September 2020 photo shows a student's mask hanging from the edge of a desk
Photo: Romain Gamba/archives
Starting Wednesday, rapid antigen tests capable of giving a result within 15 minutes will be rolled out in six schools as part of a pilot phase.
The tests in four primary schools in Beggen, Lallange, Sanem and Dudelange, and two high schools, in Redange and Esch-sur-Alzette, run until 2 April.
According to the education ministry, children as young as six can perform the tests on themselves, marking a “turning point in the prevention of infections in schools and in the monitoring of the spread of the virus.”
The pilot will assess organisational best practices, as well as technical and psychological considerations, before it is rolled out nationwide after the Easter school holidays. In total, 9,000 antigen rapid test kits selected by the national health laboratory will be distributed to the schools where students in participating classes will be able to test themselves. In primary schools, only children in cycles 2 to 4 will take part in school time. Pupils in cycle 1 will be given a test to take home for their parents to administer. Teachers will also be able to test the kits on themselves.
All parents of underage students will have to give written consent on behalf of their child. The education ministry was this week sending out letters to inform parents.
This week, students, parents and teachers will be informed by letter about the pilot phase process. Each student and teacher will receive a kit to take home and try out with their family.
The pilot comes after in-school attendance of students has been hotly debated in Luxembourg. According to government figures, from the week of 8-14 March, there were 337 positive cases of Sars-CoV-2 in public schools. The majority, 238, were considered isolated cases.