The government on Thursday moved to draw up a stricter protocol for handling coronavirus cases detected among school staff and students, after several chains of infection made the recent return of children to classrooms a growing headache.
According to the new protocol drafted by the Health Ministry in consultation with the Education Ministry and the government’s team of health experts, if a student or member of staff tests positive, the Ministry will consider all students of the specific class, as well as all of the case’s social contacts during breaks, in the school bus, and in out-of-school gatherings, as primary contacts that will be instructed to remain in isolation.
In the event that a single school positive cases are detected in three or more of a school’s classes within a week, the school will be shut down and all students will return to distance-learning for a week. On the sixth day, the entire school will be called to conduct a rapid test, while those classes considered close contacts will remain in isolation for the instructed amount of time. Following the rapid tests, classes that test negative can return to school the next day, but if a new case emerges from through the tests, only students and teachers of the class that are not close contacts and have tested negative can return to classrooms.
The protocol also requires that while a school shifts to distance-learning, students mustn’t attend any out-of-school afternoon activities.