While most schools have now received their COVID-19 kits to send home to families, School District 71 is contacting families to clarify the process.
The district sent a note to parents and guardians this week to address concerns, saying most schools have sent the rapid antigen test kits home but that some may require an adult to pick up a family kit.
The kits, the district note says, are made available through B.C. schools and approved by Health Canada, but they need to be used properly to be effective. For any parent or guardian of a K-7-aged student who has not yet received the tests, the school principal is to get in touch about pick-up. The schools will allot a box of five tests per student and have been keeping track of which students have received tests so far.
The issue came up at the latest school board meeting on Feb. 22. Staff said the distribution was proving to be a learning process for the district.
“This is one we’re learning a little bit about every day,” superintendent Tom Demeo said.
Director of instruction Jay Dixon said they had been working with the schools to ensure each school had a plan for the roll-out.
“The good news is we’re getting them now,” he told school trustees at the meeting.
Board member Janice Caton wondered if there was a process to make sure the kits being sent home with students would actually arrive as intended.
Demeo responded that the district will be sending out weekly notifications to families about the kits.
The provincial government announced Feb. 1 it would distribute 300,000 rapid antigen test kits in phases, starting with rural and remote schools. In January, it had also announced 200,000 kits for symptomatic staff and teachers, as well as kits for government-funded child care centres.
“Since the return to class on Jan. 10, teachers and staff in B.C. have worked diligently to ensure classrooms and schools continue to be safe places and spaces for students to learn. I thank them for the tireless work they do each day to give students every opportunity to achieve their best,” Minister of Education Jennifer Whiteside said in a news release.
Rapid antigen tests require a sample taken by swab from each nostril and can provide results in under 20 minutes. There is more information about the tests at the BC Centre for Disease Control website at https://bit.ly/3IF2GNC
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