Image Description: a birds-eye view of an Oxford street.
An asymptomatic lateral flow testing pilot for staff is starting this week. Somerville college, Oxford University Security Services and the department of Population Health are taking part in a three-week test to identify any logistical issues.
This three-week pilot hopes to help the University understand the practicality and scalability of asymptomatic testing, ahead of any decision about a broader roll-out. The test is being offered to staff who are unable to work from home and will consist of each person taking six tests across three weeks and they will each be asked to report their results. This is being done on a voluntary basis.
The lateral flow tests have already been offered to students at the end of Michaelmas term and to many of those returning to Oxford for Hilary. They are not as accurate as the PCR test, and anyone who receives a positive result is asked to then book a test through the University’s testing system.
Somerville college was chosen as a representative mixed college with a nursery.
It is hoped that the scheme will make the return of students for Trinity term more likely, and safer for the staff involved.
This news comes shortly after it was revealed that the University is taking part in research to assesses the use of Lateral Flow Tests to identify asymptomatic individuals with COVID-19. Students in two colleges are currently able use the tests on a voluntary basis. This may be expanded to other parts of the University in the future depending on the progress of the study.
Image Credit: Iona Shen