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COVID-19 Lateral flow testing within the Scouts

Rapid lateral flow testing for young people aged 11+ (or 12+ in Scotland) and volunteers at Scouts is strongly recommended for some activities such as for residential activities, as shown in the readiness level tables. 

These tests give a result in 30 minutes using a swab and a small testing strip. If you need to perform lateral flow testing at Scouts, this information will help you understand how. 

If you’re doing lateral flow testing as part of a Scouts residential activity, also take a look at the planning a COVID-safe nights away in 2021 guidance to see when and how frequently you will need to test everyone.

Lateral flow testing is designed to be used on people without symptoms, if anyone is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 then they should return home and have a PCR test. 

Preparing to do lateral flow testing within the Scouts 

Below we’ve provided some specific guidance for using lateral flow tests within the Scouts, mainly to support participation in residential activities.  

Its also important to have wider considerations as part of your planning: 

  • Make sure testing features in your risk assessment, explain your planned frequency, storage and disposal of kits as well as what you will do if someone tests positive. 
  • You’ll need to explain to the young people and parents the testing requirements and have the parents confirm they are comfortable for their child to take part, this can be done using your usual method of gathering parental consent for your event. You’ll also need to notify parents that the results will be logged on the government lateral flow results site.
  • Remember that all secondary school children are encouraged to do lateral flow tests twice a week, this is no different. If you have a member who is unable to take the test or unwilling that should not be a barrier to their participation, but remember to still check they do not have any COVID symptoms before or during the event.
  • Where someone has tested positive for COVID in the 90 days prior to the tests being undertaken (and are outside of their isolation period) they will not be required to undertake a lateral flow test in order to participate in the residential activities.

Accessing rapid lateral flow test kits 

You can get lateral flow tests through your local lateral flow test pick up location. Volunteers may need to make contact in advance to order larger volumes for a whole group, make sure you’re clear on who is doing this so that only one person approaches the supplier and you don’t access more kits than are required. If you are unable to access the number of kits required in one go you may need to split your order or ask families to supply the kits for their child attending the event. Test kits are provided for free. Don’t forget you should have a few spares in case a kit gets damaged.   

You should use a unique test for each person. You can label each test with a person’s name in advance.  

Consider how you will store test kits before they are needed, especially if you’re based outside for a residential activity. Make sure to keep them somewhere dry and away from direct sunlight.  

Performing testing with your group 

Everyone should perform their own individual tests. Young people must be closely supervised by adults when preparing and administering their test. 

Detailed instructions for how to do the test is provided on the NHS website, as well as in the printed booklet supplied with each kit. Everyone should familiarise themselves with these instructions ahead of time. 

Remember to explain and follow all the other COVID-secure procedures outlined in your section’s approved risk assessment when doing testing, such as maintaining hygiene measures and cleaning. 

Testing people with additional needs 

Some members may have additional needs which need to be considered when undertaking the tests. This can range from providing instructions in a different way, assisting with opening packets or laying out the kit, however if a young person is unable to collect the sample using the swab provided themselves this must be supported by a parent or carer, not with assistance of a leader. Further support on discussing the needs of a young person can be found in the parent/carer framework 

Where a parent or carer is required attend the event for a short period of time to support the testing of a young person this person will be counted within the group numbers.  

Reporting the results

If you’re on a residential experience and someone tests positive, you should follow the procedures in the planning a COVID-safe nights away in 2021 guidance. If someone tests positive once they have returned home follow the guidance in Protecting ourselves and others.