Teachers and support staff at primary and secondary schools are to be offered a twice-weekly fast coronavirus test from Monday, the education ministry has said.
In total some 14 million self-test kits will be made available to schools until the summer holidays.
The test will help prevent outbreaks in schools and locate them more quickly should they happen, the ministry said. Those who test positive will be prioritised for further testing at a local health centre.
Use of the test is optional but education minister Arie Slob said many schools have already said they would be happy to cooperate. ‘Everyone knows that if we tackle this together and isolate infection outbreaks the rest of the children can continue to go to school,’ Slob told broadcaster NOS.
The tests are mainly meant for teaching and other staff but if there is an infection, pupils who have been near to the person in question will also be asked to test themselves.
Teachers union AOb is happy about the tests but said the real solution is vaccination.
‘Many teachers are still very worried about infection particularly in secondary schools where monitoring the 1.5 metre distance is very difficult. They are dealing with 12 to 17-year-olds, a group in which the infection rate is rising. For real security we need vaccines,’ union spokeswoman Tamar van Gelder told the broadcaster.
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