Virus tests for kids

Tari JeffersManjimup-Bridgetown Times
East Manjimup Primary School and Bridgetown Primary School will participate in COVID-19 testing.
Camera IconEast Manjimup Primary School and Bridgetown Primary School will participate in COVID-19 testing. Credit: South Western Times;

Two schools in the Lower South West have been selected to be part of a joint program to test for COVID-19 in schools and psychosocial impacts of the virus.

East Manjimup Primary School and Bridgetown Primary School have been selected as two of 80 schools in the State to participate in the DETECT program.

The program is a joint project between the State Government and the Telethon Kids Institute to test for COVID-19 among students and staff without symptoms.

East Manjimup Primary School principal Michael Smith said the school had been approached about its involvement in the project.

“We know we’re on the list of 80, 40 of which we know will be tested,” he said.

“We’re waiting on more information.”

Mr Smith said there had been a positive start to Term 2 and he was pleased attendance was already up to 90 per cent.

“We still can’t do things like excursions, incursions and assemblies,” he said.

“But students are very jovial and happy to be back with peers.

“The staff are very focused and working as a team through this.”

The DETECT program involves a surveillance phase, in which 40 of the 80 schools will have staff and students tested over three months.

Short surveys will test for the psychosocial impacts of COVID-19 among students, parents and teachers.

It is hoped by identifying risk factors, protective measures may be rapidly implemented in schools to meet their needs.

While there is no evidence of community spread and schools are considered low-risk environments, it is hoped the DETECT study will assist in developing an even stronger evidence base on which to make policy decisions.

Premier Mark McGowan said while the State COVID-19 numbers continued to be encouraging, we could not be complacent.

“This new study in collaboration with some of the State’s best researchers, allows us to introduce a random spot check testing system in schools and other priority settings,” he said.

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