Minister wants to Covid test children at school doors
As soon as the rapid Covid-19 tests have been approved by the Dutch health authorities, Minister Arie Slob for Primary and Secondary Education wants to start an experiment with testing kids for the coronavirus when they arrive at school. He thinks this can help reduce the number of infections that happen at school, he said in a parliamentary debate on Wednesday, NOS reports.
Rapid Covid-19 tests can give results within minutes. If a child tests negative, they can enter the school. If they test positive, they can be sent home to quarantine, or to go for a PCR test at a GGD test center.
Figures from public health institute RIVM showed that the number of infections in schools is increasing. Of the infections that could be traced back to a possible source, 8.5 percent happened at schools and childcare centers.
Earlier this week, pediatrician epidemiologist Patricia Bruijning said that if the government wants to reduce the number of Covid-19 infections, it will have to change its approach at schools. She suggested reducing the number of contacts between students by staggering start and end times and not letting all kids go on break at once, and asymptomatic testing as many teenagers don't get severe symptoms from a Covid-19 infection.
The Outbreak Management Team advised the government to look into extending the school holidays over Christmas by a week, to get a bit of a breather and reduce the number of infections at schools. The government has been against closing schools since the start of the second wave, seeing it as an absolutely last resort.