Skip to main content

What to know as students bring COVID-19 screening kits home ahead of winter break


As promised by the Ontario government, students will bring home rapid antigen screening kits this week, before the winter break.

Last week, the COVID-19 Science Advisory Table said that a region with 35 or more weekly cases per 100,000 population should allow elementary students to be tested with the screening kits once a week.

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit reports the region's weekly incidence rate is 97 cases per 100,000 population.

More than two dozen local schools have COVID-19 outbreaks, which means two or more linked positive cases among students or staff.

Students will be given five rapid antigen test kits for the two-week winter break to be used two to three times per week until all the tests are used.

In a letter to parents, the Simcoe County District School Board noted that participating in this rapid antigen screening was voluntary and would not prevent students from returning to school after the break.

How Rapid Antigen Screening Kits Work

The results from the nasal swab kits take 15 minutes and should only be administered to asymptomatic children.

If test results are negative, continue all public health measures, like masking and distancing.

A positive result is considered a preliminary positive, and the individual should seek a PCR test to confirm the outcome within 48 hours.

The individual will be required to self-isolate until the results of the PCR test are known.

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should get a PCR test rather than using the screening kit.

"Rapid antigen screening tests should not be used as a substitute for PCR tests for people with symptoms or for people who are close contacts of cases," the letter stated. Top Stories

Stay Connected