Sometimes we need to look across an ocean or two for inspiration, and in this case it is Melbourne, Australia we divert our attention to.
The world-famous Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity just concluded its modeling of “Test to Stay” for schools and delivered its findings to the Australian Government.
The Doherty Institute concluded that antigen testing is equivalent to quarantine in limiting the spread of COVID-19 among school children.
“Daily rapid antigen tests of children exposed to a COVID case, with students sent home only if they test positive, is as effective for preventing outbreaks in schools as a full 14-day quarantine, and dramatically reduces days of missed face to face learning.”
The report states that “early infection detection and high COVID-19 vaccine coverage markedly reduces outbreak risk” as its starting point.
From there, its modeling aimed to weigh the effectiveness of rapid antigen testing instead of mass quarantines in managing daily school life during the COVID-19 pandemic. The modeling found that requiring students who came in contact with a COVID-positive student to take rapid antigen tests in order to stay at school, instead of quarentiring at home, resulted on average, in just one more infection in primary schools, and six fewer in high schools.
"Twice weekly testing of students markedly increases the chances of nipping an outbreak in the bud," the modelers said.
That study strongly endorsed Test to Stay as a way to limit outbreaks while maintaining face-to-face teaching and keeping schools open.