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Burnaby school staff still waiting for Burnaby-made rapid COVID-19 antigen tests

Ministry of Education told school districts kits would be sent out starting early last week.
Artron test kit
Rapid COVID-19 antigen test kits produced by Burnaby's Artron Laboratories Inc. are being shipped to school districts across the province.

Rapid COVID-19 antigen test kits for Burnaby teachers and other school staff have not yet arrived despite the province telling school districts they were going to be shipped out starting early last week.

The Ministry of Education put out a news release on Jan. 20, announcing 200,000 rapid antigen test kits were going to be sent out to schools across the province for use by staff, teachers and administrators with symptoms of COVID-19.

At a school board meeting Tuesday, however, superintendent Gina Niccoli-Moen told trustees the school district had already been told on Jan. 14 that the tests would be sent out starting early the following week.

Niccoli-Moen said the district has been told it will be getting two kits per staff member.

In a bulletin the Ministry of Education sent to all districts on Jan. 14, it said the kits will arrive in prepackaged boxes of five, so they will need to be repacked by district staff into sets of two.

“The moment they arrive, we are ready to assemble those kits and deploy those tests out to our staff as quickly as possible,” Niccoli-Moen told trustees.

The Burnaby company making the test kits is Artron Laboratories Inc.

As of Thursday morning, none of the tests had been delivered to the Burnaby school district, according to local school officials. 

“We know that the distribution is in progress and are confident that we can expect them any day now," Niccoli-Moen told the NOW in an emailed statement.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor