The School wasTEwater-based epidemiological suRveillance systeM (TERM) will pilot the use of sewage surveillance for coronavirus detection at 70 schools in England with the aim of providing data at local community level to proactively inform public health care strategies and mitigate escalating demands on health care providers as we enter the winter season.

TERM will

  • Collate new evidence on the incidence and prevalence of COVID-19 in schools and how this associates with local cases.
  • Determine whether a wastewater surveillance system can work at school level, i.e. establish the effectiveness of extracting non-infectious SARS-CoV-2 RNA fragments (the virus that results in COVID-19) from in-school wastewater systems.
  • Evaluate the costs of undertaking a wastewater surveillance system at a large scale.
  • Explore the feasibility of implementing an early-warning system based on wastewater surveillance data at a community level.

The TERM consortium is made up of researchers from Middlesex University, Cranfield University, the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, University of Bath, Imperial College London, and University College London.

The London Assembly Health Committee, Brent Council, and The London Drainage Engineers Group, members of the stakeholder group.


Hassard F, Lundy L, Singer A C, Grimsley J, Di Cesare M

Innovation in wastewater near-source tracking for rapid identification of COVID-19 in schools

The Lancet Microbe, 2020.