News

Supporting education staff

Published: 02 Oct 2020 09:55

COVID-19 antibody survey.

A nationwide voluntary survey of education staff in schools or Early Learning & Childcare settings will help identify whether those tested are likely to have had coronavirus (COVID-19).

The COVID-19 Antibody Survey in education Staff (CASS) will help identify the proportion of people working in an education setting who have had COVID-19 by testing for antibodies in their blood.

People working in education can expect to hear about how to sign up for the survey through their employers and professional association in the coming weeks.

Staff working in education settings who wish to participate will receive an invite to register and a selection of registered eligible staff will be sent a home testing kit to take a small sample of blood for antibody testing each month until summer 2021. The tests will not impact on the school activities of staff participating in the survey.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“This new survey, part of the schools surveillance led by Public Health Scotland, is an exciting opportunity to monitor COVID-19 antibodies in the education workforce.

“This will help us understand more about the virus within educational settings as well as understanding more about antibodies and any protection they may give. I would encourage teaching staff to sign up once they are invited to take part over the coming weeks. There is no need to do anything before you are contacted.”

Dr Diane Stockton, COVID-19 Social and System Recovery Lead, Public Health Scotland said:

“Scotland’s education staff are working tirelessly to ensure the health and safety of children so they can continue their education in the traditional school setting, spend time with their peers and get back to something more like normal. The CASS study is intended to provide a more detailed look at this particular work setting and provide important surveillance for staff in the long-term.

“Any adult working in a school or Early Learning & Childcare setting in Scotland is eligible to sign up for the CASS study. What we learn from participants’ test results will support and strengthen Scotland’s response to COVID-19 and ensure school settings are as safe as they possibly can be for all.”

Cllr Gail Macgregor, COSLA Spokesperson for Resources said:

“The Scottish Local Government workforce has and continues to play a vital role the response to COVID 19. Ensuring essential services can continue to be delivered safely is a critical part of supporting the health and wellbeing of everyone in our communities. The return to school has been a vital step in not only ensuring the education of children and young people is maintained, but also in strengthening their mental health and wellbeing. 

“Doing so has been a whole workforce effort and it is therefore key that all employees who work in and around schools are encouraged to take part in the CASS survey.  Whether you are a teacher, a pupil support assistant, a cleaner, janitor, caterer or any other of the many roles that keep our schools running, we need you to take part. Doing so will help ensure we know as much as possible about COVID-19 and that we can continue to protect you and everyone in our communities.”

Background

The COVID-19 Antibody Survey in education Staff (CASS) is led by Public Health Scotland. This survey will use home testing kits provided through the UK Government antibody testing programme, which commenced in September 2020.