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28 May 2021

COVID testing: 'It's super easy, it doesn't hurt and it's free'

Lennard Plotnicki, second year undergrad and testing hub Helpdesk Advisor shares his experiences

Portrait photograph of Lennard Plotnicki

Tell us a bit about yourself and your studies at King’s.

I’m from Berlin and I moved to London in 2019 for university. I’m studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics and am currently in my second year and really enjoying it. I’m involved with the King’s Chapter of the European Horizon Society, as a research team member, and I work part time as a Helpdesk Advisor for KCL TEST.

Why did you get involved with KCL TEST?

I saw the position advertised on the King’s Talent Bank and thought that it was a great opportunity to get involved during COVID and help out. Regular testing is important to make sure we understand who in the King’s community might have COVID without knowing it, as people can be a carrier without showing symptoms.

I also really enjoy customer service. I’m able to meet people in person – every time someone comes to the hub I’m like, ‘Yes! Someone to talk to!’

I think it’s great that the university is offering regular COVID testing. Everyone should participate.

Lennard Plotnicki

How does KCL TEST work?

KCL TEST is primarily a research study, evaluating the use of PCR saliva testing for COVID-19 within a university setting. It also aims to help reduce the transmission of the virus at King’s and help us understand the wider impact on our lives.

We offer students and staff free, non-invasive saliva tests and recommend two tests a week to anyone who is asymptomatic (doesn’t have symptoms). This is a method of testing that is non-invasive. Instead of swabbing the nose and throat, you just give a saliva sample. I much prefer this method!

Join KCL TEST today

COVID testing hub

If you’re interested in registering or finding out more, head over to the KCL TEST pages.

What do you do as a Helpdesk Advisor?

I work at the testing hubs as a Helpdesk Advisor. I answer questions from participants and inform them of any updates since their last visit. I also onboard new participants, help them with the signup process and take feedback for the management team.

I work at multiple test hubs. I’ve been at the Wohl Cafe and IoPPN at Denmark Hill. Next week I’ll be at Bush House. When I first started, I was at the Franklin Wilkins Building at Waterloo. Every week it changes a bit. I also cover lunch breaks sometimes, so can be at one hub for 30 minutes and then go somewhere else. It’s cool to see everywhere.

I also work in the test kit packing labs, where we pack the actual test kits ready for the hubs. We have lots of supplies and we just pack, and pack, and pack. We’re going through a lot of test kits every week!

As a Helpdesk Advisor, I’m able to meet people in person – every time someone comes to the hub I’m like, ‘Yes! Someone to talk to!’

Lennard Plotnicki

How easy is it for students to take part in KCL TEST?

Getting involved is really easy, and anyone can take part. You just need to sign up – that involves an online survey providing details of your health and wellbeing. Then, you basically just pick up a test on your way to university. There’s rarely a queue, so you just pick one up.

We say first thing in the morning, before you brush your teeth, just put a saliva sample into the test tube – and that’s it. You can also do the test any other time of day, just fast for 30 minutes beforehand. And then you just drop it off. It’s that easy. Participants will be sent regular surveys, but these are optional and only take a few minutes or so. The total time commitment is maybe 10 or 20 minutes a week, if that!

I would say, anyone that’s studying at King’s right now and is regularly going to campus, should take the opportunity to sign up and, on their way to wherever they’re going, pick up a test. It can really help to minimise the infection risk for everyone on campus. It also helps keep staff safe. It’s super easy, it doesn’t hurt and it’s free – which is the best thing! I think it’s great that the university is offering this and everyone should participate.