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Education minister: First day of school testing better than expected

The first day of rapid testing at schools across Estonia went better than expected, Minister of Education and Research Liina Kersna (Reform) said on Monday evening. Of the schools surveyed by the ministry, 54 positive tests were recorded.

On Monday, the first school day after the break, rapid testing was rolled out across the country.

Students will be tested three times a week from now on to try and keep schools open and prevent a switch to remote learning. Children who test positive must then go home and take a PCR test to confirm the result.

While many things went well, Kersna said, not all schools had received their tests by Monday morning and that there were not always enough tests to go around.

"But there has been a lot of positive feedback," she told ETV's "Aktuaalne kaamera". "At the Ministry of Education and Research, we called 54 school leaders from all over Estonia and the result of such a short quick survey says that 70 percent of these schools used tests and 54 tests showed a positive result."

The minister said schools have the flexibility to carry out testing as they see fit and older children may be able to do their tests at home. It also depends on the size of the school.

Kersna said the flexibility is in place to try and reduce tensions in society.

"I do not want to create additional tension. This is a confidence measure so that we can detect possible carriers of the virus as soon as possible, and today showed that we were really able to do that with screening," she said.

The minister said the government is still very critical of Tallinn's move to send all pupils to remote learning for a week rather than letting the vaccinated attend.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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