RATs in all schools a source of pride

The rollout of RATs has been a phenomenal, whole-of-department success with more than 3,000 schools across the state now in a position to open safely for 2022.

Image: Parent/Mum, Donna Youngman and Year 2 student, Xander Youngman receiving their Rapid Antigen Kits from Serena Manwaring, School Administration Officer and NSW Minister for Education, Sarah Mitchell at Orange Grove Primary School.

Every school in NSW has now received rapid antigen tests for students and staff in one of the largest logistical undertakings seen in recent history as part of the NSW Government’s plan to secure a safe return to school.

Around 8.2 million kits have been distributed to 3000-plus government and non-government schools and early childhood centres across the State including to some of the most remote areas in NSW.

Those schools should have already communicated with parents on how to collect the kits for their children, with more than 800,000 students at 2,200 public schools ready to start the Term on Tuesday, February 1.

The rollout of RATs was a whole-of-department effort from corporate staff volunteering to work round-the-clock at the education facility that doubled as a distribution centre; staff driving kits to schools in their own vehicles to overcome staff shortages in the transport sector, and school staff returning to distribute the kits to families.

It also included the first delivery of kits from Sydney airport in an English-style Hackney black cab and one Sydney school delivering its RATs to some families via ferry.

NSW Department of Education Secretary Georgina Harrisson said staff involved in the successful distribution of COVD-safe packages to schools and then on to families and students should be rightly proud of their efforts.

“We also must acknowledge the school staff who have returned to work to ensure the kits we have delivered to schools are now being distributed to their school communities,” she said.

“It is no exaggeration to say the effort has been one of the most challenging logistical undertakings in recent memory.”

Public school teachers are returning to school from today for professional learning and to prepare for the new school year.

Ms Harrisson said parents were encouraged to test their children on the morning of the first day of school and once again during the first week, with ongoing surveillance twice a week for the next four weeks.

She said students who tested positive, should stay home and isolate in line with NSW Health guidelines and advice.

“Although testing is not mandatory, we strongly encourage students to do so to keep their friends and teachers safe.”

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