Free rapid test kids to families through schools to continue

By Our Reporter

The Victorian Government will continue to provide free rapid test kids to families through schools and early childhood settings for the start of term 2, with further deliveries rolling out this week.

While Victoria’s surveillance testing system remains voluntary, we want parents to be confident sending their kids to school, kinder and childcare – and we know testing can help.

To support families who choose to undertake voluntary surveillance testing, 16 million RATs will be distributed from this week for students, staff and children across the education system to use for at least the first four weeks of Term 2, an official press release said.

Assuming a 50 per cent compliance rate with screening of students, Department of Health modelling estimates voluntary surveillance testing has prevented 113,500 COVID infections throughout Term 1.

Testing recommendations will remain the same, with all primary and secondary school students and staff, and early childhood education and care staff and children, encouraged to test at home twice a week.

Those at special schools are encouraged to test five days each week due to the higher risk for medically vulnerable children.

Alongside voluntary rapid antigen tests identifying cases as early as possible before they enter the classroom, the Government is also continuing its strong ventilation measures – with a further 60,000 air purifiers currently on their way to schools to add to the 51,000 already delivered.

Vaccination remains the best way to protect students and staff – and children aged 5 to 11 are strongly encouraged to get their first and second doses, and staff and students aged 16 to 17 should get their third dose.

The measures are an important step to ensure that schools and early childhood centres remain as safe as possible for staff and students in Term 2 and throughout the winter months, the release said.

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