Military veterans are set to provide mass Covid-19 testing support to under-pressure schools as part of a bespoke solution being offered by SSGC.
We are now offering schools support in carrying out what could amount to tens of thousands of lateral flow Covid-19 tests when youngsters return to onsite learning after the February half-term.
It comes after the Government’s announcement at the end of last year that millions of lateral flow tests would be made available to schools across the country to test both students and staff.
However, with teachers already under huge strain to try to safeguard pupils’ education, Swindon-based SSGC is offering a fully-vetted, scalable solution to schools which will provide mass testing, along with an ongoing facility for further tests in line with Government requirements.
SSGC managing director David Stubbs said: “We spent a significant proportion of 2020 ensuring the rapid deployment of our employees, including a large proportion of military veterans, to marshal Covid-19 testing centres across the UK.
“We have now evolved our expertise to be able to offer a lateral flow testing solution to schools, colleges and universities across the country.
“We know how much pressure the education sector is under and, by offering this service, we’re able to take away some of that strain and allow teachers to focus on what they need to – ensuring students are able to get the very most out of their education.”
The lateral flow tests are carried out using antigen devices (LFD), with the objective to reduce the reproduction (R) rate by identifying asymptomatic, but potentially infectious, individuals quickly and helping to break the chain of transmission.
David, himself a former military policeman, said schools had registered for the service. He added: “Our solution ensures full vetting of staff, to include EDBS checks; safeguarding training; a ready-to-go assignment instruction, with predetermined test routines; and rapid deployment.”
Upon the announcement of the schools testing scheme in December, education secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Testing on this scale brings real benefits to education. It means more children, teachers and staff can stay in their classes in schools and colleges without the need to self-isolate.”
Meanwhile, health secretary Matt Hancock said: “About one in three people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and will be spreading it without realising it, rapid regular testing offers a reliable and effective way to keep schools open and children learning.
“It will also help us to identify asymptomatic cases that we otherwise wouldn’t know about, and protect the wider community beyond the school gates.”
SSGC, which is a signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant and last year won a prestigious national award for its work with Serco managing Covid-19 testing centres on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care, is now urging schools, colleges and universities to get in touch to find out more about its testing solution.
SSGC is actively planning for this service to be delivered in 43 locations across the north east and elsewhere in the UK, which, similarly to SSGC’s marshalling of the Covid testing centres, will largely be managed by former military personnel.