26 September 2023

Rapid tests ease the school year start

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The Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) surveillance program in schools increased confidence for school staff returning to work, according to a survey conducted by the Department of Education.

The program was implemented at the start of the school year and saw around 8.2 million kits distributed to schools and early childhood care centres across the State, with parents encouraged to test children twice a week.

Celebrating the positive feedback, Premier, Dominic Perrottet said the survey of more than 100,000 parents, carers and staff revealed high levels of confidence and satisfaction in the way students returned to school.

Mr Perrottet said the survey, which was conducted towards the end of the first week of school for most students, attracted “huge responses” with 29,238 public school staff and 84,025 parents taking part.

Minister for Education and Early Learning, Sarah Mitchell said the survey showed that COVID-Smart measures in schools had not only kept schools safe and free from major disruption, but had increased confidence in being back on site.

“I am particularly pleased that our comprehensive RAT program has helped school staff and students feel more confident about being back on school grounds, according to the survey,” Ms Mitchell said.

She said the COVID-Smart settings had included free RAT kits for students and school staff, mask wearing indoors, vaccination for school staff and restricting access to schools for visitors and non-essential personnel.

According to NSW Health and Service NSW, parents reported more than 12,000 positive RAT tests among school-aged children during the week commencing 7 February.

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