REGINA -- Students and staff at Regina Catholic high schools – and their family members – will be able to get a COVID-19 rapid test at school beginning Thursday.

In a letter sent to parents, the Regina Catholic School Division (RCSD) said the goal of the rapid testing program is to identify people who might have COVID-19 but are not showing any symptoms.

The school division said the Ministry of Education made an agreement with a third-party vendor – Nobel – to administer the tests.

“It allows us to isolate that individual before they can spread the infection further,” Ryan Galloway operations manager at Nobel said.

Nobel aims to test 20 people every 25 minutes.

According to RCSD, the testing is voluntary and will be available at Dr. Martin LeBoldus, Archbishop M.C. O’Neill, Miller Comprehensive and Michael A. Riffel high schools starting Thursday. The rapid test clinic will be open on weekdays from 3:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

“We’ve done it with all the school systems across the province. Offered this opportunity for them to do it. Some of them are doing it in house, and some of them needed some assistance, so we’re trying to assist them any way we can,” Paul Merriman, Minister of Health said.

Regina Public Schools said it is working on a rapid test plan and will have provisions in place for employees who work in multiple locations. It is also expected to test high school and elementary students, but nothing has been finalized yet.

“I think anybody who would like to do their part to make sure we beat this virus should come in once a week, once every two weeks and make sure they get a test and just make sure they’re clear,” Galloway said.

Galloway said testing for the virus will likely continue for months after vaccinations are administered since some people are choosing not to get the shot.

Rapid testing has done well at the RCMP Depot Division where a pilot project for its training academy has been running since April 6.

“We’ve conducted roughly 500 rapid tests. At this point we’ve had zero positive’s, so that’s really good and it says a lot for the success of the planning and the preparation” Cpl. Miles Hiebert, Depot Training Continuation Team and COVID-19 Coordinator said.

New cadets are tested when they arrive, followed by a 14 day quarantine and small assigned groups.

“Phase 1 was initially some of our driving unit because they are in close contact with cadets, some of the cadets that leave base, and newly arrived cadets that come to depot,” Cpl. Hiebert said.

Phase 2 of the Depot rapid testing plan will introduce rapid testing to more employees and cadets.