Helping with school and college testing: COVID-19

Military personnel are supporting secondary schools and colleges in England to begin COVID-19 testing in the Spring Term

In November and December 2020, the UK Armed Forces piloted COVID-19 testing in schools using the Lateral Flow Device.

These tests give fast turnarounds, with results in as little as half an hour, and have been used widely in testing centres across the country. The fast results can help communities to keep ahead of outbreaks in schools.

To make the return to schools and colleges safer in the new year, 1,500 Armed Forces personnel are ready to support the Department for Education and Department for Health and Social Care with a COVID-19 testing offer to every secondary school and college in England.

What will the Armed Forces do?

A small team will help the government with planning, while others will:

  • Form local response teams
  • Provide phone advice and support to institutions needing guidance on testing
  • Set up testing facilities
  • Be on standby to deploy at short notice for in-person support when essential

In the majority of cases, students will swab themselves under supervision of a staff member or volunteer who has been trained. Teachers are not expected to take a role in the testing process.

Some images of the Armed Forces’ past work supporting COVID-19 testing

There are currently around 2,914 personnel committed to 55 tasks supporting government departments and civil authorities with the response to coronavirus. This includes ambulance driving in Wales and testing support for hauliers in Kent.

This is part of the Military Aid to Civil Authorities (MACA). To find out more about this, read here.

You can also find out more about military support to the COVID-19 response to date here:

Find out where else the UK Armed Forces are deployed here 👇



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Ministry of Defence

Ministry of Defence

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