Back to school: How will schools be kept Covid-safe this term?

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Students do not necessarily have to have their coronatests administered in schools. External test certificates are also allowed, such as the gurgle tests in Vienna.
These are the corona rules for the start of the schoolyear
Students do not necessarily have to take their required corona tests at school. Also allowed are antigen or PCR tests issued by other authorized testing agencies. This is provided for in the new Covid 19 school regulation issued by Education Minister Heinz Faßmann (ÖVP). This applies both to the three-week safety phase at the start of the school year and to the eventual requirement for unvaccinated children at medium-risk levels to undergo testing thereafter.

Daily rapid test and weekly PCR test
So, for example, those who would rather gargle at home for a PCR test than perform an anterio-nasal swab at school can do so. The only important thing is to have a valid test result for each full school day and to have a PCR test once a week among them. Teachers can also consistently get tested outside – unlike students, they even have to have their PCR tests done externally. Antigen tests they can take at school.

Generally, during the three-week “safety period” at the start of school, all students, regardless of vaccination status, must be tested three times a week, once by PCR test. Vaccinated teachers must provide three antigen tests; unvaccinated teachers must provide two antigen tests and one external PCR test.

Testing obligation also applies to teachers
Subsequently, the respective testing obligation of the students results from the respective risk situation (low, medium or high risk) determined by the incidence or the vaccination status. Unvaccinated teachers must have valid test evidence available daily after the safety phase, regardless of risk status (PCR test once a week).

Also noted in the regulation is the school-autonomous option to take additional measures to contain the Corona pandemic. A similar regulation existed last school year. Accordingly, principals are allowed to order a masking requirement that goes beyond the legal requirements, additional tests, and a time-delayed start of classes. However, these measures (except for the delayed start of classes) are limited to one week and require the approval of the school authorities – vaccinated students are also exempt (except for the delayed start of classes). However, after one week, they may then be imposed again on a temporary basis.

Director may not order distance learning
It is not possible for the director of a school to order distance learning. This may only be ordered by the Minister of Education or the Directorate of Education, or if school operation is not possible due to a decision by the health authority.

Parents of students who refuse mandatory Corona testing or any masking requirement shall first be advised by the principal of the possible consequences. If the refusal persists, students must stay home and independently learn about the subject matter, complete homework assignments, and participate in the study of the subject matter. If students remain absent long enough that they cannot be safely assessed, and do not take an assessment test scheduled for that reason, they will not be graded.

At-risk groups need application
Students who themselves belong to a risk group or whose parents fall into the risk group may be absent from class for a maximum of one week for good cause upon request. The same applies to children and adolescents who feel unable to attend face-to-face classes in connection with COVID-19. After the end of the week, the application can be resubmitted – but then a relevant specialist medical certificate must be submitted.

External persons such as reading mentors or members of clubs are generally allowed to attend the school. However, they must present a 3G certificate and wear a mouth/nose protection at all times. With an incidence value of 200 or more (high risk), they are then no longer allowed to enter the school.

  • source: vienna.at/picture:pixabay.com
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