Students traveling home can be screened for coronavirus voluntarily starting next Monday,

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At the end of the semester, STUDENTS traveling home will take voluntary coronavirus tests via their college or university beginning next Monday.

They are often required to take extra care in the time before they leave as part of a package of interventions and only go out for important purposes, such as studying, exercise and food shopping.

This should lower the amount of interactions students have with others and decrease the risk for the virus to spread, the Scottish government said.

Richard Lochhead, Minister of Higher Education, said, “Our goal is to ensure that students who want to go home at the end of the term can do so while staying safe for themselves, their families, friends and communities.”

We are asking students to stay in their accommodation for now and minimize the risk of catching the virus by limiting themselves to the important reasons for socializing.

Starting next Monday, voluntary testing will also be provided. This is part of a new UK-wide initiative by universities and colleges to test asymptomatic students before they leave their term accommodation.

“I want to thank all students for their tremendous resilience and patience this academic year and know they will continue to do all they can to stay safe and ensure a happy reunion with their loved ones.”

Lateral flow devices (LFDs) can be used by universities and colleges – a clinically validated swab antigen test that does not require a processing laboratory and can produce rapid results at the point of testing within half an hour.

Three days apart, students are offered two LFD tests, bookable through their college or university.

After the second result, those who obtain two negative outcomes are advised to return home safely as soon as possible.

The student will be asked to isolate himself and have a confirmatory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test via the normal NHS Test & Secure channels if either lateral flow test gives a positive result.

Colleges and colleges may provide clear details on the treatment and resources available to students for those who either do not return home or need to distance themselves.

“The introduction of mass testing for students and staggered departure dates are very welcome and will be a relief to many students and families across Scotland to ensure that students can return home safely this winter,” said Matt Crilly, president of NUS Scotland.

“But we also need to do our part now, and so I would strongly encourage any student moving to another household over the vacations to plan ahead and get tested if they can.”

Students who wish to return home this Christmas should take the test for those without symptoms as soon as possible, Professor Gerry McCormac, Convener of Universities Scotland, said.

The test is easy and free and results are immediately available.

Testing is a helpful additional step to help protect Covid-19 this Christmas from your family and friends and the wider community.

A double negative outcome gives you more faith to travel home, but the need to take personal safety precautions does not change; wear face cover, avoid crowds, keep two feet away and wash your hands frequently to reduce your risk.

“This has been a challenging semester for students and I want to thank them for their continued vigilance against the virus,” he said.

I also want to record my gratitude and admiration for the employees involved in making these testing centers and those who will be working in them a reality.

“The fact that these testing centers have been able to open so quickly is a testament to our dedicated staff, as well as the colleges and universities working in partnership to ensure as many students as possible are tested.”

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