The rapid home antigen test will be used to reduce the disruption positive COVID-19 cases have on schools and student learning.
NSW government expands use of rapid home antigen testing (RAHT) to reduce the time students and staff spend away from school if they are in close contact with a case positive.
According to advice from NSW Health, close contacts of COVID-positive cases can return to school after seven days, provided they receive a negative PCR test result on day 7 of their exposure date and test results. consistent negative rapid antigen test from day 8 to day 14.
Education and Early Learning Minister Sarah Mitchell said testing would be an important way to help students and staff return to class earlier in schools with positive cases.
“Using RAHT, our pilot showed that the tests are effective in reducing the time close contacts spend learning at home, with 38 students able to return to class after seven days, instead of the standard 14 for non-close contacts. vaccinated, ”she added. Mitchell said.
The targeted deployment will include more than 500,000 RAHT kits ready for rapid deployment to any primary school that registers a positive case.
The statewide rollout will focus on government and non-government elementary schools, as these students are not vaccinated. A process for unvaccinated high school students is under consideration.
School principals said there was significant disruption to students and their families when they were identified as a primary close contact at school, which often means 14 days of isolation at home .
They said giving parents the option of using the rapid antigen test kits at home and then sending in the negative tests before the start of the school day has helped schools reduce that time. at home while ensuring the safety and well-being of everyone at school.
COVID protective measures in schools include mandatory vaccinations for school staff and visitors, mask wear, grouping, increased natural ventilation, physical distancing rules and other measures of hygiene.