Quebec to deploy rapid COVID-19 testing in schools in all regions

Rapid screening tests for COVID-19 will be available in primary and preschool schools in all regions of Quebec starting next week.

Quebec's health and social services ministry announced in a press release that the project, which was implemented in 10 regions of Quebec on Sept. 20, will be extended to the entire province as of Oct. 11.

The Capitale-Nationale, Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Bas-Saint-Laurent and all the other regions in the north of the province have been added to the list, which already includes Montreal, Laval, Outaouais and Estrie, among others.

This means that all preschools and elementary schools in Quebec will have access to rapid tests and the necessary equipment to administer them as of Oct.11.

For the first phase of the deployment, 155,000 tests were distributed to the network in some 1,660 schools. However, the health ministry has not specified how many tests will be sent out by Oct. 11.

The education ministry, in collaboration with the school service centres and school boards, recently organized a meeting to present the new measure to schools. Nearly 300 people took part in this meeting, according to the health department.

Training tools were also made available to schools so that they can train their staff to administer the tests. Parents of students will receive an information sheet and will be asked to sign a consent form to authorize the school to test their child.

The tests are administered through the nose and results are available just 15 minutes later, which is much faster than the time required for a test requiring laboratory analysis.

The MSSS states that the rapid tests are used to complement other public health measures in place, such as wearing a mask and physical distancing.

- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Oct. 4, 2021.

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