COVID19: Students told ‘no test, no school’

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Gymnasium and lyceum students must carry to school a negative COVID-19 rapid test if they are to be allowed back in the classroom, a Health Ministry decree said Tuesday.

Under the decree, secondary education students will have to get tested before returning to school and repeat the test once a week.

Announcing the new measures, the ministry said that students who cannot provide a negative result from a rapid antigen test would be instructed to continue their education online.

The same applies to students who, for medical reasons, cannot take a test or belong to a vulnerable group, as they are at higher risk if they are physically present in class.

Defending its latest decision, the Health Ministry said it was prompt to request tests from students after epidemiological data showed schools clusters were growing.

The ministry said last week, “190 cases were recorded in schools, and despite the strict observance of health protocols, there is an increased risk of large-scale outbreaks, both within school units and the home environment”.

Cyprus on Monday entered a thirds stage of exiting a second COVID-19 lockdown, as more school students returned to class with extra curriculum activities allowed and gyms reopening.

First- and second-year Lyceum students went back on Monday, as did those in technical schools and private school equivalents.

The Ministry of Education announced that Gymnasium students would return to their classes on March 16, later than earlier planned (March 8).

Teaching staff must also undergo free rapid antigen testing every week.