COVID-19 Update (28/05/21)
Up to one in three people who have COVID-19 can spread the virus without knowing. This is because they have no symptoms. To reduce the spread of the virus, we need to identify those individuals. We can do this in Southern Regional College by carrying out Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests at home twice every week, 3-4 days apart.
We are strongly encouraging all students and staff due to come onto college premises over the next few months to take part in lateral flow testing. However, if you are not required to come into campus for the remainder of your course, there is no need to take part in lateral flow testing at this time.
Message from SRC CEO, Brian Doran
Taking test kits home
You will be able to collect your home test kits from the following campus sites – Armagh Campus, Lecture Theatre; Banbridge Campus, Reception; Lurgan Campus, Reception; Portadown Campus Lower Conference Room; Newry West Campus, Reception; Model Campus, Reception; Greenbank Campus, Reception.
We would like you to take your tests twice weekly before coming onto campus. You will be given a pack of seven tests in a box with a separate leaflet on how to take the test and report the results.
Taking the test
You should take the test two times every week. Make sure you have enough time to do the test before coming into College. Preferably this would be in the morning before going onto campus. However, we understand that for some people this may be challenging. Therefore, tests can be taken the evening before attending College, if needed. You need to report test results. Help and support is available, including instructions in different languages on how to test and report the results and a video showing you how to take the test.
This does not replace symptomatic testing. If you have symptoms, you should self-isolate immediately, book a PCR test at a testing centre and follow national guidelines.
Can I take the test myself?
Students aged 18 and over should do the test themselves and report the result, with help if they need it. Students under age 18 should do the test themselves with adult supervision. The adult may help the student to take the test if they need support.
You need to report each test result. The result of each test needs to be reported using the NHS Test & Trace self-report website: https://www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result
You will also need to tell your Course Co-ordinator, by email, if you receive a positive test result.
Why take part?
Taking part in testing is voluntary and you will be able to attend Southern Regional College whether you take part in testing or not. We strongly encourage all students to take part. Testing yourself at home will allow us to reduce the spread of the virus.
Lateral Flow Testing FAQs
If anyone tests positive you, your household and any support bubbles you are part of should self-isolate immediately in line with NHS Test and Trace guidance for 10 days.
You should report your result to NHS Test and Trace, even if the result is negative. You should also contact your Course Co-ordinator in the case of a positive result being received.
You should order a confirmatory PCR test if you have tested positive. The confirmatory PCR test should be taken within two days of the positive LFD test.
If the result of the test is unclear (void) you will need to do another test.
Negative and void results should be reported to NHS Test & Trace.
A negative result does not guarantee that you are not carrying the virus. So, you should continue to follow social distancing and other measures to reduce transmission such as regularly washing your hands.
If you or anyone in your household gets symptoms of the virus you should follow national guidelines on self-isolation and testing.
Students do not give written consent to take part in the home testing programme unless the student does not have the capacity to provide informed consent in which case consent in writing must be completed by the parent or legal guardian.
Please read the information below on how personal information and test results are shared and the privacy notice.
Once you open the kit you should take and report the results of the tests to NHS Test & Trace, regardless of the result (positive, negative, or void).
If there is an issue with the test kit, for example something is missing, please report it by calling 119 and please also tell the College.
If an accident or injury happens whilst using the test kit, please seek medical care by calling 111 (or 999 if it is an emergency). Please also report what happened using this website: https://coronavirus-yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk/
We will be issuing students with Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests for use at home. They are a fast and simple way to test people who do not have symptoms of COVID-19, but who may still be spreading the virus. The tests are easy to use and give results in 30 minutes.
Further information is available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/understanding-lateral-flow-antigen-testing-for-people-without-symptoms
Lateral Flow Device tests identify people who are likely to be infectious. These individuals tend to spread the virus to many people and so identifying them through this test is important.
These tests have been widely and successfully used to detect COVID-19 in asymptomatic individuals and are approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The speed and convenience of the tests supports the detection of the virus in asymptomatic individuals, who would not otherwise have got tested.
The tests are highly specific, with low chance of false positives. They are also very sensitive and are able to identify the majority of the most infectious yet asymptomatic individuals. Extensive evaluation has been carried out on the tests and it shows that they are both accurate and sensitive enough to be used in the community for screening and surveillance purposes.
It is important to remember that these tests are only an aid to help stop the spread of the virus and you should continue to follow other guidance such as on wearing face coverings and social distancing.
There are 2 main types of test to check if you have coronavirus:
- Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests check for the genetic material (RNA) of the virus in the sample - you send the sample for processing at a lab; and
- Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests detect proteins called ‘antigens’ produced by the virus - they give rapid results within 30 minutes.
If you have a positive antigen LFD test result you, your household and any support bubbles you are part of should self-isolate immediately in line with NHS Test and Trace guidance for 10 days. You need to report your result to both NHS Test & Trace and to your Course Co-ordinator.
You should order a confirmatory PCR test if you have tested positive. The confirmatory PCR test should be taken within two days of the positive LFD test. You can book a test at https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test
A negative result does not guarantee that you are not carrying the virus. So, you should continue to follow social distancing, and other measures to reduce transmission such as wearing a face mask and regularly washing your hands.
If the result of the test is unclear (void), you should take another one. If the next test is also void, you should take a PCR test. You can book a test at https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test
All test results need to be reported to NHS Test & Trace, and your course co-ordinator, in the case of a positive result being received.
No. The LFD tests supplied do not need to be sent to a laboratory to get a result and can give a quick result in around 30 minutes. Guidance on self-testing is contained in the ‘Instructions for Use’ leaflet, which comes with the test kit. There is also a useful video to show you how to administer the test.
Once you have taken the test, you will need to report the result online (whether it is positive, negative or void) using this service. You also need to tell your course co-ordinator in the case of a positive test result. You will receive a text or email from NHS Test & Trace confirming that you have reported your test result.
All test results need to be reported to NHS Test & Trace.
No, the test kits provided are for the use of the recipient only.
To report your result, you will need to share some information about yourself, so that your test result can be traced.
You need to tell NHS Test & Trace:
- Your name
- Your test result
- The reference number on the test kit.
You will also need to tell your Course Co-ordinator in the case of a positive test result.
Under UK law, Southern Regional College will collect and store test result data because it is in the ‘public interest’.
Southern Regional College will only share information with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) if the test kits used are found to be faulty. If this happens, DHSC will use our information to contact people who used the faulty tests, so that they can be tested again.
When you report test results online, you are sharing information with DHSC. They will share it with your GP, local government, NHS, and Public Health Agency. This is so that they can offer you health services and guidance if you need to self-isolate. They might also use your data anonymously (without your name or contact information) to research COVID-19 and improve our understanding of the virus.
For more information on how personal data is used for testing, please read the detailed privacy notice at www.src.ac.uk/src-data-protection/contact-tracing
The Seven Point Covid Code
As Covid-19 continues to present challenges to us all, even with vaccinations taking place, it is still vitally important that we continue to do our bit to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus and to help manage the pressures on our health and social care system. Within the college buildings, social distancing remains in place and the wearing of face coverings remains mandatory, to minimise the risk of transmission within our college communities, and further afield.
The Seven Point Covid Code sets out clear expectations about face coverings, social distancing, sanitising, self-isolating and respecting public health guidance, whether you're in the College or out and about in the community.
Use of face coverings
The best available scientific evidence is that, when used correctly, wearing a face covering may reduce the spread of coronavirus droplets, helping to protect others. Face coverings are now required at all times in classrooms and when 2m social distancing cannot be maintained.
Face coverings are mainly intended to protect others, not the wearer, from COVID-19, therefore they are not a replacement for social distancing and regular hand washing. Although face coverings may not prevent you from becoming infected with the virus, they help prevent you from spreading the virus to others if you are unaware you are infected (some people don’t have any symptoms, especially early in the infection).
Students who are reasonably exempt from wearing a face covering are required to either wear a College Issued Exemption Card or a Hidden Disabilities Exemption Card (https://hiddendisabilitiesstore.com/hidden-disabilities-face-covering.html). College Exemption Cards can be issued by going to campus reception areas.
Keep apart to keep safeNI Executive Restrictions and Guidelines position on 30 April (next formal review on or before 13 May 2021):
- No more than 15 people from 3 households in provate gardens
- One bubble can be formed with one other household
- Work from home unless unable to do so
- Outdoor gatherings limited to 10 poeple from a maximum of 2 households
- Self-contained tourist accommodation open. No household mixing
- No curfew in takeaways/off-licences
- Gyms, swimming pools & indoor exercise facilities open foer individual use
- Outdoor hospitality open for 6 people from 2 households
- All retail open. Close contact services open
- Driving instruction & test permitted
- Competitive outdoor sport & squad training allowed. No spectators
- Outdoor unstructured exercise limited to 10 people from 2 households
- Outdoor static band practice/rehearsal permitted
- Outdoor visitor attractions & activity centres open
- Funeral, wedding & civil partnership numbers to be informed by risk assessment
- Indoor visitor attractions & indoor hospoiality remain closed.
Avoid car sharing where possible
You should avoid all unnecessary travel. Where travel is necessary for work, education and other essential purposes, people are asked to walk, cycle or use private transport, shared only with members of their household where possible.
Much of the advice for anyone using public transport also applies to anyone who must continue car sharing at this time:
- Wear a face covering to protect others, unless exempt from the law and/ or have a reasonable excuse
- Avoid physical contact
- Try to face away from other people
- Keep the time spent near others as short as possible.
If car sharing is unavoidable - as well as wearing a face covering, good ventilation in the car will be also be useful - particularly by keeping a window open.
Download the StopCOVID NI app
By downloading the StopCOVID NI app you can help stop the spread of coronavirus. It is a free app provided by our health service. It does not drain your battery or identify you – but it could save your life.
The StopCOVID NI app is also open to young people, aged 11 to 17, to download. It’s the same app; it just looks a bit different. The app does not collect any of your personal information or track your location. It works via Bluetooth, but it won’t use much battery or data allowance.
By using the app we can help reduce the spread of coronavirus, helping to protect family, friends and community.
Covid-19 FAQs for Students
How will my course be delivered?
A flexible approach will be taken to course delivery. This will include both face-to-face and online teaching. You will be able to download all your teaching materials from our virtual learning environment, Moodle.
What if I am unable to access Moodle or experience a technical issue?
Guidance and resources to support accessing Moodle will be available for all students in advance of starting their course at SRC. If you continue to have issues please contact your course tutor.
How do I access Moodle when not in College?
To access Moodle, please log onto the SRC website. On the top right of the screen you will be able to see 3 icons. If you click the middle (M) symbol and use your SRC student email address and password, you can log in remotely.
What do I do if I’m concerned about the impact of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) on my studies?
Please contact your course tutor or personal tutor if you are concerned about the impact on your studies.
What is the College doing to reduce the risk?
The College has moved from providing advice on personal hygiene to taking steps to support social distancing of staff and students. To maintain social distancing along with a safe working environment, we have taken steps that include:
- Hand sanitising stations at numerous locations in College buildings including all entrance areas;
- Directional arrows to control the movement of people around all campuses;
- Restricted use of lifts;
- Additional posters and signage to reinforce the importance of adhering to personal hygiene measures and social distancing;
- Enhanced cleaning of touch points, such as door handles, handrails, lift buttons and vending machines;
- Fixed screens installed where social distancing is difficult e.g. reception areas;
- New arrangements within our canteens, refectories and coffee docks to adhere to social distancing;
- Assessments undertaken on all teaching spaces to determine maximum capacity to comply with the 2 metre guidance.
This position will be kept under review and students should review the College website for further information on a regular basis.
Will I be required to wear a face covering?
Face coverings are now required at all times in classrooms and when 2m social distancing cannot be maintained.
If I develop symptoms related to Covid-19 what should I do?
If you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (Covid-19), however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 10 days from when your symptoms started. You should also:
- Inform your course tutor, personal tutor or a member of staff immediately;
- If you are on College premises, you may be asked to go straight home and to contact your GP;
- You may be asked to wait in the first aid room or isolation room until someone picks you up;
- You should arrange a Covid test;
- You MUST share the result of the test with your Course Co-ordinator;
- Your wellbeing is the College’s first priority.
Please do not let any concerns about your studies stop you taking this advice.
I am a student and have a condition which means Coronavirus may be more harmful for me - what should I do?
Individuals who have existing conditions should continue to take the usual precautions recommended by the PHA in relation to their health. However, if you remain concerned, you should contact your GP or call NHS 111 to discuss any additional precautions you may need to take.
Where can I access health advice in relation to Covid-19?
Please follow advice published on the PHA website. In the case of medical emergency, please call 999.
I’m concerned about the impact on my mental health - what should I do?
The Covid-19 pandemic may cause you to feel many things including anxiety, stress, worry and frustration. It’s important to remember that it is OK to feel this way and that everyone reacts differently. There are some simple things you can do to help you take care of your mental health and wellbeing during times of uncertainty. See our Student Wellbeing Tips for some additional advice.
There are also organisations you can contact who can offer advice and support:
- Mind – Coronavirus And Your Wellbeing
- NHS – 10 Tips To Help If You Are Worried About Coronavirus
- The Mental Health Foundation – How to Look After your Mental Health During the Coronavirus Outbreak
- Young Minds – Coronavirus Advice and Mental Health Support for Young People
- Student Minds – Looking After Your Mental Health
- Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families – Supporting Young People During Periods of Disruption
- The Office for Students – Mental Health Advice
- 14+ Thinkuknow
Mental Distress Helplines:
- Lifeline Freephone Helpline: 0808 808 8000 (available 24/7). Deaf and hard-of-hearing textphone users can call Lifeline on: 18001 0808 808 8000
- Samaritans: 116 123 (available 24/7)
- Childline: 0800 1111 (visit Childline for the helpline availability details)
Where can I find the latest information about Covid-19?
SRC staff and students are asked to continue to visit and regularly check the following websites for the latest updates and guidance:
Where can I get information on student finance?
For advice on finance related matters please visit the Student Finance section of our website or call us on 0300 123 1223.
Further information on student finance can be obtained from the following organisations: