Following the government announcement that schools and colleges must carry out mass COVID-19 testing from January the 4th 2021, headteachers and staff are left with many issues to address including the problem of where this testing should be carried out.
The NHS Test and Trace documentation regarding the COVID-19 National Testing Programmes includes some key requirements:
• Test site flooring must be non-porous
• Test site must be well lit and have good airflow
• One-way direction of travel for test subjects. If not possible, enough room should be provided for test subjects to exit room whilst maintaining social distance
• Clear division between swabbing and processing area.
These and other guidelines mean that finding a safe location for testing does not have a simple solution. It may be that there simply isn’t space inside existing school buildings.
Marquees and tents can be an ideal solution for this problem. Fews can provide marquees from 3m to 25m wide and almost any length, meaning any outdoor space can be utilised. Ventilation and good airflow can be easily achieved inside a marquee, and many non-porous flooring types are available including commercial grade vinyl flooring that we typically use.
Creating discrete areas using internal partitions is straightforward, and clear demarcations between swabbing and processing areas can be easily achieved.
Up to a third of individuals who test positive for coronavirus have no symptoms at all and can therefore spread it unknowingly. That is why the testing of people without symptoms is so important. Mass testing of staff and students using lateral flow testing in a COVID safe environment is key to identifying those who unknowingly have the virus and helping to save live. Marquees are ideal for delivering that safe environment.