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Many parents refuse their children's self-tests at school - politicians are talking about compulsory testing

DUSSELDORF. The test runs with the self-tests of schoolchildren shortly before the Easter break have shown that a significant number of parents reject the procedure in schools. Politicians are therefore already talking about compulsory testing. Many fathers and mothers have good reasons for doing this. The Saxon model could offer a way out. Although this provides for a test requirement. But this can also be done at home. The result is quite impressive.

Voluntary or compulsory, once or twice a week, at home or at school: every federal state has its own rules for the corona self-tests for students.

In North Rhine-Westphalia, for example, there is one test per student per week. According to the school ministry, the following applies there: “The tests take place in the rooms of the school on the days to be determined by the school, if possible at the beginning of the lesson with the pupils present in the classroom. They are supervised by the school staff - especially the teachers. In principle, all pupils should take part in the tests, but parents or pupils of legal age can object to the test offer or the test execution with a corresponding declaration. "

"Too many test refusers take the entire system of testing students ad absurdum"

And that's not uncommon. “It has been found that around 20 percent of parents do not give their children their consent to take part in the self-tests at school. That takes the entire system of testing ad absurdum, ”says Andreas Bartsch, President of the NRWL. The North Rhine-Westphalian Teachers' Association (NRWL) considers it necessary for all pupils to test the self-tests in schools - and two self-tests per week.

In the opinion of the association, the self-tests for schoolchildren cannot be carried out by teachers alone. "We are calling on the state government to put the supervision of students' corona self-tests in the hands of their parents or medically trained staff," emphasizes Bartsch. Because the procedure in the classrooms is delicate. “Of course, everyone in the classroom takes their mask off for the self-test, some even need help with inserting the test stick into their noses. The teachers also have to dispose of the used test material in garbage bags, even though they themselves are not yet protected by vaccinations, ”criticizes Bartsch.

In fact, it is a problem when one in five students does not take the tests. Basically, as a team led by mobility researcher Prof. Kai Nagel from the Technical University of Berlin states in the Modus Covid report (relating to Berlin): "Our simulation results show that weekly testing of all students has a strong infection-reducing effect." According to the scientists, an increase in the test frequency to twice a week would actually almost double the effect. “At this point, however, it must be emphasized that the rapid tests only have a clear effect if, firstly, every student takes advantage of the offer and, secondly, if the test result is positive, they are immediately quarantined. A high participation rate and discipline are necessary here. "

"If some believe that this is only necessary for the others, then the school senator will say that the test is mandatory"

In Baden-Württemberg, Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) is already thinking out loud about compulsory tests for schoolchildren. The Lower Saxony Ministry of Education said it was still being checked whether the testing after the Easter holidays would be an offer or mandatory.

The test could also be compulsory in Hamburg. "If some believe that this is only necessary for the others, then the school senator will, if necessary, say that the test is mandatory," says Education Senator Ties Rabe (SPD), speaking of himself in the third person, according to the "Hamburger Morgenpost" . In the first round of rapid tests at schools in the Hanseatic city last week, 84 percent of the students present took part. "The participation rate is gratifyingly high," said Rabe. The goal, however, is for well over 90 percent of all students to have themselves tested twice a week.

The result of the first test round shows how important participation is: 111 quick tests showed a positive result - if the quota among those who refused to participate were just as high, 20 potentially positive test results would have remained undetected in this test round alone.

However, compulsory tests at school are extremely tricky. A query among the parents had shown that a “not inconsiderable part of the tests did not want,” said Albert Sikora, director of education in the Bavarian district of Dachau, to “Merkur”. In some schools, the proportion of children whose parents objected is even 40 percent. "The worst e-mails" were received in the school office, and some parents even threatened to file a lawsuit. The subject, sighs the school authority director, is "highly emotional".

And many parents have good reasons for this. Tests in the school could "never ever meet hygienic conditions, because the masks have to be removed", says the chairman of the Bavarian parents' association Martin Löwe according to the "Süddeutscher Zeitung". Infected children would have contact with others before the test and could infect them. In addition, some respondents feared discrimination if there was a public positive test result and a child had to go home. Some parents of younger children also refused to take tests at school because swabs were taken by unfamiliar people in unfamiliar surroundings.

There is also resistance in Lower Saxony to students having to test themselves in school. According to the editorial network of Germany, the working group of parents' councils demands that the tests be carried out in the home environment. She advocates that schools provide test kits for the home or use medical staff instead of teachers in order to avoid infection and injuries.

In Saxony there are already mandatory tests - but not necessarily in school. The following applies in the Free State: People are prohibited from entering the school premises if they cannot prove a negative test result. The test may not be more than three days old, or one week for schoolchildren. A self-test is still possible immediately after entering the premises. Primary school students are exempt from this rule.

It is true that there is also trouble in Saxony. The Saxon Higher Administrative Court (OVG), which had been called on by parents, had to deal with the corresponding regulation in the Corona Protection Ordinance. It declared them lawful. The tests did not affect the area of ​​protection of the fundamental right to physical integrity and the associated interventions were also proportionate, the OVG announced last week.

"This will give stubborn test refusers a triumph and give them access to school"

The trial was evidently politically motivated. Because it is actually easy for stubborn parents in Saxony to bypass the compulsory test, as the Saxon Teachers Association (SLV) criticizes. It is also sufficient if the parents confirm on a form from the ministry that their children have tested negative. "This will give stubborn test refusers a triumph, give them access to school and expose students and teachers to unnecessary risk!", Says a letter from the SLV to Minister of Education Christian Piwarz (CDU). He had previously defended the so-called self-disclosure. One does not want to treat all families with suspicion. However, should abuse be found, it would be prosecuted.

But: That actually seems to be necessary with only a few parents. According to the ministry, only 2,500 students (out of 146,000) in the Free State refused to take the test last week. News4teachers / with material from the dpa

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