As schools roll out rapid tests for COVID-19, different approaches emerge in regions – .

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As schools roll out rapid tests for COVID-19, different approaches emerge in regions – .


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About a month into the fall term, many families with school-aged children are calling for the season’s staple: rapid antigen testing.

Since the start of the school year, there has been an increase in the number of COVID-19 outbreaks in schools and daycares, according to the latest weekly COVID-19 epidemiological report from the Public Health Agency of Canada. Canada.

Coupled with the fact that a vaccine for children under 12 is still not currently available, many are asking students to be given priority in provincial rapid test deployments.

Rapid tests are widely seen as a useful tool to add to the protective measures used in schools during the pandemic. However, which children to test, how often, and even where to get tested are among many issues that differ depending on whether different Canadian jurisdictions are implementing rapid tests.

Toronto parent Kate Dupuis, who contributed to a grassroots rapid screening initiative earlier this fall, calls Ontario’s new asymptomatic rapid screening targeting high-risk elementary schools “an important first step.” Nonetheless, she wants the tests to be available to all elementary students in Ontario. (Susan Goodspeed/CBC)

“During the pandemic, we pushed the government to stop reacting and start planning and being proactive,” said Kate Dupuis, a Toronto mother of two young children who joined a group of parents distributing rapid tests to families . “We all need to work together to do everything we can to try to keep our children safer. “

WATCH | Ontario is rolling out targeted rapid tests in schools, while Quebec is expanding its program:

Ontario Allows Asymptomatic Rapid Screening for COVID-19 in Schools

Ontario will now allow rapid testing for COVID-19 in asymptomatic students, but only under certain conditions. Quebec is expanding rapid tests to more schools while other provinces are announcing their own protocols. 2:01

Additional tool “if we see a school in difficulty”

Over the past few weeks, Ontario has seen various efforts to provide rapid tests to families, including parent-focused campaigns in Toronto and one one directed by a physician in Ottawa.

This week, Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, announced the province’s rapid screening strategy for schools: send them to people identified as high risk by local medical officers of health, for that they are used by asymptomatic and unvaccinated students at home. (Those with symptoms are always advised to have a lab PCR test.)

A COVID-19 rapid test device from Abbott Laboratories is displayed on a pop-up COVID-19 testing site on the Dalhousie University campus in Halifax on November 23, 2020. (Andrew Vaughan / The Canadian Press)

Whether it’s high transmission in a community or maybe a high number of unvaccinated individuals in the neighborhood, “if we see a school that is struggling, that has constant cases, that is at risk of shutting down is one more tool to keep our kids in class, ”Moore said Tuesday.

He noted, however, that Ontario’s situation has been positive lately, despite the more contagious delta variant. He commended families, educators and communities for keeping COVID-19 infection rates low.

WATCH | Parents in Toronto set up grassroots rapid testing initiative:

Toronto parents organize rapid COVID-19 tests for school

A group of parents in Toronto ran a rapid COVID-19 testing program for their children’s school because there was no provincial system in place. 1:55

Targeting hotspot schools is “an important first step,” said Dupuis, although his ideal remains that all children in Ontario have access to rapid tests twice a week.

“If we don’t have enough testing right now, maybe it’s time to start thinking about other ways to get more testing done, so that every child in the province eventually has access. “

An approach to school

Olivier Drouin, a Montrealer father of two teenagers, shares this desire for rapid asymptomatic screening across the province. More specifically, he would like it to be accessible to all Quebec students, vaccinated and unvaccinated, and that the tests be carried out at home.

Montrealer Olivier Drouin, founder of the Covid Écoles Québec website for tracking cases in schools across the province, is seen with his daughters: Laurence, 16, and Camille, 14. Quebec’s approach to school-based testing of symptomatic elementary school students does not go far enough for Drouin, who calls for home testing for all students, vaccinated and unvaccinated. (Submitted by Olivier Drouin)

“It’s the best way to reduce transmission and prevent cases before they happen in schools,” said Drouin, who is the founder of the Covid Écoles Quebec website, which tracks coronavirus cases in schools. schools in the province.

“I think it’s doable; it was done elsewhere in the United States, it was done in Israel and the United Kingdom ”

He believes that the Quebec approach, introduced in stages from mid-September, does not go far enough.

The province has opted for a rapid test of elementary students who start showing symptoms at school, carried out by staff. First unveiled in four neighborhoods with a high number of active cases of COVID-19, the program quickly expanded. On Monday, Quebec announced that rapid tests would be rolled out to all regions by October 11.

According to Dr. Caroline Quach-Thanh, pediatric infectious disease specialist and medical microbiologist at Sainte-Justine Hospital in Montreal.

Dr. Caroline Quach-Thanh led a rapid test pilot project in two Montreal schools during the past school year. She said asymptomatic testing was labor intensive and found few positive cases. (Marc-André Lapierre)

Quach-Thanh led a pilot project last winter using rapid asymptomatic tests at school to detect and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Although one of the participating schools is in a community with a high COVID-19 positivity rate, she said: “We did not find that many [students or staff] that were positive ”thanks to the rapid tests.

“If you find one, then you’re happy, because you know that person could have been a transmitter. But the energy and human resources to find this case were… out of this world, ”said Quach-Thanh, who is also a professor at the University of Montreal.

While she believes there will eventually be wider public use of rapid tests as an additional safety measure, she highlighted important considerations that still need to be ironed out with the process, including ensuring that testing are distributed fairly, a constant supply of tests, and a clear process for communicating results to schools and public health officials.

Important considerations still need to be ironed out with wider use of rapid antigen testing, including equitable distribution, constant supply and clear communication of results, explains Quach-Thanh. (CBC/Radio-Canada)

“Our warehouses are not full of rapid tests. … There is no major constraint at the moment, but it is not like free for all – and not everyone can just access it, if you ask, ”she said.

Self-test at home

Last spring, Alberta conducted an asymptomatic rapid test pilot project for students in select schools in four cities. This week, alongside the resumption of contact tracing in schools (which was scrapped this summer), the province launched a rapid antigen testing initiative for school-aged children who cannot yet be vaccinated.

Starting in late October, it will distribute rapid tests as a screening tool for use by asymptomatic staff and parents from Kindergarten to Grade 6 for schools with an outbreak.

<p>De même, la Saskatchewan distribue maintenant des tests antigéniques rapides aux ménages comptant des élèves de moins de 12 ans dans le cadre de son nouveau programme élargi d'autotest à domicile.  À partir de cette semaine, les parents peuvent contacter l'école de leur enfant pour obtenir des kits de test, qui doivent être utilisés comme outil de dépistage asymptomatique.  Cependant, certains signalent déjà que les stocks s'épuisent rapidement.</p>  <div><em><strong>REGARDER |  « Les tests rapides sont vraiment utiles pour suivre un virus rapide » :</strong></em><span><span class="mediaEmbed"><div class="player-placeholder-ui-container  "><div class="player-placeholder-video-ui" title="‘Rapid tests are really good for tracking rapid virus’" role="button" tabindex="0"><div class="player-placeholder-ui  "><div class="video-item video-card-overlay " aria-labelledby="1959502915824-metadata-" title="‘Rapid tests are really good for tracking rapid virus’"><div class="thumbnail-wrapper"><div class="thumbnail-container"><img   src="https://www.fr24news.com/fr/a1/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/1633698539_33_Alors-que-les-ecoles-deploient-des-tests-rapides-pour-COVID-19.777xh:h;*,*&downsize=510px:* 510w".jpeg" alt="" class="thumbnail" loading="lazy"/></div></div><div class="video-card-overlay-container"><div class="video-info-container"><h3 class="video-item-title">« Les tests rapides sont vraiment bons pour suivre les virus rapides »</h3></div></div></div></div></div></div><span class="media-caption">La Dre Lisa Barrett, spécialiste des maladies infectieuses, chercheuse et partisane précoce de l'utilisation de tests antigéniques rapides pendant la pandémie, partage trois grandes leçons qu'elle a apprises sur leur utilisation.<!-- --> <!-- -->1:25</span></span></span></div>  <p>La semaine dernière, la Nouvelle-Écosse a lancé un projet pilote à l'échelle de la province offrant aux élèves de la maternelle à la 6e année des kits de test rapide via leurs écoles élémentaires.  Les parents peuvent tester si un enfant présente un symptôme bénin, comme un nez bouché ou un mal de gorge. </p>  <p>Les kits seront également probablement bien accueillis par les familles qui vivent loin des tests PCR en laboratoire si leur enfant développe un symptôme majeur du COVID-19, comme de la fièvre ou de la toux, selon le Dr Lisa Barrett, médecin spécialiste des maladies infectieuses et chercheuse à Université Dalhousie à Halifax.</p>  <p>"C'est un peu différent dans les régions de la province - et chaque province en a - où l'accès à la PCR est vraiment difficile et les nez qui coulent sont très courants", a-t-elle noté.</p>  <div><span><figure class="imageMedia image full"><div class="placeholder"><img loading="lazy" alt=""   src="https://www.fr24news.com/fr/a1/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/1633698540_888_Alors-que-les-ecoles-deploient-des-tests-rapides-pour-COVID-19.jpg"/></div><figcaption class="image-caption">La Nouvelle-Écosse a organisé un certain nombre d'initiatives différentes de tests rapides d'antigènes, dont une récente destinée aux jeunes amateurs de clubs et de bars qui a emballé un test rapide COVID-19 avec un préservatif.<!-- --> <!-- -->(Soumis par Barb Goodall)</figcaption></figure></span></div>  <p>Barrett a dirigé plusieurs initiatives réussies en Nouvelle-Écosse utilisant des tests rapides pendant la pandémie;  elle dit que ces campagnes ont souligné l'importance de l'engagement du public et de donner aux gens une certaine autonomie.</p>  <p>"Nous savons d'autres infections, comme le VIH, l'hépatite C, que les gens modifieront leur comportement - même s'ils ne savent pas qu'ils le sont - pour être plus en sécurité [or] moins risqué s'ils connaissent leur statut », a-t-elle expliqué. </p>  <p>Donc en plus des tests rapides aidant à la détection plus précoce des cas positifs, « si c'est juste que les gens qui ne se masquent pas habituellement, portent davantage de masques ou évitent certaines personnes très vulnérables, c'est une partie secondaire, je pense, [where] les tests rapides sont vraiment utiles."</p>    <h2>« Pourquoi ne les utilisons-nous pas ? »</h2>  <p>Pendant ce temps, les éducateurs de la Colombie-Britannique – parmi les régions qui n'ont pas encore mis en place de stratégie provinciale de test rapide pour les écoles – continuent d'en réclamer une.</p>  <p>« C'est la plus grande préoccupation des parents et des enseignants que j'ai entendue : pourquoi ne les utilisons-nous pas ? … Tant d'autres juridictions ont franchi cette étape », a déclaré Annie Ohana, enseignante du secondaire à Surrey et organisatrice de Safe Schools. Coalition C.-B. </p>  <p>Une stratégie provinciale complète compléterait les mesures de sécurité existantes tout en aidant les parents à prendre des décisions importantes cet automne, a déclaré la présidente de la BC Teachers' Federation, Teri Mooring.</p>  <p>"Il est vraiment difficile pour les familles de décider si le nez qui coule de leur enfant les oblige à rester à la maison, et je pense donc que les tests rapides pourraient être utilisés de manière à rassurer les gens." </p></div>

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