EDMONTON, AB – Up to 300 more schools in Alberta will be taking part in the COVID-19 rapid screening test program.

The province announced Saturday afternoon, it’s expanding the program to include some schools in both the Lethbridge School Division and Holy Spirit Catholic School Division. Grande Prairie, Calgary, and Edmonton schools are also part of the expansion.

The province says 440,000 rapid test kits will be distributed to schools and testing will be offered to up to 220,000 students and staff. It’s reported the tests could potentially detect the virus quickly in people who don’t have symptoms so they can isolate.

The priority will go to junior and senior high schools based on a variety of factors like the prevalence of COVID-19 in the school, as determined by the school boards and provincial officials. Testing is optional for students and staff who do not have COVID-19 symptoms and who have signed consent forms.

“We are stepping-up our fight against COVID-19 by expanding the rapid testing program in Alberta schools to ensure students, teachers and staff remain safe. Rapid testing in schools offers another layer of protection to our schools.” Jason Kenney, Premier.

It’s said testing will start as soon as possible, as rapid testing teams are set up. The government also notes that teams may also be sent to schools outside of the city if there is a need.

The province claims results should usually be available within an hour and anyone who gets a positive result will not be able to return to class.