While this is one test teachers may not want a positive mark on, the latest COVID-19 testing initiate is being welcomed by the province.
Starting Monday, 1066 Nairn Avenue will be where teachers, custodians, and many other people working directly in schools could be eligible for a Fast Pass. This will allow symptomatic workers the ability to quickly receive their COVID-19 test results as they and their household isolate at home.
“The launch of our first Fast Pass site will provide our education system with the reassurance that there is a dedicated testing option to support timely access to COVID-19 results,” newly-appointed Health and Seniors Care Minister Heather Stefanson says.
She is hopeful the testing will reduce the spread of COVID-19 in schools.
The Fast Pass will be specific appointments, 20-40 per day initially, for school staff. They will take a drive-in style test as the rest of the population at that site, but their results are expected to be shared within the day. The province cautions that they are currently in the pilot phase, so some may take longer to receive results. If the test result is negative, staff can return after being symptom-free for 24 hours.
Results will be determined using the Songbird Hyris bCUBE rapid test from administered professionals trained under the Red River micro-credential program.
In week two of the program, they hope to provide spots for up to 80 people.
Not all schools will be eligible for the initial phase of the program. Winnipeg, Seven Oaks, River East Transcona, Seine River, and Hanover school divisions are the only divisions that will be able to take part in the Fast Pass program. Next month more school divisions are expected to join the eligible list, along with the potential for Brandon and Winkler to receive a Fast Pass location.
"We want teachers and school staff to be able to focus on their students and to continue providing quality education to our young Manitobans,” Education Minister Cliff Cullen says. “The Fast Pass program will help keep our schools safe by ensuring faster notifications of positive cases and giving our school staff the confidence that they are COVID-19 free when they return to work.”
The province is hoping to eventually test as many as 160 people using the Fast Pass per day.
Appointments will be required for the eligible staff. When arriving at the drive-in site staff will need to provide workers with identification and proof of employment. Slots can be booked online starting on Sunday for appointments between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m.