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UPDATE: Rapid COVID-19 tests available for Vernon School District families

Antigen tests can be picked up by parents/guardians at student’s school
Rapid antigen tests are being sent home with Vernon School District students March 1. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

School families can take home some healthcare homework this week.

A box of five rapid antigen tests is available for each student, but parents are asked to pick them up.

The Vernon School District received the COVID-19 tests from the Ministry of Education Feb. 23 and had been distributing them to students but has since been advised to direct them to parents/guardians.

“The strong message is read the directions,” superintendent Christine Perkins said. “The liquid in the kit is not to be ingested.”

Two tests were delivered to every school district staff member at the beginning of February.

Students absenteeism rates, which are tracked daily, were stable for the first week of January and increased significantly in the second week, according to superintendent Christine Perkins.

“During week two, two schools reached absenteeism thresholds (Kidston and Beairsto),” Perkins said. “No functional closure was needed, however. During the third week back, it became clear we had peaked and all numbers – students and staff absenteeism began to return to seasonal norms.”

Interior Health (IH) had has some of the highest rates of new COVID-19 cases throughout B.C. last week. Weekend reporting numbers Monday, Feb. 28 were 319 for IH, followed by Fraser Health with 230, Island Health with 215, Northern Health with 110 and Vancouver Coastal Health with 100.

The Vernon school board encourages staff and students to get vaccinated but no policy has been made yet on mandating vaccination for employees.

A COVID-19 exposure was reported at Silver Star Elementary Feb. 14, 16 and 17, according to the BC School COVID Tracker.

A case of COVID-19 was also reported at Grindrod Elementary Feb. 16.

READ MORE: B.C. pharmacies to distribute free rapid tests for people ages 70 and over

READ MORE: B.C. COVID-19 hospitalizations dip to 653


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Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

20-year-Morning Star veteran
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