Dr. Kieran Moore announced on Tuesday’s press conference that Ontario is slated to deploy rapid COVID-19 testing among schools in the province to curb the transmission of the virus, particularly among students who are still not yet eligible to be administered with the vaccine.
Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health pointed out that these rapid antigen tests will be voluntary and will be facilitated by participating public health units. Moore highlighted that testing would be prioritized in areas where high levels of transmission are observed.
Moore stressed that this move was set up to prevent widespread infection brought about by the Delta variant of the virus. He also explained that rapid testing would be provided to asymptomatic students who are not exposed to high-risk contacts.
As for students who are symptomatic and exposed to high-risk contacts, Moore said that they would be recommended to have a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test instead.
Concerning the selection of schools that should be included in the priority list, Moore stated that this would be up to the public health units in the areas concerned, subject to the guidance of the provincial government. He added that these public health units will identify which schools “they think are at risk, where there are trends in the community that they have high pockets of unvaccinated individuals and or high-risk of transmission.”
Moreover, Moore shared that the rapid tests will be administered at home and will be provided with instructions for proper use. If the test comes up with a positive result, the child concerned will be asked to have a PCR test for confirmation and be advised to isolate in the meantime. Only students who yield negative results in the rapid test will be allowed to attend in-person classes.