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125 groups of Rīga pupils quarantining due to Covid-19

Though the proportion of Covid-19 cases at schools compared to general population is small, the virus is spreading. There are at least 125 groups or forms of pupils quarantining in Rīga, Lavian Radio reported September 14.

The third week of the school year is running. Since the end of August, 744 positive cases have been identified in a total of 77 educational establishments according to data from the Disease Prevention and Control Center.

Weekly testing of pupils allows relatively good monitoring to how rapidly the virus is spreading. In the first week of screening, 99 cases were detected, but in the third week there were 351 cases.

“The fact that the number of schools in which Covid-19 cases are found is increasing is upsetting. We talked about 52 schools [in Rīga] last week, but now it is 57 educational institutions. The only hope is that those cases that were at the beginning of the school year will soon end the quarantine period and they will return. Then the number of quarantine forms will also decrease,” said Anita Pēterkopa, head of the Riga City Council Education Board.

In Rīga, the statistics have allegedly skyrocketed due to the situation at Rīga Secondary School No.72, where one teacher had taught in 25 forms while infected with Covid-19. All those forms now are in full or partial quarantine.

In first to sixth years, in the case of a positive Covid test, everyone switches to remote training. Older pupils who have a Covid-19 certificate can continue to attend school on-site and others must go online. In those cases, the teacher must work simultaneously in class and online. Schools are rushing to improve technical equipment so that the teacher does not have to work double.

The virus has also spread relatively rapidly in Rēzekne schools. The head of Rēzekne's education department, Arnolds Dreilings, told Latvian Radio that the new plan to test pupils once every two weeks could make the situation worse:

“The incubation period for this disease is 7-10 days. And if we don't check them for two weeks, we as if want them to be in the same bubble, but actually they're migrating through that school. If there are so many cases and we see schools repeat, then it is clear that this virus is running wild there. This means that there may be a day when we are sending this school to remote learning completely.”

Dreilings believes tests should be conducted twice a week to catch cases as quickly as possible. However, the government is currently reviewing the plan to only conduct tests once in a fortnight to take some load off school principals, pupils, parents, and laboratories.

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