Teachers’ association wants nationwide Covid testing in Swiss schools

A pupil in Zurich on January 25 © Keystone / Gaetan Bally

The Swiss Teachers’ Association is demanding coronavirus tests be extended to schools across the whole of Switzerland.

This content was published on February 4, 2021 - 14:03

The federal government has rejected the idea, saying cantons have sovereignty regarding education. Cantons Basel Country, Zug and Graubünden have already said they intend to start mass coronavirus testing in schools.

“The pandemic affects the whole of Switzerland and schools throughout the country must be closed,” Dagmar Rösler, president of the teachers’ association, told Swiss public radioExternal link, SRF, on Thursday. “Therefore, nationwide mass testing and national coordination would also make sense.”

The teachers’ association has been concerned for some time about infections in schools, she said, adding that if classroom teaching were to be maintained, additional preventive and protective measures must be taken.

Cantonal plans

In canton Zug, students and teachers at secondary and baccalaureate schools will have to undergo a saliva test twice a week from February 22. If these large-scale tests are effective, the operation could be extended to vocational schools.

Basel Country plans to test 50,000 people every week until July in schools, companies, hospitals and the cantonal administration. The aim is to detect as many people as possible who are infected but who are asymptomatic.

So far, only canton Graubünden has conducted large-scale tests. These have been carried out on a voluntary basis, notably in some schools. The canton announced on Thursday that it would extend this programme from March, carrying out saliva tests in schools at a regional level, again on a voluntary basis.

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