Latvian schools ask for more Covid self-tests

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The situation with Covid-19 at schools is not critical at the moment, but experts forecast that the outbreak of the Omicron will remain for a while. Schools say that there are not enough self-tests for daily routine testing, Latvian Radio reported January 19.

Currently, in Rīga, Liepāja, Daugavpils, and Ogre, many students are learning remotely due to infection or contact with Covid-19. Teaching staff also get ill, and this is causing some difficulties.

At Ogre Secondary School No.1, a large proportion of teachers cannot work onsite. Inga Škapare, a spokeswoman for the municipal education department, said:

"There are 20 educators who are ill. If we look in the context of events at the end of November, when many educators left their jobs or went downtime, it is not easy to organize the learning process right now. For the time being, of course, schools are coping, solutions are very different," she said.

Ogre hopes that this is currently the peak of morbidity, but experts predict the highest prevalence in February.

Schools and municipalities hope that there are more available self-tests by that time in educational establishments. There are enough tests for routine testing but issues emerge when there is an outbreak and the school requires more tests. The lack of tests has sometimes led to remote learning for pupils who might otherwise go to school in person.

This is a problem is in several schools and municipalities in Latvia. Elsewhere, it is dealt with by sharing tests among schools. The Latvian Union of Local Governments (LPS) also invited to increase the number of tests for schools.

LPS Advisor for Education Ināra Dundure told Latvijas Radio: “If the educator is a contact person, if they have no symptoms, then if they cannot find a replacement, they should perform a self-test every day.”

It would also make it easier for schools to organize the learning process. At the moment, this issue is on the government's agenda – it will be discussing both the change of the testing algorithm and the wider supply of self-tests.

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