Cork secondary school becomes first in Ireland to trial rapid Covid testing on staff

Cork secondary school becomes first in Ireland to trial rapid Covid testing on staff

Nurse Liz Connolly of Health Passport Ireland holding a Covid-19 antibody test at Bruce College, Cork, where they also tested teachers with Covid-19 rapid antigen testing with results in fifteen minutes. Picture Dan Linehan

A Cork secondary school is the first school in Ireland to trial rapid Covid-19 testing among their staff.

Bruce College has been trialing rapid antigen testing on some of their staff over the past four weeks.

The form of testing allows results to be provided in under 15 minutes via an app called Health Passport which was developed by the ROQU Group.

The testing is being carried out in conjunction with the ROQU Group after Principal Micheál Landers got in touch with them about getting involved in their trials.

“The more I looked into it, the more sense it made to me that rapid testing is something that can be done. It’s different to PCR testing which is the gold plate of testing, but it is certainly reassuring us and our staff,” said Mr Landers.

Bruce College, Cork city.
Bruce College, Cork city.

The testing involves a swab which is carried out by clinical staff at the school each week.

The test results are provided through the mobile phone app, which also has a function that would allow teachers to scan an entire classroom to identify which pupils have been recently tested.

Despite PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) being considered a more accurate form of testing, when combined with other Covid-19 restrictions, Bruce College has found the rapid antigen testing to be beneficial.

“Used in conjunction with the kind of things were doing in the school, it offers us a safer environment and if somebody did test positive on this rapid antigen test, then they would also be tested on the same day by the same team and they would have a PRC test done as well,” said Mr Landers.

Staff have been getting weekly tests that are carried out at the school by a clinical team and Mr Landers has said that such rapid testing could be a help to other schools.

“Staff have been very open and very interested in getting this done,” he said.

“We still have to wear a mask we still have to watch our hand hygiene and social distancing and follow all of those protocols in the school but it’s more of a reassurance.”

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