Local school boards begin asymptomatic COVID-19 testing of staff, students

GUELPH – Both the Upper Grand and Wellington Catholic district school boards started COVID-19 testing of asymptomatic staff and students on March 11.

Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Francis of Assisi Catholic schools in Guelph are the test hubs for both school boards for the next two weeks and the testing is being offered to schools according to geography.

Staff and families will be notified by their school when they are eligible.

Heather Loney, spokesperson for the Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB), said the two boards are working together to determine testing hub sites and scheduling.

She said the hubs will move weekly and eventually all staff and students at schools in Guelph and Wellington County will have access.

“These initial schools were specifically chosen as there are a number of cases in schools in Guelph’s west end,” Loney stated in an email.

“Going forward we will hold clinics in Centre Wellington, north Wellington, north Dufferin County, Orangeville, east Wellington, and additional Guelph locations.”

Testing is voluntary although consent is required for participants.

Anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 is not eligible for asymptomatic testing and should instead be tested at an assessment centre.

The asymptomatic testing will be conducted by LifeLabs.

Both boards have posted the following information on their websites explaining what the test entails.

“For the test, LifeLabs uses a swab similar to a Q-tip that is inserted into the front part of the nostril and rotated for fifteen seconds (per nostril). LifeLabs’ trained staff will perform the test in a space designated by the school.”

Some students may be nervous about testing, but the school boards state, “LifeLabs stresses that the test is not painful and should not be uncomfortable for your child. The test should take no more than two minutes from start to finish.”

Officials say test results will be provided within 24 to 48 hours and uploaded to covid19results.ehealthontario.ca.

“Asymptomatic testing is another important layer of protection that helps to track and prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Loney said.

More information can be found on each board’s website, www.ugdsb.ca and www.wellingtoncdsb.ca.