More than 7,000 rapid antigen tests will be delivered to School District 43 (SD43) this week as a way to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 among staff, including teachers and administrators.
Each employee is set to receive two tests, SD43 confirms to the Tri-City News, and the measure is being used to help schools deal with staffing issues.
"The SD43 procurement department will then break down and distribute individual test kits to each staff person containing two tests," spokesperson Ken Hoff explained in a statement.
"Instructions are provided on how to administer the tests at home by symptomatic staff to help determine suitability for work in order to support the continuity of learning for our students."
KIDS' ILLNESSES REPORTED ONLINE
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 that will continue to be used to investigate clusters and outbreaks in schools.
Tests for staff are being made available by the B.C. government as COVID-19 cases continue to circulate in Tri-City schools.
Although Fraser Health isn't reporting COVID-19 exposures anymore — just outbreaks — parents and guardians are self-reporting cases to a parent-run website called the B.C. Covid Tracker if their child tests positive.
In recent days, parents with children attending four Tri-City schools reported their child was sick and tested positive for COVID-19:
- Kwayquitlam Middle (Port Coquitlam) - Jan. 14
- Leigh Elementary (Coquitlam) - Jan. 21
- Hillcrest Middle (Coquitlam) - Jan. 18-20
- Heritage Woods Secondary (Port Moody) - Jan. 17-19
FEWER PEOPLE GETTING TESTED
Meanwhile, the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is not recommending everyone to get tested.
On its website, it states tests are only required for people who are at risk for severe disease or those living or working in high-risk settings.
However, some people with children at home are worried about getting sick and are upset tests are either hard to get or not available.
But the testing for staff measure comes as SD43 reports high numbers of people off sick or isolating due to exposure and nearly 20 per cent of kids are absent as well.