COVID-19 in Bulgaria: How Will Testing Take Place at School? Director Asks, Minister Answers
From next week, children from 1st to 4th grade will return to class for testing twice a week. It will be performed by teachers and parents in a school environment. But how?
Due to the many questions in the society regarding the organization of the testing, the Minister of Education Nikolay Denkov answered questions from the director of the 119th school in Sofia and municipal councilor from GERB Diyan Stamatov in the studio of "Tazi Nedelya" on bTV.
"In two days, our entire education system will become a kind of test center, in which the army of teachers will turn from teachers into volunteers who will test," Stamatov began. "There are no clear rules. Clearly spelled out, point by point, what follows from the moment of receiving the tests and what are the commitments of the participants in the whole system" - he added.
"On Monday, there will be an order with clear rules written on points, how the testing takes place and what is done in each situation. It describes everything step by step," said Minister Denkov in response.
When asked by Diyan Stamatov why the testing does not take place at home, but should be in a school environment, Denkov answered that there is no way to ensure a safe environment.
"We have a very high morbidity, much higher than in Germany, in France. Second, we have a much lower public awareness of responsibility to others, we decided that testing should be a joint effort between parents and teachers who will work as team to test the children; everyone to see the result and if there is a child with a positive test, then to leave the standard procedure," Denkov commented.
According to him, "if all the tests were performed perfectly", it would be safer to test at home, rather than in a school environment where there is a risk of transmitting the infection. However, children will enter with a mask and will be wearing a mask until the time of testing.
Denkov also described a team of at least a few people who should take the samples. And on the statement of the presenter that this could be a security guard or a cleaner, the minister pointed out that he relies a lot on the parents. They must have a green certificate to enter the school building. Those who will test the children, with the exception of the parents, who will volunteer, will receive additional funding, it is not yet clear how much.
Today, the Minister also pointed out that quarantine of the class can take place after the positive test from school is confirmed by a laboratory test. He can return to school only with a negative test.
"There is a great reluctance among teachers to participate in this process. The basis of the teacher is educational, not testing. How will we deal with colleagues who do not want to participate in testing," Stamatov asked.
According to Denkov, this will also be written in the order.
"If the school principal cannot provide teams of parents and teachers to test the children, then students will remain in online learning," Denkov said.
The principal agreed that the situation with a positive student test had already been lost.
"We call a parent, wait for him to come, a visit to the GP, a AKP test and if it is positive - the student and the whole class are quarantined," Stamatov said.
According to Minister Denkov, the only waste that will be collected in a special way will be the positive tests.
The Ministry of Education and Science will prescribe the rules so that if there are 50% willing in one class to be tested, then the tested return to the presence environment. The other children stay online.
According to the Minister of Education, 40 percent of teachers have been vaccinated and have no worries about being in a living work environment.
Diyan Stamatov said this would be extremely difficult for teachers.
"Society expects us to do a new task. Most colleagues will make an effort, but really - let's not expect super-miracles," he said.
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