University supports Covid-19 community testing programmes

Teachers from Harbour School receiving Covid tests

The University has been sharing best practice and offering training to support community mass testing programmes

  • 08 February 2021
  • 4 min read
The University of Portsmouth has been supporting a local school and city council in setting up their own Covid-19 mass testing programmes by sharing good practice and offering training for staff members.

The University has provided asymptomatic testing for staff and students since September in conjunction with Public Health Portsmouth, Portsmouth Hospital University NHS Trust and NTL Biologica. The University also hosts an NHS testing facility on campus for anyone with symptoms in the local community. 

Since November, lateral flow testing has allowed more mass testing of students and staff to effectively monitor virus levels and prevent it from spreading on campus and the local community.

Now, the University is able to offer a helping hand to those in the community who are looking to set up their own asymptomatic mass testing programmes such as The Harbour School in Portsmouth. The school was looking to set up the programme for their staff and pupils but had logistical challenges to overcome and so 68 volunteers were invited to the University to see the site set up, learn best practices and be trained on how to self swab, process tests and record results.

NTL Biologica delivered the training and tested the volunteers after giving them a briefing of the virus and showing them the testing kit as well as delivering a Q&A session to share their experiences and knowledge, which has helped make the University’s programme so successful. The teachers were able to take it in turns testing each other and doing technical analysis and have now been able to deliver lateral flow testing twice a week for all their staff. 

Headteacher of Harbour School, Matthew McLoughlin-Parker has said: "The opportunity offered to us as a school by the University of Portsmouth has enabled additional layers of control and protection to be put in place and supports our commitment to ensuring that we are doing everything we can to keep our staff and pupils safe. We are extremely grateful for the support that the University has provided."

Portsmouth City Council also recently visited the University’s testing team who have been sharing learning and acting as a sounding board while the council explore setting up a community testing site for the city.

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