Voluntary Asymptomatic Testing
On February 1, 2021 the Ministry of Education announced plans to offer voluntary asymptomatic COVID-19 testing in schools for students, children and staff across the province. In consultation with the Ministry of Education, public health partners and schools, KPR will be supporting the coordination of pop-up testing clinics run by LifeLabs, a diagnostic services company.
Voluntary asymptomatic testing will be offered to all schools throughout the Board, by Family of Schools, prioritizing locations based on:
1) Areas/Family of Schools that have had positive cases;
2) Consideration of community rates;
3) Rural areas with limited access to testing, and
4) Equitable opportunities to access testing across all regions of the school board.
Summary of our Testing Plan:
- Clinics will be for asymptomatic individuals only (those with no COVID-19 symptoms)
- The clinics will be voluntary and available for students, staff and family members.
- LifeLabs will operate these clinics on evenings or weekends at schools, on a rotating basis.
- In most cases, clinics will be held at secondary schools, using a hub model, with families from the elementary feeder schools invited to attend.
To be responsive to emerging situations, plans will be confirmed every two weeks and school communities will receive information about clinics close to them, through direct email communication.
LifeLabs, Canada’s largest diagnostic services company, will operate the testing clinics in our area. LifeLabs has been providing a number of services as part of Canada’s COVID-19 response action plan, including backend testing, and certain industry testing, such as the NHL and Airports.
About the test:
Testing is voluntary and only for people who are not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. Individuals who want to be tested are encouraged to:
- Pre-register with LifeLabs (see the attached document FAQ for Parents and Legal Guardians);
- Arrive onsite just before their scheduled time, where they will be directed by a LifeLabs staff member;
- Follow school and provincial Covid protocols.
The test consists of a short swab (similar to a Q-tip) that is inserted into the front part of the nostril and rotated for fifteen seconds (per nostril). The short nasal swab is less invasive, and there is less discomfort since the swab is shorter and doesn’t reach as far back in the nose. The test is not painful and should not be uncomfortable. The test should take no more than two minutes from start to finish.
- Test results will be directly available to individuals within 24 – 48 hours.
People who have taken a voluntary asymptomatic test are not required to self-isolate while they wait for their results because they are not experiencing symptoms.
For more information about LifeLabs Targeted Testing programs, check out www.lifelabs.com/covid-19-updates/covid19-pcr-testing-for-schools/.