A photo showing a high school student outside a glass window following along with a lesson inside his classroom has gone viral, keeping the debate over mandatory rapid tests alive in Cyprus.
According to local media, a male high school senior who refuses to take a mandatory rapid test has been attending class by following along with the lessons while standing outside the window of his classroom, at a public school in Larnaca district.
The student had told school officials that he did not wish to take a rapid test as required by authorities for those physically attending class, but he also did not want to skip class or miss important lessons if studying from home, with his parents backing his position.
A photo on social media showed the student standing outside the glass window, looking in and following along with the lesson.
According to the student, who says school authorities warned him they would notify law enforcement if he did not leave the premises, the principal eventually gave him “more time to think about it.”
The student has called on the health minister to cancel the executive order, while also inviting his classmates to refuse the rapid test so that they could put more pressure on the government
The high school senior, who is on a biological studies track, says he is opposed to the rapid test rule under compulsion while also citing health concerns over the test itself.
“The first issue is the obligatoriness imposed by the ministries of health and education,” the student said on a local TV programme.
“But beyond that,” he added, “we can see in a previous textbook by Father Mappouras where he wrote about the hematoencephalic barrier, which is at risk if a nasal swab is inserted through our nose.”
Health officials have rejected the claims, with many experts saying it would be anatomically possible for nasal swabs used in COVID-19 tests to reach the blood-brain barrier.
But the student says he believed there were issues with information provided over the issue, pointing fingers at members of the government’s pandemic task force.
“I am not a denier"
Asked if he would define himself as a “denier” of the pandemic, the student laughed it off, telling the TV anchor he was not in favor of “putting labels just because someone has a different opinion.”
“I am not against epidemiological surveillance,” the student later clarified. “I am not a denier” he said, adding that if there was a different method he would get tested.
“But I cannot accept universal measures if they are not based on science,” he added, referring to restrictions imposed by the government since March 2020.
Asked to explain the photograph which has gone viral on social media, the student said the alternative of staying home was not an acceptable option because there would be no live feed into the classroom unless teachers would bring their own laptops so that he could keep up with them.
Education ministry officials have said students who refuse to take the rapid test on a weekly basis would be sent home, where they would receive lesson updates and homework assignments.
The student has called on the health minister to cancel the executive order, while also inviting his classmates to refuse the rapid test so that they could put more pressure on the government.