2,000 Covid-19 tests and counting

Since January, Highbury College has carried over more than 2,000 Covid-19 tests with support from Watchword Security.

Following the Government’s announcement in December, the College set up an effective coronavirus testing centre to help detect asymptomatic cases and break the chain of transmission amongst staff and students on campus.

Members of Watchword Security’s team trained and are continuing to support Highbury staff drawing from their experiences of assisting Covid-19 teams in the South East last year.

This has not only supported the local community by reducing the spread of coronavirus by identifying 11 asymptomatic people, but also kept vulnerable students engaged with their learning.

Penny Wycherley, Interim Principal and CEO of Highbury College, said: “We have a lot of students who have specific vulnerabilities, so it’s really important for us getting them in and making sure everyone is safe. We were very keen to work with the Watchword team who supported our staff to develop the knowledge and the skills to support our students and wider community with testing.”

MP for Portsmouth North, Paymaster General & Cabinet Office Minister Penny Mordaunt recently offered her support and congratulated the partnership on the success of the test centre, saying: “It’s a great asset to the community of Portsmouth. I’m sure it’s made a massive difference to how people are feeling about the current situation. Thanks for everything you and your team have done”.

Before the start of term, Highbury staff received virtual training from Watchword Security so all three of the College’s sites could continue to run and provide stability for staff and students.

Mark Thomson, Director of Watchword Security, said: “As a business we’ve put our experience to good use by helping colleges and businesses establish their testing plans.
“It’s been impressive, the speed at which we’ve had to react, pull teams together, adapt to this new situation and get it off the ground running quickly so learners can continue learning and people can get back to work. My aspiration is to help more colleges initially, and perhaps universities, to roll out testing programmes that are effective and just help them get back to work. With Highbury, our aim is to make you self-sufficient with testing and we are getting there.”

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