26 September 2023

Schools get more rapid tests to aid families

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NSW students and school staff are to receive additional free rapid antigen test (RAT) kits following the successful RAT surveillance program conducted during the first four weeks of the school year.

Announced by Premier, Dominic Perrottet, students and staff members are to receive an additional eight RAT kits to use “when families consider necessary”.

“It was vital we got our students back in the classroom after two years of disruption to their education, social lives and well-being, and RATs have played an important part in enabling their safe return,” Mr Perrottet said.

“We are therefore providing every student and staff member across the State with another eight RATs for them to use at their discretion when they consider necessary, following a four-week program of surveillance testing,” he said.

“The packs are there for families and staff to use at their discretion for their own peace of mind, for example, when a student is feeling unwell with a sore throat or cough, or if family members are sick.”

Mr Perrottet said the tests would be distributed to parents and staff in two drops, with the first round of packs beginning to arrive at schools this week.

Minister for Education, Sarah Mitchell said over 90 per cent of parents had been using the RATs provided at the beginning of the school year.

“It is important we help students, staff and families retain their levels of confidence as we get back to a more normal school life,” Ms Mitchell said.

“We know our measures work; transmission in schools is extremely low, and there have been no school closures since students returned this year, despite the levels of community transmission,” she said.

“Testing children twice a week was not an easy task and I’d like to thank all of the parents and carers for their efforts in these critical first few weeks of term.”

Ms Mitchell said the additional RAT packs would allow parents to stay vigilant and help reduce the impact of COVID on schools.

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