Regular testing for COVID-19 is a vital tool in stopping the spread of the virus, but keeping students engaged can be difficult. We have invited schools and colleges with large numbers of students to test and report results to share their ideas on how to keep student tests.
1. Reminder, reminder, reminder
It sounds so simple and so obvious, but giving our students regular and routine reminders was key to keeping them engaged and actively testing.
Because students often forget to take the test and don’t always check their emails, we’ve found texting to be a much more effective reminder. At Grantham College we use GOV.UK Notification to set up regular reminders for collecting test kits and reporting results, which is free and easy to use.
Kirsty McGauley, human resources and personnel consultant at Grantham College
We text students every Sunday and Wednesday evening along with Monday and Thursday morning to remind them to take the test. Since we upload all test results to an automated form, we can easily send follow-up texts on Monday / Thursday afternoon to anyone who has not reported their results. We put stickers on each set of kits, to remind students to forward their NHS results email to us so that we know their results are recorded in the NHS and our database.
Charles Bartholomew, Director of LIPA Sixth Form College
2. Follow up with students who are not testing
Keeping a clear record of who has and has not taken the test has allowed us to follow our students who are not on the test and to address any problems. From here we can encourage testing by sending reminders to parents or students and sometimes even having them test at school. We encourage tests with positive reinforcement and we have seen amazing results, this also allows us to act according to the needs of each student while keeping our school community safe.
Jan Balon, principal, London Academy of Excellence Tottenham
We ask our tutors to check if the students have taken the test regularly. It only takes a few minutes to do and allows us to continually engage with our students, help them understand why they should test, and encourage those who shouldn’t.
Donna Donlon, Director of Finance and Operations, Luton Sixth Form College
3. Consider providing in progress on-site testing if necessary
We follow up emails and calls for anyone our records aren’t testing. Alongside this we encourage students to test themselves at school if they fail to take the test regularly at home. The test is voluntary, but many of our students are happier taking the test at school
Carole Moss, principal, Northstowe Secondary College
Although we have seen a spike in cases, daily on-site testing has been offered to help address the situation safely. This helped identify as many cases as possible in college. Now the positive cases have started to decrease, we have kept the tests in place. This is really useful for encouraging students who are not testing at home and also helps all of our students, staff and the community at large to feel more confident.
Anesta McCullagh, principal at Engineering UTC Northern Lincolnshire
4. Keep talking to parents
We communicate with parents regularly via weekly emails, reminding them of the importance of testing and thanking them for their support in keeping the school community safe. In our communications with parents, we try to make the testing and reporting processes clear and simple, making it as easy as possible for all of our students to take the test.
Sara Vincent, Administrative Manager COVID-19 Coordinator, Gordano School
Access support and resources to encourage students to test
The twice-weekly COVID-19 rapid test remains a vital tool for keeping the virus under control check. Help families in your school or college community understand how to perform and report lateral flow tests at home – this information has been translated into many languages.
To encourage students to continue taking the test at home, check out our resources atCoronavirus Resource Center it’s ours Tips to encourage pupils and students to test regularly, FAQ,letter templates,formation,flyers and posters.
Settings wishing to set up a larger on-site test facility should inform theirs Director of public health and work with them to understand how this can be implemented.