Take home COVID-19 tests to be made available at schools across Ontario

After initially resisting the idea, Ontario is set to roll out rapid COVID-19 testing at some schools. Mike Drolet looks at which schools will implement these tests, and what caused the government to suddenly change course.

TORONTO — Ontario’s education minister says take-home COVID-19 tests will be available at all public schools across the province starting in a few weeks.

The PCR tests have been available in schools in Toronto and Ottawa, and some other communities in a similar pilot project, but Stephen Lecce says now all students in public schools will have access.

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If a student develops a COVID-19 symptom or is identified as a close contact of a positive case, they can pick up a test at their school, do it at home and drop it off at a community location for processing.

The government says it’s aimed at alleviating some of the inconvenience in the testing process, eliminating the need for students and staff to book an appointment at an assessment centre to get tested.

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Lecce is also announcing that unvaccinated education workers will have to undergo rapid antigen testing three times a week instead of two.

As well, the province is expanding a rapid testing program that would see students do regular tests over 10 days if officials are otherwise contemplating a whole school dismissal due to high cases.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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