For the first time in a week, hundreds of students walked through the doors of Charlottetown's West Royalty Elementary school Friday — not for class, but a COVID-19 swab.
Health PEI held a pop-up rapid-testing clinic at the school, aimed at students who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and are not isolating. Any staff not fully vaccinated were directed to the school for a test as well.
"It's a tool for us to use to make sure we're catching anyone in this chain of transmission," said Marion Dowling, Health PEI's chief of nursing. "We want to have this test done today to ensure we're capturing every student."
West Royalty is set to re-open for classes Monday, a week after its doors shut following news of an outbreak at the school.
A growing number of people connected to the school have tested positive. More than 500 close contacts are in isolation.
The lineup has been long all week at Charlottetown's Park Street testing clinic. Thousands of Islanders have been swabbed.
"We always have plans for these types of things." — Marion Dowling
Still, Dowling said staff were prepared to test hundreds more at the pop-up clinic throughout the afternoon.
"That's what we're prepared for, is for the entire student body and any additional staff who might need to be tested today. We know we have sufficient tests and more than we need to run this clinic," said Dowling.
"We always have plans for these types of things. We've been ready on our side to respond with testing, and turning around those results. So we have teams in place that have really had to step up."
Dowling said students or staff with a positive or inconclusive rapid test result were to be notified within two hours, and brought back for a more accurate PCR test.
According to P.E.I.'s Chief Public Health Office, results of the school-wide testing will be made public on Saturday.