Covid 19 self-tests delivered to schools starting Monday
Self-tests will be delivered to primary and secondary education personnel starting on Monday, Minister of Health Hugo De Jonge said in a statement submitted to Parliament. The Cabinet wants teaching staff in primary, secondary and special education to be able to test themselves preventatively twice per week to more quickly identify and isolate contagious people.
The tests will also be provided to daycare and after-school care employees. “In addition, self-tests will also be used to test secondary school students based on risk,” De Jonge wrote. The tests are voluntary, and a negative result is not a requirement to access buildings. The schools and care centers will not be asked to use the tests to track infections.
Schools will begin receiving tests on Monday. Child care facilities will get them at the beginning on May 3, though an extra week or two may be needed for the latter as the logistics have not been sorted out.
In primary schools, tests are available to teachers but their use will be strictly preventive. In case of symptoms, teachers are still asked to get tested at one of the GGD locations. A positive result of a test done at home should also be confirmed by GGD which will allow them to source the infection and investigate contacts.
In secondary education, self-tests will also be used for ‘risk-based testing’. When a teacher or student is infected, the GGD defines three types of contacts: housemates, close contacts and other contacts. The introduction of self-tests in schools will allow everyone who falls into the ‘other contacts’ to be tested directly at school facilities.
”It is true that people, especially young people, often do not suffer symptoms from an infection themselves and therefore do not realize it, while in the meantime they pass the infection on to others unnoticed. That is why the preventive use of self-tests can have a positive effect on the epidemiological picture, because it can prevent the virus from spreading further,” De Jonge wrote.
On Monday, experts said that self-testing kits were becoming increasingly popular in the Netherlands but also warned that this type of test was not always accurate.