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Holy Family distributes rapid tests in face of omicron variant

School officials have questions how the new variant will be handled by Public Health
Holy Family bd office-4168
Holy Family has made rapid tests available for any staff or students who want them

WEYBURN – Rapid test kits for any student or staff member who wants one are available from the Holy Family Separate School Division, and were distributed prior to classes dismissing on Friday for the Christmas break, with questions unresolved in regard to the new omicron variant of COVID-19.

The board of trustees heard a report from education director Gwen Keith at their monthly board meeting on Wednesday evening, as she explained what is and is not known about the omicron variant.

“The key issue with omicron, the way I understand it, is it appears it’s a milder form of COVID, but the question is, how is Health going to manage that? If I get that variant as opposed to delta, are there rules around that?” asked Keith.

“What do you do with people with mild symptoms?”

Keith noted one of the challenges is this new variant is highly contagious, and pointed out there is potential for spreading as everyone will be at home for Christmas and New Year’s, and will likely be visiting family.

“I have sent a personal email to all the staff with as much info as we can say, with strong recommendations of what we should do,” said Keith, adding they check with the local medical health officials about what they do as a school division.

Rapid tests were out to every school before the Christmas break, she added, with each kit containing five tests, and Holy Family is expecting to receive many more in the coming days. The trustees requested kits also, and those were distributed to them during the board meeting.

“As far as restrictions go, it seems it’s only related to the variant,” said Keith.

“I think it’s good to get the kits out there, everybody has that option,” said board chair Bruno Tuchscherer.

“Right now, we’re in good shape, but I can assure you, this one could a lot more damage, just because it spreads so fast,” said Keith, adding it’s unknown just how public health is going to manage the spread of the variant.

“We just need to know what the rules are – will they keep the same rules or adjust them?”

Other questions include how effective vaccines will be in fighting and controlling the variants as they come up.

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