The province plans to expand COVID-19 testing to schools across the province.

Some parents and teachers are frustrated that it took so long to come into effect, but said it's better now than never.

The asymptomatic testing could mean that 18-year-old Hayden Munz, who is medically fragile, can head back to class sooner rather than later.

"It's a good start in schools to allow a path for other students to come back at some point," his mom, Rebecca Munz, said.

She said targeted testing is overdue, since cases have climbed in Waterloo Region since the first day of school.

"I wish all of this started in September, as I'm sure many parents did," Munz said.

Minister of Education Stephen Lecce said the province is expanding a pilot project targeting schools in areas with high rates of infections. It will start when schools reopen, which is projected for Jan. 25 in southern Ontario.

"All schools and all public health units will be eligible and have the capacity and the testing kits required to do that surveillance testing," Lecce said.

Local teachers' unions said the widespread testing needed to be in place at the start of the year.

"It's a little late for it to be happening, but it's better than not happening at all," said Greg Weiler, president of the Waterloo branch of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario. "I hope it can contribute to getting us closer to a sense of normalcy."

"I think it's long overdue, that should have happened long ago," said Patrick Etmanski, president of the Waterloo Catholic teachers' association.

Etmanski said he hopes the province will discuss the best way to implement testing with teachers.

"Spend some time to actually speak with front-line workers, people who are there, about what a safe return to school will look like," he said.

The region said they will provide details to schools once they get it from the province.

"We'll be waiting for specific information on how local public health can support that," Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang said.

Munz said she will wait and see before deciding whether it's safe to send her son back to school.

"I'm still not quite sure how definitive the rapid testing is and if you can use it as a gold standard," she said.