Most schools in Germany scrapping mandatory COVID testing
For months now, children at primary and secondary schools across Germany have had to test themselves for coronavirus two or three times a week using rapid antigen tests. But as the Easter school holidays come to an end, as does this strict testing regime.
Majority of German schools ditch regular COVID testing
A few weeks after the mask requirement was lifted in most primary and secondary schools in Germany, the mandatory regular testing is also coming to an end. A survey by dpa has found that the mandatory testing in schools has already ended in six federal states, and is due to end before the end of the month in another six states.
In Thuringia, testing will continue a little longer, until May 6, while Germany's capital city state of Berlin has said it will keep the programme in place “until further notice." No decision has yet been made in Hamburg or Saarland as to the future of regular testing beyond May.
Most schools said that they would now instead make testing voluntary, or “event-related” - for instance asking students to test if they are displaying symptoms, or if an entire class is going on a school trip.
Criticism comes from education unions and teachers’ associations
The decision to phase out mandatory testing has been met with criticism from education unions and the German Teachers’ Association, with the latter stating it was “[justifiably] concerned for families who have high-risk individuals and sick children in their own households.” Heinz-Peter Meidinger, from the association, said many students were currently skipping school as a precautionary measure.
The deputy chairperson for the Trade Union for Education and Science (GEW), Andreas Keller, said it was “negligent” to end testing at this point. “This is the last effective preventative measure that contributes to protecting the health of employees, students and their parents,” he emphasised. “The pandemic is not over.”