Asymptomatic testing: encouraging uptake and recording
We know that local authorities and schools are already working hard to increase the number of people taking part in the testing programme, and are very grateful for all you are doing. To assist you we have been collecting feedback through direct engagement with local authorities and young people to better understand barriers to participating in testing.
We understand that schools vary significantly and that what works well in one school may not be suitable for others. However, there are some principles that have been applied successfully across a wide variety of schools. These include: regular clear communication, proactive follow up with pupils and parents, clear leadership, regular monitoring of uptake/feedback, and support and creativity to make things easier for staff, pupils and parents.
Below are examples of approaches that have worked well for schools, staff and pupils to deliver testing and drive up participation that you may find helpful.
If your school has other examples of initiatives that have worked to increase participation in testing, we are keen to hear from you. Please get in touch with us via email@example.com.
What worked well in increasing participation:
Strong leadership with senior leadership teams clearly and regularly conveying the importance of testing and reporting to staff, parents and pupils to ensure it remains a high priority. Schools have reported finding it helpful to work closely with strategic partners, such as local authority and local Public Health teams.
Regular messaging with joint health/education messaging to staff, pupils and parents about the importance of testing and recording all results. We understand many pupils and parents do not read letters or emails fully, so short, plain-English messages that are easy to understand and to translate into other languages should be used.
Proactive follow-up with parents/pupils who have not opted in (via consent forms), or who are not picking up test kits regularly, to explain the importance of testing and seeking to understand why they are not doing so. Consider sending twice weekly reminders encouraging students to test and report their results.
Direct communication with pupils especially where parental consent has been received but the young person has not collected kits. A full toolkit of assets is available, offering a range of promotional material and helpful ideas. There is lots of useful information on YoungScot | What To Expect From a COVID-19 Test, including a video from Dr Punam Krishan. A step by step video guide is also available for the new nose-only, ACON Flowflex self-tests.
Simplify the consent process for pupils and parents. We understand that the use of electronic consent forms has been favoured by schools, parents and pupils. Guidance is available on Objective Connect for setting up your own GLOW form.
Proactive distribution of test kits in schools rather than simply relying on pupils and staff to collect kits from an office when they want them. One school reported making periodic announcements about the “LFD shop” being open, another handed test kits out in classes. Some teachers and support staff have been asking at the start of class or in registration if the pupils have done their tests.