Ontario students to get rapid COVID tests over winter break

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Published November 18, 2021 at 2:59 pm

Covid-19 Rapid Test Device kits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Ontario students will be sent home for the December break with five rapid antigen COVID−19 tests each as part of the province’s plan to ramp up testing over the holidays.

Details of the plan to distribute 11 million tests over the next month were announced on Thursday.

Tests will go to all publicly funded schools and officials said offers have been made to First Nations schools.

Those who choose to participate in the voluntary program will be instructed to take tests every three to four days over the holiday break beginning Dec. 23.

Officials said more information is to come about how students can record their results, but participation won’t be a requirement to return to school in January.

The provincial government spent $50 million to procure the tests.

The government is also planning pop−up testing clinics in high−traffic public spaces like malls, holiday markets and retail stores so people can be tested during the busy holiday season.

Locations are being finalized and officials said they will be determined by looking at areas deemed high risk, based on lower vaccination rates and higher rates of transmission and hospitalization from the illness. Selected settings will be places where proof of vaccination isn’t currently required.

Starting Thursday, up to 600 pharmacies were to begin training to offer COVID−19 testing to everyone eligible, including people with symptoms, with plans to eventually expand to up to 1,300 pharmacy sites.

 

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