Before school starts: the city of Vienna asks for a PCR test

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School starts again in Vienna on Monday. The city is therefore appealing to all students to take a PCR test before returning to the classroom; infected children should stay home.

On the occasion of the start of school on Monday, the city of Vienna asks to take a PCR test before attending school. Nationwide, this is not mandatory but recommended (voluntarily) – so even the city can only ask for a test. One should not become careless, warned health city councilor Peter Hacker (SPÖ) on Sunday in a dispatch. Infected students should stay at home, added Deputy Mayor Christoph Wiederkehr (NEOS).

The city of Vienna requests PCR tests before school starts.
“It was always essential to us to ensure as much freedom as possible and as few restrictions as necessary for the start of school,” Wiederkehr said. “However, part of this freedom is that we still take the pandemic seriously. So we must try to prevent infections in schools. And one of the ways we can do that is by ensuring that infected students – no matter how old they are – stay home.”

Hacker said Covid-19 may be “out of focus for some” – “however, because of that, we cannot become careless, and we need to prepare professionally for the fall.” He said he is delighted that the Vienna School Board and the Vienna Health Board have worked together to develop clear guidelines for starting school despite the challenging situation. “In addition, I ask everyone to take advantage of Vienna’s testing offer and take a PCR test before school starts.”

Corona-positive persons should not attend classes.
He said it remains “clear” that Covid-19 is a contagious disease. “Every contagious disease begins with infection.” The Vienna health authority recommends that people with the condition “do not attend classes.” In addition, the federal capital recommends that starting with the second case within three days, everyone in a classroom or group room wear an FFP2 protective mask or mouth-nose protection (children ages 6-14) for five days.

No general obligation to test and wear masks at Viennese schools
Nationwide, the new school year will begin next week as the old one ended – without a general testing or masking requirement. However, directors can prescribe antigen tests and masks for up to two weeks on an ad hoc basis, for example, if infections are detected in a class. The Ministry of Education already stipulated this in a decree to schools at the end of August.

However, the ministry also recommends testing at the beginning of school voluntarily. As in the previous year, if possible, students should come to school with a valid (PCR) test on the first day of school. In addition, antigen testing will be offered at all schools during the first week of school on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday for students, teachers, and administrative staff to use. For the second week of school, students will be given three rapid antigen tests at home if they wish, such as to test themselves Sunday evening or Monday morning.

New Corona rules for Viennese schools starting in the fall
In its release on Saturday, the Vienna city government referred to the general rules for the fall in schools: All children up to and including 4th grade who test positive will not be allowed to attend school anywhere in Austria. Positive children under the age of eleven are also not allowed to attend kindergarten and after-school care, as the continuous wearing of an FFP2 protective mask is not provided for them.

On the other hand, symptom-free teachers and students from secondary level I (Mittelschule, AHS-Unterstufe) onwards may attend classes wearing an FFP2 mask despite being infected.

However, at compulsory schools (which fall under Länder jurisdiction), symptomless Corona-infected teachers will not be allowed to stand in class in most of Länder. Vienna and Burgenland already announced this stricter approach at the end of July, and Lower Austria and Salzburg recently followed suit. In Styria and Vorarlberg, on the other hand, teachers are allowed to use FFP2 masks. Upper Austria takes a middle course: only elementary school teachers are not allowed to enter the classroom with an infection.

  • source: APA/picture: pixabay.com
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