September 15th, 2020

Expedited testing for students, teachers required

HALIFAX -- Just one week into the school year, typical coughs and colds are already circulating in schools, causing many students and their parents or guardians to isolate, and miss classes while waiting for a COVID-19 test.

“With students, teachers, and staff back in school, we have thousands of people who could need to access a COVID-19 test on any given day,” said NDP Education spokesperson Claudia Chender. “Waiting hours to get through to 811, days for an appointment and longer for testing and results is not sustainable when it means keeping students out of school and parents at home. Expedited testing for those connected with our schools is a must.”

Issues with the 811 phone line yesterday meant many people who called couldn’t reach an operator for hours.

“We have a government that hasn’t adequately planned ahead when it comes to COVID-19. We could foresee an increased demand for COVID-19 tests once school was back, yet it appears the system wasn’t ready to handle it,” said NDP Leader Gary Burrill. “There are increasing cases in other provinces. Nova Scotia currently has only one active case; we should be using this time to make sure we are ready to manage a second wave of the virus without a widespread disruption to the school year.”

The NDP is calling for broad and expedited access to testing to manage any outbreaks in schools. That plan could include on-site testing at schools, mobile testing, dedicated communication lines for school administrators, and prioritizing results for students, staff, and teachers.