Students and teachers at a Portland school are being swabbed for Covid-19 under the Government’s latest scheme to fight the spread of the virus.

Tests have been available at Atlantic Academy since the start of the week and have been offered to all staff and vulnerable children or those of critical key workers who are in attendance.

Lesley Bishop, principal of Atlantic secondary school, said the rollout of the tests has so far been a smooth process. A designated area has been allocated and all support staff have been trained.

Lesley Bishop & Vice-Principal Lisa Migliari at the testing station

Mrs Bishop told the Dorset Echo: “So far around 60 staff and students were tested on the first day. Throat and nose swabs were taken and there have been no positive cases so far. We are fortunate that the infection rate on Portland is low and we want to keep it that way.

“The tests are optional but we would like to encourage as many members of the school to participate and we see this as another layer of protection for our school community.

“Our students on the whole have been great about staying in over the festive period to protect their families and the wider community.


“All the support staff have come together to work as a team to get the test area up and running quickly and efficiently.’’

The large all-through school has ample space inside and also benefits from being surrounded by acres of green space and fresh sea air. Mrs Bishop said she believes this has helped support with social distancing and also kept the academy well ventilated.

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With a third lockdown now in place, the rollout has started on a smaller scale than anticipated. However, Mrs Bishop said it has still provided a useful insight on the logistics of scaling up the testing programme once more children return to school.

Two rapid tests will be carried out this week followed by weekly testing, said Mrs Bishop.