We’ve been rethinking the study in light of school closures, continuing testing where we can, and planning evaluation of lateral flow tests.
What have we been doing this month?
- We’ve needed to rethink how we will run CoMMins in light of news of school closures this month. We’ve been in touch with schools to find out what would work for them. Most primary schools are happy to continue with saliva testing in some form, but fewer secondary schools can commit to testing at the moment. SEND schools still have high attendance, and are continuing with testing plans.
- To enable us to do this we’ve changed from just recruiting school pupils from specific age groups, to inviting children from all year groups (Year 2) up to participate. This means we can continue to offer schools our saliva testing programme, which is now targeted at the children of key workers, and vulnerable children, who are still attending school. When schools re-open, we’ll continue to keep the study open to all years.
- We are planning to evaluate the effectiveness of lateral flow tests in schools. You may have seen recent headlines about this issue, as the healthcare regulator refused the government permission to use lateral flow tests to keep schools open. We hope to provide robust evidence about how the tests can be used, and how reliable they are. The main questions are: can people take the test by themselves? And do they understand what the results mean? What is a lateral flow test? (Twitter).
- We were pleased to welcome a number of Special Educational Needs schools to the study, along with another secondary school.
- CoMMins has joined up with another study looking at whether schools can detect early outbreaks by testing wastewater (from the sewers). The wastewater study has successfully detected Covid, so we are in discussion about how these findings can be used.
- The data linkage substudy has recruited to their team.
- Our ‘School Life During Covid-19' sub study examining the mental wellbeing of pupils and staff as they re-adjust to school life during Covid-19, has recruited Sarah Bell and Jane Williams, Senior Research Associates, who will be conducting interviews will staff and pupils.
What have we found out so far?
- Primary and SEND schools involved in our research are still experiencing relatively high levels of attendance during lockdown. Secondary schools have lower numbers of pupils in school at the moment. This makes our study on mitigation measures all the more important.
Next month we hope to:
- Consider whether we can extend testing to early years staff.
- Initiate our saliva sampling study in households that have had a positive Covid-19 case
- Work with schools to finishing designing our pilot study for using rapid tests at home
Running totals (to 29 January 2021)
|Number of schools signed up to take part
|Number of schools currently active in sampling programme
|Number of saliva samples tested to date
|Samples from staff
|Samples from pupils
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Please get in touch with us if you have any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Caroline and the CoMMinS team