Wednesday, May 29, 2024

WA kids, teachers pass mass COVID test

Close to 5,000 school children, teachers, and staff from across Western Australia’s public schools have undergone their first COVID-19 test as part of the government’s research study to scan schools for the virus.

Health Minister, Roger Cook said the program was voluntary and involved a swab being taken from the throat and nose.

“I am extremely pleased that swab testing has provided further reassurance that we have no COVID-19 infection in the community and thank the school community for their overwhelming support of this initiative,” said Minister Cook.

“All evidence we can gather to develop a comprehensive awareness of the impact of COVID-19 will position us to plan appropriately for our recovery out of COVID-19 and beyond.”

Nurses from the Child and Adolescent Health Service and WA Country Health Service visited 28 metropolitan schools and 12 regional schools to conduct the swab tests on a random sample of 4,700 participants.

Participants ranged from four years old to 71 years of age, and 85 per cent were children.

Education and Training Minister, Sue Ellery said tests processed by PathWest detected no COVID-19, supporting the government’s view that WA has no community transmission of COVID-19.

“This is a landmark study and I am grateful to all the school communities who participated so willingly,” Ms Ellery said.

“School principals have been very supportive, and online training has been provided to school-based co-ordinators who are playing a key role in making sure families are well informed and the study is a success.”

The swab testing at participating schools will be repeated at least twice more during Term 3.

The project, carried out in partnership with the Telethon Kids Institute, also involves a psychosocial survey of students, parents, teachers and staff from across 79 schools representing a range of socio-economic, educational and cultural backgrounds.

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