18 November, 2021. 4pm
Rapid Antigen Home Testing (RAHT) is being expanded to schools to reduce the time students and staff spend away from school if they are a close contact of a positive case.
Under NSW Health advice, close contacts of COVID positive cases can return to school after seven days, provided they receive a negative PCR test result on Day 7 of their exposure date and consistent negative rapid antigen test results from Day 8 until Day 14.
Rapid Antigen Home Testing was piloted at Albury North Public School and has shown that tests are effective in reducing the amount of time close contacts spend learning from home, with 38 students able to return to the classroom after seven days, instead of the standard 14 days for unvaccinated close contacts.
The targeted rollout will include more than 500,000 RAHT kits ready for rapid deployment to any primary school that records a positive case.
The statewide rollout will focus on government and non-government primary schools, because those students remain unvaccinated. A process for unvaccinated high school students is currently being explored.
The measures to protect against COVID in schools include mandatory vaccinations for school staff and visitors, mask wearing, cohorting, increased natural ventilation, physical distancing rules, and other hygiene measures.