More children under the age of 12 will receive free COVID-19 rapid tests kits in efforts to detect COVID-19 cases early.
About 80,000 rapid test kits were distributed to children in pre-primary to Grade 6 in Nova Scotia’s public school system earlier in the school year as part of the pilot program, called Test to Protect Kids.
Within the next few weeks, private schools, licensed and unlicensed day cares, families with children at home, and homeschooling families with children ages 3 to 11 will be offered nose swab testing kits as part of an expansion of the program. Each package will contain four take-home rapid COVID-19 tests with a set of instructions on how to complete the test.
“We’ve heard from many parents that they used the rapid tests provided to them and appreciated the added layer of protection on top of the core public health measures that exist in our schools,” said Becky Druhan, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development. “As we approach cold and flu season, more and more kids are waking up with the sniffles and we want to make it easier for families to access testing.”
Volunteers are needed to put together rapid test kits for the program, which will provide 260,000 rapid tests to make testing more accessible to families and support early detection of COVID-19.
Public schools will distribute additional nose swab testing kits to families with children in pre-primary to Grade 6 who want them. Each package will contain two take-home rapid COVID-19 tests with a set of instructions on how to complete the test.
Public health wants families to use the test:
- if it is difficult for a family to get to a COVID-19 testing site and the child has symptoms of COVID-19
- if a child only has one mild symptom and does not need a lab-based PCR test
- as long as they are comfortable doing a shallow nose swab on their child.
Local pick-up spots will be announced next week and communicated directly to private schools, licensed and unlicensed day care, families with children at home, and homeschooling families with children ages 3 to 11.
Schools will provide parents and guardians more information about the expansion of the program next week.
Volunteers, thousands of willing Nova Scotians, play an essential role in providing access to COVID-19 tests in our province, and we need their help again. I couldn’t be more proud of their efforts and know that people will rally around and get us through these last few hurdles in fine Nova Scotia (and holiday!) style. To expand the gift of the rapid testing program for Nova Scotians, including kids in schools, travellers and those in areas with community spread, we need volunteers next week to help with the assembly of these take-home COVID-19 tests.
Dr. Lisa Barrett, Clinician Scientist and Viral Immunologist, Nova Scotia Health Authority
- at-home tests can be used on people ages 3 and older with mild COVID-19 symptoms
- rapid COVID-19 tests are less accurate than a PCR test, which means if the rapid test is negative, it needs to be repeated in 48 hours; if the rapid test is positive, it must be confirmed with a PCR COVID-19 test, which can be booked at https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/en or by calling 811
Volunteers can sign up online at: https://testtoprotect.ca/#volunteer Proof of full vaccination is required.
A list of the primary assessment centre locations and hours can be found online at: https://www.nshealth.ca/coronavirustesting
A list of the upcoming rapid pop-up testing locations and hours can be found online at:
A list of schools with exposures is available online: https://backtoschool.ednet.ns.ca/school-exposures