Millions of rapid tests are now being sent out to schools across the province for students and their families.
“Some of them arrived today at one of our schools,” said Sooke School District Superintendent Scott Stinson, although he would not specify which school.
It will be up to each school to figure out the best way to get the kits, which contain five tests each, out to students and their families.
“Middle school and secondary students, to be able to sign them out to them and have them take them home makes a lot of sense, I’m not sure families want a five-year-old showing up with five rapid tests in their backpack so we’re trying to figure out what the best mechanism is at the elementary level,” Stinson said.
January was a tough month for many schools across the Island, with Omicron fuelling high rates of student and staff illness, but the peak appears to have passed.
“I’m not hearing as many concerns being expressed either from teachers or students. I don’t think we’re in the clear all the way but it does seem much improved,” said Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association President Winona Waldron.
READ MORE: B.C. ‘preparing’ to distribute COVID-19 rapid tests to the public
And that has left some questioning the arrival of the rapid test kits for students.
“It would have been lovely if it had been a little earlier I think we saw that in other jurisdictions,” Waldron said.
Some parents say this is the first they’re hearing of the plan.
“No, no I didn’t know this, until today when you told me,” said Victoria parent Shuting Xing.
While others say it’s better late than never.
“As long as we can protect our kids from going into the schools making sure that somebody doesn’t bring something unknowingly then all the better,” said parent Mike Bernier.
“Would it have been nice to have them sooner? Sure. Would it be nice to also not be living in a pandemic? Sure. So I’ll take what I can get” said parent Paul Shortt.
The Ministry of Education says while test kits were previously sent out only to rural and remote school districts, they’re starting to arrive this week at non-rural schools and all districts in the province should have them by early March.
Four million test kits are being sent out to students, staff and teachers in the K to 12 system. That’s in addition to the 200,000 already sent out in January to symptomatic teachers and staff.
Health Minister Adrian Dix is expected to announce more details for a mass rollout to the greater public on Wednesday.