Quebec’s Health Department said COVID-19 rapid testing in elementary schools will now extend to several administrative regions of the province where masking in classrooms is already mandatory.
In a statement released late Friday, officials said the deployment will take a few weeks and include nearly 1,600 schools.
The provincial government came under criticism from opposition parties and school administrators on the rollout of the testing program.
The province appointed Daniel Paré, head of the vaccination campaign, to co-ordinate the deployment.
The Health Department said schools will have the tests and PPE needed to use the tests, reserved for students who develop COVID-19 symptoms during the day and training and protocols are being set up.
“They are a complementary tool to quickly detect cases and further protect students and school staff and ensure that young people continue to receive their education at school,” the department said.
The tests, which provide a result in 15 minutes, have been used in four neighbourhoods in Montreal and Laval since Monday.
Schools are expected to begin using the tests widely by the end of the month, when training of staff to use the tests is complete.
This comes as Quebec reported 742 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday and four additional deaths attributed to the virus.
–with files from Alessia Maratta, Global News
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