In accordance with the Ministry of Health's efforts to keep schools safe and in operation without depriving students of their basic right to education, members of the Scientific Advisory Committee have made a unanimous decision to apply the "test to stay" measure in Primary and Secondary schools as of Monday the 24th of January 2022.
This supplementary measure is addressed only to students who become close contacts of a confirmed positive COVID-19 case reported within the school, as defined by the health protocols (two meters away from all directions of the positive incident, inside the classroom, during breaks, during sports and when transported by private vehicle).
• The observance of the above measure is an optional choice for students AND has no retroactive effect. Therefore, the measure does not apply to students who are in a state of self-isolation as close contacts.
What about students who become close contacts who have no history of vaccination; or have received at least one vaccine dose; or have completed their vaccination course but the 7-month period has elapsed; or have become ill and the 90-day period has elapsed?
• These students (close contacts) will have the option of either being confined for 10 days, allowing for a release on the 7th day if a PCR test taken at their own expense shows a negative result; or, attend school and undergo a rapid antigen test (Rapid test) daily for a period of 6 consecutive days after contact (excluding holidays and weekends).
• These students (close contacts) are not allowed to take part in other afternoon activities, (such as tutoring, sports, etc.).
• These students (close contacts) are not allowed to use public transport (i.e. school bus) and must be brought to school via a private vehicle.
What about close contacts who have completed their vaccination course and who are within the 7-month period validity; or have a Covid recovery certificate and are within the 90-day period validity?
• According to the protocol, they are not obliged to self-isolate, however, they will undergo a rapid antigen test (Rapid test) daily for the period of 6 consecutive days after contact (excluding holidays and weekends).
The procedure is as follows:
• The mobile units of the Ministry of Health will visit the school units in which positive COVID-19 cases were detected the previous day and the close contacts will undergo a rapid antigen test (Rapid test).
• Rapid antigen tests will be performed between 7:30 am - 9:00 am and students will enter their classrooms after the result is issued.
• In case of a positive incident, the usual procedures will be followed by the school management.
• The “test to stay” measure will be implemented on a pilot basis and variations may occur depending on the epidemiological picture.