One in five students expresses interest in self-testing

A mother swabs her son’s nostril using a shallow nasal swab before conducting an Abbott BinaxNOW™ COVID-19 Self Test. The test will be available over-the-counter at major U.S. retailers and does not require a prescription.

Ljubljana – Preliminary inquiries by the Education Ministry into the sentiment towards the announced self-testing of students show that around 22% of pupils of the final three years of primary school and 18.5% of secondary school students would self-test. Meanwhile, several civil initiatives are opposed the planned measure.

The ministry tasked schools last week to inquire among their students about how they feel about self-testing, which had been announced as a measure that would enable schools to reopen safely.

“According to preliminary data collected by schools, about 22% of pupils of the final three years of primary school would opt for self-testing while the interest for self-testing among secondary school students is at 18.5%,” the ministry told the STA.

The ministry noted in presenting the results of the inquiry that this was not the final expression of interest in self-testing that would be performed voluntarily at home.

On Friday, the ministry and the National Institute of Public Health will hold a meeting with headteachers of secondary schools to present the project and next week with headteachers of primary schools.

A special informative film will also be made to give detailed information on how to conduct the test. “After that, parents and guardians, and the students themselves will be able to make the final decision,” the ministry said.

The SVIZ trade union of teachers supports the voluntary self-testing as a measure that could help prevent transmissions but they warned against transferring the responsibility for its implementation to schools or teachers.

Health Minister Janez Poklukar said on Monday the idea was for students to conduct the tests at home on a voluntary basis with non-invasive quick methods, starting in the second half of the month.

Several civil initiatives have meanwhile expressed opposition to the self-testing, and have collected 20,500 signatures in support of their petition against the measure. They have informed PM Janez Janša, President Borut Pahor and Poklukar of the petition, urging a meeting to discuss the matter.