In order to quickly test students who develop symptoms associated with COVID-19 over the course of the day and thereby enable as many students as possible to continue attending class in person, rapid screening tests are available in all preschools and elementary and secondary schools in Québec, as well as in adult general education and vocational training centres. Therefore, a student who develops symptoms during the day can undergo a rapid screening test at school. 

Screening tests are also available for staff at these educational institutions, providing an additional tool for detection and protection. In addition, all school staff, including those at specialized schools, have had access to PCR testing carried out at screening clinics.

It should be noted that school staff are not required to undergo a test at a testing centre for confirmation following a positive result on a rapid test. Therefore, a school staff member who obtains a positive test result on a rapid test taken at school must self-isolate immediately. 

Procedure and results

Rapid screening tests involve taking a nasal swab, which only requires a few minutes. For younger students, the sample is taken by a person designated by the school administration who has watched the videos produced by the Direction de la santé publique. Older students are able to take their own samples, under the supervision of an adult who has watched these videos. 

The result of the test is available 15 minutes after the sample is processed. Participation in rapid testing at school is voluntary. A screening test cannot be administered to children under 14 years old without the prior consent of a parent obtained using the consent form This hyperlink will open in a new window. provided by the school. 

When a test is carried out at school, the school administration quickly sends the test results, along with accompanying recommendations, to the parent(s). For more information, see the Important information for parents (PDF 218 Kb) document.

In the event that a child develops symptoms associated with COVID-19 over the course of the day and the child’s parent has not consented to have them tested, no rapid test is administered. At that point, the child is kept in isolation and a parent is called to come pick them up at the school.

Distribution of rapid tests in schools for at-home use

All preschool and elementary school students in the school service centres, school boards and private educational institutions will receive a kit containing five tests and the items and instructions required for carrying out the tests at home.

For help in carrying out a test at home, please consult the Rapid testing This hyperlink will open in a new window. page.

If a child presents symptoms consistent with COVID-19 before going to school, it is essential that the child be kept home. If you have a rapid screening kit, please give one of these tests to your child. If the result is positive, you must absolutely keep your child at home. If the result is negative, you can send your child to school. For the guidelines to follow, see the Self-isolation instruction page.