2,283 coronavirus cases have been found in the results of a rapid testing program started in schools at the beginning of this month. The tests, which covered pupils, teaching staff and other school employees alike, have been scaled down to twice per week now, where they were conducted three times a week initially, as rates fall.
The total cases since November 1 concern 2,008 students and 275 teaching and other staff.
Education minister Liina Kersna (Reform) said of the results that: "Schools are pleased that testing helps keep educational institutions open and provides an extra sense of security for the whole school family."
"Rapid testing is scheduled to continue until February, depending, in particular, on the spread of the virus," she added.
While remote learning had been installed in some municipalities after schools came back from the half-term break, also at the start of November, in general learning is in-class.
Kersna added that schools had gotten used to the process in the three weeks since rapid testing was introduced.
Positive test result rates have also been dropping, in-line with other coronavirus indicators for the population as whole.
Over the week starting November 15, 502 students tested positive, compared with 584 the week before, and 922 in the week starting November 1, the first week the program was rolled-out.
Among school staff, 68 positive cases were found this week, compared with 90 in week two and 117 in week one.
Valga County school in South Estonia posted the highest number of positive results of any one school this week, at 18, while 10 or more test results were found in two other schools, though the average per school was one case, unchanged from last week.
277 of the schools that reported data this week experienced no positive cases, up from 241 last week, and 212 the previous week.
The education ministry now recommends twice-weekly testing in stead of the thrice-weekly as before, except for areas with higher rates than the national average.
The ministry also surveys schools nationally on how they are progressing with the program.
Overall in week three, 478 (9.25 percent of) general education municipal schools responded to the survey, 16 more schools than responded the previous week.
63 percent of the schools surveyed in the week just ended tested twice, while 32 percent continued testing three times a week, and 5 percent of responding schools test students once a week.
A total of 124,446 students from the schools which responded to the survey got tested this week, compared with 104,976 in the week started November 8 and 104,898 in the week starting November 1.
Among school staff, the respective figures are 21,371 tested this week, 20,756 last week and 21,877 in the first week.
45 percent of schools have rapid testing at school and 29 percent of schools have organized testing at home, a slight rise on the previous week for home testing.
Home testing is conducted by the pupils themselves, with parental supervision where needed, though a positive result is not taken as definitive and requires confirmation from a healthcare professional.
As noted rapid testing is set to continue to February 2022 as things stand.
Editor: Andrew Whyte