Free rapid antigen tests for students as Victoria prepares for school to return

Victorian school students will be tested twice a week with rapid antigen tests to "cut chains of transmission" as school returns.

The state government confirmed all students will be back on day one for term one, with millions of rapid tests to be distributed to schools and early childhood centres.

The twice-weekly testing, for all students, will be in place for at least the first four weeks of term one, in line with NSW.

Students and staff at specialist schools will be required to self-test five times per week.

All school and early childhood staff must have their third vaccine dose by February 25 if eligible, or within three months and two weeks of receiving a second dose, to continue working in education settings.

The Victorian government has also classified education staff as critical workers - allowing household contacts to voluntarily continue working if they are asymptomatic and return daily negative rapid antigen tests.

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The state government has also completed its ventilation improvement program, with more than 51,000 air purifiers to be delivered by the first day of term.

Mask wearing will continue, with students in Grade 3 and above required to wear masks - although they will not be required outdoors. Teachers will be required to wear masks at all times when not actively teaching or communicating with students.

More than 30 million masks will also be delivered to schools, including N95s and child-sized surgical masks.

Schools and kindergartens will be required to inform staff, parents and carers when there is a positive case and will provide advice on any steps families are required to take - remote learning will be a "last resort", the media release states.

INSET: Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.

INSET: Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.

This story Free rapid tests twice weekly for students as Victoria prepares for school to return first appeared on The Courier.