Mobile units offering rapid tests will be as of Tuesday in almost all schools in all districts to help solve the problems that occurred as regards the “test to stay” measure introduced in schools last week.
Following a meeting between the Ministers of Health and Education, teachers’ unions and parents’ representatives, it was announced that from Tuesday, there will be about 290 mobile units for rapid tests in schools in all districts. Until now, the mobile units operated in only a few schools and there were delays as many pupils who were contacts of Covid-19 cases had to go to a school other than their own to take a rapid test in order to be able to go to class.
It was also announced that mobile units will be sent also to lyceums with the return of pupils to their classes after the exams period, while there are discussions for the extension of the “test to stay” measure also for teachers who are contacts of coronavirus cases.
Replying to questions after the meeting about alternatives Minister of Health Michalis Hadjipantela referred to plans B` and C`, if necessary, and specifically to the possibility of pharmacies joining the “test to stay” programme, as well as mobile units offering rapid tests to the general population. He said that the pharmacies are ready to help but since there will be mobile units in almost all schools, there is no need for this for now, adding that if there is further need, some rapid test centres that are for the general population will start checks earlier in the morning to accommodate pupils.
Referring to problems that have arisen since the introduction of the “test to stay” measure in schools, Hadjipantela said that it was important “to see the bigger picture” which is that more than 5,000 pupils got tested on Monday, which means they went to school while their parents went to work instead of all of them being forced to stay at home. He added that it was natural that there would be problems but that their aim was to fix them.
Education Minister, Prodromos Prodromou, also defended the “test to stay” measure against complaints for delays and other problems, pointing out that it seems to be effective since it has allowed thousands of pupils in primary and secondary education to be able to be physically present in school. He also said it was very encouraging that the percentage of those who are contacts and eventually turn out to be infected with coronavirus was very low.
Chairman of the Confederation of Primary Education Parents, Frixos Zempylas, pointed out that, according to the plan, the mobile units will be in all schools in urban areas whereas this will not be the case for remote and mountainous areas, and called for action so that solutions are found for these areas as well.