FE students and staff in Scotland are now able to access rapid coronavirus testing through their college.
More than 100,000 lateral-flow testing kits have been distributed to colleges across Scotland to help detect cases in people with no symptoms.
Authorities are urging people to take part in voluntary testing twice a week, using the at-home kits.
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A limited number of students are currently allowed on to college campuses at any one time in line with current public health guidance, with safety measures such as social distancing in place.
Scotland’s national clinical director, Professor Jason Leitch, said: “The college testing programme is voluntary, and I encourage all eligible staff and students to take part regularly to help protect themselves, and keep their friends, families and colleges safe.
Rapid Covid tests for college students and staff
“Around one in three people with Covid-19 do not have symptoms. Rapid lateral-flow testing helps to find cases in people who may have no symptoms but are still infectious and can transmit the virus to others.
“These easy-to-use, at-home kits offer extra reassurance, so it’s important that students continue to make use of them regularly as restrictions are lifted.
“The test involves taking a sample from your tonsils – or where they would have been – and from your nose using a swab. You can get a result in 30 minutes.
“Asymptomatic testing is important as it can identify cases of Covid-19 that would otherwise not be picked up and, by doing so, break chains of transmission.”
A total of 101,736 testing kits, which have seven tests in each, have so far been provided to colleges by the Scottish government.
Shona Struthers, chief executive of Colleges Scotland, said: “I’m pleased college students and staff can support the efforts we are all making to keep each other safe by using lateral flow tests.
“Colleges are making these available with easy-to-access systems, and the reassurance they bring is a really important part of being back on campus for essential learning.”
The Scottish government recommends two tests are taken each week, ideally three days apart.
Matt Crilly, NUS Scotland president, said: “It’s up to all of us to keep our colleges safe for students and staff. I’d encourage all students to take up the offer of regular voluntary asymptomatic tests.
“It’s quick, easy and you can do it at home – get tested.”