Red River College offers free training to boost COVID-19 testing for teachers

The new micro-credential will train professionals in the health and sciences fields how to administer a dedicated COVID-19 rapid test.

Program open to professionals in health and sciences fields

A pipette, above, is fitted with a special filtered tip, below, which is changed out for every COVID-19 test. (Submitted by Jeffrey Marcus)

The province of Manitoba and Red River College are launching a new free program in January to train health professionals in rapid testing for COVID-19.

The new micro-credential will train professionals in the health and sciences fields how to administer a dedicated COVID-19 rapid test. The province is also launching a dedicated COVID-19 rapid testing service pilot for Winnipeg teachers in 2021, according to a Wedneday news release.

"Our government's number one priority in the face of this pandemic is to protect Manitobans and halt the spread of this deadly virus," Premier Brian Pallister said in the release.

"With the launch of this new micro-credential, Manitoba will be well-positioned to support the creation of targeted rapid testing initiatives to protect our front-line workers and the Manitobans they care for."

Students will use the Songbird Hyris bCUBE and other rapid tests in the new Laboratory Essentials for COVID-19 Testing micro-credential program.

Red River College's new Laboratory Essentials for COVID-19 Testing micro-credential program is set to start on Jan. 4, 2021. (Brett Purdy/CBC)

The program will be free for qualified applicants with a science background or that have lab experience, such as:

  • Medical laboratory assistants or technicians with laboratory-related work experience.
  • Graduates of a science or chemical and biosciences technology program.
  • Graduates of a pharmaceutical manufacturing program.
  • Graduates with a bachelor of science degree (eligible majors/minors: biology, biochemistry, biomedical sciences, chemistry, microbiology or zoology). 

Applicants that have experience working with pipetting may also be considered.

Beginning on Jan. 4, 2021, the first group of students taking the micro-credential program will receive 11 hours of instruction taught over five days (including six hours of theory and a five-hour lab).

"The micro-credentials Red River College has created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic generate more opportunities for professionals with the necessary experience to leverage their existing training, while updating and enhancing their skills to align with current provincial  health-care demands," Fred Meier, the president and CEO of Red River College, said in Wednesday's news release.


Orinthia Babb is a reporter with CBC News. She was also an associate producer with CBC Manitoba's current affairs department. Contact her via email: