School students and teachers to be provided free self-tests ahead of return to classrooms

School students and teachers to be provided free self-tests ahead of return to classrooms

Students of all levels, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, as well as vaccinated teachers, will be provided with five free self-tests from pharmacies from Wednesday until Saturday for the first two weeks after schools reopen on January 10.

New health measures put in place ahead of the first week of classes include an extra self-test for those first days, specficially three self-tests per week instead of two, which will be provided by pharmacies free of charge. Additionally, vaccinated students and teachers must undergo two self-tests per week, instead of the usual one, as there have also been high infection rates among the fully vaccinated. Finally, in case of a recorded infection, the entire classroom will be tested and not just those sitting in proximity to the person who tested positive. 

“Nothing can replace the in-person operation of our schools. It is for the emotional and psychological development of our children; therefore it is important that they operate in their natural space, with their classmates and teachers,” said Education Minister Niki Kerameus when defending the decision to reopen schools following the winter break announced on Tuesday despite a dramatic rise in new coronavirus cases, stressing that “children are safer in school than out of it.”

The obligatory use of masks in and out of classrooms and the suspension of school trips are still in effect, Kerameus stated, adding that ongoing measures at universities and vocational schools will remain as is. [AMNA]

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