Schools and parents continue to be confused over corona testing

The test liquid is applied to a rapid antigen test. Photo: Fernando Gutierrez-Juarez/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa/Symbolbild

Dusseldorf (dpa / lnw) – The remaining corona tests in schools in North Rhine-Westphalia may in some cases continue to be used “on an ad hoc basis”. After days of confusion, the Department for Education clarified in an email to schools on Thursday evening that they could also be used on a voluntary basis ahead of exams such as the Abi exams which had just started. The letter expressly allows schools to use test stocks “in the event of suspected cases of corona disease, to provide additional security for the examination process or for special curricular and extracurricular events”.

The president of the National Parents’ Conference (LEK NRW) said on Friday at the request of the German press agency: “The total confusion, this back and forth, has again increased the uncertainty among the teachers and families. After such “fast blows”, one has “the impression of being taken for a fool”, criticized Anke Staar. Many people were already very unhappy when school resumed after the Easter holidays on Monday, as random tests for pupils – which had been compulsory three times a week before the holidays – were scrapped. With the communication confusion, the frustration has now grown.

Earlier this week, a letter from the ministry said that after mandatory testing ended, the remaining rapid tests would soon be collected from schools. Strong criticism came from associations and the opposition. On Thursday, the Düsseldorf Ministry told the schools: “With this e-mail, we would like to give you – also in response to ongoing inquiries – as soon as possible more detailed and clearer information about a possible collection of self-tests excess antigens.”

Central message: when you collect the self-tests, it is only an “offer” that the school management can decide on their own. The tests could also be kept and used “on a case-by-case basis” – that is, in suspected cases, before examinations or during special events. Schools can also continue to store “unnecessary antigen self-tests” themselves if they wish.

The offer to collect excess tests was made because some schools had contacted the ministry with a request for proper storage of remaining stocks outside of school, as they did not have storage facilities themselves. permanent, he said.

LEK President Staar remarked that she found the ministry’s reasoning incomprehensible. “If schools have been storing tests for a long time, which they have, then they have clearly created the storage space for that. And if you continue to use the tests, you gradually gain more space in the schools.

Staar advocated making it easier for all students who wanted to continue getting tested regularly for the corona virus. Additionally, FFP-2 masks should be paid for by all students who wish to continue to voluntarily wear them in class in the future. The responsibility also lies with the health ministries of North Rhine-Westphalia and the federal government. “The most important thing is the education and health of our children. Unfortunately, this often falls through. And it’s bitter.”

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