Take-home COVID-19 test kits for Ontario high school students to be piloted: Toronto Star

13 public health units taking part

Take-home COVID-19 test kits for high school students and staff exposed to COVID-19 are coming to Ontario, in a pilot project involving 13 public health units, according to a report in the Toronto Star.

The Star says a memo it has obtained indicates the eight-week pilot project will begin the week of Sept. 7, the first day of school for most students.

The memo, according to the newspaper, says students and staff who are vaccinated and asymptomatic will receive the kits when they have been identified as a high-risk contact as part of an identified cohort or outbreak.

Students will not be required to disclose their vaccination status to participate, and participation by students and staff is voluntary.

Health units in Durham and York Regions will be taking part in the provincial pilot, but not Simcoe-Muskoka.

The Star says principals in schools will hand out kits to teens exposed in classes or cohorts – with access to how-to videos online. Completed specimens will be dropped off at schools with collection by an on-demand courier.

Health units were chosen “based on local public health context, including vaccination rates and recent historical data on positivity rates,” according to the memo, drafted by Deputy Education Minister Nancy Naylor and sent to directors of education on Tuesday morning.

The Star has identified the 13 participating health units:

  • Chatham-Kent
  • Durham Region
  • Eastern Ontario
  • Grey Bruce
  • Haldimand-Norfolk
  • Middlesex-London
  • Niagara Region
  • Northwestern
  • Peel Region
  • Porcupine
  • Thunder Bay
  • Windsor-Essex
  • York Region