Ontario announces rapid testing for schools in areas with high COVID-19 transmission

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TORONTO — Ontario is rolling out a rapid COVID-19 testing program for schools in areas of the province with high transmission.

The chief medical officer of health says it can help identify cases and prevent transmission in schools for children that aren't yet eligible to be vaccinated, as well as licensed child care centres.

Dr. Kieran Moore says the decision to implement the program will be up to local medical officers of health and parents will be able to choose if their children participate in the screening.

The rapid tests will be used only for unvaccinated students with no symptoms who are not high-risk contacts of a case.

If a child receives a positive result, they will still need to get a lab-based PCR test to confirm.

The announcement comes after groups of parents had organized surveillance testing for their schools using the rapid test kits, but the government told agencies to stop distributing them to anyone but businesses.

Moore has said widespread asymptomatic surveillance testing in schools isn't recommended because it isn't an effective tool.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 5, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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