Free family and staff RAT packs

The rapid antigen test (RAT) surveillance program in schools will cease but RAT kits will be issued to students and staff to use if COVID symptomatic.

Image: RAT kits will still be available if students or staff have COVID symptoms

Following a successful rapid antigen test (RAT) surveillance program for the first four weeks of term one in schools, the NSW Government will continue supporting face-to-face learning by offering eight RAT kits per student and staff member to use when families consider necessary so they have peace of mind.

The RAT packs will be distributed to parents and staff in two drops to be used at their discretion. The first round of packs are already arriving at schools.

Premier Dominic Perrottet thanked parents, teachers, school administrators and Principals across NSW for their commitment to return children to classrooms on day one of term one.

“It was vital we got our students back in the classroom after two years of disruption to their education, social lives and well-being, and RATs have played an important part in enabling their safe return,” Mr Perrottet said.

“We are therefore providing every student and staff member across the state with another eight RATs for them to use at their discretion when they consider necessary, following a four week program of surveillance testing.

“The packs are there for families and staff to use at their discretion for their own peace of mind, for example, when a student is feeling unwell with a sore throat or cough, or if family members are sick.”

Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said over 90 per cent of parents have been using the RATs provided.

“It is important we help students, staff and families retain their levels of confidence as we get back to a more normal school life,” Ms Mitchell said.

“We know our measures work; transmission in schools is extremely low, and there have been no school closures since students returned this year, despite the levels of community transmission.

“Testing children twice a week was not an easy task and I’d like to thank all of the parents and carers for their efforts in these critical first few weeks of term. Additional RAT packs will allow parents to stay vigilant and help us all continue to reduce the impact of COVID on schools.”

Early childhood staff will also receive the additional RAT kits to be used when necessary.

Research conducted by the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) showed that in Term 4 2021, three to four per cent of people exposed to a positive case in school and ECE settings contracted COVID-19 compared to around 70 per cent in residential settings.

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