STA, 22 January 2021 - Although testing for the coronavirus is not compulsory, teachers returning to school on Tuesday will have to be tested if they want to teach in person in a classroom, Health Ministry official Vesna Kerstin Petrič explained on Friday. She also said testing for school children could be introduced in the future.
Returning to in-class schooling are primary school children in the first three forms, as well as kindergarten children, in nine of the country's 12 statistical regions with the best epidemiological situation.
Testing for kindergarten and primary school teachers is planned for Monday, and those testing negative will be able to start teaching on Tuesday. In case of a positive test, they will have to self-isolate, Kerstin Petrič, the head of the public health directorate, said at the government's Covid-19 briefing.
Testing will be organised in collaboration between schools and local community health centres, either at health centres or at schools. In case of a great number of teachers to be tested and for schools in remote areas, the ministry will ensure mobile units.
At the same time testing of university teachers will be carried out, as lab sessions will also be relaxed on 26 January. Testing will be available in all the cities where tertiary education is carried out.
Kerstin Petrič said testing of education workers is a key measure recommended by the World Health Organisation, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, as well as by Slovenian institutions. It should be carried out before schools reopen and then periodically at least once a week.
She did not rule out introducing testing for school children. "Testing students is being discussed in entire Europe. Some countries have already launched it. I think it is worth waiting to see what results it brings before we opt for it in Slovenia. But it is highly probable that this will be the next step."