Dear Students, Parents and Guardians,
We are pleased to share the news that the College is taking part in an exciting new Hampshire and Isle of Wight COVID-19 Testing Programme from the 22 November 2021.
This new test is very simple and involves collecting a sample of saliva in a plastic pot. Free tests will be offered to all 16-18 full-time students and all staff at the college.
Students will receive a testing pack which contains pots and a leaflet that shows them how to collect a sample at home, to be dropped off in college.
We will share more information with you soon about how this process this will work. Please do look out for this in tutorials and emails.
Why is this important?
Knowing who has COVID-19 is vital to stopping its spread.
We hope that you are as excited as we are about the potential for this test to help us manage the risk of COVID-19. Alongside all the other measures we are taking to control the virus, it could help us to keep our communities safe and well and keep our schools and colleges open. We will also be paving the way for this test to be used to help in the recovery from COVID-19 across the country.
Testing is not compulsory, but we strongly encourage you take part. We will be in touch soon with further details of how students can take part in this exciting programme.
How will the testing work?
Students will bring their test kit and labels home from college before their first test as well as a leaflet giving step by step instructions. They will be given enough sample pots and labels for several weeks of testing. It is important that students take the test when they wake up – before they have anything to eat or drink and before they brush their teeth.
Once the sample has been labelled and bagged, students will need to bring it to college with them and put it into the big collection box at the entrance as they go into the College building. The tests will be collected and taken to the test centre on the same day. Test results will be returned in the next 24-48 hours and students will receive a text message telling them the result of their test.
If a student tests positive, the programme team will contact them to ensure they get the help and advice they need. Please note that this test is for testing those who do not have symptoms of COVID-19. If a student does have COVID-19 symptoms they should not attend college and you should order a test through 111.nhs.uk or by calling 119.
If a student is absent from college or forgets to bring in their test, they can bring it in on the next collection day – their teacher will tell them where to take their sample pot. The College will have some spare packs to hand out to anyone who loses their sample pots but we would encourage you to keep them somewhere safe as spares are limited.
Important information about your data
To enable the partnership running the COVID-19 Testing Programme between University Hospital Southampton, local government, and the University of Southampton to deploy the test kits to the college and to manage the collection of samples from colleges, our college will be sharing contact details of students and their parents or guardians, as well as staff, with University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.
As you know from our college’s Privacy Notice we are very serious about protecting the personal data of all members of our college community, and we will maintain this approach in relation to this data sharing. We will only be sharing limited contact details. The NHS will share confidentially with nominated senior management within the College positive test results to enable immediate initiation of contact tracing to minimise the risk of the virus spreading.
The Privacy Notice for this COVID-19 Testing Programme has been included with this letter. Please do take the time to read this. If you have any questions or would like to exercise your right to object to this data sharing, please call the contact centre on the number below.
You should find answers to any questions on the testing programme on www.southampton.gov.uk/covid19testing where there is also a web chat service. Alternatively, you can call the contact centre on 0808 196 2282 (lines are open Monday to Sunday 8.30am to 5.00pm).
While this testing is not compulsory, I would urge all of you to take part. Knowing who has COVID-19 is vital to stopping its spread, and regular testing will help us keep our community safe and keep our college open.