Government today issued national guidelines for COVID-19 testing, including both lateral flow testing and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) centres and other educational institutions.
The guidelines offer advice on when and how to test in various potential scenarios, as well as instructions on when individuals and households are required to isolate and for how long.
The guidelines follow the Cayman Islands Government’s National Policy on the Use of Antigen-detecting Rapid Diagnostic Tests (known as “Lateral Flow Tests”).
Premier Hon. Wayne Panton welcomed the additional health and safety measure as well as the added clarity for parents, students, and the wider community.
“These guidelines are designed to offer some supportive information and direction in what can be a very challenging and disruptive time for families by advising parents, children, family members and the entire community on what steps to follow when a member of your household either tests positive for the virus that can cause COVID-19 disease or is a primary contact of a positive case,” Premier Panton said.
He continued, “COVID-19 spreads rapidly, and can cause societal disruption and severe strain on healthcare systems. The Government’s introduction of lateral flow tests will assist in quickly identifying positive cases via a more scalable and accessible option, which does not create additional pressure on the healthcare system, while also limiting the number of people having to go into required isolation, which is less disruptive for the community. People still need to earn a living, and children still need to access education services even as we do our best to stay safe and learn to live with the virus.”
The Premier explained the testing process for schools.
“The Cayman Islands Government has made lateral flow test kits available for parents/guardians to test their children at home twice per week,” he said, while emphasising that the Government-issued test kits are intended for student use only.
Premier Panton explained, “The tests may be administered on Monday or Thursday mornings, or the preceding nights. Positive results should be reported to the Public Health web portal https://www.exploregov.ky/report-covid19-result once they are known. Students with negative results may attend school. However, students with positive results must not attend school. Their parents/guardians must, instead, contact Public Health to arrange for a PCR test and the child’s school to report the absence.”
The Premier encouraged parents of students enrolled in both private and government schools to embrace the simple testing process which, although not mandatory, is strongly recommended by Public Health and is an important community health measure
“I am urging all parents and staff to utilise the opportunity for at-home screening testing to protect the health and wellbeing of our children, teachers, and fellow students; their families; and, the entire Cayman Islands community,” he said.
“The testing process is quite simple,” Premier Panton added. “In fact, most of the older children will be able to administer their own tests themselves.”
The testing guidelines for children and students also outline what individuals in the household should do in event that there is a positive case in the household. Information provided includes whether and for how long vaccinated and unvaccinated household members should isolate, advice on who can utilise lateral flow tests with a negative result to continue attending school and work, and also guidance on how often negative household members should test.
To view the entire guidance for COVID-19 testing for children and students, visit https://www.exploregov.ky/lft-policy
To view the demonstration video, visit https://youtu.be/raHUoD3ZZ-s