Ministry recommends end to weekly testing of students

COVID-19 testing.
COVID-19 testing. Source: Thomas G / Pixabay

The Ministry of Education and Research recommends retaining testing until the week after next or after the spring school break. From there, heads of schools will have to make their own decisions as the ministry no longer deems blanket testing necessary.

The current recommendation from the ministry is to test all students and staff for the coronavirus weekly.

Head of crisis for the ministry Rain Sannik explained that testing could continue on as needed after the spring break.

This would necessitate an outbreak, large number of close contacts or other situation where the spread of the coronavirus becomes a concern.

Sannik added that students should test themselves at home before returning to school after the school holiday.

Director of the Tartu Kivilinna School Karin Lukk said that perhaps it would be sensible to still test students on Mondays two weeks after the break. "Or perhaps students should test themselves on Friday as the latent period is five days. Perhaps we should reconsider the day for testing."

Only a few students now test positive on Mondays at the Kivilinna School that has over 800 students. Lukk said that the school currently plans to end testing when Monday fails to produce a single positive test.

"As long as we see a few students bring the virus to school… We know they can end up infecting quite a lot of people. I know three teachers who are diagnosed and three students," the principal said.

Head of the Tartu Education Department Riho Raave said that a third of Tartu schools have no infected students.

As of April 19, Tartu schools had just 66 students and 22 employees who tested positive. "That figure was 1,200-1,300 as recently as mid-February," Raave remarked.

Sannik said that schools should have enough tests to last them until the end of the schoolyear, with some even having a surplus.

He admitted that some testing kits could even expire and recommended local governments redistribute tests as necessary, adding that most tests should nevertheless last until fall when testing might once again be needed.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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