Rapid Covid-19 testing scheme piloted at Hampshire school

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Kerry Swain


A new Covid-19 testing scheme is being piloted at Ringwood School in Hampshire.

The rapid test is completed within seconds and is relatively pain-free, with the results available within an hour.

It can be used to screen large numbers of people in a short space of time which could mean fewer pupils have to be sent home when cases of coronavirus are identified.

The lateral flow test has been developed after months of research by scientists.

The test is completed within seconds and is relatively pain-free Credit: ITV News Meridian

People have had two hours training and now they're running the whole system themselves and they can turn around the results within an hour. So for managing a school, it's got really good practical applications. It's less sensitive than the PCR test but it's good for seeing if people are infectious rather than infected.

Jane Shallcross, Public Health England

If a pupil tests positive, a second swab will be taken and sent to Public Health England's laboratories.

That student and their family will be asked to isolate but pupils who have been in close contact can be repeatedly tested and not sent home if they give a negative result.

The results are ready in a short space of time. Credit: ITV News Meridian

It keeps children in school and that's our prime objective as school leaders to keep children in school through this and keep things as regular as we can. The fantastic thing about this test is that it's got an ability to pick up asymptomatic cases and we know that in children of secondary school age lots of children who contract Covid are asymptomatic.

Leanne Symonds, Headteacher, Ringwood School

Ringwood School has had seven cases of coronavirus since September.

It is hopeful that if the trial scheme by Public Health England is successful, it may be rolled out as standard in all schools.