Back and forth on rapid corona tests – schools can now keep them

NRW schools have been wondering for days on how to proceed with the still unused corona tests: Thursday evening the Ministry of Education then provided clarity. According to a message from the ministry to the schools, they can now decide for themselves how to deal with the “surplus antigenic self-tests”, keep them themselves and also continue to use them “ad hoc”.

Back and forth: NRW School Minister Yvonne Gebauer (FDP) proceeds as usual. Photo: State of North Rhine-Westphalia

First, the ministry had informed via email that all tests would be collected again, so it rowed back, via press release. “It is absurd that the school management does not find out what is happening directly from the ministry, but has to get the information from the media,” said SPD MP Jochen Ott at the “Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger”.

“The tests can then be properly stored in schools and, as before, used as needed.”

“The school management can decide whether to accept this offer or whether the tests are to remain in the schools in whole or in part. The tests can then be properly archived in schools and, as before, used ad hoc, “said Yvonne Gebauer (FDP) later. Cases where the tests can be used have been listed.

The ministry made it clear that the excess test collection was an “offer”. Several schools with high stocks had previously approached the ministry with a request to properly store the remaining tests out of the school, as they did not have such storage facilities permanently.

Any school that wants excess antigen self-tests to be centrally stored across the country will receive an individual message about the time of collection with sufficient notice. Tests to be collected will then be collected by a service provider starting in late May and before the start of the summer holidays.

The ministry also provided numbers on the infection rate in NRW schools on Thursday. According to this, as of April 27 (Wednesday), there were 14,245 cases of corona confirmed by PCR tests among schoolchildren in the country. In the last week of school before the Easter holidays there were 35,680. Currently 5,796 students are in quarantine, compared to 14,912 before the holidays. No schools are currently closed due to Corona. 93.2% of all teachers are available for face-to-face teaching (92.0% before holidays).

“We are totally helpless and we learn everything from the press again”

According to the “Aachener Zeitung”, the NRW Association of Philologists also criticized the tests. “It is a pity that it has not been communicated clearly again and it is completely open what the ministry wants now,” said NRW president Sabine Mistler. “We are totally helpless and we are discovering everything again in the press,” said the “Aachener Zeitung”, quoting a high school principal in Aachen.

The Ministry of Education had argued that there were still ten million quick tests in schools and many institutions would have been happy to get rid of them. In a message to the media after the e-mail to schools on Monday, it was later stated that existing test stocks “could be used for voluntary testing in the event of possible suspicious cases.” However, many schools would prefer to continue testing for no reason, as was the case before the Easter holidays.

The president of the NRW Teachers’ Association, Andreas Bartsch, called the specifications from Düsseldorf to the “Rheinische Post” “completely superfluous”. “I’d like to see an opening clause built into the federal infection protection law so federal states have room to maneuver where it’s needed – and that’s the case with schools,” he said before the ministry provided clarification. News4teachers / with material from the dpa

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