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Rapid COVID-19 tests available for Vernon students

Antigen tests coming home with kids next week
Rapid antigen tests are being sent home with Vernon School District students March 1. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

Students will be taking home some healthcare homework next week.

A box of five rapid antigen tests is being sent home with students after the Vernon School District received the COVID-19 tests from the Ministry of Education Wednesday, Feb. 23.

Those who do not want the tests sent home with their children are asked to let the school administrator know by sending an email asking that the rapid antigens not be sent home with the child(ren) name(s), classroom teacher’s name(s).

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) currently has some of the highest rates of new COVID-19 cases throughout B.C. Daily reporting numbers Wednesday, Feb. 23 were 280 for IH, following by Northern Health with 214, Island Health with 140, Fraser Health with 109 and Vancouver Coastal Health with 52.

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

Vernon has always been my home, and I've been working at The Morning Star since 2004.
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