Ministry now says self-testing for pupils to be mandatory

Ljubljana – The Education Ministry has announced that self testing for primary and secondary school children and youths will be mandatory starting from 15 November after initially announcing that it would continue to be voluntary. Self-testing will be performed on school premises three times a week.

The changes to self-testing in educational institutions are part of new Covid restrictions agreed by the government on Friday. Except for self-testing applying to schools, new rules will kick in on Monday.

Self-testing will be mandatory for all primary and secondary school students as well as for university students except for those who have been vaccinated against or have recovered from Covid.

Children and youth involved in educational institutions for children and youth with special needs will also need to self test, as will those involved in after-school sports activities at schools.

Until 15 November primary and secondary school children will continue to self test at home twice a week and higher education students at their schools.

From 15 November, primary, secondary and higher education students will be eligible for 15 rapid antigen self tests a month, which they will be able to pick up at a pharmacy with their health insurance card.

The Association of Head Teachers has met the new rules with dismay and apprehension. Its chairman Gregor Pečan predicted objections by the parents who oppose Covid rules as it is.

Speaking to the STA, Pečan expressed concern that the youngest pupils would need assistance with self-testing from school staff.

Offering the example of Austria, he said Slovenia was moving to mandatory self-testing in school setting without even having data how many pupils in fact self-tested at home.

“The head teachers have the feeling we are being pushed to the front lines again […] being left to our own resources as parents take it out on us.”

What makes the situation even more awkward is that most of the Covid measures have turned out to be unlawful or unconstitutional, he noted.

They will try their best to put all the measures imposed in practice despite staff shortages. “However, imposing such measures without a rethink, consultations, is unserious, to put it mildly,” said Pečan.