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Feasibility and acceptability of SARS-CoV-2 testing and surveillance in primary school children in England: Prospective, cross-sectional study.
Aiano, Felicity; Jones, Samuel E I; Amin-Chowdhury, Zahin; Flood, Jessica; Okike, Ifeanyichukwu; Brent, Andrew; Brent, Bernadette; Beckmann, Joanne; Garstang, Joanna; Ahmad, Shazaad; Baawuah, Frances; Ramsay, Mary E; Ladhani, Shamez N.
  • Aiano F; Public Health England, London, United Kingdom.
  • Jones SEI; Public Health England, London, United Kingdom.
  • Amin-Chowdhury Z; Public Health England, London, United Kingdom.
  • Flood J; Public Health England, London, United Kingdom.
  • Okike I; Public Health England, London, United Kingdom.
  • Brent A; Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Derby, United Kingdom.
  • Brent B; Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford, United Kingdom.
  • Beckmann J; University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.
  • Garstang J; Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford, United Kingdom.
  • Ahmad S; University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.
  • Baawuah F; Public Health England, London, United Kingdom.
  • Ramsay ME; East London NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom.
  • Ladhani SN; Public Health England, London, United Kingdom.
PLoS One ; 16(8): e0255517, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1376622
ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND:

The reopening of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic has raised concerns about widespread infection and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in educational settings. In June 2020, Public Health England (PHE) initiated prospective national surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in primary schools across England (sKIDs). We used this opportunity to assess the feasibility and agreeability of large-scale surveillance and testing for SARS-CoV-2 infections in school among staff, parents and students.

METHODS:

Staff and students in 131 primary schools were asked to complete a questionnaire at recruitment and provide weekly nasal swabs for SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR testing (n = 86) or swabs with blood samples for antibody testing (n = 45) at the beginning and end the summer half-term. In six blood sampling schools, students were asked to complete a pictorial questionnaire before and after their investigations.

RESULTS:

In total, 135 children aged 4-7 years (n = 40) or 8-11 years (n = 95) completed the pictorial questionnaire fully or partially. Prior to sampling, oral fluid sampling was the most acceptable test (107/132, 81%) followed by throat swabs (80/134, 59%), nose swabs (77/132, 58%), and blood tests (48/130, 37%). Younger students were more nervous about all tests than older students but, after completing their tests, most children reported a "better than expected" experience with all the investigations. Students were more likely to agree to additional testing for nose swabs (93/113, 82%) and oral fluid (93/114, 82%), followed by throat swabs (85/113, 75%) and blood tests (72/108, 67%). Parents (n = 3,994) and staff (n = 2,580) selected a preference for weekly testing with nose swabs, throat swabs or oral fluid sampling, although staff were more flexible about testing frequency.

CONCLUSIONS:

Primary school staff and parents were supportive of regular tests for SARS-CoV-2 and selected a preference for weekly testing. Children preferred nose swabs and oral fluids over throat swabs or blood sampling.
Subject(s)

Full text: Available Collection: International databases Database: MEDLINE Main subject: Students / Educational Personnel / COVID-19 Type of study: Observational study / Prevalence study / Qualitative research / Randomized controlled trials / Risk factors / Screening study Limits: Child / Child, preschool / Humans Country/Region as subject: Europa Language: English Journal: PLoS One Journal subject: Science / Medicine Year: 2021 Document Type: Article Affiliation country: Journal.pone.0255517

Full text: Available Collection: International databases Database: MEDLINE Main subject: Students / Educational Personnel / COVID-19 Type of study: Observational study / Prevalence study / Qualitative research / Randomized controlled trials / Risk factors / Screening study Limits: Child / Child, preschool / Humans Country/Region as subject: Europa Language: English Journal: PLoS One Journal subject: Science / Medicine Year: 2021 Document Type: Article Affiliation country: Journal.pone.0255517