Renfrewshire Council

Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for pupils and school staff

How testing helps reduce the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19), who can get a test, why it's important to take part, when and where to take a test, if you test positive, negative, or void, if you have symptoms of COVID-19, consent and your data.

How testing helps reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19)

School staff, nursery staff and senior pupils in Renfrewshire can now take part in the national programme of coronavirus (COVID-19) testing in schools and nurseries.

The programme protects our schools and nurseries by identifying anyone who has COVID-19 but does not have symptoms of the virus (also known as asymptomatic).

It is part of a wider set of measures designed to reduce the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading in our schools and nurseries.

Who can get a test

The testing is currently available for:

  • staff who are based in or regularly work in a school or nursery
  • secondary school pupils.

The definition of staff includes teachers, support and admin staff, cleaners, janitors, school transport workers and anyone else who works in a school or nursery building. 

Testing is open to full-time and part-time staff.

Even if you have been vaccinated against COVID-19, you should still take part in the testing, as you can 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.
  • have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days.

Why it's important to take part

The testing programme is designed to help reduce the risk of catching COVID-19 in your 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 coronavirus tests can still go to school or nursery.

However, we strongly encourage staff and senior pupils to test themselves twice weekly.

We know people can have the COVID-19 virus and can spread it to those around them without knowing they are infected. Taking a COVID-19 test means that 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.

When and where to take a test

The Scottish and UK governments will supply staff and secondary school pupils with lateral flow device (LFD) testing kits. Your school or nursery must keep a log of how many test kits you give out and who has been given them. 

You should take the COVID-19 test twice a week before you come into school or nursery on a Monday and Thursday. Lateral flow tests are quick tests that give results in 30 minutes.

All staff and high school pupils will be given guidance on how to take the test, which involves swabbing your throat.

How to take a lateral flow test (LFD)

This short video on YouTube shows you how to take a lateral flow test (LFD):

You must report your  test result on the NHS Inform website or by calling 0300 303 2713. You must report your coronavirus (COVID-19) test result, whether it's positive, negative, or void.

Schools and nurseries are not able to see the test results logged with NHS Inform.

If you test positive, you must let your school know and you must take a PCR test.

The tests are only for the personal use of staff and pupils taking part in the testing programme and should not be used by anyone else.

If you test positive

If you test positive on your lateral flow (LFD) test:

  • record your result online or call 0300 303 2713
  • do not come to school - you and everyone else in your household must self-isolate immediately
  • tell your school or nursery that you have a positive test result
  • book a PCR test at an NHS testing centre and stay at home until you have the results

The two nearest PCR testing centres are the large drive-through test centre at Glasgow Airport, and the local walk-through centre at Bridge Street in Paisley. You can get a PCR test there.

This is the gold-standard test and will confirm if the first lateral flow test is correct. PCR tests are analysed in labs. It may take a day or two to get your results.

If the result of this PCR test is negative, you can disregard the results of the first lateral flow test and return to school as normal.

If the result of the PCR test is positive:

What happens if there is a confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) case in your school or nursery

If you test negative 

If you test negative, you should record your test result online or call 0300 303 2713. You can attend school as normal.

Testing for coronavirus is merely an extra measure to help reduce the risk of catching or spreading coronavirus (COVID-19). 

A negative lateral flow (LFD) test result only means you don't have the virus on the day you take the test. You could still have the virus and could spread it at any time. 

You should continue to follow all other physical distancing and hygiene measures in and out of school.

If your test result is void

This means the test has not run correctly and a negative or positive result cannot be confirmed.

If you get a void result, you must 

Make sure you use a new test kit. Do not reuse anything from the first test kit.

If you have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms

The lateral flow tests are only for people with no symptoms of COVID-19. 

If you have any of the symptoms of COVID-19, do not come to school - even if your lateral flow test has a negative result. 

The symptoms include a:

  • new continuous cough
  • high temperature
  • loss in or change to your sense of taste or smell
  • high temperature or fever
  • new continuous cough
  • loss of or change in sense of smell or taste.

You can check your symptoms for coronavirus (COVID-19) on the NHS Inform website.

You must book a PCR test at an NHS testing centre and follow all the NHS coronavirus advice.

Consent and data

Staff and secondary school pupils will be contacted directly and asked to return a consent form to take part in the testing. 

For any pupils aged under 16, their parent or guardian must return the form.

Everyone who takes part in the testing will be provided with a privacy notice before they begin taking coronavirus (COVID-19) tests. This will explain what will happen to that person's data.