Student self-testing to be launched next week

Ljubljana – Student self-testing will be launched next Monday, but only for some secondary school students for now, Health Minister Janez Poklukar said on Tuesday. Others, including older primary school pupils, could start taking swabs a week later or as soon as possible. Student self-testing remains voluntary and will be conducted at home.

Initially it had been planned that the self-testing would start in schools on 16 April, however the situation hit a standstill due to delays in testing kits deliveries, which then had to be certified by health authorities.

After the National Laboratory of Health, Environment and Food gave its approval, the Agency for Medicinal Products and Medical Devices cleared the self-test kits on Friday provided certain conditions are met.

Additional instructions must be provided along with the kits before the self-testing gets under way for older primary school students, Poklukar said after a meeting with student representatives, adding that it was therefore too soon to tell whether the kits will become available for the final three grades of primary school on 31 May or 7 June.

In secondary schools that are ready for this step the self-testing will be launched next Monday. Poklukar noted that the self-testing was not obligatory but it was recommended.

“We’re adamant to launch self-testing in secondary and primary schools this [school] year so that we’ll be ready for a potential worsening of the situation in the autumn,” the minister said, adding that it was key to set up a system before any potential epidemiological escalations to allow for in-classroom schooling.

The self-testing, which is expected to be conducted every Monday before classes, will be mostly performed in the home environment mainly due to logistics. At-home testing for students has been advocated by head teachers of primary and secondary schools.

Slovenia procured the self-test kits in a joint EU public call – in the first round a total of 300,000 were ordered.