WATCH: Chief Medical Officer announces rapid tests for select Ontario schools

Testing is for school-aged children in areas with high COVID-19 transmission rates

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore has announced that the province will support rapid antigen testing for unvaccinated students in select Ontario schools.

The province will leave the choice of schools for which rapid tests will be performed to local medical officers of health and testing will be reserved for schools and daycares in areas with the highest COVID transmission rates.

A press release from the province included the following information for the program.

Rapid COVID-19 antigen testing for daycares and school-aged children will be as follows:

  • Based on guidance from the Chief Medical Officer of Health, local medical officers of health will continue to monitor local rates of COVID-19 transmission and vaccination to determine when to implement rapid antigen testing in parts of their region based on local factors and needs.
  • Rapid antigen testing will only be used for asymptomatic unvaccinated students and children who are not high risk contacts. Symptomatic or high-risk contacts should continue to access laboratory PCR tests available at assessment centers and other collection centers.
  • When the local public health unit has identified schools or daycares that could benefit from this screening, rapid antigen testing will be available. Parents will be able to choose whether their asymptomatic unvaccinated children will participate in this screening offered by their schools or licensed childcare services.
  • Unvaccinated children participating in the program will be able to perform rapid antigen testing at home with instructions.
  • Children who test positive will need to request a laboratory confirmatory PCR test at a local assessment center or specimen collection center and isolate themselves until the result of this laboratory PCR test is known. . Children who test negative for rapid antigens will be able to continue their learning in person. More detailed information, including duration and frequency, will follow.