Many children with COVID-19 are asymptomatic. Therefore, their infections may be difficult to detect without regular testing.
This guidance is for early childhood care and education (ECCE) centres, schools and post compulsory educational institutions in the Cayman Islands using lateral flow test (also known as antigen-detecting rapid diagnostic tests).
Children under two years old should not be a group of interest for the National Lateral Flow Testing policy. Children under 2 years old may continue to attend nurseries and play groups provided they have no symptoms suggestive of possible COVID-19 disease. If they are unwell they should be withdrawn until well again.
Screening Using Lateral Flow Tests: Part of a Layered Approach for Safe In-Person Learning
To promote safer in-person learning and care, this screening programme must be implemented as part of a layered approach within each education setting. Therefore, in conjunction with the screening programme, all ECCE centres and schools are expected to implement other recommended prevention strategies that include:
→ promoting vaccination in eligible school-aged children, staff and teachers;
→ consistent and correct use of masks;
→ physical distancing;
→ improved ventilation;
→ handwashing and respiratory etiquette;
→ staying home when sick and getting tested; and → routine cleaning with disinfection.
The screening programme will be supported by contact tracing in combination with isolation by the Public Health Department (PH).
How to Use Lateral Flow Tests
Watch the video below for step-by-step instructions on how to use lateral flow tests.
Using Lateral Flow Tests to Reduce the Number of Primary Contacts Required to Isolate
In addition to screening, the Public Health Department (PH) will also use the lateral flow tests to implement serial testing daily regimes for the primary contacts of any child who tests positive for SARS-CoV-2, as an alternative to isolation for those primary contacts who initially test negative. Primary contacts are considered persons within the classroom group, work group or household of an individual who tests positive.
This will help to limit wide-scale disruptions to in-person learning for children in the Cayman Islands. PH may also use lateral flow tests in the event of an outbreak of cases in schools, to successfully assist in quickly identifying potential positive cases in the school environment and within families.
Types of Tests to Be Used
The selection and use of lateral flow tests for the purpose of screening at ECCE centres and schools must comply with the criteria established in Control of COVID-19 (Testing) Regulations, 2021 under the Public Health Act (2021 Revision) and with the guidance provided by the National Policy on the Use of AntigenDetecting Rapid Diagnostic Tests (“Lateral Flow Tests”) in the Cayman Islands.
Who Will Be Screened
In order to prevent additional spread of the virus within the ECCE centres or schools, screening is intended to identify persons infected with SARS-CoV-2 who have either no symptoms or mild symptoms and who might otherwise go undetected. Unless otherwise guided by Public Health, the recommended age for persons to be screened with LFTS is 2 years and older.
Note: Screening is not intended for persons who are symptomatic. In line with Public Health advice, persons with symptoms should stay home when sick. Any person with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 disease should contact their local healthcare provider or the Flu Hotline to seek advice on the best next steps. The Flu Hotline can be reached on 1-800-534-8600 or 947-3077 (Digicel), or email email@example.com
Screening is not intended for persons who have recovered from laboratory confirmed (via a PCR test) COVID-19 within the past 90 days and are asymptomatic. To avoid false positive test results, they should follow the advice of the Public Health Department on how to conduct future testing (including screening tests).
What are the Costs for Screening of Staff and Children at ECCE Centres and Schools
Screening using lateral flow tests is recommended for staff and teachers in ECCE centres and schools, both Government and private. All test kits will be provided by the Government and are free of charge.
Screening using lateral flow tests is recommended for children in ECCE centres and schools, both Government and private. All test kits will be provided by the Government and are free of charge.
Supplies of test kits will initially be provided to staff/ teachers and children. In the event of an outbreak or a positive case, additional supplies will be provided for use by staff, teachers, and children as required