As a follow-up to the message that was sent yesterday, please see the letter below from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development's Deputy Minister, George Daley, regarding the implementation of the new rapid testing program for schools. Following the letter, you will also find some FAQs (frequently asked questions) that aim to provide clarity around the details of the program. Thank you.
Rapid Testing Program in Schools (COVID-19) - Letter from Deputy Minister
In order to
provide a healthy and safe environment for our staff and students during the
COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to develop measures to minimize the impacts.
part of the larger Government of NB response also has a key role to play in protecting
our health care system's resources so they can respond to both COVID-19 and
nonCOVID-19 health issues. As such, we are implementing a rapid testing
program in schools.
The rollout and
implementation of the plan will begin on October 12 and be done gradually
within our school system. Some schools will begin to put these measures more
quickly than others but please rest assured that in the coming days or weeks
all schools will be able to benefit from these new measures when needed.
It is likely that
you have several questions about the implementation of this new process. Please
see the attached document for answers to many anticipated questions.
If you have any
other questions, please send a message to EdCommunication@gnb.ca
assured that the health and safety of your children remains the priority of the
Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, school districts and
Thank you for
your valuable collaboration,
George Daley, Deputy
Minister, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
Frequently Asked Questions - COVID-19 Rapid
happens when my child is identified as a close contact of a COVID-19 positive
October 12 in a gradual matter, unvaccinated students who are identified as a
close contact of a confirmed case will be provided with a supply of rapid
tests, depending on the last possible exposure date to the confirmed case,
along with instructions.
Tests may be
sent home with students or picked up by parents as soon as they are available
at a site identified by the district, depending upon when the school is
notified of a confirmed case. Districts will communicate with families via
email or voicemail to convey instructions.
will those identified as a close contact be required have to stay home?
students will be required to self-isolate while they take their first two rapid
tests. Unless otherwise advised by Public Health, students will return to
school once they provide two negative tests at school and if they have no
symptoms. Depending on the time period determined, students will be required to
test daily and submit their negative results to continue attending school.
How do we
use the rapid tests?
recommended that you test your child as soon as you receive the tests and then
perform a second test the next morning. The child will return to school with
their two proofs of negative tests stored in a container and present them to
the designated person upon arrival at school. It is not necessary to present
the negative test results to get on the bus.
be done under parental or guardian supervision. They are responsible for
reading the test result before returning the student to school.
how to test and on the period of time required for testing will be provided
with the test kits.
If your child
tests positive, you should immediately isolate and book an online PCR test with
Public Health. You will need to indicate the request for a PCR test is
following a positive POCT and that the child is a student in order to be
will we need to test at home?
will have an appropriate supply of rapid tests, depending on the last possible
exposure date to the confirmed case. Public Health will notify families whose
children are identified as close contacts of the date until which they will be
required to test daily. Students will be required to bring in the negative
test, stored in a container, as proof every day. Instructions for testing will
also be provided.
happens if my child tests positive?
tests positive, or has even one symptom of COVID-19, is asked to self-diagnose
and make an appointment on the Public Health website and follow the Public
Health recommendations. If the rapid test is positive, you will need to
indicate this on the Public Health website. Click on the online request tab to
be tested for COVID-19 and follow the instructions. When entering patient
information, when asked "Is the caller in a priority group?, please select
teachers and school personnel so that the request will be prioritized even if
the caller is a student and then finalize the request.
should also be contacted for the tracking of absences and the COVI D-19
is fully vaccinated, but was identified as a close contact. What should we do
in this case?
are fully vaccinated and have no symptoms will follow direction from Public
Health. In line with current Public Health guidance, those who are fully
vaccinated are to return to school and must selfmonitor for a prescribed period
of time. If they have at least one symptom, they must stay home, selfisolate
and get a PCR test with Public Health.
has only received one dose of the vaccine. Are they required to take the rapid
who have only received one dose of the vaccine are not considered fully
vaccinated and are therefore subject to the same rapid screening procedures as
age 12 and over, is unvaccinated, can he/she participate in after-school
activities during the testing period?
are able to be vaccinated (born in 2009 or before or who have received an
exemption for medical reasons) must be fully vaccinated to participate in all
extracurricular and intramural activities, held outdoors or indoors. Students
born between July 1 and December 31, 2009 will be entitled to an exception to
this requirement until October 31, 2021, when they must have received two doses
of the COVID-19 vaccine to be allowed to continue participating in these
activities. Unvaccinated students over 12 may NOT participate or engage in any
form in extracurricular and intramural activities, indoors or outdoors. Please
refer to the Healthy and Safe Schools plan.
under 12, is unvaccinated. Can he/she participate in after-school activities
during the testing period?
Yes, they can
participate in extracurricular or intramural activities, indoors or outdoors,
unless there is a Public Health advisory in effect, such as the circuit breaker
measures affecting certain areas.
Do I have
to prove my child tested negative, if so, how?
student must present their negative tests every day during the testing period
(stored in a container) to a designated staff person at school. In the event
that the student does not have their tests with them, the school will not
perform a swab on a student. Written consent will be required if the child does
a selfadministered test school if a cartridge is lost. This may be an option
for a student if this consent is received. Otherwise, the student will have to
return home until the negative tests can be provided or until the end of the
If I am
rapid testing, do I still need to schedule a day 10 PCR test?
has been identified as a close contact, but school is still closed/has still
been told to isolate. Why?
be prepared that outbreak management decisions, and contact tracing, will
continue to be made on a case-by-case basis. This means students may still have
to learn from home for periods of time throughout the coming year as per Public
Health directives or because of operational reasons, such as lack of staff.
The POCT tests
aim to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on both school staff and students.
Do I need
to provide proof of vaccination?
closely with Public Health and therefore knows the COVID-19 vaccination status
of students aged 12 and over.
data may be missing or incorrect. In these cases, full proof of vaccination may
happens if my fully vaccinated child develops COVID-19 symptoms?
of one symptom amongst fully vaccinated students should be communicated to
Public Health for a PCR test. Isolation should begin.
happens if the result on the test kit fades before sending to school?
continue to send the cartridge to school even if the result has faded.
Personnel at the school will be aware that sometimes the results fade within
minutes and will trust that the result was negative. If the result is positive
appears, please keep your child at home and contact Public Health for further
instructions, including a PCR test.