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New Westminster school staff get COVID rapid antigen test kits

Every staff person in the school district will receive two kits as part of 200,000 RATs being distributed around B.C.
Rapid Antigen Tests COVID-19
Staff in New Westminster schools will receive two rapid antigen test kits today (Jan. 28) as part of the province's COVID-19 response.

Staff who work in New Westminster schools will receive two rapid antigen test kits today as part of B.C.’s COVID-19 response.

The rapid antigen tests, or RATs, are part of a provincewide measure announced Jan. 20 to provide 200,000 rapid antigen test kits for kindergarten-to-Grade 12 schools in B.C.

Bettina Ketcham, secretary-treasurer of the New Westminster school district, confirmed the local supply was delivered to the district yesterday (Jan. 27).

“Our facilities team have worked quickly to break down the larger shipments, bundle them up and will be redistributing them out to individual schools and sites today,” she said in an email sent to the Record on Friday, Jan. 28.

The initial shipment has included enough tests for each staff person in the district to receive two kits. The RATs are designed to support at-home testing for employees experiencing mild COVID-19 symptoms.

Ketcham said the district has not yet heard more about possible RATs for use by students.

“Like others, we are also awaiting information on whether rapid antigen tests will be made available to students through schools, or if access to the tests will continue to be through the same channels as are open to the rest of the community,” she said.

The provincial supply of test kits was received from the Burnaby-based Artron Laboratories Inc.

The newly allocated tests are in addition to supplies held by medical health officers in health authorities; those are to be used to investigate clusters and outbreaks in schools, a B.C. government press release noted.

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