCR test is negative, you may disregard the initial (lateral flow) test and return to school as normal.

If you test positive on the follow-up PCR test:

You can read more on what happens when there is a confirmed Covid19 case in a school or nursery here.

If your test result is void

This means the test has not run correctly. You must still report the result online. You will need to take another test. Use a new test kit, and do not reuse anything from the first kit.

If you have Covid symptoms

Please remember the lateral flow tests are only for those without symptoms of Covid19. You can check your symptoms via NHS Inform here.

If you develop any of the symptoms (new continuous cough, high temperature, loss of or change to sense of taste/smell), do not come to school. You must book a test at one of the government-run centres and follow all other NHS advice.

If you have symptoms, you cannot rely on a negative lateral flow test to continue to attend school.

Consent and data

Staff and senior pupils will be contacted directly and asked to return a consent form to take part. For any pupils aged under 16, their parent/guardian must return the form.

All participants will be provided with a privacy notice prior to beginning testing. This will explain what will happen to the individual's data.