Mass-testing to go forwards throughout schools community

The ministry of education has announced that “testing for Covid-19 directed at the school community” (meaning public and private institutions) will start in September and continue on into October.

The campaign will be directed “independently of (people’s) vacinal state” (meaning everyone will be tested: teachers, non-teaching staff and pupils from Ciclo level, usually from age 12, upwards).

This is the 3rd academic year to have been affected by the pandemic, and according to an in-depth article by Expresso today, ‘very little’ in terms of policy in schools will change.

This means – again, independently of people’s vacinal state – mask wearing will be compulsory from Ciclo level, and ‘strongly recommended’ at the primary school stage.

“Beyond masks – for which the Ministry of Education made €6 million available for schools in July – other measures of individual protection will remain obligatory”, says the paper – citing the special ‘circuits’ delineated in various establishments ensuring children go in a particular direction, and physical distancing of at least one metre ‘whenever possible’.

What hasn’t yet been answered is the length of time of ‘prophylactic isolation’ if contact with an infected person occurs.

Will this also be a rule ‘independent of people’s vacinal state’, or will there be one rule for the vaccinated, another for the unvaccinated?

As Expresso admits: “For the time being, the vaccines have changed very little”.

The ‘plan’ is that the secondary school community should be fully vaccinated by September 19 – the first Sunday following the return to classes.

This weekend sees another roll-out focused on young teens. Last saw roughly 180,000 turn up for their shots.

Hopes are that the majority of pupils will be fully vaccinated by the time classes begin in earnest.

Expresso adds that while Portugal is still treating all pupils the same, irrespective of their ‘vacinal state’, countries like France have decided that only non-vaccinated children will be sent home “after a contact of risk”.

Israel, which has been forging ahead with giving its population 3rd doses, is planning free serological tests – to show the level of antibodies considered sufficient or insufficient.

Children showing acceptable levels will not be forced into quarantine after a contact of risk, those showing ‘insufficient levels’ will have to go home, says Expresso.

This, again, is a difficult call in that antibody levels are not in themselves a complete sign of immunity (click here).

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com