New South Wales to Trial Rapid Test Kits in Schools

October 28, 2021 Updated: October 28, 2021

The New South Wales government plans to introduce coronavirus rapid test kits in all state schools if a trial is successful.

The pilot program for the rapid antigen home testing kits will begin in the town of Albury, near the Victorian border, next week.

“I want to see disruption to our students’ education from COVID reduce, while still keeping schools safe places to learn,” Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said on Friday.

“This requires us to deploy every tool available to balance the risk.”

The kits will be handed out by schools for use at home by staff and students who have to do a test twice a week as part of community surveillance.

They will also be used for close contact testing to identify positive cases on school sites.

“This is about living with a virus and getting back to normal life while ensuring the community is confident in their safety on school sites,” Mitchell said in a statement.

“Our best line of defence against this pandemic remains vaccinations, and until all students are eligible for one we must continue using measures like [rapid test] kits to keep schools safe.”

However, anyone who gets a positive result will have to get a standard test straight to confirm the result.

Meanwhile, A makeshift vaccination hub at a Sydney stadium that administered more than 360,000 COVID-19 jabs will soon shut its doors.

The Qudos Bank Arena Vaccination Centre—once a key battleground in the fight against the Delta variant to COVID-19—will see its last doses administered on Sunday, November 7.

The hub opened on August 9, with workers taking 12 days to set it up as Sydney’s Delta outbreak worsened. Since then, the hub has administered more than half of all vaccine doses in the hard-hit Western Sydney Local Health District.

The area now has some of the highest vaccination rates in the state.

Walk-in Pfizer and AstraZeneca doses will be available there until the final day.

After Sunday, the stadium will return to hosting music concerts and events with The Backstreet Boys, My Chemical Romance, Kings of Leon and Rod Stewart all due to perform in the arena in March, 2021.

Some 93.4 per cent of NSW residents over 16 have now received at least one vaccine, with 86.5 per cent fully vaccinated.

Of those aged 12 to 15, 78.5 per cent have had one dose and 54.8 per cent have received both.

NSW reported 293 new local cases on Thursday, 11 fewer than the previous reporting period.

Two people died, including a fully vaccinated woman in her 90s who died at the Tarrawanna aged care facility, north of Wollongong, where she acquired her infection.

A man in his 70s from southwest Sydney died at St George Hospital. He had received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.