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German School Does Self Testing, With Overnight Results

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A school in Neustrelitz Germany has opened after two months of being at home and are now doing self-testing of students and teachers for the Coronavirus, the test will give overnight results.

The Neustrelitz high school is operating again after two months of being at home. According to the New York Times, the school had been offered free coronavirus kits, enabling it to test staff and students twice a week.

How the test works

The school had set up a testing facility in the form of a tent in the schoolyard, learners has to keep a distance of 6 ft apart when collecting the test kit inside the tent.

Each learner inserts a swab deep into their throat, gagging slightly as instructed, then the sample is closed and labelled before they return to class. The entire process reportedly takes less than 3 minutes per learner and the results were sent via email overnight.

A positive test would mean staying home for two weeks. A negative test would mean you wear a green sticker that allows for movement around the school without a mask — until the next test which is four days later.

What this means for schools

The self-administered test at the high school in Neustrelitz, a small town in northern Germany, is said to be one of the more intriguing efforts in Europe as countries embark on a giant experiment on how to reopen schools.

Restarting schools is something that is at the core of any plan to restart economies globally. If schools do not reopen, most parents will be unable to go back to work. 

Last week Germany announced that it would reopen most aspects of its economy and allow all students back in the coming weeks, class sizes have been cut in half. Hallways have become one-way systems. Breaks are staggered. Teachers wear masks and students are told to dress warmly because windows and doors are kept open for air circulation.

With still so little known about the virus, many experts say mass testing is the only way to avoid the reopening of schools becoming a gamble.

Mixed reports on the effects of the Coronavirus in children

A study published in Germany by the country’s best-known Virologist and Coronavirus expert, Professor Christian Drosten, found that infected children carried the same amount of the virus as adults, suggesting they might be as infectious as adults.

“In the current situation, we have to warn against an unlimited reopening of schools and nurseries,” advised Prof Drosten.

However, other studies, including two done in China, suggests that children may be less contagious than adults, possibly because they often do not have the symptoms that help spread the virus, symptoms such as a cough.

“The evidence is not yet conclusive,” says Richard Pebody, team leader for High Threat Pathogens at the World Health Organization. On reopening schools, Pebody says, “Do it very gradually and monitor the ongoing epidemiology very closely.”