14 million self-tests on their way to schools across the Netherlands
As of today, millions of self-tests (rapid antigen tests) will become available for primary, secondary and special schools in the Netherlands. The Rijksoverheid hopes that this will make it possible to detect infections more quickly and prevent outbreaks as much as possible. Within two weeks, all schools will be provided with self-tests that should last for a fortnight. After that, new sets of tests will be delivered every week. In total, 14 million self-tests will be supplied until the summer holidays.
The self-tests are an addition to the existing measures in schools, such as maintaining 1.5m distance, washing hands and staying at home when showing symptoms similar to the corona virus symptoms. Taking the self-test is always voluntary.
This morning, Minister Slob (Basis- en Voortgezet Onderwijs en Media) visited a primary school in Zwolle, where the self-tests were handed out to school staff for the first time.
"I am glad that these [self] tests are now available, so pupils can be taught in-person as much as possible and teachers can stand in front of the class with more peace of mind."
Tests for teaching staff
The self-tests are used preventively for teaching staff. The tests are also made available to childcare staff if the childcare centre is in the same building as the school. Staff members can take the test at home twice a week if they have no symptoms. The tests are easy to administer, because they don't go as deep into the nose as the regular corona tests in the GGD test lanes.
This way, the teachers quickly have clarity and can teach the class in-person with peace of mind. Those who test positive, go into quarantine and make an appointment at the GGD for a regular test. This test at the GGD is necessary for verification and to start the source and contact investigation. In the GGD test street, school personnel have priority, so the results are fast-tracked.
Testing of pupils
As of today, secondary schools will also receive tests for the risk-oriented testing of pupils and teaching staff. This means that they are tested the moment an infection is known to be present at school. The self-tests are for pupils and teachers who have kept a distance from the infected person, but who have been in the same room, for example.
If there is an infection, the school will contact the GGD to determine together who are the close contacts of the infected person and who will be sent home immediately, to go into quarantine in accordance with the rules and to have a test done at the GGD test street. Next, the school together with the GGD determines which pupils can take a self-test. They will be supported by a counsellor at school. Parents have to give their permission for self-testing in advance.
More information on self-testing in education is available (in Dutch) at: www.zelftesteninhetonderwijs.nl