TORONTO -- Every public school in Toronto will have take-home COVID-19 test kits available by the end of the week.

City officials say the take-home PCR kits can be used when a student shows symptoms of the virus or if another student or staff member in their class has tested positive.

The test is administered by swabbing the tongue, cheek and inside the nostril, or through collecting saliva -- as opposed to the nasopharyngeal swab commonly used for COVID-19 testing.

Once the test is complete, families can drop off the COVID-19 test at a local pop-up testing site or select schools for processing and results, which can take 24 to 48 hours.

PCR tests were distributed to some schools as part of a pilot project earlier this year. That project is now being expanded to serve the whole city.

The city says it's the first program of its kind in Ontario, allowing for positive cases to be more easily identified before COVID-19 can spread.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 25, 2021.