The B.C. government has announced that it will be allocating 200,000 rapid antigen test kits for the kindergarten-to-Grade 12 (K-12) sector to be used by staff, teachers and administrators with symptoms of COVID-19.
The government says it will be shipping tests out this week to school districts, independent schools and First Nation schools, with the total being determined by the number of teaching and non-teaching staff teaching and non-teaching staff.
The government hopes that the rapid tests can be used as an additional tool to “support the continuity of learning in schools with the aim to reduce transmission of COVID-19.”
The Ministry of Health and the Office of the Public Health Officer are in charge of determining how rapid tests are best used across the province as part of B.C.’s COVID-19 response. The COVID landscape in schools will be monitored and the Ministry of Health says that will help it determine if additional tests need to be deployed for use in the K-12 sector.
The allocation of test kits for the K-12 sector was received from Artron Laboratories Inc., a Burnaby-based company, and is in addition to supplies provided to medical health officers in health authorities.
The Ministry of Education says it continues to engage with experts on ventilation and work with school districts to improve ventilation systems, including the deployment of HEPA filters in classrooms that do not have access to mechanical ventilation systems.
The government notes that it has invested $114.5 million to assist school districts in upgrading ventilation in thousands of classrooms across the province since the beginning of the pandemic.
The Province also says that additional funding to support further ventilation improvements and upgrades in K-12 public schools will soon be made available.