300 Alta. schools offer rapid COVID-19 tests to staff, students
EDMONTON -- Rapid testing is now being offered at up to 300 Alberta schools including in Edmonton.
Dr. Lila Fahlman School in south Edmonton was selected to offer testing. Schools are chosen based on prevalence of COVID-19 in the school or community and whether a school has had outbreaks.
"It's a great opportunity for our school community and our families," said Bryan Evans, principal of Dr. Lila Fahlman School.
"We've had a bit of an anxiety level rise with the introduction of the COVID variants and the recent cases at our schools so it's helping to soothe the anxiety in our students and certainly our staff."
Schools notify parents when the rapid testing is scheduled and participation is optional.
Dr. Lila Fahlman School has about 400 students from Kindergarten to Grade 6 learning in-person and all were offered the rapid tests.
"All of the students who received parental permission are running through the rapid tests throughout the day today."
Students and staff who get a positive result will not return to class and will isolate. Those results are considered preliminary and must be confirmed by a more accurate lab-confirmed test at an AHS assessment centre.
"They run the full test on that sample and if it comes back positive then we follow our protocol for the close contacts to be in isolation for 14 days," said Evans.
He says the rapid testing process is quick, and takes less than a minute per student.
In the past year some students at Dr. Lila Fahlman have gone through nasal swab COVID-19 testing, but Evans says the rapid tests are a different process.
"These are not as invasive, so it doesn't go as far into the nose, so once they realize that they're pretty good."
"It was kind of ticklish, but didn't hurt that much," said Grade 6 student Annette.
Grade 3 student Thomas said, "It felt like if someone tickled your nose."
There will be another round of testing at Dr. Lila Fahlman School in a week.
"We've got about three classes coming back that will miss today, so then those parents and families will have the opportunity to have their first test done in the second round of testing and then they will retest all the students that were tested today," said Evans.
Dr. Lila Fahlman School has had 10 positive COVID-19 cases since the start of April and six classes have been isolating. Those classes will be back in school Thursday.