SUDBURY -- Students and staff at three Catholic schools where outbreaks have taken place will have the option to be tested for COVID-19 this week as part of a provincial initiative.

Public Health Sudbury & Districts said in a news release Thursday it is supporting the Sudbury Catholic District School Board in its initiative to offer COVID-19 testing at St. Charles College, Marymount Academy, and Pius XII Catholic School.

The initiative is part of the province’s targeted voluntary testing program for asymptomatic students and staff to enhance safety measures for schools.

COVID-19 testing will be offered to all in-person students and staff in these three schools, in which outbreaks were recently declared. Testing is voluntary, and consent will be required from parents or guardians for students under 18 years old.

“The asymptomatic testing in these school communities offers an additional layer of protection, with the goal of identifying any undetected COVID-19 infections among school attendees,” Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, medical officer of health, said in the release. “We are working closely with our education partners to evaluate the effectiveness of this approach for finding additional cases in our schools."

The testing does not include any students or staff who have been told they must self-isolate or seek COVID-19 testing, or for students who are virtual learners.

“We are committed to doing all we can to ensure a safe school environment for all,” Joanne Bénard, the board's director of education, said in the release.

“The testing initiative is in addition to infection prevention protocols in place such as symptom screening, increased hand hygiene, masking requirements, cohorting, and staff PPE requirements."

The targeted testing in schools initiative will be evaluated for its effectiveness at detecting further COVID-19 cases in schools that are in outbreak. This will help inform future outbreak control measures, the release said.

St. Charles College will have testing available on Jan. 29-30, followed by Marymount Academy on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. Pius XII Catholic School will have testing Feb. 2-4.

Registration information has been sent to parents and guardians by the board. Parents and guardians can visit the board's website for information.

For more information or if you have questions, visit or call Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705-522-9200, or toll-free 1-866-522-9200.