COVID-19 testing in children and youth is done by swishing and gargling sterile salt water and spitting it into a tube, or by using a swab to collect a sample from their nose. Most school-aged children from kindergarten through to Grade 12 who go to a COVID-19 collection centre can do the mouth rinse and gargle sample. The nose swab is used for younger children or those who may not be able to follow the swish, gargle and spit instructions. Either test will accurately detect if your child has COVID-19.
Practice the swish, gargle and spit technique with water at home before going to the collection centre. Wait at least two hours between practicing and doing the test as practicing could affect test results. Ask your child not to swallow the water or talk when they practice.
Before you arrive, please make sure your child does not eat or drink anything (including water) 30 minutes prior to testing. For older children and youth, please also ensure they do not chew gum, smoke or vape 30 minutes prior as that could affect the test.
When you arrive, sanitize your and your child’s hands and wear the medical masks that will be offered to you. Children three and older are also requested to wear a mask, if they are medically able. Check in with a nurse and if there is a line, you will be asked to wait outside or in your car until a nurse comes to get you.